HIS4421 – War, Peace and the Nobel Peace Prize

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

NB! This course is still being taught, but is now known as MITRA4421 – War, Peace and the Nobel Peace Prize

History is full of wars, but also of long periods of peace. With the emphasis on the history of the 20th and 21st centuries, this topic will focus on four sets of questions. First, briefly, what are some of the leading theories we use to understand the nature of international relations and how do they relate to our interpretations of historical events? Second, how to explain the shifting patterns of war and conflict in the 20th and 21st centuries? Third, in what ways have international law, cooperation and stability developed at various levels in the same period? Fourth, to what extent and how has the Nobel Peace Prize contributed to peace?

Although this is a history course, the literature will often use political science theories as a point of departure. The political science books assigned will have a strong historical orientation.

Learning outcome

After you have taken this course you are expected to be able to:

  • Sketch the basic theories that explain the nature of international relations and discuss their relevance and implications for the interpretation of historical events
  • Outline the history of war and peace in the 20th and 21st centuries
  • Describe the roles of hegemony, inter-state rivalry, arms races and deterrence and the roles of international organizations, norms and interdependence for peace and conflict in the 20th century
  • Discuss in some detail what influence the Nobel Peace Prize may have had on international relations.


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.

The course is available to all students accepted to Historie (master - to år), Peace and Conflict Studies (master's two years) and Lektorprogrammets programspesialisering i historie.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with MITRA4421 – War, Peace and the Nobel Peace Prize


Teaching takes place throughout the semester and is a combinaton of lectures (ten) and group work(six seminars).

The group work is obligatory, and lack of attendance implies forfeiture of the right to take exam.


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.


The course will be assessed by a 3-days take-home examination. The compulsory assignment must be passed in order to sit for the exam.

The take-home examination assignment will be published on this page.

3-days take-home examination:

  • The students have 3 working days available for them to complete the assignment.
  • The length of the assignment should be 6-10 standard pages (2300 characters without spacing).
  • The assignment should be complete with a front page containing the following information:
    • candidate number (not name)
    • subject code
    • the title of the assignment
    • name of department (IAKH)
    • semester

Submission of assignment:

  • The home exam is to be submitted electronically via Canvas, not in paper format.
  • The file must be submitted in the format of a pdf.
  • If you need assistance in converting your file into a pdf, we recommend that you follow these instructions.
  • The students are responsible to make sure that the documents are complete upon submitting them in Canvas. The submissions will be assessed in the form by which they are uploaded by the students. Unreadable or incomplete documents are assessed as they are.

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

Previously given exam questions

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

It is generally possible to submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or 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

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.

Facts about this course






Emnet heter nå MITRA4421


Teaching language