Regulation nr. 977-2018 | University of Iceland Skip to main content

Regulation nr. 977-2018

Regulation on the University of Iceland Master's and doctoral programmes in public health sciences, no. 977/2018.

Authorised translation

CHAPTER I.  General provisions.

Article 1.  Scope.

This Regulation applies to the Master's and doctoral programmes in public health sciences at the University of Iceland. In accordance with this Regulation, it is permissible to offer Master's or doctoral studies in biostatistics, epidemiology and, dependent on circumstances, other subjects related to public health sciences and which could be included in public health sciences. It is also permissible to offer postgraduate diploma programmes at the Master's level in these three subjects. These programmes are interdisciplinary and organised jointly by the Centre of Public Health Sciences, the School of Social Sciences, the School of Health Sciences, individual faculties within these schools and, as appropriate, faculties within other schools which may be involved with the programmes. The Regulation on these programmes constitutes special regulation in relation to the provisions of Article 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009, and the regulations of individual schools and faculties on postgraduate study. However, the central Regulation for the University of Iceland and the regulations of schools and faculties shall apply, where appropriate, where this Regulation does not provide for individual cases, concerning for example length of study, number of credits, the structure of studies, tutors, supervisors or opponents. The provisions of faculty regulations and the course catalogue regarding funding, available teaching staff and other such aspects shall apply to all registered students.

The University of Iceland Graduate School shall oversee and follow up established standards and requirements for the quality of postgraduate studies at the University of Iceland, cf. Article 66 of Regulation no. 569/2009. Any information requested by the Graduate School must be supplied.

Article 2.  Objective.

The Master's and doctoral programmes in public health sciences, including biostatistics, epidemiology and other subjects that may be defined as public health sciences, are interdisciplinary programmes which aim to provide academic training in various fields relating to public health, in a broad sense of the term. These programmes must meet society's needs concerning research, teaching, services and policy-making with regard to public health, as well as expanding knowledge in the field.

Article 3.  About the programmes.

These programmes are organised by the Centre of Public Health Sciences at the School of Health Sciences, in collaboration with and on behalf of those schools and faculties involved. Schools and faculties involved with the programmes shall adhere to this Regulation as well as to an agreement on the programmes, cf. paragraph 2.

On the initiative of the deans of the School of Social Sciences and the School of Health Sciences, a general agreement shall be made between the schools on the implementation and development of the programmes. This agreement shall include more detailed provisions for the involvement of faculties, the organisation of programmes, the structure of boards of study for individual subjects, administration, funding and other aspects pertaining to academic and financial organisation.

University faculties commit to offering the courses specified in the description of a programme's specialisation. The selection of courses on offer shall be further specified in a contract on the specialisation between the Centre of Public Health Sciences and the faculty. The Centre of Public Health Sciences at the School of Health Sciences shall be responsible for the administration of the programmes, such as communication of information to students, announcements, preparation of the course catalogue and other such matters. An agreement between schools shall further stipulate the roles of the School of Health Sciences and the Centre of Public Health Sciences.

The board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences shall review and process applications on behalf of those schools and faculties involved with the programmes, cf. Article 4. A student shall be enrolled in an interdisciplinary study programme in public health sciences, biostatistics or epidemiology and then choose a specialisation as appropriate. The faculty from which a student graduates (home faculty) is determined by where the student's final thesis and the majority of the programme are completed.

Article 4.  Board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences, boards of study and advisory groups.

The rector shall appoint the board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences for a three-year term; the maximum term of appointment for a board member shall generally be six years. The board shall comprise six members: one nominated by each school and a member nominated by the rector – this last member shall chair the board. Alternates shall be nominated for each member. Both women and men shall sit on the board, and care shall be taken to ensure that representation of either sex is not lower than 40%, cf. Article 15 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men no. 10/2008. The director of the Centre and a project manager shall attend board meetings, as well as other teaching staff as deemed necessary by the board.

