MES4010 – Critical literature review in Middle East Studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This reading course is designed to meet individual needs of Master’s students within the programme option Middle East Studies.

In consultation with a course teacher and the thesis supervisor, participants will further refine their project proposals for their master thesis (i.e. formulate a clearly defined research question, present an overview of relevant secondary literature, outline a theoretical framework, methodological approach, and a detailed list of relevant empirical sources). The main focus of this course will be to develop the secondary literature review. Course participants will compile their own relevant reading list. The choice of literature must provide a good general basis of information on the thesis subject of the individual student. Course participants will furthermore reflect upon which particular works constitute the key literature on their respective subjects. They will also discuss key academic debates and ‘schools’ pertaining to the academic field to which their thesis subject belongs. As far as possible, the literature review produced as part of this course will form the basis for the master’s thesis’ literature review.

The project proposal and the reading list must be approved by the course teacher and thesis supervisor. The course should normally be taken during the first year of the Master’s degree programme.

Learning outcome

Participants learn to:

  • Refine an academic project description.
  • Critically read and analyze research literature relevant to the research question of your master’s thesis, and to formulate a presentation and an interpretation of the issues and arguments presented in the literature.
  • Summarize and present a research debate in an independent and reflective manner.


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.

This course is not available for single course students.

This course is only availabe for students admitted to the programme option Middle East Studies.


Teaching throughout the semester is provided in the form of guidance at thesis seminars with the presence of tutor. Your thesis supervisor will be present and provide additional feedback when presenting your drafts.

Compulsory activities

  • Attendance to at least 5 seminars

  • Submission of the reading list
  • An oral presentation in the end of the semester
  • Meetings with supervisor

Approved compulsory activities are only valid for the current semester.

Valid absence

If you have valid absence from the compulsory activity, you must submit an application and hand in documentation. 

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activity.


The examination in the course is a term paper. The term paper is to constitute a literature review relevant for the research question of your master’s thesis and approved by your tutor and thesis supervisor. The literature review should be between 8-10 pages, not counting title page and references.

The compulsory activities must be completed and approved in order to take the exam.

Grading guidelines

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.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language