Master Programme in Applied Social Sciences - Study Option International Social Welfare and Health Policy Programplan

Engelsk programnavn
Master Programme in Applied Social Sciences - Study Option International Social Welfare and Health Policy
Gjelder fra
2024 HØST
120 studiepoeng
4 semestre


The master's programme in International social welfare and health policy (MIS) is unique in its combination of social welfare and health policy studies. The MIS programme provides students with the knowledge and skills in social science theories as well as methods to analyse, develop and manage social and health policies at a high level.

  • Why do some countries have a higher share of the global burden of diseases than others?
  • How can we explain social inequalities in health within a country?
  • How are the changing power relations between international, national and local actors influencing the content and effectiveness of social and health policies?
  • Why do some countries have smaller socio-economic inequalities than others?
  • Why do some countries have higher employment rates among women than others?
  • Why are some welfare systems more successful in helping families at risk of poverty than others?
  • Why are there systematic and lasting differences in opportunities for persons with disabilities to exercise choice and autonomy between countries?
  • How does access to education and family planning influence the employment opportunities of young women today?
  • How does cross-national mobility and immigration influence access to social security and health services?
  • How can we investigate if social and health policies have the intended effects?

Answers to such questions are essential to ensure sustainable and inclusive societies. The questions are related to the organisation and content of social welfare and health policies.

Social change requires that professionals in the fields of social work, health and welfare continually develop their knowledge and skills. The Master's Degree Programme applies theoretical perspectives to these fields.

An increasingly globalized world requires the development of innovative social welfare and health policies. The two policy fields are interdependent. Both are also characterized by complex governance structures: Social welfare and health policies are shaped in a multi-actor setting involving different combinations of market actors, family, public agencies and non-profit NGOs. Additionally, the social welfare and health policies take place in a multilevel setting. Increasingly the social welfare and health policy depends on the working relations between supranational organisations, such as the UN and EU, national and local entities.

The MIS programme consists of 6 mandatory courses (60 ECTS), 3 elective courses (30 ECTS) and a master's thesis (30 ECTS). Elective courses allow students to pursue topics of special interest that may be relevant for both the master's thesis, as well as for future career possibilities.

All courses are taught in English, and the diploma will be issued in English for all successful candidates. Candidates will be awarded the title Master of Applied Social Sciences, programme option International Social Welfare and Health Policy.

The programme focuses upon general critical analytical skills with an understanding of the importance of gender, ethnicity, generation, and social class, living standards and living conditions. The programme option qualifies a graduate for:

  • positions in social and health services that require the knowledge and ability to undertake systematic documentation and evaluation of social and health service programmes, as well as the knowledge of international and comparative studies within health and social welfare.
  • positions in government agencies, non-governmental organisations or voluntary organisations engaged in international health and social welfare programmes and developmental assistance
  • research positions at lower levels in educational programmes for social or health workers, and social science positions dealing with social and health policy issues
  • PhD programmes in the fields of social welfare and health policy


This programme is aimed at students who have a special interest in international efforts to develop social and health policies.


Admission to this programme is regulated by Regulations Relating to Admissions to Studies at OsloMet.

Admission requires a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent degree) in social work, childcare and welfare, political science, sociology, economics, anthropology, law, medicine or nursing. Other degrees with a focus on social and health issues may also be considered.

Applicants will be ranked on the basis of grade average from their bachelor's degree.

Fifty percent of the places are reserved for applicants who are citizens in countries outside EU/EEA.

The master's programme aims for a diverse group of students from many countries. Given the limited number of places, normally no more than three students from each country will be assigned, with the exception of students from Norway.


A candidate who has completed his or her qualification has the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


Upon completion of the degree the candidate has

  • advanced knowledge of research designs relevant to the investigate a particular research question

  • the ability to relate specific research questions to specific research methods

  • a high level of understanding of and ability to apply and evaluate basic theoretical and methodological frameworks in order to examine, explain and understand social and health phenomena

  • a broad understanding of global social and health problems, including current situations, trends, and challenges

  • in-depth knowledge of the fields of social and health care systems: their organisation, delivery, and financing

  • insight into cultural differences in social and health concepts and terminology



Upon completion of the degree the candidate is able to


  • analyse explicit and implicit knowledge in the fields of health policy and social welfare

  • conduct a systematic and critical analysis of a problem, apply core research principles and give a clear academic presentation of the results

  • identify dimensions and challenges in the current global health and welfare situation

  • critically assess the advantages and disadvantages of various social and health policy approaches

  • evaluate relevant research in terms of methodological quality and appropriateness