The board is academically responsible for study programmes, under the authority of schools and faculties, and the chair shall have an advisory role regarding all policy decisions for the Centre. The board shall handle all central matters concerning the programmes, as well as organising and overseeing them. The board shall ensure the quality of the programmes, for example by reviewing and accepting applications and approving study plans and changes made to them. The board shall send accepted applications, along with research plans, to faculty research-based study committees, or whatever is stipulated by the regulations of the faculty in question. External examiners shall be appointed in accordance with the regulations of the supervisor's home faculty. The board shall take the initiative in preparing cooperative agreements between faculties and with universities outside Iceland for doctoral studies, in collaboration with the Graduate School.

The board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences shall appoint a three-member board of study for each subject within the Centre's purview, having received recommendations from leading teaching staff in the subject and consulted with the relevant school dean. The board of study shall generally be composed of representatives of the faculties involved with the subject. Boards are appointed for a two-year term and the maximum term of appointment for a board member shall generally be four years.

The director and project manager of the Centre shall attend board meetings as necessary and boards of study shall keep the director informed of their activities.

Board meetings for the Centre of Public Health Sciences shall be held at least once a semester, but additional board meetings must be called if two or more board members so request. In the case of a tie vote on the board, the chair shall cast the deciding vote. The board is authorised to appoint an advisory group to assist it, in accordance with nominations from faculties and collaborating partners.

Article 5.  Director.

The rector shall appoint the director of the Centre of Public Health Sciences and an alternate from among teaching staff in any of the three subjects within the Centre's purview, having received a nomination from the board of the Centre. The director, who shall have the minimum rank of senior lecturer / associate professor, is appointed for a two-year term. The director shall manage study programmes in consultation with the board of the Centre and boards of study, supervise operations, and monitor teaching methods, other aspects of the programmes and collaboration between individual faculties. The administrative role of the director with regard to the interdisciplinary programmes is therefore comparable to the role of faculty head. The director is the academic head of the programmes. The director shall attend faculty meetings at the faculty at which he or she is employed and has the right to observe meetings of the School of Health Sciences board. The head of the faculty at which the director is employed is the director's superior. The role, compensation, responsibilities, and duties of the director shall be outlined in greater detail in a formal statement of duties provided by the rector.

Article 6.  Academic staff on the programmes.

Academic staff on the programmes are hired to a specific faculty at the University of Iceland with employment duties in one or more of the subjects within the purview of the Centre of Public Health Sciences. Academic staff on the programmes shall attend regular teaching staff meetings at the Centre for the relevant subject. They shall be based at the faculty at which they are employed, their home faculty, and shall attend faculty meetings with the right to vote. Further provisions on the rights and duties of staff shall be outlined in a contract between the home faculty and the Centre, confirmed by the dean of the relevant school. This contract shall state where the member of teaching staff can access services regarding research, assistant teachers and so forth. The teaching duties of academic staff members on the programmes are at the Centre of Public Health Sciences and at their home faculty, in accordance with a ratio stated in their employment contract. Other duties shall be equivalent to other staff at their home faculty and they shall enjoy the same rights as other staff in this regard.

CHAPTER II.  Provisions on the Master's programmes in public health sciences and the postgraduate diploma programme.

Article 7.  Application deadline.

The application deadline for the Master's programmes, for students wishing to enrol in the autumn semester, is 15 April for domestic students and 1 February for international students. If the board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences permits enrolment in the spring semester, the application deadline for this shall be 15 October. The board may grant exemptions from these deadlines in exceptional circumstances.

Article 8.  Processing of applications.

Applications marked 'Public Health Sciences' must be submitted to the University of Iceland Student Registration using a special electronic form available on the University website. Once applications have been recorded by the Student Registration, the Centre of Public Health Sciences shall be responsible for further processing. The board of study for the subject in question shall discuss and process applications for the board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences, in consideration of their quality and admission requirements. Applications must be accompanied by study plans, including details of the intended specialisation and which elective courses the prospective student plans to take. The application process for postgraduate diplomas and Master's programmes in public health sciences is as follows:

