This course is replaced by RSOS4950 – Torture, Surveillance and Rights.

KRIM4950 – Torture, Terror and Rights

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

Starting with philosophical reflections on the nature of torture, the course takes you through ethical, historical, legal, and cultural aspects of torture, with a special focus on torture as an ingredient in “the war against terror”

Learning outcome


At the end of the course, you will have obtained thorough knowledge of the most central questions and positions in contemporary debates about torture:

  • what is torture and can it ever be morally justified?
  • what can we learn about torture from the history of the social sciences, criminal justice and warfare?
  • is there any plausible legal distinction to be made between torture and so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the “lawfare” against terror?
  • how should torture properly be situated in a wider social and cultural context?


Students will:

  • learn to interpret, analyze and critically discuss scholarly texts, official documents and cultural representations with a view to their possible implications for social and political practices;
  • learn to compare and evaluate moral, political and legal ideals and proposals



Students will:

  • enhance their capability to question and discuss urgent and sensitive aspects of contemporary social and political realities;
  • enhance their capability to formulate and reflect on their own ideas of the legitimacy of means and ends in the (in)security state


The course is part of the programmes Kriminologi (master - to år) and Rettssosiologi (master - to år).

Students with admission to other master programmes at UiO and exchange students may also register for this course.


Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor degree.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with KRIM2950 – Torture, Terror and Rights (continued)



Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Students are graded on the basis of a 7-day take-home exam.

Size: Maximum 4000 words (roughly 10 pages). Front page, contents page (optional) and bibliography are not included. If footnotes are used in the text (at the bottom of each page), they are included in the 4000 word limit.

The essays shall be handed in at the Information Centre at the Faculty of law in Domus Academica, Karl Johansgate 47 Bring two copies of your essay, remember to also bring your student card or some other kind of ID. The paper shall also be submitted in Fronter

Any exam at the University of Oslo may be checked for both correct word count and incidents of cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Previous exam papers

Language of examination

The language of examination is English. It is also possible to submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish

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.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2015


Autumn 2015

Teaching language