PECOS4111 – Conflict and Cooperation

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

Why do states cooperate to enhance their mutual security in some areas but not others? Conversely, why do they often cooperate less than they could to optimize their security arrangements? In this course students examine central dilemmas for cooperation and international security including reconciling the transparency needed to verify arms limitation treaties with safeguarding military secrecy, signalling and off-stage diplomacy during international crises, and attribution problems across different issue areas and settings (including bilateral and multilateral contexts). The course introduces students to prominent theories of cooperation and international security, applies these theories to a series of security challenges, and assesses conceptual and empirical dimensions for states and organizations in responding to allegations of cheating and defection from cooperative arrangements.

Learning outcome


The course engages students in fundamental debates about international conflict and cooperation in a variety of issue areas. Specifically, students will be able to:

  • Describe theoretical debates about security competition and cooperation;
  • Explain how emerging security challenges affect cooperation problems;
  • Identify central cooperative and enforcement dilemmas associated with arms control, cyber security, and WMD treaties;


The course will help students develop fundamental transferable skills in a number of areas:

  • Identify key trade-offs and policy dilemmas for interstate security cooperation;
  • Assess evidentiary challenges, including incomplete information and disinformation, in handling these problems;
  • Write and present policy recommendations.

General competencies

After the completion of the course, students can:

  • Explain variation in security cooperation between states over time and across different issue areas;
  • Assess how emerging security challenges challenge existing cooperative frameworks;
  • Apply empirical evidence and theoretical arguments to policy debates.


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.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

For incoming students

All Master's courses in Political Science must be registered manually by the Department, they will not appear in Studentweb. Contact your international coordinator at UiO.


Recommended previous knowledge

Knowledge of research methods equivalent to PECOS4021 – Research Methods and PECOS4022 – Applied Statistics for Peace and Conflict Studies.


Eight two-hour seminars.

Compulsory activities:

  • Attend at least 6 out of 8 seminars.
  • Prepare 4 (pass-fail) reaction papers of 250 words each summarizing the main argument of one assigned reading and discuss its implications for policy. Students will have to submit four reaction papers to qualify for the exam.


Two written assignments assessing cooperation problems associated with contemporary security challenges from a list of assigned questions (each 3,000-4,000 words).

Both assignments count equally.

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.

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

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course

Every spring

This course starts spring 2022

Every spring

This course starts spring 2022

Teaching language