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Courses and course groups

Courses are the building blocks of study programmes. Some courses are compulsory in the study programmes, while others can be chosen more freely.


A course usually has a credit value between 5 and 20 credits. A full-time student takes courses worth 30 credits per semester.

All courses at the university has a unique code consisting of letters and numbers. The letters often reflect the course’s subject area or the course name: ARA means, for example, "Arabic", while BIO means “biology”. The numbers usually have four digits, where the first digit indicates the level of study for the course:

  • 0 = instrument courses for other courses
  • 1 = basic courses at bachelor's degree level
  • 2/3 = secondary courses at bachelor's degree level
  • 4/5 = courses at master's degree level
  • 9 = courses at PhD level

Courses offered in English

The University of Oslo offers courses in English both at bachelor's and at master's degree levels. Some of the courses offered in English are particularly aimed at exchange students.

Search for courses or see lists per subject area here:

Courses in English

Course groups

A course group is a combination of courses from one or more subject areas that are defined as an academic unit. Most course groups are either 80 or 40 credits. In some course groups, all courses are compulsory, while you in others may choose between several alternatives.
Course groups are most common in study programmes at bachelor’s level. Some course groups constitute the compulsory core of a programme, while others are elective. Some course groups are only related to one study programme, while others can be used in several programmes. Your choice of course groups may have consequences for the possibilities for further studies at master’s level.

Freely elective courses

A freely elective course is a course that is unrestricted by subject area in the programme description. When the study programme contains a possibility for freely elective courses, you can choose the courses yourself. You should consider carefully which courses you choose. In some cases, it may influence your possibilities for admission to master’s degree programmes.

Overlapping courses

Some courses may have all or part of the same content, i.e. they overlap. If you have taken examinations in two courses that overlap, you will not receive a full credit score for both courses. The course descriptions indicate any overlaps between courses.

Published May 28, 2010 4:15 PM - Last modified July 6, 2022 2:45 PM