SV9105 – Philosophy of social science

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course is given for the last time autumn 2020 and spring 2021. Examination is held for the last time autumn 2021. The course is replaced by SV9108 that is taught every spring starting spring 2021.

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 and history. 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.


The course is compulsory for all candidates on the PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

PhD candidates must each semester register for classes and examinations through Studentweb.

The deadline for registering is February 1st for courses in the spring semester and September 1st for courses in the autumn semester.

This course is only available for candidates admitted to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo.

Overlapping courses



The first day consists of lectures. The second and third days are thematic days, with shorter lectures, disciplinary or interdisciplinary group discussions, and/or panels.

Compulsory activities

  • 75% attendance on all instruction days.
  • Active participation during the lectures, seminars and group discussions.
  • It is mandatory to attend the teaching in an autumn semester and in a spring semester. The Faculty recommends that you attend the teaching in two consecutive semesters. After your second semester of attending the course you can hand in your exam essay.



The essay:

  • can only be handed in after you have attended the second semester of the course. 
  • must be between 4000-8000 words. Cover page, abstract, illustrations and list of references come in addition. 
  • must have Times New Roman, font size 12, and a line and paragraph spacing of 1.5.
  • For source references and quotations, please use a style template established for your own discipline

Choose one of the following options:

  • A topic drawn from one of the thematic days
  • A discussion of principal challenges related to methods and/or theories used in your PhD project
  • Reflections on some classical/basic question in the philosophy of the social sciences

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 pass/fail scale. 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.

If a fail grade is awarded, the candidate can submit a new assignment for evaluation within the deadline for the following semester.

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 2020 and spring 2021. 


Autumn 2021. 

You need to have completed two semesters (one autumn semester and one spring semester) before you can hand in your essay.

Teaching language