This course is discontinued

MAS4000 – Sacred places in medieval Scandinavia

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This is an interdisciplinary, theme-based course. The core theme is 'sacred places', such as pre-Christian or Christian cult centres or shrines, burial sites and courts from the Viking Era and the early and high Middle Ages. A multidisciplinary approach and the use of different kinds of sources are utilized to study sacred places, though the emphasis is on the function of such places and their setting in a cultural context. The course has a theoretical superstructure consisting of cultural theory and analysis. Specific cultural elements are considered in respect to two polarities: pre-Christian/ Christian, and Norwegian/ European.

Learning outcome

On an interdisciplinary platform, students will be taught how to acquire knowledge and understanding of sacred places by considering such places in relation to a given theme, a particular issue, or physical object. The knowledge gained thereby will be that of the cultural and ideological significance of sacred places. Students will also gain an understanding of the mindset vis-à-vis sacred places of those living in the Viking Era and the early and high Middle Ages. The student will acquire an understanding of the individual's relation to sacred places, and of the religious and secular institutions which sprang from them.


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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

A place on a Masters degree programme.

Recommended previous knowledge

The course builds on the level of knowledge gained by a bachelor degree in Medieval West European Studies, or another Bachelor's degree with a major in a subject closely related to the Viking period or the Scandinavian Middle Ages.


The course is one semester long and adopts a theme-based, problem-solving approach. Teaching will be a mixture of lectures, seminars, and working in groups. The course is structured into three 5-week blocks. Each block begins with 2 weeks of lectures (of 2 to 4 teaching periods per week), followed by 2 weeks of personal study, group work, and assignment writing; this is followed by 1 week in which assignments are presented and discussed in whole-group sessions.


Students will submit 3 assignments, one from each block of the course. The first assignment is a qualifying assignment which must be approved for the students to take their final exam. The other two assignments will be worked on through the semester and collected in a portfolio at the end of the semester. The portfolio will be retained as a record of the student’s learning and graded from the common assessment scale. Each assignment will be around 5 pages in length (where a page has 2300 characters without spacing) and will be assessed by the course teachers.

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.

Students can ask for an explanation of the grade. This must be done within a week after the grade was made known to the student. To obtain the explanation, send an e-mail to It is up to the sensor whether the explanation will be given orally or in writing. The student's e-mail must contain information of an e-mail address and a telephone number he or she can be reached on.

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.


Changes may occur

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language