Here below you can find all master courses the University Centre offers. All courses are taught in 1-3 week modules running from August through June. See how the courses are organised in the teaching schedule for both programs. Usually 2-3 courses are taught at the same time, but students may only enroll in one course at a time. 

The master courses are available to you whether you plan to pursue a degree or just take a course or courses. Please review the options for guest studies to determine how you can apply. 

For further information, contact the Administrative Director of Education and Teaching.

Welfare and Development: Concepts and Indicators

  • Autumn 2023
  • Next course: 04. December - 15. December 2023
  • CMM/CRD Elective Course | 4 ECTS
  • Course:CRD15
  • Instructor: Dr. Gylfi Ólafsson

About the course

What is a good place to live? This question doesn't have a straight answer. And even if you try to measure it numerically—say using GDP, education level, even happiness—every indicator will only answer a small part of the question.

This course will introduce a range of commonly available socioeconomic indicators. Students will learn about their pros and cons, where these can be found, learn how to visualize indicators on maps and answer for themselves what constitutes a good place to live and how they would measure it.


Dr. Gylfi Ólafsson:

Gylfi Ólafsson was appointed the CEO of Westfjords Healthcare Institute (Heilbrigðisstofnun Vestfjarða) in 2018. The organization encompasses the hospitals and primary care facilities in Ísafjörður and Patreksfjörður, as well as nursing homes and other healthcare in the region. Gylfi has a PhD from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm with research in low back pain and holds a master’s degree in economics from Stockholm university and B.Ed. degree from Akureyri university.

He has among other things served as assistant to the minister of finance and economic affairs, taught health economics as University of Iceland, been a researcher and consultant in health economics, and run a failed start-up in insect rearing.

I have lived in Ísafjörður most of my life. I love the community in UW and more broadly in the building where the UW is. Being a part of that, and talking about my passion (numbers and research) is a fantastic part of living here.

Gylfi Ólafsson on ResearchGate

Learning outcome

What is a good place to live? This course attempts to answer this question. The course critically engages a range of commonly available socioeconomic indicators. Students will learn about key concepts in welfare economics, how to visualize indicators on maps and how to measure quality of life.

On completion of the course, a student:

  • has demonstrated a systematic understanding of commonly available socioeconomic indicators.
  • has the ability to critically refer to some everyday categorisations in the field of community development.
  • can define and critically reflect on socio-economic indicators
  • can participate in and lead group discussions about indicators and community development.
  • can explain key concepts of welfare economics