ENG1505 – British Civilisation

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This is a broad-based survey course which gives an introduction to British history, culture and present-day British society. It has two main components, one historical and one contemporary. The historical part of the course charts the development of the British Isles from 1066 up to the end of World War 2, with a main focus on political history. The contemporary part focuses on the emergence of the modern British state and modern British society after 1945, as well as central institutions in present-day Britain.

A main theme in the course as a whole is the relationship between the four “historic nations” of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, past and present. We study this relationship both with respect to the gradual unification of the four nations into one British state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the subsequent division of this state into the UK and the Republic of Ireland; and the many and varied challenges facing the British state and British society today. In the contemporary part of the course we look at the UK after the partition of Ireland, which means Great Britain and Northern Ireland (not the Republic of Ireland).

The course provides students with a foundation for further studies of the British Isles as an area.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you:

  • have knowledge and understanding of British culture and society in a historical perspective;
  • can analyse central themes in the historical development of the British state, and British society;
  • can analyse important questions and problems facing British society today;
  • have knowledge and understanding of central institutions in present-day Britain;
  • can demonstrate English language skills;
  • can demonstrate essay writing skills.


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.

Lectures are open to the public. Seminar teaching requires admission to the course.


Recommended previous knowledge

The course assumes a good proficiency in written and oral English.


Lectures, 2 hours weekly for 15 weeks, and seminars, 2 hours 6 times during the semester. 42 hours in all.

Obligatory activities:

  • Attendance at least 4 out of 6 seminars. Additional absences must be justified by documentation. Read more about rules concerning valid excuses and how to apply for approved absences or postponements here. Please note that absence exceeding 50 % of all seminars may not be approved, regardless of any excuses.
  • An essay of 2,000 words +/– 10 % submitted by a stated deadline. References and bibliography comes in addition. You will get written feedback on the essay.

All obligatory activities must be approved in the same semester for you to sit the exam. Once the course requirements have been fulfilled, they remain valid for the current and the next two semesters that the course is taught.

As a full-time student you are expected to spend at least 12 hours a week studying for this course.

In the weeks with tutorials, two of those hours will be spent in groups with your teacher, two hours are spent attending lectures, and eight hours are free for your own studies. In non-tutorial weeks, two hours are spent attending lectures, while the remaining 10 hours are free for your own studies. These hours should be spent reading, making notes on, and reflecting on the syllabus texts; exploring secondary texts, and preparing to contribute your own viewpoints and ideas to class discussions at the tutorial groups. You may also want to spend some of this time working on your essay writing skills and discussing the course material with other students.

You are expected to come prepared to each group session. This means that you have completed the assigned reading, and worked on the exercises posted on Canvas by the teacher ahead of the tutorial itself.

ENG 1505 consists of lectures, in which we will address the themes covered by the course, and tutorial groups, which consist mainly of student-driven discussions of exercises relating to the lectures. This means that while you may prefer just to listen in, you should nevertheless be prepared to contribute to discussions throughout the term. The more of your week you spend exploring the syllabus texts yourself (or in conversation with classmates), the more you will get out of the tutorials.

ENG 1505 requires you to study secondary literature relating to the obligatory essay you are due to submit. Over the course of the semester, you should take time to associate yourself with the resources provided by the University Library, both the material which is physical available on-site, and the Library online-resources. Both will help you to find relevant secondary literature.


The form of assessment is a 4-hour written examination.

Previously given exam assignments and assessment guidelines

Written examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using 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.

Examination support material

You are allowed to use an English-English dictionary.

Macmillan Dictionary will be offered in the digital examination system Inspera.

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.

The results from the exam will be found on the StudentWeb within three weeks after the exam.

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.

Once the course requirements have been approved, they are valid for the two next semesters the course is taught.

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.

Reports from periodic evaluations (in Norwegian)

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language