Europe after 1945: Transformations in European Economies and Societies

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course provides an overview of the history of Europe from the end of World War II up to the present. It uses a comprehensive economic perspective on Europe's fragmented past. Students learn that there is not one continuous narrative that does justice to the continent's past, as Europeans experienced and shaped no linear straightforward development. Thus, a broad economic perspective serves as a tool to follow through without neglecting other aspects of society.

Students learn how and why the history of Europe is connected to the present and that today's developments can only be explained by looking at previous twist and turns. Thus, students also learn about different historical approaches to the past 70-80 years and become familiar with historical methods, narratives and interpretations.

For the meantime, the course follows a chronological order and starts with the impact of World War II on the people in Europe. While the war left the continent widely devastated, the periods thereafter were marked by rapid growth. The years until 1990/91 were characterized by the cold war divide with long lasting aftermaths on the societies in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile the period since the 1980s is shaped by the process of globalization. In addition to all this, Europe has always been affected by and itself influenced processes, developments and events in other regions in the world. Europe's history is complex and the course teaches this complexity.

The course is mandatory for students enrolled in European Studies, but open to other UiB students as well. History students can use the course to specialize for their Bachelor thesis (HIS250/HIS250L).

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes:


The student

  • has a thorough understanding of the history of Europe from 1945 to the present
  • knows important historical interpretations and debates about the European history


The student

  • is able to comprehend and assess scholarly research
  • identify and discuss research questions
  • draw conclusions based on historical literature

General competence

The student

  • can study scholarly texts
  • is able to form and discuss arguments, as to be shown in the exam(s)

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Good command of English, both written and spoken.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
The course is open for students enrolled at the University of Bergen.
Teaching and learning methods
Approximately 15 lectures
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

In order to take the written exam, the student must have passed a compulsory written paper. The deadline for submission and guidelines for this compulsory requirement is announced on Mitt UiB in the beginning of the teaching semester.

The passed compulsory requirement is valid for one semester following the teaching semester in which it was passed.

Forms of Assessment
  • 5 days home exam, maximum 3000 words.

Compulsory requirements must be passed and valid in order to take the written examination.

The exam assignment will be given in English.

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

Grading Scale
Grades will be set using a scale of A to F.
Assessment Semester
Spring. An examination will also be held in the course-free semester (autumn). This exam is only open for students with valid compulsory requirements.
Reading List

The reading list is submitted by July 1th for the Autumn semester and by December 1th for the Spring semester

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

Course Evaluation
The course unit will be evaluated regularly
Examination Support Material
Bilingual English dictionary (non encyclopedic). The dictionary will be checked by the staff.
Programme Committee
The programme committe is the course coordinator and is responsible for the quality of the programme and all the courses in it.
Course Coordinator
Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural studies and Religion, UiB.
Course Administrator
The Faculty of Humanities by Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural studies and Religion is the course administrator.