Student Pages
Postgraduate course


  • ECTS credits5
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeRELMIN647
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


Place of Instruction

Online course, and therefore not restricted to Bergen.

Objectives and Content

Whereas throughout history states have undertaken efforts to protect minorities, it has been the Western liberal tradition to demand that equality be bequeathed to all individual citizens, no matter the religious, social, ethnic, or other groups these were affiliated to. In other words, in multicultural political units, all are supposed to be treated in an equal manner. At the same time, the Western liberal tradition has tended to focus on the state, often identified with a single national culture, as the preferred politico-cultural unity. Moreover, since the Second World War, Western liberals have increasingly become weary of bestowing particular rights on groups rather than individuals.

Western liberalism is a political ideology that is influential far beyond European and North American borders. This course explores these emphases and preferences of modern Western liberalism, their varieties and political expressions, and the ways in which they affect ethnic and national minorities.

Learning Outcomes

The student shall by the end of the course have gained the following learning outcome defined in knowledge, skills, and general competence:


The student

  • has thorough knowledge of the most important elements of the development of the Western liberal tradition in regard to multiculturalism over the last two centuries
  • can analyze the main debates within the Western liberal tradition about the extent in which national or ethnic minorities need support and protection as groups


The student

  • can engage in critical discussion and peer review
  • can cooperate with peers on a joint presentation demonstrating a critical understanding of the main issues surrounding multiculturalism
  • can use the relevant theories about multiculturalism to do an independent study

General competence:

The student

  • can analyze the various research and ethical problems surrounding religious minorities in relation to different liberal notions of minority rights in modern Western states
  • can communicate critically about the position of national and ethnic minorities in modern Western democracies in an independent research essay, using the academic terminology of the research field
  • can make balanced and informed judgments about particular circumstances of conflict related to minorities in a multicultural state

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

The course literature is in English. Students should therefore have a sound knowledge of English.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap


Access to the Course

Admission to the Master┬┐s Programme Religious Minorities.

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching and student activities in this course will entirely take place online.


  • short introductory videos.
  • Readings
  • following each video/reading there will be a short quiz, that tests the students basic understanding of the video/reading
  • individual feedback on discussion postings and essays from the instructor
  • participation in online discussions

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

In this course the following compulsory requirements have to be approved in order to sit for the examination:

  • Course quizzes following videos and/or texts. There will be between 1 and 5 quizzes per week. The quizzes will test the students┬┐ command of the prescribed course material, and successful completion of at least 70% online course questions in course quizzes is required.
  • A minimum of one discussion posting (minimum 100 words) that answers one of more questions as well as a minimum of two responses (of each minimum 50 words) to postings by other students.
  • At least four useful comments on the essays 1 and 2 of other students (peer-reviewed assignments)

Compulsory requirements are evaluated with "approved/not approved."

Forms of Assessment

The examination consists of two assessments:

  1. Joint digital presentation of two or three students, in which each student is responsible for 10 minutes of the presentation. The grade will be based on the individual contribution (40% of the total grade).
  2. essay (2000 words) 60% of the total grade.

Both parts of the assessment must be passed in order to pass the examination.

The examination will be given a total grade.

Grading Scale

A graded marking scale (A to F) is used. A is the top grade and F means Failed.

Assessment Semester

The course is normally assessed in the teaching semester only.

Reading List

The reading list consists of approximately 500 pages.

The reading list is published by June 1st. for the autumn semester and by December 1st. for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course unit will be evaluated regularly.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee for The Study of Religion

Course Coordinator

The Programme Committee for The Study of Religions, Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies- and Religions (AHKR)

Course Administrator

Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies- and Religion (AHKR)


Study Advisor: studierettleiar@ahkr.uib.no

Administration of examination: eksamen@ahkr.uib.no