EXPHIL03E - Examen philosophicum - English option

Course content

The subject consists of two main parts: Exphil I – History of philosophy and science, and Exphil II – Ethics.

Exphil I combines themes from the history of philosophy and the history of science in order to highlight important issues in the complex development of contemporary rational and scientific ideas. The students are introduced to some of the seminal thinkers from the important epochs which have shaped modern western civilisation.

Exphil II provides a systematic introduction to ethics. Meta-ethics, ethical theories and applied ethics in their comtemporary forms are presented.

In both these main parts the curriculum is presented partly through the original writings of philosophers and scientists and partly through commentaries.

Learning outcome

The focus on some key original texts should improve the student’s ability to take an appreciative and at the same time critical stand towards important features of western philosophy and science. Through the writing of essays, the student is encouraged to reflect upon basic ethical, philosophical and scientific problems.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

A good ability to read and understand English is required for this course.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with EXPHIL03 - Examen philosophicum


This course has the form of lectures combined with seminary classes over a period of 16 weeks. Participation in the seminary classes is obligatory, with a minimum attendance of 5 of the first 8 weeks and 4 of the last 6 weeks of teaching.

In other words, you must be present just below 70 % of the seminary classes. This is a reduction of the usual demand of 80 %, which has been done to take into account illness, colliding exams etc. and consequently spare both students and employees extra work with the documentation of lawful absence. Additional absence from the seminar classes will therefore not be tolerated under any circumstances. If you exceed the maximum limit of lawful absences, you will lose the right to further participation in the seminar classes and to write your exam in the form of a semester essay. You will also lose the right to attend the seminary classes if you are supposed to submit an essay in part 1 and fail to do so within the deadline.

At the end of the semester, each student has to pass a qualifying multiple choice test.

Approved compulsory tuition activities are only valid for the next term that the course runs, and only if both activities are completed. Students who have completed both activities but failed on the exam (or failed to hand in the assignment) can apply the next term to only hand in an assignment and receive obligatory tuition. Apply to: henvendelser@ifikk.uio.no before 1 February / 1 September.


The student composes an essay in one of the two parts of the syllabus. The assessment follows a scale from A to E (for pass) and F (for fail).

Please note that the essay counts as an exam only if the student has completed both compulsory activities, attendance at seminars and multiple choice test. Note also that if you have been registered on the course in a previous semester and submitted an essay, you cannot submit the same essay a second time.

Students who fail to attend the required number of classes may apply for transfer to a written examination. Please refer to the semester page for relevant deadlines.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Withdrawal from an examination

If you wish to withdraw from the exam you must do so in Studentweb at least two weeks prior to the deadline. Failure to do so will be counted as one of the three opportunities to sit the exam.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring and autumn


Spring and autumn

Teaching language