  1. A prospective student applies using an electronic form on the University website. The Centre of Public Health Sciences office processes the application and sends it to the relevant board of study, cf. Article 4.
  2. Indication must be given of whether the applicant intends to apply for funding in connection with the programme (e.g. from the Icelandic Research Fund, companies or institutes). If a draft funding application is available, this shall be enclosed. For research projects to be completed outside the faculties of the University of Iceland, an overview from the company or institute at which the project is to be completed shall accompany the application. This overview must confirm the company or institute's involvement in the project.
  3. Applications shall generally have been processed and answered in writing within six weeks following the application deadline. An application shall be rejected if it fails to meet quality requirements.
  4. Students who are accepted onto a Master's programme or postgraduate diploma programme by the board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences and the relevant faculty/school must contact Student Registration to complete enrolment and payment of the registration fee for the upcoming academic year. The central Regulation for the University of Iceland shall apply concerning enrolment and payment of the registration fee.

Article 9.  Admission requirements.

To enrol in a Master's programme, an applicant must have completed a BS or BA degree, or another university degree deemed equivalent. The board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences shall evaluate qualifications from universities other than the University of Iceland. The board may establish special criteria for student admission, on the condition that these conform with the regulations of the University of Iceland.

Article 10.  Number of credits and length of study.

A Master's programme in public health sciences or included subjects, cf. Article 1, is 120 ECTS. The length of the programme should be two years (four semesters). The maximum length of time permitted for completing a Master's degree is six semesters from the time of enrolment. The board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences is authorised, having consulted the relevant faculty, to grant an exemption from this time limit in exceptional circumstances. Upon graduation, students must demonstrate that they have been registered and paid the registration fee for the whole of their period of study, or in accordance with any further regulation which the University may set.

A postgraduate diploma is 30 ECTS following a BS or BA degree or another university degree deemed equivalent and should be completed in two semesters through part-time study. The maximum length of time permitted for completing a postgraduate diploma is three semesters from the time of enrolment. The board is authorised, having consulted the relevant faculty, to grant an exemption from this time limit in exceptional circumstances. At the end of the programme, students must demonstrate that they have been registered and paid the registration fee for the whole of their period of study, or in accordance with any further regulation which the University may set.

Article 11.  Programmes, organisation of study and student progression.

Programmes shall involve training in scientific methods, as well as participation in courses at the postgraduate level. The main focus of a Master's programme is a research or development project within the field of public health sciences, and a thesis based on this project. The size of the project shall be determined in a research plan produced in the second semester of the programme; it may be a minimum of 30 or a maximum of 60 ECTS. Other credits shall be earned through participation in courses, seminars or reading courses.

All Master's students must have completed certain mandatory courses, i.e. a core curriculum, in order to graduate with an MPH in Public Health Sciences, an MS in Epidemiology or an MS in Biostatistics from the University of Iceland. Courses making up the core curriculum are specified in the course catalogue. The board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences shall establish rules for whether and how previous studies may replace mandatory courses. By the end of the first semester, the student shall have chosen a supervisor for the research project. A member of teaching staff from the Centre of Public Health Sciences shall assist in this choice. By the end of the second semester, a description of the research project and plan for its implementation must also be available. The board of the Centre shall discuss the description and plan, having received a recommendation from the board of study for the subject in question, before sending them to the standing committee at the relevant school/faculty for confirmation.

Article 12.  Undergraduate courses as part of postgraduate study.

Courses taken as part of postgraduate studies shall, as a general rule, be specifically designated as postgraduate courses at the University of Iceland, or other recognised institutions. Master's students may take undergraduate courses as part of their postgraduate studies, on the condition that these courses provide a necessary foundation for the interdisciplinary programme in the estimation of the board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences. Undergraduate courses should not make up more than 12 ECTS out of 120. Students should pass these courses with a minimum grade of 6.0.

Article 13.  Tutors and supervisors.

From the beginning of the programme, each Master's student shall be assigned a tutor from among the University of Iceland's regular academic staff. Students may consult their tutors on matters concerning the organisation of the programme, choice of courses, supervisors (if applicable), or anything else connected to their studies. The tutor, together with the student, shall submit a plan for the research project to be approved by the board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences. The tutor and the supervisor are generally the same person. Students may have external supervisors if these individuals meet the requirements stipulated in this Regulation. If the tutor and supervisor are not the same person, the tutor shall oversee the project and is responsible for ensuring that it conforms with the requirements of the faculty in question, whilst the supervisor shall provide the student with guidance on the research project.

