SAS4004 – Critical Literature Review in South Asia Studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

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.

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


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 activities:

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

The compulsory activity is only valid for one 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.


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.

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

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.

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