HGO4011 – Philosophy and methodology of human geography

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course is a compulsory component of the master’s degree in human geography. The course covers the history and methodology of human geography with the aim of facilitating the development of the student’s own research project for the master’s degree. The course consists of three parts, the first of which presents the main lines of development and key concepts in the history of human geography. The second part discusses general strategies for establishing knowledge – realism, ‘ideal type’ methodology and grounded theory. The last part highlights three methodological alternatives: individual case studies, comparative analysis and quantitative modelling. Lectures and seminars focus on the history and methodology of human geography generally, while emphasis is also placed on relevance to the student’s own master’s degree project. However, this course does not cover more specific choice of methods.

Learning outcome


You will:

  • learn about the history of human geography with a focus on the main lines of development and key concepts
  • learn about general strategies for knowledge production and overarching methodological alternatives


You will be able to:

  • account for and discuss concepts and approaches in the history and methodology of human geography with a high degree of precision and reflection
  • write advanced-level, independent texts about the history and methodology of human geography within stated time limits
  • develop a general project description for an independent research project

General competence

You will be able to:

  • critically analyze strategies for acquiring knowledge of human geography
  • make an independent choice of methodology in your work on the master’s thesis


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.

Admission to the course is dependent on admission to the master’s degree programme in human geography. 



Course tuition consists of a combination of lectures and seminars. For an overview, please refer to the detailed teaching plan on the semester page.

Compulsory instruction and coursework

You are required to submit a project description. If you fail to do so, you will not be allowed to sit the examination. The completed and approved compulsory activity will be valid for the entire period the course is offered. 

Absence from compulsory tuition activities

If you are ill or have another valid reason for being absent from compulsory tuition activities, your absence may be approved or the compulsory activity may be postponed.

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.


The exam is a one-week home exam. The maximum length of the home exam is 6000 words (excluding references).

The exam question will be available from 10.00 am on the day of the exam and must be submitted at 12.00 PM, 7 days later.

Previous exams and examiner guidelines

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

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.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or 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.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

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






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language