SOS2950 – Social Science Genetics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course familiarizes social scientists with genetically informed social science research, with a special emphasis on sociological studies of social stratification. The course provides the relevant theoretical and empirical background for incorporating genetics into social science research and introduces the main methodological approaches. Throughout the course we use examples from stratification research and family demography to illustrate how the integration of genetic knowledge can help us better understand the forces shaping social phenomena. Conceptually, we move beyond the “nature vs nurture” debate and focus on the “gene-environment interplay” acknowledging that the influences of both genetics and environments depend on one another.

The course is organized around a set of questions, including but not limited to, why should social scientists care about genetics? How can the integration of genetics enhance our understanding of intergenerational transmission processes? To what extent, and how do social forces moderate the impact of genes? How can we assess the role of genes empirically? What are the challenges and the ethical concerns of genetically sensitive research?

This course is taught in English and intended for both Norwegian and international students.

Learning outcome


You shall: 

  • acquire knowledge about the main concepts and methodological approaches used in behavioral genetics
  • acquire an understanding on whether and how the integration of genes can help to study social phenomena


You will:

  • learn to critically evaluate findings from genetically informed research
  • discuss implications of said research for sociological theories
  • learn to independently conduct genetically informed research using behavioral genetic data and methods

General competence

  • awareness of the advantages and drawbacks of genetically sensitive sociological research
  • knowledge of the ethical and privacy concerns of social science genetic research


  • lectures
  • practical sessions

The course will meet for 10 sessions throughout the semester. Meetings will be either lectures or practical sessions.



  • 4 hours digital home exam 

Due to covid-19, the exam will be a 4 hour digital home exam in Inspera. 


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, and you submit your response in 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






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language