Political Organization and Multilevel Governance

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The purpose of this course is to analyse the political-administrative system's structures and processes in the intersection of political and organizational theories. One of the aims of this course is to study administrative policies, administrative reforms and institutional change in a multi-level governance perspective. Many of the major challenges - both theoretically and in practice - when it comes to the formation and manner of operation of the political-administrative system lies in the interface between different administrational levels, ministerial areas, sectors and between elected and administrative bodies. An important question is how organization and management forms come to be and change through organizational innovations in the tension between democratic governance, public administration, and markets. New regulatory and supervisory policies, new control and audit forms, the emergence of new information and communication technologies, changes in relationships of trust, in accountability relations, in manners of coordination and specialization, and tensions between political control and professional autonomy in independent administrative bodies are studied.

Learning Outcomes

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


The student has knowledgde about

  • organization theory approaches to how formal organizations function.
  • multi-level governance, implementation, and transformative approaches.
  • an institutional approach, which combines instrumental models, cultural perspectives, and environmental adaptation.
  • european cooperation, constitutionalism, international integration and institution-building.
  • political governance, democratic control of the representatives, and accountability.


The student

  • can discuss and reflect on the relevance of theories and theoretical concepts.
  • understand why theory is important for empirical research.
  • is able to use theory and theoretical concepts to develop empirical indicators.
  • is able to read and understand advanced scientific articles.

General competence

The student has

  • analytical skills and competency in political science and public administration
  • enhanced competence to discuss academic literature with peers and others
  • improved ability to read scholarly literature instrumentally and critically
  • improved ability to identify relevant research questions in social sciences
  • improved competency to write an analytical paper

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Spring, irregular
Required Previous Knowledge
Students must have completed a bachelor's degree in political science or an equivalent (subject to approval by the administration of the Department of Government), or a bachelor´s degree in Social Sciences, Pshycology or Law. 
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
  • AORG326 (10 ECTS)
  • Access to the Course

    The course is open for students who have been accepted to Master programmes at the Department of Government.

    The course gives priority to students accepted to the Master programmes at the Department of Government. Students accepted to other master's programmes in Social Sciences, Pshycology and Law can sign up if there are places left. Maximum students per course is twenty (20) students. Exchange students at master level may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

    If the number of students registered for a course is five or less, the Department may consider offering the course in seminar format.

    Teaching and learning methods

    Lectures, discussions and guest lecturers

    At five or less registered students, course activities and teaching will be in the form of seminars and comprise lesser extent of activities than as outlined in the timetable.

    Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

    Submission and presentation of a reflection paper of a scientific paper, maximum 1200 words. Full attendance to no less than 80 % of the class meetings is required to be able to sit for exam.

    The compulsory assignment must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignments are valid in the current and following two semesters.

    Forms of Assessment

    Written essay on topic of own choosing that utilized literature from the course syllabus, approximately 4000 words (excluding the title page, table of contents, references, tables, and all attachments).

    The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.
    The exam answer can be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish. It is also possible to submit in English.

    Grading Scale
    Graded A-F
    Assessment Semester

    Assessment in teaching semester.

    A retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 in the UiB regulations.

    If there is a retake exam, this will be available for students with the follow results/absences:

    • Medical certificate/valid absence
    • Interruption during the exam
    • Fail/failed

    If you have the right to take a retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absences, you can sign up yourself in Studentweb after 1. August.

    Reading List
    The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 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 Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  
    Course Administrator
    Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.