Article 14.  Requirements of tutors and supervisors.

A tutor must be a full-time member of academic staff at the University of Iceland, generally based in that faculty at which the majority of the programme will take place, and from which the student will graduate on completing the programme. Supervisors not fitting this description must generally have completed a doctorate in the relevant academic field. Care must be taken to ensure that students' projects fall under the specialisations of their supervisors.

Article 15.  Master's degree committees.

Master's degree committees shall be made up of three expert members, including the supervisor and the tutor. If the main emphasis of a Master’s programme is on course work, with a research project of 30 ECTS, it is not necessary to appoint a committee for each student. In such a case, the tutor shall ensure that student progression conforms with the study plan and shall at the same time be responsible for the academic quality of the programme. Boards of study shall discuss nominations to a Master's degree committee before these are sent on to the standing committee of the relevant school/faculty for confirmation. The role of the Master's degree committee is to ensure the academic quality of the research work in accordance with relevant regulation, and also that the student's progression is in line with the study plan. A Master's degree committee shall meet at least twice with the student during the period of study, and the supervisor shall submit a progress report to the Centre of Public Health Sciences office at the end of the third and fourth semesters. The board may deviate from the provisions of this Article in exceptional circumstances.

Article 16.  External examiners.

The school dean shall appoint an external examiner, having received a recommendation from the school/faculty in question or in accordance with the rules of the faculty from which the student will graduate. An external examiner and the Master's degree committee shall examine a Master's student and assess the final project. The external examiner must not be connected to the student's research project.

Article 17.  Assessment and Master's examinations.

When a thesis is submitted, a certified summary of the student’s academic record shall also be submitted for assessment. The provisions of the Regulation for the University of Iceland shall apply to grading. For a 60-credit final project, a student shall deliver a lecture on the project if so required by faculty regulations and then undergo examination. An external examiner, together with the Master's degree committee, shall assess the student's performance and determine whether the student has passed the examination. For a 30-credit final project, an external examiner shall be appointed to assess the student's performance and determine whether the student has passed the examination.

Article 18.  Submission and format of Master's theses.

The Master's thesis shall be submitted to the Master's degree committee and the external examiner at least three weeks before the scheduled examination date. Additionally, four copies shall be submitted to the Centre of Public Health Sciences office. One of these copies shall be sent to the supervisor's faculty. Students are responsible for submitting an electronic copy to the Skemman database, managed by the National and University Library. With regards to the format of final projects and handling of sources, students must comply with the regulations of the faculty from which they will graduate, i.e. their supervisor's home faculty. Clear indication must be given that the project has been completed as part of a public health sciences programme and of which faculty the student will graduate from. The foreword must specify collaborating partners and any funds which have supported the project, if applicable. The thesis must be written in Icelandic or English, and shall include abstracts in both languages. Ideally, 60-credit theses shall have been submitted for publication in a recognised academic journal.

Article 19.  Connections with other universities.

Part of a Master's programme may be completed at another university or recognised research or scientific institute.

Article 20.  Academic title.

A Master's degree awarded in accordance with this Regulation confers the right to the academic title Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science in Epidemiology (MS) or Master of Science in Biostatistics (MS).

CHAPTER III.  Provisions on the doctoral programme in public health sciences.

Article 21.  About the doctoral programme in public health sciences.

The objective of the doctoral programme in public health sciences and included subjects is to provide doctoral students with scientific training and to prepare them for scientific work, such as university teaching or specialist positions at scientific research institutes.

The faculty from which the doctoral student will graduate and the board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences are academically responsible for the doctoral programme. A doctoral student must complete certain courses in the field of public health sciences, as determined by the relevant board of study in each case. The board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences and the relevant board of study must ascertain that the necessary facilities and specialist knowledge are available, in accordance with current criteria and requirements for the quality of doctoral studies at the University of Iceland. The Graduate School must be consulted regarding academic requirements, the implementation of the programme and other matters, cf. Article 66 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009.

