This course is discontinued

HIS2315 – Business History: Europe and the United States since 1800

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

’Business’ has been a fundamental part of the human story in western Europe and the USA during the last 200 years. We will follow the development of firms from the Industrial Revolution to globalization, examining along the way the wide range of organisational forms and strategies, the way firms reflect and shape the world around them, and the variations across time and place.

This course places business in a very broad historical context, and the readings and lectures will explore many aspects of business history. The seminar/lectures will provide the ‘big picture’, including some of the theoretical discussions, and the literature will give you more focused studies to consider. In the seminars we will also discuss and explore the literature more fully.

Learning outcome

Students will acquire two sets of skills. First, the ’stuff’ of business history – important events, the kinds of businesses, famous leaders, government-business relations, and so forth. Second, analytical skills that are important to understand (a) why historical events related to business occurred as they did, (b) how an historical account gets developed (kinds of evidence, argument, theses).
After the course you should have a good understanding of the evolution of firms in the US and in Europe, and the contexts within which firms operated, over the last 200 years.


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 write English is required for this course.


The course is taught in the form of seminars, one double seminar pr week for 12 weeks.

Accepted compulsory activity/assignment is valid the two following semesters during which the course is taught. Exceptions may occur if the form of evaluation alters, if the tuition plan alters significantly, or other substantial adjustments are made.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


This course is examined by the contents of a ’folder’. In this folder must be included:

• Analytical paper/essay; on set topic written at home. (5 pages)

• Historical source comment; discussing an historical source (a document; letter; photo, etc). (1 page)

• Timed essay (3 hours) topic and time announced in Fronter. (4 pages)

Please note that one page is estimated to hold 2300 characters without spacing.

All of this must be handed in by using Fronter.

The examination of this course is integrated in the teaching of the course and it is therefore not possible to sit the examination other than by being admitted to the course.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination


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.

After the examination result is announced, there will be possible to have an explanation of grades from the examiner. At oral examinations or assessments of practical skills, a request for such an explanation must be made immediately on notification of the mark. Requests for explanations of other assessments must be submitted within one week after the candidate learns of the mark. This request must be made by sending an e-mail to: The explanation will be given either in writing or oral, this will be decided by the examiner. Please inform of your phone number, e-mail address where you can be contacted as well as your candidate number.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Spring 2007


Spring 2007

Teaching language