HUMR1130 – Introduction to the History, Philosophy and Politics of Human Rights

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course provides an introduction to the history, philosophy and politics of human rights, beginning with a brief presentation of the pre-history and the modern development of international human rights. Second, you will examine the concept of universal human rights and justifications and criticisms of human rights in general. Next, you will study political and philosophical debates about the soundness of specific human rights norms. You will also examine the status, roles, and uses of human rights in international relations and the issue of promoting human rights across borders. Finally, you will examine dilemmas and conflicts related to freedom of religion or belief, and study attempts at grounding or finding support for human rights in specific normative traditions (Confucianism and Islam).

Learning outcome

This course will, successfully completed, provide you with a general understanding of basic conceptual features of modern human rights, including standard justifications and criticisms, of the relationships between human rights and comprehensive moral and political doctrines, and of how they relate to moral and cultural relativism. You will understand the complex, dynamic, and sometimes ambiguous ways human rights promotion operate in transnational, international, and domestic contexts.


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.

This course is open for all bachelor students, students with admission to single courses, students with admission as guest students.


Recommended previous knowledge

Please note that lectures and curriculum for this course is aimed atstudents at master degree level.

However, the achievement requirements are adjusted for students who take
the subject at bachelor degree level. Students with no background in human rights studies are strongly advised to prepare in advance the recommended readings.


There will be no more lectures in this course.


4 hour written examination.

Examination support material

Auxiliary materials allowed during examinations for courses taught in English.

Language of examination


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. 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.

Please se Detailed regulations for the Faculty of Law, Chapter 3 regarding application, responsibilities and special measures.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.


This subject is taught at Bachelor 's level (10 ECTS credits). The subject is also taught at Master's level (15 ECTS credits), please see HUMR5130 – Introduction to the History, Philosophy and Politics of Human Rights (discontinued). The subject is also taught at Master's level (10 ECTS credits), see HUMR4130 – Introduction to the History, Philosophy and Politics of Human Rights (discontinued). Please see the chapter above, regarding overlap. For instances of overlap, credits will be deducted on the subject at Bachelors's level.

Facts about this course




No more teaching is given in this course.


Spring 2011

Exam in this course is given for the last time during spring 2011.

Teaching language