Undergraduate course

History of the United States

Teaching semester


Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The course aims at giving a condensed introduction to the history of the United States of America from the first European settlement in 1607 to the present time. The course is organized around three main themes.

The first, Democracy and Nation Building, is covering the status of the 13 colonies inside the British empire, their struggle for independence up to 1783, the development of a constitution and a federative state, and the consolidation of state and nation up to the crisis culminating by the Civil War 1861-65. The theme is then extended to the late 20th century, presenting the recent past with focus on political developments, social changes since World War II, civil rights and other reform movements.

The second theme, Immigration and Industrialization, is starting with a retrospective on colonial North America, but is mainly concerned with the exceptional development of the US economy during the 19th and early 20th century. Topics like agriculture, infrastructure, demography, social relations, education and science are included as well. The theme is rounded off by a description of the Depression and the New Deal of the 1930´s.

The third and last theme, USA in the World, is covering the 20th century and exploring the US as an actor on the global stage. Participation in the two world wars is examined, as well as the role of the US in international relations during the long Cold War period, and the redefinition of this role after 1989. Events are considered both from an American and from an outsider`s perspective.

Finally particular attention is given to American influence on the world economy.

Link to theme description

Learning Outcomes


The student should possess good knowledge of central events, institutions and processes in the evolution of American society. The student shall also have a fundamental insight into the methods of history.


The student shall be capable of discussing problems and interpretations of American history, and of reaching her/his own conclusions.


General competence:

The student shall demonstrate the capacity to acquaint herself/himself with an extensive scientific literature, to impart facts and positions from it, and to argue in favor of her/his own conclusions in writing.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

It is recommended that students have a good command of English, both written and spoken.

Access to the Course

The course is open for students admitted to the University of Bergen. Students without admission may be granted permission to sign up for this course on the basis of an application to the Faculty of Humanities 

Teaching and learning methods

The course is comprised of lectures, approximately 12 lectures. Language of instruction is English.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment

6-hour written examination.

An examination will also be held in the course-free term.

The examination can be written in English or Norwegian.

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F, where F is fail.

Reading List

Reading lists with compulsory curriculum (in total, approximately 1200 pages), are prepared by the Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion

Course Evaluation

The course unit will be evaluated regularly.


Contact Information


Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam. The exam location will be published 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    04.05.2018, 09:00
    6 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam