HIS4100 – Viking and Medieval Europe: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course is designed to introduce master students to interdisciplinary perspectives on the medieval history of Northern Europe with a particular focus on Scandinavia and the North Sea world in the period between c.750 and c.1350. Historians, archeologists, and philologists jointly teaching this course will bring insights from their respective fields into major themes and sources of this historical period. The course will survey such subjects as urbanization and exchange, rituals and memory, Christianization, law and political organization, civil wars and state formation, literary and manuscript culture, vernacularization, and gender and identity. In this course, students will study these themes based on both secondary literature and primary sources. In doing so, they will also learn how to approach the main types of written and material evidence relevant for the history of Northern Europe in the Viking Age and the High Middle Ages, for example, chronicles and annals, saints’ lives and legal codes, sagas and skaldic poetry, runic and Latin inscriptions, and material data from medieval settlements and graves.

Learning outcome


Upon completion of this course, students are expected to

  • have learned how research questions are formulated and studied in the fields of Viking Age history and the history of the Scandinavian Middle Ages
  • be familiar with major themes and recent trends in the historiography of the Viking Age and the Scandinavian Middle Ages
  • be familiar with the major types of source material for the study of the Viking Age and the Scandinavian Middle Ages
  • have knowledge and experience on how to critically engage with historiographical research.


After taking this course, a student will be able to:

  • know how to design and implement an independent paper project on a topic in the history of medieval political and legal culture
  • initiate and participate in discussions of academic texts and primary sources in the history of the Viking Age and Scandinavian Middle Ages
  • read different types of academic texts and primary sources in a critical and independent manner
  • work with others in small groups and give feedback on others’ work.
  • present his/her work in class and respond to the follow-up class discussion in a written form


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.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

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

This course is offered to students on the masters' programme in Viking and Medieval Studies. 


Required reading: The list of obligatory readings is set at c. 836 pages to allow for a discussion of all texts of the curriculum in class. The students will find literature in addition to this (around 200 pages), in order to write their course papers.

Class meeting: 2/45 per week (12 meetings in total).

Organization fall semester 2020: The course will be taught primarily in the form of web-seminars on Zoom via discussion of assigned readings and group work, where the students will be active participants. Students are expected to prepare the seminar readings for discussion and to contribute orally to the course. Students will also be divided into small working groups to fulfil a set of assignments before and during class meetings.


Obligatory activities

To qualify for the exam, students are required to

  • a) introduce four seminar sessions in collaboration with other students (group work)
  • b) The student participation in the seminar is mandatory. The learning outcome of this course depends on active student participation. To this end, students need to attend prepared and participate in class. Different types of activities will require participation throughout the semester. Specific information about mandatory activities will be announced at the first meeting and published on Canvas. Absence of up to two seminars can be approved by agreement with the teacher(s).

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance if you're sick etc.


The course is assessed by exam portfolio (mappaevaluering) consisting of a) two response papers, each approximately 3 pages, on the topics of class discussions, and b) a course paper of approximately 8–10 pages (2300 characters without spacing and notes) on a relevant topic, developed by the student in communication with the teachers of the course.  Detailed information will be given in class and in Canvas.


Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

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

Resit an examination

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






Every autumn


Every autumn

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