PSY4506 – Human Rights, Democracy and Reconstruction after Conflict: A community based approach

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

The aftermath of serious human rights violations and climate conflict

This course aims at giving the students an introduction to international human rights with special focus on ways of dealing with serious human rights  violations in the aftermath of these based on psychological knowledge and a psychological perspective.

An overview of international provisions and implementation in relation to justice, accountability and reparation after gross human rights violations will be presented. We then look at different cases – related to topics such as terrorism; genocide; psychological interventions in conflict, as well as climate conflict. We look at the role of psychology for persons involved in and affected by serious human rights violations and conflicts.

The course aims at introducing ways in which psychology can contribute with respect to reconstruction of democracy and justice following violence and conflict, as well as the role of psychology in climate related disputes and rights violations.

Different consequences of international conflict and climate related challenges will be discussed, including power dynamics as to who suffers the consequences of the problems and who are allowed to be part of the discourses on important topics. As part of the discussions and analysis of these phenomena, a culture and gender perspective will be given emphasis.

Develop critical analytical skills

A central feature of this course is to develop the students’ capacity to understand and apply principles and standards from international human rights into a community context. Insight into and knowledge about conflicts and consequences of these, will be given weight. Likewise a focus will be given to the development of critical analysis and understanding of these social phenomena based on a psychological approach. 

The students will after their examination have acquired skills and knowledge within the field of post-conflict and reconstruction of societies after war, violence, and related to the climate crisis. The course prepares the students to further studies and research within their chosen field of study. 

Learning outcome


After completing this course, you will:

  • Be acquainted with human rights, both historical, as ideas and as principles for application and respect. 
  • Have knowledge about community approaches to human rights, democracy and reconstruction after conflict
  • Have knowledge about democratic development, the power dynamics of intergroup conflict and climate conflict, and be familiar with different forms for interventions in societies in transition.
  • Be able to apply theory and research in order to explore or present such phenomena and be able to relate the knowledge to social, health, developmental and cultural psychology.


After completing this course, you will know how to:

  • Analyze and discuss issues related to human rights and consequences of serious violations of these, in a psychological context and be able to refer to models for interventions both on individual, group and community level.
  • Analyze and discuss rights as well as well as how these can be ensured and implemented, in both a gender and a cultural perspective.​​​​​​​

General competence 

After completing this course, you can:

  •  Apply and relate actively to human rights and human rights violations in conflict and uneven power situations
  • Analyse conflict and reflect on the position and backdrop of the different actors
  • Critically investigate what role psychology and psychological knowledge can contribute with in a conflict situation


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 will not be offered if fewer than 8 students enroll.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course builds on the knowledge from a bachelor's degree in psychology.


Teaching will be given as lectures (10 hours) and seminars (10 hours) and requires active participation from all students. Students will be required to work in groups and prepare presentations for the seminars related to topics discussed in lectures.

Attendance is compulsory in both seminars and lectures (80%) and participation in group presentations in the seminar is also part of the required activity.

Compulsory tuition activities are valid for the 2 next semesters after approval date.

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.


- Individual essay based (between 2000 - 2500 words). This is a home exam and the problem formulation will be given 14 days before deadline. 


Previous exams



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, and you submit your response in English.

If only Norwegian students enroll in the course, the teaching and examination text may be given in Norwegian.

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

You can ask for an explanation of your grade in this course

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.

Candidates who re-sit the exam to improve grade or have previously failed the exam in the course must take all parts of the exam again (both group presentation and reflection note).

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

If only Norwegian students enrol in the course, the teaching and examination text may be given in Norwegian.