This course is discontinued

MAS4301 – The settlement of the North Atlantic

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The topic is the Norse colonization and settlement of the North Atlantic isles during the Viking and Middle Ages. The subject is cross-disciplinary, but with a heavy emphasis on historical archaeology. The archaeological sources will be presented and examined, together with some written sources that have been regarded central to the interpretation of the archaeological material. The settlement history of the Norse in the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland and Canada will be examined, and seen in context with Viking and Medieval history of Scandinavia and Europe. Central subject will be the transformation of religion, church history, terrestrial and marine economies economy, climate and politics.

Learning outcome

The students should know the basic historical framework of the North Atlantic ca. 800-1500 AD, and be familiar with the most important archaeological and written sources. They should also know the outlines of the research history, and be familiar with the most important academic works in the field. The objective is to give the students an understanding of the different types of sources, how they should be approached from a source-critical point of view, and how to apply them in academic reasoning. The students should learn to present complex events and historical relationships in an independent and critical context. In the seminars, students will be expected to do presentations and to discuss alternative analytical approaches.


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

Admission to a Master program

Recommended previous knowledge

This course builds on previous knowledge equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in Western-European Medieval Studies or another Bachelor’s Degree with a major within a discipline that covers the Viking or Nordic Medieval period.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with MAS2301 – The settlement of the North Atlantic (discontinued)


The course consists of lectures (7 x 2 hours) and seminars (3 x 2 hours). The students’ written work is an integrated part of the course.

Compulsory assignments: A first draft of the semester assignment is to be submitted halfway through the semester. Deadlines will be published in the detailed teaching plan.

Fronter will be used in this course.

The teaching will be in English, but the students must to a small extent also relate to non-English sources and placenames.


Towards the end of the semester, each student should submit a maximum 10 page written paper (where a page has 2300 characters without spacing) on an individually selected topic. The student will work with this topic during the semester under supervision of the teacher(s). The semester assignment will form the base of the final grade.

In the essay the students must be able to present complex events and historical relationships in an independent, critical and analytical context.

The assessment is integrated in the course lessons and it is therefore not possible to sit for the exam unless the student is registered for the teaching component of the course.

The student must hand in an Obligatory statement regarding cheating along with the term paper.

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.


This course can be taken in connection with the Master's Degree Program in Nordic Viking and Medieval Culture

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Teaching language