The Politics and Global Governance of International Protection



Mål og innhald

This course aims to provide a novel, comprehensive understanding of the politics and governance of political asylum and refugee protection.

The course focuses on the norms, governance, and recognition of the right to international protection. Regarding norms, it offers multiple notions of "refugee" and discusses the legal grounds deployed in determining access to the right to international protection in different jurisdictions. Regarding governance, it outlines the opportunities and limits of action regarding refugee protection. It assesses the roles of different actors, focusing particularly on the dynamics of collaboration between key refugee-protecting actors operating at different levels of the global governance system. Attention is paid to the legal grounds, institutional architectures, and procedures of refugee protection foreseen by (i) the United Nations' Geneva Convention of 1951, (ii) the United Nations' Global Compact on Refugees of 2018 (GCR), and (iii) the European Union's Common European Asylum System of 1999-2020 (CEAS) and its new Migration and Asylum Pact (2020). Regarding recognition of the right to international protection, the course takes a public sphere approach by looking at support for international protection in citizen attitudes and traditional and social media. Further, the course assesses empirically the role of politics, institutions, procedures, discourses and public opinion in delivering policies that provide worthy protection and dignity to refugees and asylum seekers. The course curriculum stitches together refugee-protection related academic knowledge deriving from comparative politics, international politics, international law, political theory, and media studies.


A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


This course will give the students:

  • Comparative-empirical knowledge of the global governance of international protection
  • The roles of non-state organizations, states, and intergovernmental organizations in refugee protection and political asylum
  • The global political context around refugee protection and political asylum
  • Different theoretical and conceptual approaches to refugee protection and political asylum in legal theory, political theory, and  normative theory


Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • assess how the international society functions around problems related with refugee protection and political asylum
  • recognize/identify global governance- and policy-networks in the field of refugee protection and political asylum
  • evaluate policies and their implementation in the field of refugee protection and political asylum

General Competence

This course aims to equip the students with the following skills:

  • Hands-on knowledge of how to do policy analysis and use policy evaluation tools at the global, European and national levels
  • Hands-on knowledge of policy implementation assessment tools at the global, European and national  levels

Studiepoeng, omfang


Studienivå (studiesyklus)



Krav til forkunnskapar
Tilrådde forkunnskapar
Krav til studierett
Open to all students at the University of Bergen
Arbeids- og undervisningsformer
Teaching methods include:
  • Lectures in class
  • Group work is recommended on the policy brief (see 'forms of assessment' below). For this, students will have access to unique qualitative and quantitative data.
Obligatorisk undervisningsaktivitet

Portfolio assessment. The portfolio consists of two parts:

  • A five-day long take-home exam (max. 3000 words) (75 %)
  • Policy-brief assignment (max. 1500 words. The policy brief can be either (i) a policy recommendation regarding a given refugee situation or (ii) a policy assessment regarding a given implemented policy. The resulting policy brief should be based on students' own research and the course material. The research and writing work should be carried out throughout the semester and submitted on the date to be announced). (25 %)

The portfolio will be assessed as a whole, and one final grade will be given.

The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.

The exam can be submitted in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.


Assessment in teaching semester.

A retake exam for either parts of the exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 of the Study Regulations at UiB. If a retake exam are arranged for students with valid absence, students with the following results can also register:

  • Interruption during the exam
  • Fail/Not passed

 If you qualify for the retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence, you can register yourself in Studentweb after January 15.

The curriculum will be ready by 01.07 for autumn and 01.12 for the spring term.
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses. 
Administrativt ansvarleg
The Department of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the programme.