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Course content

This course offers PhD candidates at the Faculty of Social Sciences instruction in key philosophical questions related to the stated and unstated premises of the respective disciplines in terms of epistemology, methodology, ethics, history and sociology. In addition, the course will give candidates the opportunity to reflect on the role they will be socialized into as new research fellows with the requirements and expectations this entails.

Learning outcome

The main purpose of instruction in the philosophy of science is to strengthen doctoral candidates’ ability for reflection and to enrich their research education.

This entails:

  • developing candidates’ knowledge of the distinctive character, strengths and limitations of their own discipline including in the encounter with other disciplines and other sectors of society;

  • developing candidates’ ability for critical thinking, including their ability to reflect on their own discipline and own research from different external academic perspectives;

  • educating in this way researchers who combine scientific strength and authority with academic maturity, whereby the understanding of the limitations of their own discipline and the value of other perspectives will always remain with them in their work as doctors of philosophy both within and outside academia.


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.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The course is compulsory for all candidates on the PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences with the exception of candidates from the Department of Economics who can choose to take a separate course. Candidates apply via StudentWeb. The deadline for registering for spring 2018 is February 15th.

Please note: Prior to the start of the course, all candidates must submit a draft essay (approximately 1,500 words), based on their own research project in which they make use of parts of the course reading list and any other relevant literature to reflect on challenges related to the philosophy of science and/or other methodology. You are recommended to use at least one of the sources given in the course reading list, but if you consider it most appropriate to use only other sources this is also permitted. The draft essay will be the basis for group discussions during the seminar week.

Deadline for submission: 2pm March 23rd 2018 in Canvas. If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to Higher Executive Officer Sverre Gustavsen at the Department of Psychology.

Please note that candidates at the Department of Psychology should only enrol on course SV9101 and not on the research ethics course SV9102. The Department of Psychology arranges its own course on research ethics.

External candidates cannot take this course. You must be admitted to the programme to be able to sit the examination.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Mandatory prerequisites

Admission to the course is dependent on admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo. Candidates from other departments at UiO may be admitted if there is free capacity.

Overlapping courses

5 credits overlap with ECON9010


The course is offered twice a year.

The teaching varies between lectures and seminars, and comprises a total of 24 hours over one intensive week. The candidates are expected to participate actively both during the lectures and the seminars. In the seminar component all candidates will have been requested in advance to give a 20-minute oral presentation of their PhD project and the draft philosophy of science essay to their group. The others in the group, including an academic employee, will have received the draft for perusal beforehand and are expected to make comments with the aim of giving the candidate useful input for the completion of the essay after the course.

80% attendance on all instruction days is compulsory for SV9101. See also Guidelines for compulsory activities.

Admission to teaching

If you have completed and received approval of the compulsory teaching component, you are not entitled to further instruction. If you have been admitted to the course, but have not completed or received approval of the compulsory teaching component, you are entitled to new instruction when there is free capacity.


When the course has ended, you must revise and complete your essay on the philosophy of science and submit it for evaluation ('Pass'/'Fail') in Canvas at the latest four weeks after the end of the course: Deadline for submission: May 25th 2018 at 2pm. NB: Approved compulsory attendance is a prerequisite for submitting the written assignment unless you have made an agreement with the Department of Psychology regarding a one-day absence.

Formal guidelines

The essay must be from 5,000−6,000 words (cover page, abstract, illustrations and list of references come in addition) in Times New Roman, font size 12, and a line and paragraph spacing of 1.5.

For source references and quotations, please use the APA Style, or a style template established for your own discipline. The Faculty of Social Sciences has prepared an overview of rules for quotations and source references based on the APA standard.

Guidelines on content

The philosophy of science essay must discuss philosphical and/or methodological issues related to your own PhD project. Candidates are encouraged to link this to the discussion of the course literature and/or teaching during the course, in addition to any other relevant sources. If you consider it more appropriate to use only literature sources that are not included on the reading list, this is also permitted, but you are recommended to use at least one source from the reading list.

Required academic level

The philosophy of science essays submitted for assessment must be of an academic and literary quality that justifies potential inclusion in the candidate’s doctoral thesis (e.g. in the opening chapter or in a chapter on methodology or theory if writing a monograph).

Language of examination

The essay is written in English.

Grading scale

The course uses the grading scale Pass/Fail. Read more about the Grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

If the Fail grade is awarded, the candidate can submit a new assignment for evaluation within the deadline for the following semester (NB: Please note that the examination language varies: Norwegian or English can be used in the spring semester but only English in the autumn semester).

If a student falls ill while writing the semester assignment, he/she must contact Higher Executive Officer Sverre Gustavsen at the Department of Psychology at the latest the day before the submission deadline. Documentation of legitimate absence must be included along with the application for deferred submission of assignment, see section 5.5. of the Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo.


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.

Feedback from our students is essential if we are to offer the best possible courses and programmes of study. We carry out continuous evaluation of this course, and at regular intervals we request students to participate in a more comprehensive, periodic evaluation of the course.

Facts about this course






Spring and autumn


Spring and autumn