This course is discontinued

MAS4001 – Social Structures in the Scandinavian Middle Ages

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This is an interdisciplinary, theme-based course. The core themes are social values and religious hierarchies in the Viking Ages and the Scandinavian Medieval Ages. These may include the relationship between men and women, or king and subjects, and forms in the mythical world. The course will focus on how social relations are presented in different kinds of source, such as literary works, cultural expression and artifacts. The course will also consider, by way of comparison, the situation in the rest of Northern Europe.

Learning outcome

On an interdisciplinary platform, students will be taught how to acquire knowledge and understanding by approaching the matter in relation to a given theme, a particular issue, or physical object. The knowledge gained thereby will be that of the Norse society in the Viking Ages and Scandanavian Medieval Ages. Students will gain an understanding of the relations between social groups and of the individual’s relation to such groups. students will also be made aware of the use of sourses and of how different kinds of source can inform as well as contradict one another.


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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 Ages or the Scandanavian Middle Ages.


The course is running through the whole semester 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 6-week blocks. Each block begins with 3 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 that has to be approved for the students to take their final exam. The other to 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. In the event of illness which has been certified by a medical doctor, a student can apply to postpone or resit the examination the following semester.


‘Social structures in the Scandinavian Middle Ages’ is a compulsory course for the Masters programme ‘Scandanavian Viking and Medieval Culture’. This course can also be included in other relevant Masters programmes.

Changes may occur.

If you are handicapped or functionally disabled in a way that is essentially disadvantegous when taking the examination, you can apply for a special arrangement of your examination.

Facts about this course




Every spring


Every spring

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