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3 years
Upon agreement

The specialisation in Public Health will provide the candidates with key concepts and perspectives for public health research. This will provide the candidates with the skills and knowledge necessary to embed a public health approach in their research through a broad understanding of social determinants of health, equity, the nature of public health evidence, complex systems approaches, and ways to influence policy and achieve impact.

Depending on the chosen elective courses, the candidate will gain in-depth knowledge related to the topic of the candidate’s thesis, either epidemiology, physical activity and health, occupational health, educational research, nutrition, lifecourse approaches to health, or implementation research.

Admission requirements

General requirement: Applicants who have at least a master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant area of study will be considered for admission. In addition, there is a requirement of at least 90 ECTS credits (one and a half years of study on a master level) in subjects related to health and / or nursing subjects. Previous knowledge in health and nursing science methodology must be documented.

See also Supplementary regulations for the PhD degree at the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences.


The PhD specialisation in Public Health consists of four components:

  1. The faculty PhD programme’s mandatory core courses
  2. The faculty PhD programme’s elective methods course(s)
  3. Specialisation courses in public health
  4. The thesis

The coursework aims to provide the candidate with

  1. A thorough understanding of key concepts within Public Health, including equity, evidence, systems approaches, and policy
  2. A substantial philosophical and methodological foundation and experience within research dissemination
  3. In-depth knowledge in areas relevant to Public Health and the candidates’ PhD project, i.e., epidemiology, physical activity, occupational health, educational research, nutrition, health promotion, lifecourse approaches to health, and implementation research

In addition to the PhD courses offered by UiA, the candidate may take doctoral courses offered by other national and international academic institutions.

Specialisation components

The PhD specialisation is normally organised so as to be completed in three years. The coursework
components comprise the faculty PhD programme’s two mandatory core courses:

  • Researching Health and Sport Sciences: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations, 7,5 ECTS
  • Research Dissemination in Health and Sport Sciences: Scientific presenting and practice, 7,5 ECTS

The faculty PhD programme comprises elective methods course(s) (at least 5 ECTS) and elective specialisation courses (10 ECTS). Elective courses must be approved by the supervisors. It is highly recommended that one of the elective specialisation courses is the Public Health course (HEL6XX Introduction to Public Health, 5 ECTS).

In total, the coursework component consists of 30 ECTS credits. The coursework will normally be completed in the first 2-3 semesters of the PhD specialisation. The thesis project will be carried out in parallel with the coursework, guided by appointed supervisors. Thesis seminars and seminars in research groups will also support the candidates in developing their thesis work and will give the opportunity to present and discuss this with other PhD candidates and faculty staff.

Below, each of the course modules of the specialisation are presented further.

The coursework component is divided into these main areas:

PhD programme in Health and Sport Sciences


Specialisation in Public Health

Methods and Philosophy of Science (15 ECTS)

Specialisation courses (15 ECTS)


(150 ECTS)


Mandatory courses (7,5 + 7,5 ECTS)

Elective methods courses (5 ECTS)

Elective specialisation courses in Public Health (5 + 5 ECTS)


EX-606 Researching Health and Sport Sciences: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations, 7,5 ECTS

ME-624 Research Dissemination in Health and Sport Sciences: Scientific presenting and practice, 7,5 ECTS

ME-617 Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis, 5 ECTS

ME-618 Qualitative Research Methods, 5 ECTS

ME-634 Phenomenological Lifeworld Perspective, Methodology and Analysis, 5 ECTS

ME-636 Epidemiology: Concepts and Methodological Approaches, 5 ECTS

ME-626 General Quantitative Research Methods, 5 ECTS

ME-627 Logistic Regression Analysis, 2,5 ECTS

ME-628 Regression Models Illustrated through Linear Regression, 2,5 ECTS

ME-629 Analysis and Design of Studies with Repeated Measures, 2,5 ECTS

ME-630 Survival Analysis, 2,5 ECTS

HEL620 Introduction to Public Health, 5 ECTS

HEL610 Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, 5 ECTS

HEL611 Nutritional Epidemiology, 5 ECTS

NutriNOR Research School courses

(Research School funded by the Norwegian Research Council. UiA is a partner in the project and all the candidatess have the opportunity to participate)







Mandatory core courses

The course Researching Health and Sport Sciences: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations (7,5 ECTS) will introduce the candidate to the different philosophical and methodological approaches within health and sport sciences in general. The philosophical underpinnings of method and methodologies, both in general to health and sport sciences and specifically in the relation to the specialisations, will be emphasised in the course.

The course Research Dissemination in Health and Sport Sciences: Scientific presenting and practice (7,5 ECTS) runs throughout the full PhD period, and it is also a social meeting point for the PhD candidates. The overall aim of the course is to supply the participants with relevant practical skills as researchers. The candidate will be given an introduction in how to write and publish a scientific article, how to present research findings in a scientific manner, and how these findings may be popularised for presentation to the public. In addition, the course will prepare the candidate for designing and defending the thesis. The course is a continuing course throughout the candidate’s whole PhD period and the candidates are automatically registered for this course.

The purpose of these courses is to provide the candidate with a solid philosophical and methodological foundation that should be followed up in supervision and reflected in the PhD thesis.

Elective methods courses

The purpose of these courses is to provide the candidates with a thorough foundation in relevant scientific method(s). A minimum of 5 ECTS credits is required and should be approved by the supervisors.

Elective specialisation courses

The specialisation courses go into depth in topics central to Public Health. These courses are intended to give the PhD candidates sufficient knowledge in Public Health and subfields related to the thesis subject, thus enabling them to conduct research in this field.

Depending on the thesis subject, the specialisation courses will be offered internally or completed at other universities in Norway and/or abroad.

The PhD thesis

The PhD thesis should be an independent piece of academic work that meets international academic standards in the subject area. It must contribute to the development of new scholarly knowledge and must achieve a level of academic quality meriting publication as part of the literature in its field.

The thesis may consist of a monograph or a set of at least three peer-reviewed articles in general with a comprehensive thesis summary and discussion of the research contributions from the papers. In general, when the thesis consists of articles, at least two of the articles must have been accepted for publication. The candidate must be the primary author of the majority of the articles in the thesis, according to the supplementary regulations for the PhD programme in Health and Sport Sciences.