UV9002 – Philosophy of Science

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course gives a reasonably broad overview of central philosophical and epistemological topics. The course comprises a common part and a self-selected (specific) part, and is organized over three, two-day meetings. 

The common part comprises three main topics: scientific reasoning; justification, and representation. Some of the topics and authors are from classical times and are expected known. The main intention of the course is to offer tools for critical reflection and analysis.

What we can offer with regard to self-selected options depends on teacher availability. The general focus is the development and discussion of the course paper. The optional content is to supplement the common part with selected topics from the philosophy of the social and human sciences and/or philosophical perspectives on educational psychology.

If the number of participants is eight or less, the optional part is not offered. 

Learning outcome

Course aim is to strengthen the participants’ understanding of the scientific premises for their dissertation.

The common part is to develop an understanding of central philosophical and epistemological problems, for example induction, abduction and deduction, falsification, theories of truth, the concept of knowledge, under-determination, theory-ladenness, forms of representation, etc.

Both the common and self-selected parts are to provide tools for critical reflection about own and others’ research, tools for identification and evaluation of underlying assumptions, etc.

The self-selected part, including the paper, offers the opportunity for immersion in themes participants find particularly interesting and/or relevant for their own dissertation.


The Philosophy of Science course is obligatory for those admitted to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. It is possible to take an equivalent course at other institutions and apply to have it count as UV9002.

Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite. The course is open for PhD candidates from other institutions. Applicants who hold a Master’s degree can be admitted to the course if there are free places. 

Candidates admitted to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences should apply through Studentweb 

Other applicants may apply using this application form

Registration deadline: January 10, 2022.


Recommended previous knowledge

Participants with limited knowledge of the philosophy of science are recommended to acquaint themselves with the field before the course. Read for example James Ladyman (2002) Understanding philosophy of science (London: Routledge).


The course comprises lectures, seminars, presentation of and commentary on paper drafts.

The following elements are compulsory:

Meeting 2: Presentation of own paper draft and a prepared commentary on somebody else’s draft. The reading of all paper drafts and participation in the discussions.

Meeting 3: Presentation of own draft of full paper and a prepared commentary on somebody else’s draft. The reading of and participation in the discussion of all drafts.

Course structure

Meeting 1 is the common part; meetings 2 and 3 comprise the self-selected part. Between meetings 1 and 2 participants write a first (short) paper draft and distribute it to all members of the group. During meeting 2 we will work with the special topics and drafts that are presented and discussed. Between meetings 2 and 3 the participants are to complete a draft of the full paper. The structure of meeting 3 is the same as for meeting 2.

Philosophical problems and questions require concentration, reflection, discussion, maturation. The course is therefore distributed over the semester.

You will find the timetable and literature on the semester webpage for this course.


To obtain 5 study points participants need to submit an individual philosophical paper (3500-4000 words) after the course. 80% attendance is required. 

The course teachers evaluate the papers. All papers are read and graded by at least two persons. All papers receive written comments.

The deadline for paper submission is June 1 in the spring semester and December 15 in the autumn semester. 

Papers are to be submitted electronically in Canvas.

Language of examination

Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Resit an examination

Papers that do not pass are revised on the basis of the comments and resubmitted.

Contact us

Olga Mukhina (olga.mukhina@iped.uio.no)

Facts about this course






Spring 2022

Every spring semester and every other autumn semester


Spring and autumn

Teaching language

The course is taught in English every other spring semester. The course will be taught in Norwegian spring 2022 (English on request).

When the course is offered in the autumn semester, it is taught in English. The next time the course is offered in the autumn semester, is in 2021.