This course is discontinued

STV4283B – Selected Topics in Peace and Conflict Studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course provides in-depth knowledge on selected topics related to the three chronological phases of armed conflict: causes of conflict, the dynamics of conflict, and transitions from war to peace. The course focuses on both empirical and theoretical dimensions of why and how conflict erupts and develops, how its dynamics are altered over time, and under what conditions successful transitions to peace are possible.
The course is closely related to ongoing research and the lecturers will provide research-based knowledge on each topic, against a backdrop of theoretical discussions. The course covers topics both related to interstate (international) and intrastate (civil) wars.
Topics that will be addressed in the lectures include empirical and theoretical analysis of selected intrastate (civil) wars, natural resource scarcity and group inequality as causes of war, cross-border involvement in wars, the dynamics of violence, the laws (ethics) of war, and the transition from war to peace through peace processes and justice mechanisms.

Learning outcome

Learning Outcomes
In addition to substantial knowledge from lectures and course readings, the students shall by the end of the course:

  • Be able to relate relevant theoretical concepts to a range of empirical examples.
  • Be able to differentiate between various theoretical approaches to conflict.
  • Be familiar with various methodological approaches to the study of armed conflict.

The students shall also develop the following skills:

  • Improve their ability to critically relate to theoretical and empirical readings by participating in informed seminar-discussions on the causes and dynamics of war and transitions to peace.
  • Be able to formulate relevant and interesting research question on the basis of lectures and existing literature.
  • Gather relevant and interesting material for their course paper.
  • Critically discuss and comment upon their fellow students’ paper-outlines.


Students admitted to other Master programs may also be qualified to apply for the course. Please contact the Department of Political Science.

Only students admitted to the course may take part in instruction and tuition and sit for the examination.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.

Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.


The course will comprise of eight lectures. Each lecture will be organized around a specific theme, with room for class discussion based on the required readings. In addition to the lectures, there will be two seminars organized at the end of the lecture series. The purpose of the seminars is for the students to discuss their themes, research questions and plans for the course paper. The students are expected to present their course work plan in seminar groups, and to prepare critical and constructive comments for their fellow students. It is compulsory participation in seminars and lectures. The lectures and seminars will be given in a periode of 5 weeks.

This course will be taught at The University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other location in Oslo may be used. Fronter will normally be used.

The course is part of the regular course provision at The Faculty of Social Science. Teaching is mainly held during daytime. Detailed course-information is found on the Webpage for the current semester.


The exam consists of a 15-20 pages course paper. The topic of the paper has to be approved by the course conveners in the seminars. In the papers, the students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the course literature. In addition, they are advised to collect additional literature relevant to their specific topic of interest.
The paper is graded on a scale from A-F

In order to receive a passing grade on the essay, your topic will have to reflect the course readings and curriculum. All chosen topics should be approved by the course instructor before the deadline. An essay topic not reflecting the curriculum, will receive a failing grade( F).

The Faculty of Social Science is responsible for the exam(s), and exam(s) are/is normally held at The University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used.

Examination support material

Dictionary, which must be hand in to the Department of Political Science at least one day before the written exam.

Language of examination

It is generally possible to submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Course grades are awarded on a descending scale using alphabetic grades from A to E for passes and F for fail.

Examination results are available in StudentWeb within three weeks after the examination-date, if no other information is given on the Webpage for the current semester.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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

Students may apply for access to alternative exam resources or exam forms on the basis of chronic illness and/or special needs that create a marked disadvantage to other students in the exam situation. Mothers who are breastfeeding may apply for extra time to complete the exam.

Application-forms for special examination arrangements on school-exams may be sent to The Faculty of Social Science. Application-forms for special examination arrangements on other exams may be sent to the institute who organise the course.


This course is evaluated half way through every semester and every four year the course undergoes a thorough evaluation.

An external auditor regularly evaluates the academic quality of the course and he/she makes a written report every year.

Facts about this course






Spring 2008


Spring 2008

Teaching language