autumn 2019
HEL-8031 Systematic Reviews - 2 ECTS

Last changed 13.03.2020

Application deadline

Registration deadline for PhD students and students at the Student Research Program at Uit - The Arctic University of Norway: June 15th

Application deadline for external applicants: June 1st. Application code in SøknadsWeb is 9303.

Type of course

PhD course. This course is available for both program students and course students.

The course is organised by the Clinical Research Department at the University Hospital of Northern Norway (UNN) in Tromsø and the Department of Clinical Medicine at the Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Admission requirements

PhD students or holders of a Norwegian master´s degree of five years or 3+ 2 years (or equivalent) may be admitted. PhD students must upload a document from their university stating that they are registered PhD students. This group of applicants does not have to prove English proficiency and are exempt from semester fee.

Holders of a Master´s degree must upload a Master´s Diploma with Diploma Supplement / English translation of the diploma. Applicants from listed countries must document proficiency in English. To find out if this applies to you see the following list:

Proficiency in English must be documented - list of countries

For more information on accepted English proficiency tests and scores, as well as exemptions from the English proficiency tests, please see the following document: Proficiency in English - PhD level studies

This course has a maximum capacity of 15 students.

If there are more applicants than available spaces in the course, students will be given priority from category 1 to 4:

  • PhD students, research fellows and students participating in the Medical Student Research Programme at UiT The Arctic University of Norway
  • Research fellows at the University hospital, UNN· 
  • Participants in the Associate Professor Programme.        
  • PhD students and students at a Medical Student Research Programme at other universities
  • Applicants who have minimum a master's degree or equivalent, but have not been admitted to a PhD programme.



For more information regarding PhD courses at the Faculty of Health Sciences go to:

Course content

The course will provide learning and practical experience for many aspects of systematic reviewing, including question formulation, setting the eligibility criteria, searching and critical appraisal of studies, data extraction, analysis, and reporting. Examples used to illustrate the key steps will be relevant to the participants, who should leave the course with much greater ability to use systematic reviews for decision-making and more confidence in their ability to conduct a systematic review.

Recommended prerequisites

HEL-8018 Introduction to Randomised Control Trials (RCT)

Objectives of the course


Students will:

  • have the knowledge they need to search widely for studies for a systematic review, including the choice of sources to search and the words or phrases to use in the search.
  • know how to assess the quality of potentially eligible studies and be able to identify suitable tools to use to assess quality and risk of bias.
  • understand the basic principles of the meta-analyses techniques used for systematic reviews (including heterogeneity).



Students will be able to:

  • state the research question for a systematic review, to cover key aspects of, for example, the population, interventions or exposures and outcome measures.
  • choose the inclusion and exclusion criteria for a systematic review, including the types of participant, types of intervention or exposure (where appropriate) and types of outcome measure.
  • set the eligibility criteria.
  • plan the data extraction for a systematic review, and to design a simple data extraction form.



Students will be able to:

  • understand the practical aspects of doing a systematic review.
  • use this knowledge to appraise systematic reviews.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Interactive lectures and group work.


Participation requirements: Participation in all lectures and group work.

Exam and evaluation: Home assignment/multiple choice based on 1-2 systematic review papers. The exam will be graded as passed or not passed.

The assignments may be completed in English.

A re-sit exam will be arranged for this course.

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 2
  • Course code: HEL-8031