Postgraduate course

Master Topic in Modern Political Theory

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeFIL316
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageNorwegian or English
  • Resources

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Political theory is an interdisciplinary research field in which issues relating to equitable distribution, theory of democracy, recognition of minorities and different understandings of power is central. Political theory analyzes and reflects on current political issues and social, cultural and institutional change processes. The course covers topics related to the main directions and key issues in political theory from about 1970 to the present, with emphasis on both empirical-descriptive and normative theory formations (liberalism, communitarianism, proseduralisme) and postmodern perspective on the state, the individual and society.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course, the student should have

  • a general overview of key concepts, theories and controversies in political theory
  • a general understanding of similarities and differences between different theoretical approaches, argumentation ways and ways of presentation


After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • recognize and critically evaluate theoretical main positions, argumentation ways and ways of presentation in philosophical literature and in public policy discussions
  • convey feature of these main positions and reasoning methods in academic as well as in public contexts
  • reflect on the relevance of different directions in contemporary political theory for understanding the current social, cultural and institutional change processes


After completing the course, the student should be competent to

  • independently identify and evaluate the key literature in contemporary political theory
  • to impart knowledge about this literature and the perspectives it provides on current issues both to a professional and a general public
  • to assess the relevance of central concepts and theories in the analysis of and reflection on key political controversy
  • identify and critically evaluate argumentation ways and ways of presentation in both professional and general texts on social, cultural and institutional change processes

The course can be part of a bachelor's degree with a specialization in philosophy. In combination with other topics and subjects may be included in an education that qualifies for teaching philosophy in high school or college. The course may also be suitable to support specialization in fundamental questions in connection with the study of other subjects.

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor degree with 90 credits specializing in philosophy or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.

Access to the Course

A condition for entry into this course is having been accepted for the Masters programme in philosophy.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is offered in the form of lectures

The number of gatherings may be reduced if the number of students attending the course is less than 4. In that case, the students will be compensated with individual or group tutoring.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

An approval of compulsory requirements is valid for three semesters, including the semester in which the approval is given.

Submission of a draft of the semester assignment paper before supervision.

Individual supervision given by the teacher of the course.

Submission of a short assignment at 1000-1200 words. The topic is given by the teacher. Deadline is set by the department. The assignment must be approved to be able to take the exam.

Students must attend at least two thirds of the seminars.

Forms of Assessment

A supervised semester assignment paper of 4000- 6000 words (not including table of contents, list of references etc.) The topic of the paper must be approved in advance by the teacher of the course. . The semester assignment paper will be assessed at the end of the semester.

The compulsory activities have to be formally approved before one can take an exam in the course.

The compulsory requirements have to be formally approved in a semester in which there is teaching in the relevant course in order to register for the examination in a semester in which there is no teaching in that course.

Grading Scale

From A to F

Course Evaluation

The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.


Contact Information

Department of Philosophy

Email: studierettleiar@fof.uib.no">studierettleiar@fof.uib.no