SAS4004 – Critical Literature Review in South Asia Studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This reading course is designed for Master’s students within the programme option South Asian Culture and Society.

The course will consist of two parts:

(1) In consultation with a course teacher, you will compile your own reading list and write a term paper on a subject area related to the topic of your master dissertation. The aim is to learn to read and write academic literature. There will be individual and group sittings/supervision sessions. The choice of literature should provide a good general basis of information on the topic and its wider significance (including theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches). Basic introductions and textbooks cannot be included. The reading list should amount to around 1,000 pages.

If your master dissertation topic is closely related to lower level courses, the reading list must be more advanced (representing in-depth theoretical or thematic study). The reading list cannot include literature that has been used at earlier levels.

The reading list must be approved by the course teacher.

(2) Project description

Through the course we will talk about how to write, how to search for relevant literature, which method and what consequences. You will through the course actively formulate a topic and research question for your master dissertation. You will write a short term paper, outlining the topic, theoretical background, and methodology of the topic of your master thesis. This term paper should be no more than 5-6 pages plus a short annotated bibliography.

Learning outcome

Participants learn to:

  • Navigate a specialised academic field and identify key readings and debates
  • Critically read and analyse research literature and formulate an interpretation of the issues and arguments presented in the literature
  • Summarise and present a research debate in an independent and reflective manner
  • Formulate a research question tied to theoretical literature and method
  • Work independently under supervision


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.


Spring 2021: This course offers digital teaching throughout the semester. The teaching can happen on campus if the current regulations are changed, but these will also be offered in a hybrid version.

There will not be a requirement for compulsory attendance for teaching in the spring of 2021, but we strongly recommend that you follow all the teaching.

Teaching will be mostly individual supervision and some joint classes. A detailed plan for the semester will be made at the first meeting. There will be at least five individual meetings and four joint classes.

Compulsory activity:

  • A draft of your project description
  • A draft of your term paper and reading list

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

The compulsory activity is only valid for one semester.



Portfolio. The portfolio consists of two parts:

  1. A project description for your MA thesis (5 pages)
  2. A term paper including a reading list (6-8 pages)

Detailed information on the term paper will be given by the course teacher at the start of the semester.


Previous exams and censor 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.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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