STV4324B – The Politics of Poverty

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

Poverty is an intrinsic component of the daily struggles for survival of more than one billion people in the developing world.

This course – given jointly by the Department of Political Science and the Centre for Development and the Environment – will introduce students to national and international policies that explain the continued existence of various types of poverty.

With the help of analytical tools, students will be able to critically understand, reflect and evaluate the impact of democracy, human rights, corruption, climate change and foreign aid on poverty reduction.

Learning outcome


Students will:

  • Obtain a nuanced understanding of how poverty is understood and measured, including the methodological challenges involved
  • Be well acquainted with the major theoretical and empirical approaches to the causation and production of chronic, acute and extreme poverty
  • Identify, differentiate and analyse the impact of conventional and participatory approaches to poverty reduction
  • Explain how and why official understandings of poverty may differ from those of people living in poverty
  • Define various types of poverty in global, national and local contexts
  • Learn how to better understand what works, how and why in relation to global and national anti-poverty interventions
  • Gain insight into the explicit role of politics in the production and reduction of poverty and inequality
  • Critically examine the impact of democracy, human rights, corruption, climate change and foreign aid on policy policies aimed at reducing poverty and inequality
  • Evaluate the role and importance of role of ethics and morality in relation to poverty research and policy


Students will be able to:

  • Critically read and evaluate existing studies on poverty and inequality-related topics
  • Apply theoretical approaches to analyse specific cases of poverty reduction at international, national and local levels
  • Undertake comparative studies of poverty reduction in differing contexts
  • Illustrate some of the major successes and failures of public policy
  • Organise and differentiate between major development interventions and their impact at international, national and local levels


Students will:

  • Acquire and further strengthen their ability to undertake critical, independent and thorough analyses of complex issues and questions
  • Enhance their ability to critically evaluate empirical research
  • Strengthen their overall ability to understand interdisciplinary theory and practice


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.




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

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 an 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 2017

This course is not given on a regular basis


Autumn 2017

This course is not given on a regular basis

Teaching language