STV1233 – North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Norway's High North, and America's Evolving Transatlantic Relation

Course content

Important: This course is canceled due to the corona virus.


The overall purpose of this course is to focus on Norway’s national security interests especially in the High North in light of NATO’s evolving collective defense and collective security roles. The course and simulation exercise provide an opportunity for students with interests in international relations, international diplomacy, and comparative government to analyze and put into practice the diverse positions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states on a variety of complex and contentious challenges facing the alliance, including transatlantic relations and current military, political, security issues. The course addresses NATO’s relations to Norway, with particular focus on how NATO as an alliance shapes Norway ’s security and defense policy and vice versa, and how the specific challenges related to the Arctic region, Russia, and other states’ policy priorities, inform Norwegian responses and strategic visions. The course is organized in two main parts: The first main part involves lectures and readings on international relations and international diplomacy while emphasizing regional security and stability for Norway, Europe, and NATO including the evolving nature and character of NATO from American scholarly and policy perspectives. The second main part of the course includes a simulation exercise that would use NATO as a model to deliberate joint security issues through crisis simulation.  The simulation exercise is designed to help registered students learn how NATO members interact through diplomatic skills and negotiations in determining matters of collective defense and security. 

In discussing the challenges and dynamics of Norway’s alliance policy, the course focuses on three points: (1) what Norway does to manage its security challenges and status as a small state, both through procurement policies and multilateral security cooperation; (2) how Norway manages its relationship with its Arctic neighbor, Russia; and (3) to how Norway’s Arctic policy and High North Arctic strategy have performed as responses to the challenges that Norway and NATO face today. 

Learning outcome


Having completed the course, students:

  • Know the role, structure, and activities of NATO in the defense of shared interests
  • Know contemporary theories of comparative politics and international relations with a focus on NATO and the United States
  • Understand major political, economic, military, and other security issues facing NATO countries, noting recent changes affecting NATO’s security policies
  • Understand patterns of international cooperation and diplomacy in the pursuit of collective security
  • Can identify the key debates about the future of NATO and European states and societies
  • Can evaluate how domestic culture, interests, and institutions influence political outcomes in NATO
  • Can navigate NATO’s defense rules and procedures and assess its coalition-building and partnership-building capacity


Having completed the course, students can:

  • Apply analytic perspectives to escalation dynamics during crises
  • Write and present policy recommendations individually and in teams
  • Apply theoretical models to assess how state behavior is influenced by other actors in the international system
  • Develop an in-depth appreciation for Norway’s Elements of National Power (Political, Economic, Military, and Informational intentions and capabilities) as well as their corresponding instruments of state power (diplomacy, sanctions and trade, the use of force, and cyber countermeasures)
  • Apply empirical data to analyze current American foreign policy and diplomatic efforts in its transatlantic relations
  • Analyze Russia’s growing influence in the High North and its impact on Nordic states’ security and stability
  • Examine, understand, synthesize and apply core texts on NATO, the transatlantic relations and strategic policy making
  • Assess the likelihood that the High North will become an arena of super power and regional conflicts
  • Carry out independent, in-depth research using a wide range of sources, appropriate referencing and bibliographic methods
  • Structure and compose a research essay, based on the reading of major theoretical approaches and their “critical opponents” as well as lectures


Having completed the course, students can:

  • Understand the dynamics of international leadership in managing and reducing conflict among key states in the Barents Sea
  • Apply analytic perspectives and empirical evidence to policy debates.
  • Understand the Norwegian domestic determinants of foreign policy and strategy towards NATO, the United States, and Russia
  • Analyze foreign policy processes and outcomes in Norway and develop arguments to explain these processes and outcomes
  • Examine critically debates about how European integration affects Norway and the United States and political outcomes


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.


Recommended previous knowledge

STV1200 – Internasjonal politikk or other introductory courses in international politics.


Lectures and simulation exercise

Compulsory activities

  • Simulation exercise


Examination support material

Two take-home exams: 2000-word essays on assigned topics after each of the two main parts of the course. The essays are equally weighted in the final grade.

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

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course








Teaching language