Course Syllabus


Human Health and Disease:

A Clinical Approach Section B

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Note: Class times and topics are not final until arrival day.

Semester & Location:

Fall 2023 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Western Denmark & Tallinn & Helsinki 

Major Disciplines:

Biology, Pre-Medicine / Health Science, Public Health


One year of biology and one year of chemistry at the university level

Faculty Members:

Nicklas Johansen 

Niels West

Current students please use the canvas inbox to contact

Course Assistant:

Sofie Manich

Current students please use the canvas inbox to contact

Program contact:

Science and Health Department

Program Director:

Susana Dietrich

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays, 15:30-17:30, Classroom Fi44-Kosmo 402

Sometimes classes will meet at 8:00 - 9:50 in Fi44-Kosmo 402

Classes taught by Niels will be at a different location listed below:

Rigshospitalet: Entrance 7, 4th floor - "konference 6, afsnit 7045"

See calendar for exact dates as lecture times vary.



Nicklas Järvelä Johansen

PhD & M.D. (University of Copenhagen, 2015) and clinical researcher at Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen. With DIS since 2018.



Niels Cramer West 
PhD & M.D. (University of Copenhagen, 2014) and researcher at Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Rigshospitalet and Gentofte Hospital. With DIS since 2017. 

Course Assistant

Sofie Manich.jpg


Sofie Manich

7th semester medical student at University of Copenhagen. Student assistant at Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation (CAMES). Clinical assistant at gynecologist Elisabeth Carlsen. Former nurse assistant at FADL. With DIS since 2023. 

Course Description

This course offers an introduction to the most important human diseases, their diagnoses and treatments, and to the clinical practice of physicians at Danish university hospitals. You are taught at Copenhagen university hospitals by practicing physicians.

Note: Please be aware that the course does not provide regular medical training corresponding to that of medical students and does not include shadowing of doctors or physical examination of patients.

Learning Objectives

The objective of the course is to introduce students to the most important human diseases, their diagnoses and treatments, and the clinical working methods of physicians as practiced at a large, Danish university hospital in Copenhagen. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Write a structured medical report
  2. Explain the rationale for the choice of tests and treatments in clinical practice
  3. Complete basic clinical skills (suture, IV insertion, catheter insertion) and give a basic explanation of the techniques
  4. Discuss knowledge of human anatomy and physiology
  5. Describe medical practice in a social, international, and scientific context



During the course the lecture slides will cover the course material. The following readings are supplementary.

Available on Canvas (under the readings module)

  • Clancy J, McVicar: Physiology and Anatomy for Nurses and Health Practitioners: A Homeostatic Approach (REFERRED TO AS PHYSIOLOGY AND ANATOMY)
  • Ford MJ, Hennessey, I, and Japp, A: Introduction to Clinical Examination, 8th Churchill Livingstone, London 2005: Ford. (REFERRED TO AS FORD)
  • O'Neill P, Dornan T, Denning DW: A Core Text with Self-Assessment. Churchill Livingstone, 3rd Edition, 2008: O'Neill. (REFFERED TO AS ONEILL)
  • Additional Readings as relevant will also be posted on Canvas


Field Studies

There will be two field studies in this course. Unlike field studies in your other classes, these will NOT take place on Wednesdays, but rather during your regularly scheduled class day during an extended time period into the evening. A light dinner will be provided on these evenings. 

One session called the Emergency Medical Simulation Session focuses on the assessments and algorithms used in basic and advanced life support. The other session called the Clinical Skills Session allows for students to rotate on stations to practice various hands on techniques. The stations for each semester may vary. Previous stations have included IV insertion, Catheter insertion and suturing. 

There will also be a culminating Field Study Assessment at the end of the course, tying together what you learned at both sessions and will represent a small portion of the overall grade for the course. This assessment session will take place at DIS. 


Course Roles


You have one faculty member who will be the main instructor of your course. 

