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MARE520 Rehabilitation: Theoretical Foundation

Course description for academic year 2024/2025

Contents and structure

This course reviews the unmet rehabilitation needs around the world both in low-income, middle-income and high-income countries. This will be explored using relevant WHO policy documents. This implies also comparison of various rehabilitation systems and services globally. The Package of interventions for rehabilitation (WHO) outlines the most essential interventions for rehabilitation. The concepts and application of rehabilitation from several theoretical perspectives will be scrutinised, for instance the various definitions of rehabilitation and the ways it has been described, understood and practiced. The rehabilitation trajectory on macro-level will be presented, so will also the stages of the rehabilitation process. The concepts of disability and normality and various models of disability will be highlighted and critically appraised. So will also the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). In this course there will be focus on measurement in rehabilitation. The advantages and challenges of interprofessional collaboration in rehabilitation will be highlighted. Reablement (or restorative care) is a relatively new form of rehabilitation, which will be explored. Finally, this course offers some reasons why we need to rethink rehabilitation`s assumptions and practices and outlines some ideas of how rehabilitation practices might be made more useful and relevant.

Learning Outcome

A student who has completed the course will achieve the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills, and general competence:

Knowledge: The student...

  • can strategically analyse different and emerging concepts of rehabilitation
  • has advanced knowledge about the rehabilitation trajectory on macro-level
  • can analyse the International classification of function, disability, and health (ICF).
  • has advanced knowledge of the concepts of normality and disability.
  • has a thorough insight into the medical, social, and biopsychosocial disability models.
  • has advanced knowledge about reablement and WHO`s package of interventions for rehabilitation.
  • has advanced knowledge of theories, models, and types of outcomes measures in rehabilitation.

Skills: The student...

  • can analyse critically how biomedical, psychological, and sociological perspectives reflect rehabilitation within the global context.
  • can analyse, critically reflect on and apply the rehabilitation process (problem identification, needs assessment, goal setting, implementation, evaluation).
  • can acknowledge opportunities and challenges within the various types of interprofessional teamwork.
  • can conduct cross- and within-country analysis of rehabilitation services models.
  • can create and defend an argument in written format using published literature

General competence: The student...

  • can communicate theoretical foundation, policy, and legal frameworks related to rehabilitation to various audiences.
  • can critically communicate common assumptions within rehabilitation.
  • can meaningfully and thoughtfully contribute to discussions of existing theories and practice, and identify knowledge gaps and the need for new knowledge regarding rehabilitation.
  • can communicate the global needs for rehabilitation.

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge


Teaching methods


  • Synchronous sessions
  • Asynchronous learning activities
  • Individual and teamwork
  • Supervision and feedback
  • Assigned reading

Compulsory learning activities

The course requirements must be approved in order to take the exam.

  1. Group-based assignment with class presentation
  2. Initiate one posting to all online discussions, and reply to one fellow student's postings in online discussions
  3. Write an initial plan for the term paper (500-1000 words)

Approved course requirements are valid for four subsequent semesters.


A written, individual term paper, 4000 words +/- 10%

Grading scale: The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade on the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

New exam: When the grade F (not passed) is given, the students can improve their term paper and hand it in for the new exam. Students who passed and would like to improve their mark are allowed to submit once more, but they must write a completely new exam paper on the resit exam.

Examination support material

No limitations

More about examination support material