STV4214B – International Environmental Governance

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Since the industrial revolution, human imprints on ecological systems have increased substantially. This development generates major challenges for international environmental governance. In particular, effective governance of the global environment often requires international cooperation.

Since the middle of the 20th century, the number of international environmental agreements (IEAs) established to cope with this challenge has grown rapidly. This course considers the conditions under which IEAs may or will be effective in solving major international environmental problems. Particular attention will be given to climate change; however, the course will also consider other environmental problems, such as transnational air pollution.

The course will consider several scholarly debates, including the following:

  1. whether IEAs are best based on norm building or on restructuring incentives;
  2. whether IEAs are best developed top down or bottom up;
  3. whether (full) participation in and compliance with IEAs require enforcement;
  4. whether international environmental problems can be solved on the basis of unilateralism; and
  5. whether transnational cooperation between subnational units (such as cities) can contribute significantly to solving global environmental problems.

Learning outcome

When completing this course, students are expected to have acquired the following knowledge, skills and competences:


You are able to

  • Describe how and why environmental degradation may call for international governance
  • Identify when international environmental agreements (IEAs) may be expected to succeed and understand why they sometimes fail
  • List the strengths and weaknesses of different IEA designs


You are able to

  • Analyze select cases of environmental degradation as challenges for international governance
  • Propose IEA designs likely to be effective, while also meeting basic standards of efficiency and political feasibility
  • Explain and assess the performance and effectiveness of IEAs
  • Draft, revise, and complete an academic paper


  • You possess a basis for professional work that facilitates:
    • describing and analyzing challenges that may require an IEA and
    • identifying an appropriate IEA design for particular environmental challenges
  • You display a critical and knowledge-based approach to international environmental problem-solving


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.

Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme.

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

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.




3-hour written examination and term paper.

The term paper must:

The written examination counts more than the term paper. You receive one overall grade. You must pass the term paper and the written examination in the same semester.

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.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

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

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.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Spring 2022

This course is not given on a regular basis


Spring 2022

This course is not given on a regular basis

Teaching language