STV4227B – Geopolitics and Governance in the High North

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course studies Arctic change from the perspectives of geopolitics and governance. Geopolitics denotes the interplay of natural resources, geographic space and strategic dominance, whereas governance is about creating and operating institutions that structure the interaction of state and non-state actors in pursuance of individual as well as collective interests.

Climate change and the retraction of the polar ice are in the process of opening new and shorter sea routes between Asia and Europe or North America and might improve access to natural resources in the High North, like minerals, petroleum and some fish stocks. These and other developments may generate conflict but also strengthen incentives for cooperation. The course examines how Arctic change relates to processes and drivers at the global level, including recent developments in ocean law and politics and the rising prominence of Asian states in the world economy.

Among the issue areas studied are

  • sovereignty and military security
  • energy developments
  • environmental protection
  • indigenous peoples

Learning outcome


The student will:

  • obtain knowledge about patterns of international conflict and cooperation in the High North
  • become familiar with various strands of geopolitical thinking and how they can be applied in empirical analysis
  • be acquainted with international as well as transnational institutions that impinge on Arctic developments and understand their respective roles in governing economic activities and mitigating tension among states
  • understand the interaction of politics and law in a range of High North issue areas


The student will:

  • learn to compare and contrast different perspectives on High North developments
  • be trained in applying analytical tools and models to describe and diagnose Arctic governance challenges
  • acquire the capacity to evaluate the adequacy of existing and proposed institutional options for responding to Arctic problems
  • be able to assess the plausibility of future trajectories of High North geopolitics


The student will:

  • become conversant with a major field of international politics which is of great importance for Norway
  • be able to critically review analyses and policy recommendations others make concerning developments and challenges in the High North


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 similar.



Teaching will combine lectures with seminar-format discussion of questions and exercises.

Students are expected to prepare answers to reading questions prior to each lecture, to participate actively in discussions, and to provide written peer-review comments to one term-paper outline.

Lectures are held during five weeks, with examination in the sixth week.


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.

Previous exams

Grading guidelines

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

Ask for a grade explanation

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






Autumn 2019

This course is not given on a regular basis


Autumn 2019

This course is not given on a regular basis

Teaching language