HGO4040 – Individual reading list

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The individual reading list consists in the preparation of a self-selected syllabus of 700 pages approved by the supervisor and a take-home exam. The reading list relates to the topic chosen by the student for the master thesis and, for example, could constitute the building blocks of your chapter on theory. It is therefore recommended that you start working on the topic of your master’s thesis before selecting your individual reading list.

The reading list is approved by the student’s supervisor prior to the announcement of the take-home exam. It is a prerequisite that you have established contact with your thesis supervisor before you can enroll for the examination on the reading list you have selected.

Frequently asked questions about this course

Learning outcome

  • On this course you must work independently to compile an individual reading list directed at what you intend to write about in your master’s thesis.   
  • Your supervisor can give you advice while you are compiling the final list, but you must select the literature yourself.
  • You will acquire training in searching databases such as Oria, selecting literature that is considered relevant for your research project, and comparing various forms of literature in relation to the master’s thesis you will later write.


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 not available for single course students.

Admission to the course is dependent on admission to the master’s degree programme in Human Geography.


Recommended previous knowledge

HGO4011 – Philosophy and methodology of human geography and at least one course on theory.

Overlapping courses


  • There is no regular teaching for this course, but the supervisor must approve the reading list well before the examination is distributed.
  • To be able to sit the exam, students need to hand in an Agreement of Supervision signed by the thesis supervisor and themselves. 
  • You must deliver the approved reading list within the stated deadlines, normally two weeks prior to the examination. If you do not comply with this requirement, 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.  
  • The reading list must not include literature on which the student has based previous written assignments or which has been part of the student’s curriculum earlier.
  • The reading list must be included at the end of your assignment.The grading commission receives both the examination paper and the reading list for information.
  • On this course, supervision is given only on formulating the individual reading list. No supervision is given on writing the assignment, i.e. the answer paper.


The examination consists of a 14-day take home exam. The exam question is handed out at 10 am on the day of the exam and must be submitted 14 days later at 12 PM.

The following formal requirements apply for HGO4040:

  • The reading list consists of a self-selected syllabus of 700 pages.
  • The reading list must be submitted together with your examination answer.   
  • The maximum length of the exam paper is 8000 words, including notes, but excluding references.
  • Font size 12 points, line spacing 1 1/2.
  • The exam answer must include a cover page with the following information: exam question, candidate number, semester-year, word count.

For a detailed criteria for the assessment of an exam in HGO4040 see: Examiner guidelines

Written examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Submit assignments in Inspera

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

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.

Facts about this course






Spring and autumn

This course can not be chosen the first term.


Spring and autumn

This course can not be chosen the first term.

Teaching language