  • implement a range of data and literary sources for analysis


General competence

Upon completion of the degree the candidate has acquired


  • a high degree of intercultural competence, and increased understanding of international trends that affect health and social welfare

  • advanced knowledge of perspectives on social and health inequalities at a high academic level. The candidate is able to evaluate the impact of social and health policies, including how policies can contribute to (re)production or change in social inequalities

  • a high level of ethical reflection when assessing the development of social and health policies, as well as a broad and in-depth knowledge of ethical dilemmas in research

Innhold og oppbygging

In addition to the mandatory courses, each student is required to select three courses from the electives available in this programme option (total of 30 ECTS). Students in need of advice regarding these courses can ask the programme coordinator, course lecturers, or the administrator.

As an alternative to the elective courses provided in this programme description, students may select courses from other programme options within the Master's Programme at the Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy. In addition, students may choose among courses offered at master's level at Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet), or institutions of higher learning in Norway outside of OsloMet, or one of our partner universities outside of Norway. Students can choose up to 30 ECTS from outside OsloMet. Norwegian-speaking students can also choose elective courses offered in Norwegian. All external courses must be approved by the programme coordinator in advance.

The master's thesis is an independent dissertation consisting of 30 study credits. Students ought to begin reflecting upon a research topic and methods for the thesis in the first semester. In the second semester, students will prepare a research proposal for the thesis. Students are encouraged to contact potential supervisors as early as possible. On the basis of the research topics chosen, students will be assigned a supervisor.

Valgfritt emne Løper over flere semestre

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

Courses consist of lectures and seminars. In addition, workshops and discussion groups will be offered with the goal of facilitating and stimulating learning. Written work requirements are intended to develop reflective, argumentative and critical responses to the curriculum and lectures, as well as formatting written work at a post-graduate level. Oral presentations and discussions will develop discursive skills, whilst specialization in an area of research promotes scholarly and independent learning.


This master's degree programme gives students a broad understanding of global social and health problems and in-depth knowledge of the fields of social and health care systems. All the courses are designed from a broad international perspective, reflected in the curriculum. Class discussion, work requirements, group work and examinations will reflect the international orientation of the courses.

Students have the opportunity to travel abroad in the third semester of the programme. Students are encouraged to collect data for their thesis while they are abroad or in their home country.

The faculty has many partner organisations abroad which will be able to assist students with data collection and analysis. Students can also choose three elective topics to be taken in an institution outside of the programme. Courses taken outside of the programme must be approved by the programme coordinator before semester start.

Information regarding studies and data collection abroad will be disseminated during the first two semesters.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

Work requirements are outlined in the course descriptions below. Coursework requirements are mandatory. Requirements that are not handed in on time or found dissatisfactory will disqualify students from sitting the final examination.

Students are strongly recommended to form tutorial groups to discuss ideas, critically assess research and prepare for work requirements and examinations.

Vurdering og sensur

Each course concludes with a final examination which takes the form of either a written examination, a written home assignment, a semester paper or a portfolio. Students may use a spelling dictionary, as well as a bilingual dictionary during written school examinations. All examinations are graded by an internal examiner. In addition, an external examiner will evaluate at least 25 per cent of examinations, which will form the basis for the internal examiners grading. 

Students that are not satisfied with their grades have the right to submit an appeal, whereupon examinations will be re-evaluated by two new examiners (one internal and the other external). Note that when appealing, students risk receiving a lower grade than the grade awarded for the initial examination.

The Master's Thesis will be evaluated by both an internal and an external examiner. Neither examiner shall be involved in the supervision of the Master's thesis in question.

Students at the Institute for Social Work must use the APA style when citing sources and referencing.

A grading scale from A to F will normally be used in assessment. A grade of pass ranges from A to E, while F is a fail. In some courses students will receive a grade of either pass or fail. In this case, pass will be equivalent to grade C or better. See the description of each course for further information on the use of the grading system


The following documents regulate examinations at OsloMet:

the Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges

the Directive for Curricula Regulations from the Ministry of Education and Research

Regulations Relating to Studies and Examinations at OsloMet.

It is the responsibility of students to familiarise themselves with these rules and regulations. Information regarding some of these responsibilities will be disseminated to students during Introduction Week, as well as during lectures, and on the e-learning platform Canvas

The link to the Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges can be found here: http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/kilde/kd/reg/2006/0031/ddd/pdfv/273037-loven_higher_education_act_norway_010405.pdf 

The link to Regulations Relating to Studies and Examinations at Oslo Metropolitan University can be found at: http://www.oslomet.no