987 Ageing and Care of the Elderly



The revision of the curriculum for the specialisation programme, “Ageing and Care of the Elderly”, at Telemark University College aims at realising the national curriculum, “Ageing and the Elderly”, specialisation programme; approved by the Ministry of Education and Research, 1st December 2005 pursuant to the Norwegian Universities Act, 1st April, no. 15, §3-2nd subsection.

The curriculum is based on the following documents:

  • Norwegian Universities’ Act no. 15, 1st April 2005.
  • White Paper No. 27 (2000-2001) on reform of the quality of higher education: Do your Duty – Demand your Rights.
  • White Paper no. 25 “Coping, Opportunities and Meaning” (“Mestring, muligheter og mening”); Future health care challenges.
  • Telemark University College’s Examination Regulations adopted by the board 15th December 2005.
  • Regulations for Suitability Assessment for Telemark University College pursuant to the Norwegian Universities Act § 4; 30th February 2006.
  • Telemark University College’s Quality Assurance Handbook adopted by the board 28th August 2006.
  • Telemark University College’s Strategic Plan (2005-2009) approved by the board 24th February 2005.

The study programme curriculum is to be understood as the student’s contract with the teaching faculty, and includes a basic description of how this contract should be executed. In addition, the curriculum will serve as a working and guidance tool for distributing information about the department’s professional pedagogical activities.

No part of the programme allows for the individual assessment of external candidates.

The Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Health and Social Studies, is academically responsible for the study programme and cooperates with other bodies which have competence in geriatrics and education.


The advanced programme in Ageing and Care of the Elderly, Telemark University College hopes to help meet the special challenges which this field will present in the future. The diversity and number of senior citizens, and the variety of challenges which they present, will continue to increase. An important premise for a qualified and efficient response in caring for the elderly is competence development. This competence development can be achieved through advanced education in the field of ageing and geriatric care.

The first advanced programme in geriatric care in Telemark was established in 1986 at what was, at that time, the Telemark College of Nursing. In 1999 and 2007, interdisciplinary advanced training in ageing and geriatrics was resumed. This document is based on earlier curricula, and is a revised version of the curriculum, which was created in connection with the advanced programme in 2007. The advanced programme, Ageing and Care of the Elderly, focuses on frail and ailing elderly persons, and in particular, on improving health conditions within this group. The curriculum for the programme forms a basis for developing and strengthening competence and the common professional platform for those who work in the health and social services, with frail and ailing elderly in particular. This advanced study programme is a step towards the further development of the priority area, Care 2015, at the Faculty of Health and Social Studies at Telemark University College. This advanced programme is intended, in time, to comprise part of a Master’s degree programme within the same priority area.

This advanced programme is related to an increasing demand for nursing and care, particularly for those over 80 years of age. Population prognoses show that this group will grow rapidly in coming years, and will roughly double by 2040. Based on current statistics, it is estimated that ¾ of the people in this group will live alone, and that every 5th person will develop senile dementia. An overall increase of 40 to 60% in relevant illnesses is predicted for people over 65 years of age, many of which may result in functional disabilities and loss of living skills. This increase will particularly affect the most elderly (“The Status and Future for Norwegian Ageing Research”, Research Council of Norway, 2000).

In order for the health and social services to maintain high standards, they must consciously share a common system of values, and base their actions on the most recent research in gerontology and geriatrics. The International Association of Gerontology defines gerontology as the study of ageing and the elderly as an umbrella concept. Geriatrics, on the other hand, concerns illness among the elderly, and is considered a specialised field within gerontology (“The Status and Future for Norwegian Ageing Research”, Research Council of Norway, 2000). Likewise, interdisciplinary cooperation is necessary in order to plan and provide such services. With this in mind, the advanced programme builds on solidarity and humanistic values, scientific approaches from a number of professional fields and an interdisciplinary learning environment.

According to the national curriculum, the objective of the programme is to train reflective professional workers with high ethical standards. As a consequence, particular emphasis will be placed on viewing the subject material from a variety of professional and theoretical perspectives. After completing the programme, students will have developed skills and creativity, which they can use to organise and implement initiatives in cooperation with the elderly, their relatives, voluntary co-workers and other professional groups within care of the elderly. They will contribute new ideas on how treatment, rehabilitation and prevention may be integrated to promote the health and mastery of one’s environment.

The programme will stress understanding the complexity of ageing, including from a relational perspective. The goal is for the students to improve their ability to care and relate, and to help them become more aware of the ethical relationships involved.

