KULH1003 – Witchcraft and Magic

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Lectures and seminars are given in English. All parts of the exam may be taken either in English or a Scandinavian language.

In this course we will study aspects of the cultural history of magic, focusing on the period of the witch hunts in early modern Europe. The course explores how conceptions of magic, witchcraft and ‘trolldom’ changed over time; how they were put to use in philosophical reflections, demonological manuals, legislative texts, literature, as well as oral traditions; and how these ideas became social realities.

From the 1500’s, combating witchcraft with legislation and judicial prosecution became an important concern for authorities all over Europe. Witchcraft trials became a nexus between law, theology and the culture of common people. In this course, students will study the cultural and social basis of this development, and get to know a selection of Norwegian witchcraft trials. The students will also be introduced to the later redefinitions of magic expressed in modern occultism and neopaganism.

Learning outcome

Upon successful completion of the course, students are able to

  • demonstrate an orientational knowledge in the history of magic and witchcraft in Europe.
  • discuss historical implications of critical terms like magic, witchcraft, trolldom, esotericism, and occultism.
  • identify different approaches to historiography and interpretation in the academic study of magic and witchcraft.
  • perform a critical contextualisation of a historical source
  • carry out team work and give presentations.


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.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with KULH1050 – Witchcraft and Magic (discontinued)


Spring 2021: the teaching will follow the guidelines for preventing the spread of Covid-19. The detailed schedule on the semester page will show which activities are offered digitally. 

Lectures and seminars are given in English and supervision is offered in both English and Norwegian. The curriculum is in English with an optional choice of Norwegian source material that can be used in the exam.

The course is based on a combination of lectures and seminars. In 2021, the lectures will be provided digitally. The teaching format has the goal of activating the students in the learning process, to facilitate both plenary and digital discussions and group work, and to encourage the students to take responsibility for their own learning and progress. 

Obligatory coursework

Participation in digital excercises and attendance at seminars (minimum 75% physical or digital participation) and the submission of a qualifying task are obligatory and part of the assessment. The obligatory coursework is required in order to be admitted to the exam. In case of sickness, documentation is required from a doctor. The qualifying task is conducted in a group work and consists of a written group-presentation. Deadlines and content will be provided at the start of the teaching term.

All obligatory coursework must be approved in order to qualify for the exam. It is the student’s responsibility to check whether or not the obligatory coursework have been approved. This is how you apply for valid absence from obligatory activities/obligatory attendance.

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 obligatory coursework has to be approved for admission to the examination.

The exam is a three-day home exam consisting of 2 written assignments with a total of 10 pages (2300 characters per page). The deadline and a detailed requirement for the assignments will be announced at the beginning of the three-day period. 

The assessment is integrated in the teaching, therefore it is not possible to take the exam without admission to the teaching.

Previous exams and grading guidelines.

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

You may write your examination paper 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






The course is taught for the first time spring 2021


The exam is offered for the first time spring 2021

Teaching language