Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course is an overview of American history from Amerindian settlement to the present. It provides an essential foundation for further work in American Studies. All the standard historical periods are covered, including:

  1. the colonial period;
  2. the War for Independence;
  3. the development of democrcay and national expansion;
  4. the conflict over slavery, the Civil War and the Reconstruction of the southern states;
  5. Industrialization and its consequences in the late 19th century;
  6. early 1900 reform politics of the "Progressive Era";
  7. the Second World War and the Cold War, and;
  8. contemporary developments.

Approximately one half of the course will concern the post-1945 era, covering such important events as the Civil Rights movement, the conflict over the Vietnam War and the swing to the Right after the election of 1980. The course introduces students to the political history of the United States but it concerns social, technological and economic history as well. In addition, we will compare American and European development, though naturally the greatest weight will fall on explaining contemporary America in relation to its own historical development.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you:

  • have an overview of the factors that shaped the American nation over time, including political institutions and movements, social developments, economic and geo-economic factors and culture and ideas;
  • have an understanding of the United States as a whole and in regard to its social groups as defined by race, gender, ethnicity and social class;
  • can think chronologically and developmentally;
  • understand the importance of events in shaping social and political outcomes;
  • have good 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.


Recommended previous knowledge

Good knowledge of English, both written and spoken.


Seminar, two hours per week for 14 weeks, 28 hours in all.

Attendance is obligatory at least 11 out of 14 seminars. Additional absences must be justified by documentation to the exam coordinator.

Students must turn in an essay of 5 standard pages by a stated deadline during the semester. Feedback will be given.

The essay has to be accepted by the tutor before the student is allowed to sit for the exam.


The evaluation is based on a 4-hour written exam.

Previous exams can be found here:

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.

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 will be found on the StudentWeb within three weeks of 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.

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