MITRA4421 – War, Peace and the Nobel Peace Prize

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

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 course 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, what is the role of the Nobel Peace Prize within international history?

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 initiate and participate in discussions on 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 the position of the Nobel Peace Prize within international history
  • Comment on and discuss remarks from other students
  • Work with others in small groups


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 Modern International and Transnational History (master's two years) and Peace and Conflict Studies (master's two years).


Recommended previous knowledge

A good ability to read and understand English is required for this course

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with HIS4421 – War, Peace and the Nobel Peace Prize (continued)


Teaching takes place throughout the semester and is a combination of lectures and group sessions.

Compulsory assignment: 

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

Resources and information in this course will be given in Canvas.


The course is assessed by a term paper. The compulsory assignments must be passed in order to hand in the exam.

Paper topics will be decided between the seminar leader and the students. The students will formulate a research question related to an aspect of the Nobel Peace Prize or a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Please note that the paper should not be a biographical essay describing the life and times of a Laureate.

The term paper should be approximately 5,000-6,000 words (approx. 12-15 pages).

  • The assignment has to be complete with a front page containing the following information:
    • candidate number (not your name)
    • course code
    • title 
    • name of department (Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History)
    • semester (spring/autumn), year

Submission of assignment:

  • You submit your term paper electronically in Inspera.
  • The file must be submitted in pdf-format and we stress that the student is responsible for making sure that the files are readable. If you need assistance in converting your file into pdf, we recommend that you follow these instructions.
  • The students are responsible to make sure that the documents are complete upon submitting them in Inspera. 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.

Submit assignments in Inspera

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

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

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


This course will be taught for the first time in the autumn semester 2017 and then every autumn semester onwards.


The first exam for this course will be held in the autumn semester 2017 and then every autumn semester onwards.

Teaching language