MUSKUL4200 – Critical Museum Studies: Theory and history

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will provide an introduction to museum theory and history based on Norwegian and international museum research. It will give students the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of current museum practices. The course will approach museums as exhibition venues, as collections, as meeting places, as architecture, as political institutions, and as producers of knowledge and collective memory.

The course will  use examples and case studies from a wide range of institutions - art and cultural history museums as well as natural history and science museums. The course will examine museums in an interdisciplinary perspective, borrowing theories, concepts and methods from other fields in the social sciences and humanities, in order to provide students with an introduction to the field of museology.

Learning outcome

By end of the course you will:

  • have acquired knowledge about museums' historical development, nationally and globally;
  • have a good knowledge of the various meanings and uses of the main museum concepts;
  • be able to apply academic knowledge to critical analysis of contemporary museums;
  • have a good knowledge of the main museological issues and the main academic traditions of relevance to museology;
  • have a good knowledge of the main methodological and theoretical approaches in museology, which will also provide a basis for the work for the master thesis.


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.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Students encorreled in other Master'sDegree Programmes can be admitted to the course if they have the relevant background, and the course has capacity.


Recommended previous knowledge

The course will be taught in English, so a good knowledge in English is necessary


The teaching is given as lectures and seminars. It requires active participation in discussions and group activities. Students are expected to conduct active self-study of texts in parallel to the activities in the class.

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 exam of the course is a term paper of max 10 pages (2300 characters per page, not including spaces).

Examination 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.You may submit your response 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

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language