This course is discontinued

STV4348B – Scandinavian Democracy

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The ‘Scandinavian Model’ is much talked about within Scandinavia as well as around the world. Some warn against what they perceive to be its austere consequences, such as an oversized public sector and ‘social engineering’ of people’s lives. Others are impressed by for instance the quality and scope of democracy, the comprehensive welfare system, extensive rights for workers, social peace and gender equality for which Scandinavia is known. Today, there are disputes – political and scholarly – over what precisely the model consists of, whether it has remained essentially the same across different eras and whether it reflects a specific ideological orientation. The course introduces and analyses the main components of the Scandinavian model in past and present and the relevant debates surrounding it today.

Learning outcome


Students will:

  • obtain a good grasp of the core components of the ‘Scandinavian Model’;
  • understand the interrelationship between these components;
  • understand how the components have changed over time;
  • grasp the major role of politics and democratisation in the model;
  • know different scholarly approaches to it;
  • understand the dividing lines of current political debates about the viability and ‘ownership’ of the model.


Students will

  • be able to search relevant additional information and facts about the Scandinavian model;
  • be able to analyse the above mentioned aspects of the model independently;
  • be able to assess current political arguments about the model from a scholarly perspective.


Students will:

  • enhance their capabilities in critically analysing questions about the Scandinavian model in particular and the interrelationship between democracy and social and economic development more broadly.


Students admitted to other Master programmes may also be qualified to apply for the course. Please see the webpage on Hospitant students.

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.

Students without prior knowledge of Scandinavian politics should consult:
Heidar, Knut (ed.) (2004): Nordic Politics. Comparative Perspectives, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, and Arter, David (1999/2008): Scandinavian Politics Today. Second Edition. Manchester: Manchester University Press and/or Hilson, Mary ( 2008): The Nordic Model. Scandinavia since 1945, London: Reaktion Books.


10 lectures will be given. The lectures are held intensively for a period of 5 weeks, with the exam in the sixth week.

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

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


One essay (15-20 pages in total), and an oral presentation with brief examination of the course literature.

In order to receive a passing grade on the essay, your topic must reflect the course readings and curriculum. All chosen topics should be approved by the course instructor before the deadline.

You will receive one overall grade for the course, of which the essay accounts for ¾ and the oral presentation/examination ¼. In order to pass the course, both your essay and your oral examination must be passed.

Oral presentations with examination are held on Tuesday 24 September.

Deadline for essay submission is Monday 14 October.


Language of examination

It is 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

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


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






Autumn 2013


Autumn 2013

Teaching language