This course is discontinued

EDU4230 – Higher Education and the Europe of Knowledge

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course introduces you to change dynamics in higher education related to the growing interest of political and socio-economic actors and agencies in knowledge as a core aspect of modern economies and societies. The focus will be on the Europe of Knowledge, as a unique example of a multi-level knowledge society that in many respects is regarded as a relevant frame of reference to other regions in the world.

The course looks at supranational, national and institutional level policies and strategies and their importance for understanding the notion of the knowledge society, both in a specific European as well as a more global context.

This concerns both a multi-level and multi-actor governance and policy perspective. It also discusses the concept of knowledge as interpreted and used at these various governance levels, and the ways in which an institutional theory approach can be applied in order to get a better understanding of the way in which traditional institutional arrangements with respect to higher education are changing in the framework of the overall, multi-level and multi-actor governance and policy focus on the Europe of Knowledge.

Learning outcome

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of the notion of the knowledge society, within a specific European as well as general global context. This covers contributing to a better understanding of the nature of multi-level and multi-actor governance and policy arrangements, their interplay and impact when it comes to realizing the vision of the Europe of Knowledge.

In general the course is focused on change dynamics in higher education. As an important element in this, you will also learn how change dynamics of higher education systems and institutions can be interpret and understood by applying institutional theory.

Knowledge and understanding:

By the end of the study unit, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic nature of the notion of the knowledge society.
  • Analyse and interpret changes in higher education systems and institutions by applying institutional theory.
  • Understand the relevance of knowledge in change dynamics in societies around the world.

Skills including transferable skills:

By the end of the study unit, you will be able to:

  • Analyze and use relevant theories, methods and interpretations in the field of higher education studies, and be able to use these independently in the interpretation and analysis of specific policy-problems.
  • Analyze and critically interpret and use various sources of information and data, and apply these in structuring and formulating academic argumentations and conclusions within the field of higher education.


By the end of the study unit, you will be able to:

  • Analyze and understand relevant research problems with respect to the notion of the knowledge society.
  • Apply your knowledge and skills in the implementation of advanced tasks and projects in the field of higher education studies.
  • Communicate independently in various ways about your own academic activities and use the main concepts, theories and terms of the field in your academic communications.


The course is a part of the Master Programme in Education Policies for Global Development (GLOBED) wich is a joint degree coordinated by The Autonomous University of Barcelona. 

Only students formally accepted to the programme may attend this course.

All students in the GLOBED master programme must apply according to the procedures laid out by the The Autonomous University of Barcelona and The University of Oslo.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course requires that you have completed the first semester courses of the programme at the The Autonomous University of Barcelona: Study programme.


The course combines lectures and seminars, with active student input and group work. 

All students have to study a compendium consisting of the core literature for the course (ca.300 pages in total). The language of instruction is English.

There is a mandatory 80 per cent attendance requirement for all courses. If a student does not fulfill the mandatory attendance requirement, they must complete an additional assignment prior to passing the course. The requirement for the additional assignment is at the discretion of the teacher. If you do not fulfill the requirements you may not take the exam.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The assessment will be based on a home assignment. The students are required to write a paper based on the course concepts and literature. The paper ought not to exceed more than 7 pages in length. Requirements and deadlines will be announced at the beginning of the course. The home assignment will count as the entire portion of the final grade. The paper will be evaluated by the involved teaching staff.

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

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in 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

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.


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






Spring 2018


Spring 2018

Spring 2018 is the final time this course runs. Students who wish to re-take the exam for this course can do so this semester. Deadline to register is June 7th. Contact the student coordinator for registration.

Teaching language