This course is discontinued

NORAM4578 – Critical Challenges of American Government and Politics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

While supplying a thorough introduction to government and politics in the United States, this course emphasizes a series of historical developments that have altered America's political processes and institutions, focusing on those that cause controversy and challenge the maintenance democratic principles in the republic. These critical issues include the rise of media-based mass parties, the nationalization of politics, the development of an "imperial" presidency and judiciary, persistent inequality, low voter participation, and the growth of the national security state.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will have:

  • acquired a foundation of knowledge about the primary actors, dynamics, and processes of the American political system;
  • gained a critical awareness of the currently most significant areas of change and controversy.


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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the master program in North American area studies, LAP or other relevant master programs.

Recommended previous knowledge

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


Seminar, two hours per week for 10 weeks, 20 hours in total. You are supposed to attend the class regularly.

In order to qualify for the exam, you must submit an essay on a chosen topic. This should be about 5–10 pages long (2300 characters per page). The teacher will give you feedback, and for the final take-home exam,  you will be able to develop your topic further.

You must also give an oral presentation, and get this approved by the course teacher.



The exam is given as a three-day home exam.

Once the course requirements have been fulfilled, they remain valid for the current and the two consecutive semesters when the course is given.

Previous exams:

Language of examination


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 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.

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






Autumn 2013


Autumn 2013

Teaching language