NFI2501 – North Sea cultural encounters in the Middle Ages

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course aims to explore and give an overview of cultural contact between the Norse population and the populations of Ireland and England in the Middle Ages. You will be introduced to language, texts and writing in the three cultures, as well as the historical background of the North Sea as a region of cultural contact and diffusion.

The encounters between these cultures had consequences for the development of literary traditions: narratives, writing, and book production. We therefore look at samples of the languages of the period: Old Norse, Old English and Old Irish. A main focus of the course is to consider how of these three cultures developed through coming into contact with each other, and how both society and individuals were affected by this contact.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you:

  • can give an overview of these three cultures in the Middle Ages: the historical background, the main features of the languages, and the textual cultures of these areas.
  • can describe the main similarities and differences between them
  • can analyse the consequences of these cultural encounters on society and on individuals


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.


One hour lecture and one hour group sessions per week for fourteen weeks, 28 hours in all. The students are expected to participate actively and prepare presentations of source texts as well as research articles.

A qualifying paper has to be approved before the student may take the final exam


The final examination is a three-day take-home exam.

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

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Bachelor students in European Languages, programme option English, taking this course must write their exam paper 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 other spring starting 2020

Teaching language