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Undergraduate course

Life courses in a Scandinavian welfare state

  • ECTS credits15
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeSOS109
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

Teaching semester

This course can be offered in the spring semester, but the offer will wary from semester to semester

Objectives and Content

SOS109 is an in-depth course related to one of the Department of Sociology's key research areas: Welfare, inequality and life course. The objective of our in-depth courses is to give students the opportunity to explore the theory traditions, research problems and discussions of our key research areas.

The course will provide an introduction to the life course perspective, and use this to address some of the challenges currently facing welfare states. Case studies from Norway will be used to illustrate wider historical developments and contemporary debates. The main focus will be on the variety of institutional contexts in which welfare is provided in different phases of the life course and how these contexts have changed over recent decades, influencing peoples' lives in different ways depending on age, gender, ethnicity and social class. The course will challenge individualistic and simplistic conceptions of welfare by examining patterns of interdependence and care work in different phases of life. The demographic challenges facing welfare states will be addressed based on a life course perspective on intergenerational relations.

Learning Outcomes

A candidate who has completed his or her qualification should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


Upon completion of the course the student is able to

  • outline central features of the life course perspective
  • differentiate between different meanings of the term welfare
  • point out the main contexts in which welfare is provided in different phases of the life course, and indicate how these contexts have changed over recent decades
  • give examples of interactions in childhood, adulthood and old age between formal and informal care, public support systems and private support systems
  • discuss the concepts of dependency, independence and interdependence with reference to concrete historical contexts
  • describe different meanings of the concept of generations and discuss these in relation to contemporary claims about generational conflict


Upon completion of the course the student is able to

  • present written accounts of issues related to welfare and life courses using sociological concepts and perspectives

General competence

Upon completion of the course the student is able to

  • understand and discuss concrete social phenomena

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

SOS100A or SOS100B Innføring i sosiologi (Introduction to Sociology), SOS101 Klassisk og moderne sosiologisk teori (Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory).

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars.

  • Lectures: 20-24 hours
  • Seminars: 20-24 hours

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Mandatory term paper (3000 words +/- 10 percent).

The essay will be commented and must be approved before the student can take the written exam.

Approved compulsory assignment is valid for 2 semesters.

Forms of Assessment

6 hour written exam

Grading Scale

Grading A-F

Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester and the following semester (ordinary exam for students with valid and approved compulsory requirements).

Reading List

The reading list for the autumn semester will be available within 1 June and within 1 December for the spring semester

Course Evaluation

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

Programme Committee

The Department of Sociology is responsible for the program´s content, structure and quality and for the quality of all the courses offered under the program.