Course Assistant (CA) 

The Course Assistant is the 'red thread' of your course. They will attend each class session, grade all of your assignments, and travel with you for the first time to each new hospital destination as well as on study tour. If you have questions or need clarification about a reading or lecture material do not hesitate to speak up and/or contact the course assistant.  This is very important as the professors for this course do not have scheduled office hours. However in the case that a meeting is needed, please feel free to set up appointments with the CA and request the presence of the faculty as necessary. 

Guest Lecturer

Some class sessions will be taught by a guest lecturer for specific topics coordinated with the course faculty. 


Core Course Week and Study Tours

Core Course week and study tours are an integral part of the core course as we take the classroom on the road and see how theory presented in the classroom is translated to practice in the field. You will travel with your classmates and DIS faculty/staff on two study tours; a short study tour during Core Course Week and a long study tour to relevant European destinations.

Expectations for study tours:

  • Participate in all activities
  • Engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives
  • Respect the destination, the speakers, DIS staff, and your fellow classmates
  • Represent yourself, your home university and DIS in a positive light
  • Make observations to supplement the Study Tour Group Project (see Evaluation)

Learning Objectives:

The objectives of both the short study tour and the long study tour are:

  • to describe medical practices in a social, international, and scientific context
  • to showcase examples of clinical practice and health care systems in different sectors and countries
  • to broaden the students’ view of the challenges that health care providers face
  • to show examples of research with clinical relevance
  • to explore and learn more about Denmark and other societies in Europe



Patient Cases

During the semester, you will be presented with 2 patient case in class to submit as an individual assignment. You are responsible for suggesting, based on the case you get, an appropriate course of questions to get a detailed medical history that will allow you to structure a relevant clinical exam and an appropriate course of paraclinical investigations leading to a preliminary diagnosis. More detailed information will be provided in class.

One of the cases may be a clinical patient case where you will be presented with a real patient in class to submit as an individual case history about the signs, symptoms, ailments, and treatments for the specific patients that are introduced to the students.  More details will be given on this activity as the time approaches.

Tests and Final Exam

There will be a total of two tests throughout the semester.  These tests will consist of a mix of short answer questions and essay questions.  Tests will generally last a maximum of 30 minutes depending on the amount of information covered.  The final exam will be cumulative and will last 2 hours. Tests may be in person, for example, at the beginning of a class session or held online through Canvas. All tests, including the final exam are closed book.

Study Tour Project

Before going on the Short Study Tour, you will be divided into groups and be given a specific subject to focus on in your study tour project. An observation booklet should be used on both trips for notes, these notes with which should be discussed within your group. A more in-depth description of the study tour project will be provided closer to the short study tour. All parts of the project must be completed in order to obtain full credit for the project.

Field Study Assessment

This is a hands-on task that you will be asked to do based on the learnings you got from both field studies. You will be presented with patients cases and situations that you will have to act accordingly.


Tests (2 at 15%) 30%
Patient Cases (2 at 10%)  20%
Field Study Assignment 5%
Study Tour Project 15%
Participation 10%
Final Exam 20%

Participation covers the following areas:

  1. Attendance
  2. Level of preparation and ability to answer questions asked in class
  3. Involvement in class and group discussions
  4. Level of individual research and contribution to discussions
  5. Contributions to visits and discussions on and related to the study tours

Policy on late assignments

Late assignments will be accepted, but your grade for the paper will be reduced by half a point for each day that it is late.



Computer is allowed for class purposes. It is not allowed for other activities such as social networks, sending personal e-mails etc. If you use a computer for other purposes, it will affect your participation grade. Cell phone usage is not allowed in class. It is distracting to both your classmates and your instructors, so please keep them turned off. Otherwise, it will affect your participation grade.


Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


***Note that some class days are marked as "No Class: Reserved for Makeup". This means that there are currently no classes scheduled on these days. However, as the doctors' schedules can change, it may become necessary to postpone a class and utilize one or more of these makeup days. You are still expected to attend class on any make-up days. For example, independent travel is not an excuse to miss any rescheduled classes.***

Course Summary:

Date Details Due