The study programme is intended to create an environment for encouraging learning processes which challenge and further develop the student’s professional competence and ability to evaluate his/her own efforts, and those of others.

Target Group and Admission Requirements


The target group for this specialisation programme will be university college-trained health and social workers, primarily from the public sector, at national and county and municipal levels. The programme is particularly intended for persons who through their work or activities have responsibilities or tasks related to older persons, or who wish to seek such employment.


The admission requirements are a 3-year health or social studies education at university college or university level, and at least one year’s relevant job experience after completing this formal education. Applicants with a 2-year health and social studies university college education in keeping with earlier curricula may also be admitted. Applicants with other 3-year university college or university degrees may be admitted upon individual evaluation.

Aim of the Programme


The study programme trains future care workers who will be able to work across sectors, professions and levels of the health services. It focuses on user-interaction and development opportunities among the elderly. It is equivalent to a foundation study programme or one-year study programme (60 ECTS).

The study programme seeks to meet the demands for competence which society requires of those who work with the elderly on a local, regional or national level. Emphasis is placed on preparing the students to face the demographic changes and challenges which the country will meet in coming years.

Further Education opportunities

This advanced study programme, which is based on the national curriculum, may be integrated in various Master’s degree programmes upon request. Depending on the type of Master’s degree programme this involves, the study period may be reduced.

Curriculum and structure

Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V) S3(A) S4(V) S5(A) S6(V)
987HE1 Ageing and the Living Conditions of the
12.00 O 12          
987HE2 Illness, Functional Disability, and
Coping in the Elderly
18.00 O   18        
987HE3 Organisation and Exercise of Health and
Social Services
30.00 O       30    
Total: 12 18 0 30 0 0
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

The study programme comprises 60 ECTS, and is structured as a part-time study over a 2-year period. The programme is organised into three major course units and 7 modules, where modules 1, 2, 3 and 4 are taken during the first year, and modules 5,6 and 7 during the second year. The curriculum is based on the national curriculum’s major course units, while the national curriculum’s course units are integrated into the curriculum’s modules.

The specialisation theme related to major course unit 3 is within the area user-interaction and development opportunities among the elderly. The topic for course requirement 3 should preferably be based on concrete issues in the practice field.
The study programme has the following structure of major course units and modules:

1st YEAR

Course code: 987HE1
Major course unit 1: Ageing and the Living Conditions of the Elderly - 12 ECTS
Module 1: Ageing and the living conditions of the elderly - 7 ECTS

Module 2: Ethics and law in the care of the elderly - 5 ECTS

Course code: 987HE2
Major course unit: 2: Illness, Functional Disability, and Coping in the Elderly – 18 ECTS

Module 3: Illness and functional disability – 12 ECTS

Module 4: Meaning, coping and quality of life – 6 ECTS

2nd YEAR

Course code: 987HE3
Major course unit: Organisation and Exercise of Health and Social Services for the Elderly - 30 ECTS

Module 5: Organisation of health and social services - 10 ECTS

Module 6: Quality development 5 ECTS

Module 7: Practice of health and social services for the elderly - 15 ECTS

Teaching and Learning Methods

The study programme emphasises teaching and learning methods that actively engage the students and are managed by them. This will provide students with the opportunity to choose their area of specialisation. It is expected that students use their knowledge from their foundation degrees as well as their job experience. Student-active methods include, for instance, working in reflection groups. In addition to lectures, other teaching and learning methods will be used such as interdisciplinary groups; this will enable common problems and questions to be considered from the perspectives of the various professional groups.

Fixed learning-groups of between 4-7 members will be established at the start of the studies. An overall aim of the learning groups is that part-time students will be able to experience a learning-environment in which they are able to work together with other students on programme assignments, syllabus literature and other related material. Reflections on one’s own learning, analysis of concepts and approaches will constitute the most probable learning methods of the learning-groups. Students will be able to offer each other support and encouragement and develop group interaction skills.

The study programme uses ICT as a tool in connection with the teaching, supervision, information, student cooperation and submission of student work. Students are required to have access to a PC and Internet.

Each learning-group will be allocated a supervisor from the college. Internet via Fronter will be used to communicate with the students outside the workshop periods. In Fronter a “room” is established for the class and also rooms for each of the groups. The learning-groups work with programme assignments throughout the whole of the course of studies, and are required to submit both individual, and group responses to assignments. The groups will formulate clear contracts for their learning aims.


