STV4282B – The Politics of Global Energy

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Course content

Ever since the Homo erectus tamed fire at least 600.000 years ago, energy has been vital for the whole range of human activity. It provided heating that increased resistance to changing climate conditions, contributed to settlements and building of human societies, increased meat consumption and calorie intake and was the basis for engineering tools and effective weaponry. With the industrial revolution, expansion of energy services was a major contributor to economic growth. Today, citizens in developed economies take ample access to affordable energy resources as granted.

Following a basic introduction to the role of energy in modern societies and today’s energy systems, this course provides an understanding of the global politics of energy, the key actors, the role of international energy institutions, and not least the interaction between energy politics and markets. The energy policies of all states are inextricably linked to concerns about energy security, the economics of energy markets and the environmental impact of energy use. Thus, the course is relevant for students interested in geopolitics, international institutions, international political economy. A particular focus will be put on the role of the vast oil resources in the Middle East and the Internal Energy Market of the European Union. Last, but not least, the course will address the crucial role of renewable energy in the global combat of climate change.

Learning outcome


Students will

  • have a basic understanding of the structure and dynamics of energy systems.
  • have knowledge about the global oil market and European energy markets.
  • comprehend the geopolitics of energy security.
  • understand the challenges and opportunities in the transition towards sustainable energy systems.
  • have knowledge of the energy challenges and policy profiles of the key global actors.


Students can

  • use conceptual tools and frameworks for understanding and analyzing energy policies and the international politics of energy supply, distribution and consumption.
  • present their own analysis of key global energy issues.
  • can develop policy strategies and institutional designs to respond effectively to major governance challenges and policy dilemmas in the energy sector.


Students will

  • understand the format and complexities of the challenges involved in governing an effective transition towards sustainable energy systems.
  • grasp the dilemmas faced by many governments as well as non-governmental actors in the field of international energy politics.
  • be able to identify the driving forces behind current world energy events and the dynamic interaction of economic interests and political governance underlying actors’ behavior.


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.



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


3-hour written examination and term paper.

The term paper must:

Previous exams

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

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.

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