STV2217B – Rational Choice Models and International Conflict

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course offers an introduction to different types of rational choice (RC) models and introduces the students to potential applications of such models in the study of international conflict. Particular emphasis is placed on credibility aspects related to the use of threats in international politics. Topics that are being covered include:

  • Conditions for a threat to be effective
  • Techniques for enhancing a threat’s credibility
  • Nuclear deterrence
  • Economic sanctions
  • RC explanations of war
  • RC explanations of terrorism

Learning outcome

The course aims at teaching the students to apply RC models in the study of international conflict.


Having completed the course, you
  • can describe the logics of rational choice models 
  • can apply game-theory logic to address questions in international politics


Having completed the course, you can:
  • Extract the underlying logic of game-theoretical models
  • Read and understand scholarly work on international conflict that uses game theory


Having completed the course, you have:
  • Increased your general analytical competence
  • Enhanced your ability to use game theoretic logic in your own work


Recommended previous knowledge

Advanced student in a Bachelor program in political science or equivalent and have taken an introduction to international politics course, such as STV1200.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with STV4217B – Rational Choice Models and International Conflict


There will be a total of 13 class sessions (each of 2 hours duration), divided between 10 lectures and 3 seminars. In 2020, these will be offered digitally. No one will meet in a classroom.


4 hour exam 

Digital 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.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper 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

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

The course is only offered this semester. 

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2020


Spring 2020

Teaching language