The Department of Health Studies has a comprehensive programme for international activities, especially with regard to exchange agreements which offers students the opportunity to take part of their studies abroad. Students who wish to complete part of their studies abroad must exhibit qualitatively good progression in their studies, as well as participate in obligatory courses in connection with internationalisation. Students who wish to take part of their studies abroad should contact the department’s international coordinator who, in cooperation with the subject teacher, will clarify the necessary formalities and opportunities.

Theory and Practical Training

During the course of the studies 11.5 one-week workshops of teaching will be organised. During the first year there will be 3.5 one-week workshops in the autumn semester and 3 one-week workshops in the spring semester. During the second year there will be 3 one-week workshops in the autumn semester, and 2 one-week workshops in the spring semester. In addition, 3 weeks will be used for completion of specialisation assignments. During the course of studies 10 days will also be set aside for learning-groups, and 5 days for observation practice, distributed over 2 years. The study programme’s teachers reserve the right to make changes to these plans.

Assessment Methods

The study programme’s methods of assessment are both process and product-oriented. ICT-based supervision and assessment will be given. The aim is that these goals should be reached to the greatest extent possible. Process-oriented supervision and assessment will be carried out consecutively. This teaching and learning method is partly connected to work in the learning-groups, and partly to the assessments which the students and teachers carry out after each module in relation to the teaching and supervision, and the programme requirements which have been met.

The assessment methods are in accordance with the national curriculum for Ageing and Care of the Elderly; specialisation education, The Norwegian Universities’ Act and Telemark University College’s Examination Regulations.

The assignments and programme requirements will contribute to subject specialisation and integration of various subject areas – theory and practice. Throughout the whole of the study programme students will have to meet with various programme requirements which must be completed in order to have the study programme approved. The individual programme requirements, however, will be allocated different weighting and types of assessment. With regard to assessment, the university college uses the following assessment criteria: pass/fail for the various programme requirements and the following graded scale for examinations.



An excellent performance, clearly outstanding. The candidate demonstrates excellent judgement and a high degree of independent thinking.


Very good

A very good performance, which is above average. Shows independent thinking.



An average performance, which is satisfactory in the most important areas.



Below-average performance, with significant shortcomings.



A performance that meets the minimum criteria, but no more.



A performance that does not meet the minimum academic criteria.

To pass the final examination, the student must attain no less than an E. The difference between pass and fail may be described as an absolute requirement. The criteria for a passing grade must reflect the competence level which corresponds to the academic level of the programme. The requirements for attaining a passing grade should not be made dependent on changes in the student’s capacity to complete the programme. The borderline between pass and fail may be set at a higher level than between E and F, where the grade pass/fail is used rather than the letter-grade system.

In order to achieve a passing grade the candidate should exhibit sufficient knowledge and also to some extent be able to apply that knowledge in a professional manner in specific user, client and patient contexts. The candidate should be able to give an account of the main professional ethical challenges and exhibit the relevant understanding for the subject and its corresponding area of responsibility.

In the case of a fail grade for a work assignment the student will be given two new opportunities within the course of the studies. Work assignments and the practical experience studies must receive passing grades before the student will be permitted to sit the examination.

More detailed criteria for the individual programme requirements may be found in an attachment to the curriculum which will be handed out at the beginning of the studies.

Student attendance and special rules regarding attendance

All the teaching sessions and organised supervision are regarded as necessary learning activities. The organised learning activities will mainly be supplementary, provide different perspectives, and discuss relevant topics and methods in relation to the syllabus literature. Scientific understanding and experienced-based learning will to a great extent characterise the teaching in relation to the specific topics. It is expected that the fact-based knowledge will to a great extent be acquired by the student independently, so that they will be prepared to participate in reflections and discussions during the course of studies.

Obligatory attendance will be required for the following parts of the study programme:

  • Study and supervision groups
  • Project examination

Within the above areas it is required that students have 75% attendance.

Control of attendance:

With regard to study/supervision groups and communication exercises, attendance will be registered by using standardised attendance lists.

Seminar-weeks, learning-group activities and group examinations must all be registered.

Consequences of insufficient attendance:

If the student does not fulfil the attendance requirement in the study group then the student in question must submit for approval a written assignment on a topic which has been discussed in the group after agreement with the teacher/supervisor.

If the student does not fulfil the attendance requirement in the project examination, then he/she will be assessed as “not approved”. The student must then write a new project within the deadline set by the supervisor.

The head of the department may under special circumstances dispense with the attendance regulations.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Sigrunn Ø. Gundersen <Sigrunn.O.GundersenSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 18/05/2009