Field course in Sri Lanka on Cross-disciplinary Health Research – University of Copenhagen

Global Health > Studies > Summer courses > Sri Lanka Field Course

Field course in Sri Lanka on Cross-disciplinary Health Research

Understanding health research settings, methods, possibilities and challenges in a middle-income setting

The University of Copenhagen’s School of Global Health offers a three-week field course in global health and research. This summer course is taught in English and aimed at postgraduate/master students with an interest in broadening their knowledge on health research through fieldwork experiences and working in cross-disciplinary groups.

Faculty at the University of Copenhagen’s School of Global Health has had academic collaborations with several educational institutions in Sri Lanka since 1994.


This course is aimed at postgraduate/master level students with interest in all aspects of health, including academic background (e.g. participants who have experience with veterinary medicine, environmental health/geography, humanistic aspects of health, epidemiology, medicine, anthropology, public health, and any other).

If you have not completed your bachelor degree on date of application please upload relevant documentation on how far you have reached in your studies at this point (credit wise etc.) as well as an account (signed by a Study Secretary or other authority) of how far it is anticipated you will have reached by summer, proving this is equivalent to a bachelor's degree.


This field course aims at providing the students with an understanding of health research settings, methods, possibilities and challenges in a middle-income setting – as Sri Lanka. In particular, the student will be introduced to and gain good understanding of significant challenges in contextual urban, rural, private and government health systems. Furthermore, the student will gain a basic understanding of the broad variety of health research methods and designs, as applied by Sri Lankan and international research actors such as clinical and epidemiological research, bio-sampling, GIS-mapping, community surveys and qualitative/humanistic health research.


The course is an inter-disciplinary course applying several different learning activities including lectures, field visits, independent group work, report writing, group presentations and self-reflection. The program is structured as follows.

1 month before course start supervisors will contact the groups with suggestions for the group research. The group will be asked to do a mini-review of literature, decide on a focus within the broader topic and develop objectives and methods for the group work. This has to be sent to Sri Lankan supervisors 2 weeks prior to course start. On course start, the groups and supervisors will decide on the final plan (minor field visits might have to be agree and planned prior to course start).

For three weeks the course participants will be hosted by and receive input from several experienced Sri Lankan research institutions. Professor Flemming Konradsen, Ph.D student Jane Brandt Sørensen and Course Coordinator Emil Mølgaard Morell from the University of Copenhagen will be present in Sri Lanka during the course programme. Associate Professor and Course Director Thilde Rheinländer are involved in the field course programme and general supervision - she will not be present in Sri Lanka.

The course ends with a research symposium with group presentations to be attended by interested supervisors, student assistants and faculty staff.

The course includes:

  • Introduction to the health system and public health institutions in Sri Lanka (lectures and field visits)​
  • Introduction to selected current health challenges and selected health topics (lectures and field visits and group work)
  • Introduction to selected health research trends in Sri Lanka (lectures and discussions)
  • Introduction to the Ayurvedic health system (traditional health system)

There is emphasis on cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural group work throughout the course. Students will be divided into groups of 5-7 members. Each group focus on one specific health topic. Students will pursue insights into this area of health research through lectures, field visits, group work, verbal presentations, debates with staff, group discussions, report writing, self- and group-reflection.

The group work is central to this course. Students independently pursue insights, through field visits into a specified health topic while guided by a Sri Lankan faculty member or health expert, and also in coorporation with Sri Lankan post graduate students as co-researchers and interpreters.

Topics which can be explored during group work includes (but are not limited to): 

  • Mental health (may include topics of self-harm and suicide prevention, child and youth mental health, maternal suicide prevention)
  • Environmental health including vector-borne diseases, disease control and interventions (may include dengue and leptospirosis)
  • Maternal/reproductive and child health
  • Alternative medical systems/local healing practices (e.g. Ayurvedic medicine and Buddhism)

(Topic areas are subject to change depending on availability of resource persons)

Selection criteria

After the application deadline the admissions committee will go through all the applications and select the course participants, based on an assessment of who will profit the most from the course. Priority will be given to applicants with experience from working in the field, contact to or contract with a relevant institution/organisation, etc.

We strongly encourage all applicants to put energy and care into the statement of motivation-section of the online application, as this is the main selection criteria.

Credits and exam

Credits 7.5 ECTS

Oral group examination

Written assignment

Marking scale: pass/fail

Application procedure

The online application form will be available on this web page 22 January 2018. The application deadline is 1 April 2018.

The application must contain a statement of motivation, which should include description of:

  1. your reasons for applying to the summer course
  2. how this course might benefit you in your future work or studies
  3. your English language skills
  4. any former experience with A) cross-disciplinary research, B) research - both nationally and internationally and/or C) your topic priorities (e.g. one and two).

Applicants will be informed if they have been admitted no later than 1 May 2018.

Tuition fee

Participants exempted from payment:

Students from Danish universities will not be charged any tuition fee provided that the course is accepted as part of their MSc programme. Danish students must provide a pre-approval of credit transfer upon application.

Students enrolled in certain programmes at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, UCPH, do not need a pre-approval of credit transfer. Please study the overview of study programmes, where preapproval of summer course is not required.

Exchange students from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences', UCPH, partner universities can participate in this course free of charge, if they have been nominated by their home university. The course must be an integrated part of their study programme.

Fee paying participants:

All other participants (students, working professionals, etc.) must pay tuition fee according to the information below.

EU/EEA citizens 6,000 DKK
Non-EU/EEA citizens 9,375 DKK

The fee covers participation in the course. Full payment of course fees must be transferred in May 2018. Payment details will be forwarded upon acceptance. 

Budget and practicalities for all participants:

Students must cover costs concerning travel, travel insurance (mandatory for the entire course period), visa, vaccinations, food, and accommodation (organized by the course administration at a low rate in mid-range hotels, shared rooms). Students are required to ensure proper vaccinations and visa before travelling. Any student must cover own expenses listed above including daily expenses. If these expenses are maintained at a minimum level, course expenses can be expected to amount to 9.000 DKK.

Refund policy

You can only get a refund of your tuition fee, if you cancel at least two month prior to the beginning of the course including e-learning modules.

Contact information

Course Director Thilde Rheinländer

Course Coordinator Emil Mølgaard Morell


Additional information

For more details about the course please read the course description in UCPH's course database.

For more information about Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen

The information may be subject to change.