The standing committee of the relevant school/faculty shall appoint three to five specialists to a doctoral committee for each doctoral candidate, in accordance with nominations from the faculty from which the student will graduate. At least one of these specialists must work outside the faculty in question. Boards of study shall discuss nominations to a doctoral committee before these are sent on to the standing committee of the relevant school/faculty for confirmation. The role of a doctoral committee is similar to the role of a Master’s degree committee. It shall summon the doctoral candidate to meet as necessary during the course of study and shall examine the candidate’s general academic knowledge and research methodology in the field concerned. Such an examination shall take place approximately midway through the course of study. Before the doctoral defence can be held, the doctoral committee, in collaboration with the doctoral studies committee at the faculty/school in question, must deliver a reasoned verdict to the faculty, stating whether the doctoral candidate should be given the opportunity to submit the thesis for defence. The regulations of the relevant faculty/school regarding doctoral studies shall apply in situations not provided for in this Regulation.

Article 22.  Application deadline.

Applications for doctoral study may be submitted at any time.

Article 23.  Admission requirements.

A student who has completed an MPH in Public Health Sciences or an MS in Epidemiology or Biostatistics at the University of Iceland with a first class grade, or an equivalent qualification from another university, may apply to enrol in the doctoral programme in public health sciences. If the preparation of a prospective doctoral student is not equivalent to the preparation afforded by a Master's degree in the field, requirements shall be made for further study as necessary. The prospective doctoral student shall generally meet these requirements by taking courses in the appropriate subjects. The board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences, having consulted with the doctoral studies committee at the relevant faculty, shall assess whether a doctoral candidate has met these requirements. Students wishing to enrol in a doctoral programme directly after completing a Master's degree may apply before they graduate, if the faculty in question can confirm that they are likely to complete their degree with a satisfactory grade before the doctoral programme begins. Nobody may commence doctoral studies before fully meeting the admission requirements.

Article 24.  Processing of applications.

The board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences shall discuss applications for doctoral studies, having received a recommendation from the relevant board of study, before sending them to the standing committee at the relevant school/faculty for confirmation. If the board of the Centre of Public Health Sciences believes that an applicant is competent to pursue doctoral studies, the board shall take the initiative in making an individual contract on the implementation of the programme, with the involvement of the faculties concerned and, as appropriate, other universities. This contract must include provisions on the content and mode of study, the implementation of the research project and funding. Furthermore, it shall address the appointment of a supervisor and other matters in accordance with Articles 66 and 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009.

Article 25.  Submission and format of doctoral theses.

The submission deadline for the final project, the number of copies, resulting costs and submission to the National and University Library shall be provided for in the individual faculty regulations on doctoral studies. Clear indication must be given that the final project was completed at the University of Iceland; the supervisors, school, faculty and, if applicable, research institute concerned shall also be named. The foreword must specify collaborating partners and any funds which have supported the project, if applicable. A thesis may be in English, and a faculty may permit a candidate to speak English during a doctoral defence. Every doctoral thesis must be accompanied by an abstract in Icelandic and English.

Article 26.  Academic title.

A doctoral degree awarded in accordance with this Regulation confers the right to the academic title Doctor of Philosophy, philosophiae doctor, (Ph.D) in Public Health Sciences, Biostatistics or Epidemiology.

CHAPTER IV.  Other provisions.

Article 27.  Entry into force etc.

This Regulation is established by the University Council in accordance with the authority of paragraph 3, Article 18 of the Act on Public Higher Education Institutions no. 85/2008. This Regulation has been approved by the relevant faculties and schools and by the Graduate School, cf. Articles 66 and 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009. This Regulation enters into force immediately. At the same time, the Regulation on the University of Iceland Master's and doctoral programmes in public health sciences no. 213/2011 is repealed. This Regulation shall be published in Section B of the Law Gazette, in accordance with paragraph 1, Article 28 of Act no. 85/2008, as well as in the chapter on interdisciplinary study in the course catalogue, and on the home page of the Centre of Public Health Sciences on the University of Iceland website.

University of Iceland, 23 October 2018.

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