Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Democracy and Democratization

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Students in this course will acquire a broad and sophisticated knowledge of democratic and non-democratic political systems as well as the processes which result in changes in the type of political system. They will approach these topics theoretically (through a survey of concepts and theories of democracy), historically (they will read a large variety of articles and book chapters that study individual countries' experiences from around the world in a comparative analytic framework), and scientifically (they will be exposed to classic research questions and hypotheses and study past and contemporary research that presents findings to answer these questions). Students will also study institutional varieties of democratic systems and study scientifically whether different types perform better in terms of economic and other outcomes. There are also selected readings throughout the course which instruct the students in the methodology of studying democratic and non-democratic systems. Most of the readings are professional (yet accessible) journal articles and book chapters, organized by theme and pedagogical value, supplemented by selections drawn from intermediate-level texts. Students will acquire the ability to analyze and interpret world political events related to democratic and non-democratic political systems.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will have achieved the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • possesses a broad knowledge of central themes (democratization, varieties of political regimes, democratic performance, democratic institutions), theories (democratic theory, theory of regime consolidation, theory of regime change), research questions and traditions (Why do regimes rise and fall?; How do we evaluate regime performance?; What role does civil society play under democracy?), processes (regime change; civil society activation), scholarly tools (concepts, data, models of democracy) og methods (qualitative and quantitative) in the study of political regimes and regime change.
  • is familiar with foundational literature (classic and contemporary research) as well as developments in the scholarly literature (cutting-edge developments) within the field of study concerning democracy and democratization;
  • can update and extend existing knowledge (building upon introductory Sampol courses) in the study of democracy and democratization via advanced scholarly literature, data, and research methods;
  • has knowledge concerning the role played by and the impact of democracy and democratization throughout history as well as the role played by democracy and political regime change in contemporary societies studied cross-nationally.


The student

  • can apply knowledge from the study of democracy and democratization and relevant findings in the scholarly literature on these topics to formulate informed analyses and prognoses on related issues on a global scale;
  • can reflect over issues related to democracy and democratization and build upon them to formulate innovative research questions and research agendas;
  • can build upon knowledge and literature studied in order to develop further research in the area of democracy and democratization, applying theories, concepts, data, and methods studied in this course;
  • can build upon the home essay assignment for further, more sophisticated research into literature and problems in the study of democracy and democratization.

General Competence

The student

  • has developed insights into the key issues regarding political regimes, democratization, regime stability, democratic quality and performance that are relevant for understanding and consulting on political systems in the world today;
  • can disseminate and effectively convey central issues in the study of democracy and regime change, including key concepts and theories, empirical patterns, and findings from the scholarly literature;
  • is familiar with new ways of studying and understanding political regimes and the institutional design of new democracies from past as well as contemporary history.

Required Previous Knowledge

Fulfilment of general admission requirements

Recommended Previous Knowledge


Access to the Course

Open for all students at the University of Bergen

Teaching and learning methods


Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Group work: Write one two-page paper in which you summarize the key argument presented in one article/chapter (drawn from the course reading list) on the topic of democratic backsliding and apply it to one regime discussed in an article/chapter of your choice that is not drawn from the course reading list.

The approval of compulsory assignments has no time limit

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment. The portfolio consist of two parts:

  • 7-day take-home midterm examination, maximum 1500 words (40% of the final grade)
  • 5-day take-home final examination, maximum 3500 words (60% of the final grade)

An overall assessment of the portfolio with one grade will be given.

Grading Scale

Grading A-F

Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester

Reading List

The reading list will be ready before 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester. 

Course Evaluation

All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  

Course Coordinator

Course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB.

Course Administrator

Department of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Portfolio assesment

    Submission deadline
    17.12.2021, 17:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam
    • Exam part: Home examination, 7-day

      Assignment handed out
      12.10.2021, 08:00
      Submission deadline
      19.10.2021, 14:00
      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Home examination, 5-day

      Assignment handed out
      13.12.2021, 09:00
      Submission deadline
      17.12.2021, 17:00
      Examination system
      Digital exam