The Anthropology of Global Health

Course content

  • This course investigates connections between anthropology and global health. The general aims of the course are to link illness experiences with socio-political factors and to understand social and cultural influences of health, sickness and therapy around the world. This course introduces students to core concepts in medical anthropology relevant for the analysis of individual response to illness and affliction and for an understanding of how relationships between patients and health care providers are shaped. Key course topics include: Population dynamics and the relation to global health; health, wealth and development; illness narratives and therapeutic trajectories, health care systems and healing traditions; life-course, lifestyles and health as well as the role of medical technologies. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to think critically and creatively about health problems and policies and to envision innovative and effective responses to some of the main health challenges.

MSc Programme in Global Health - compulsory

Learning outcome

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand health care practices and perceptions in the broader social and political context.
  • Describe and discuss social and cultural factors influencing health, sickness and therapy in low- middle and high-income societies.
  • Identify and discuss the role of the different stakeholders at international, national, and local levels.
  • Describe main global health challenges and discuss possible responses to these challenges.
  • Skills:

On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Work in interdisciplinary settings
  • Apply relevant theoretical concepts in the analysis of selected social and cultural aspects influencing health care practices.
  • Write a policy brief concerning an important health challenge.

On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate (selected) central aspects of health care interventions from an equity perspective
  • Develop and present short  analyses of selected health care challenges based on case studies and/or critical reading of articles.

Different pedagogical approaches will be used during the module:
• Formal lectures by selected teachers followed by discussions
• Group assignments (both small class-room assignments as well as home-work assignments)
• Case-work
• Student presentations

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
The student must hand-in a total of 4 portfolios at four specific(given) dates (one
portfolio at each of the dates) during the course in order to have two of the portfolios
assessed by the examiners. If the student does not hand in all four portfolios he/she
cannot participate in the exam.

The portfolios are individual assignments.

The length of each portfolio should max be 8.000 characters incl. spaces. The total
length of the four portfolios should be maximum 32.000 characters incl. spaces (excl. title page, page of content and references, incl. notes).

The purpose of the portfolios is to ensure that students work in depth with the course
material during the course rather than at the end of the course only. The lecturer
(course responsible) does not see the portfolios before the final exam.
Only certain aids allowed

All, except devices allowing for external communication.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examiner.
Criteria for exam assessment


To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student must be able to demonstrate


- on the  social and cultural factors influencing health, sickness and therapy in low- middle and high-income

-on the broader social and political context for an understanding of  health care practices and perceptions

- on the role of different stakeholders at international, national and local levels


- related to the analysis of selected social and cultural aspects of health care in a global context

-related to the formulation of short policy briefs on current global health issues

-- in critical evaluation of central (selected) health care policies and interventions applying core concepts from medical anthropology and related fields


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 27
  • Exercises
  • 27
  • Exam
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 134
  • English
  • 204