Conceptualizing Global Challenges: Theoretical Advances

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This course builds on GOV351 Understanding Global Challenges, where students gained foundational knowledge of how global challenges are being addressed from a politics and governance perspective. Through group projects and written assignments, this theory course teaches students how to apply selected theoretical lenses to conceptualize and critically examine real-world problems in the realm of global challenges, how to justify the choice of a particular theoretical approach, and how to discuss its limitations.

The course is organized as project-based learning with student-driven investigation of selected global challenges through our different theoretical lenses. To test the students´ enhanced and deep understanding of theory, and also to prepare for the MA thesis, the graded assignment is an academic essay. In addition, students will produce a non-graded assignment in the form of either a student-led seminar with a 2-page handout, a policy brief for a blog, a curated book review, or a poster for the global to provide contents for the global challenges day at end of first year.

Learning Outcomes


The student knows

  • how to organize and conduct research in groups
  • how to develop and present lectures
  • how to reason with interdisciplinary perspectives


The student can

  • apply analytical/theoretical frameworks/approaches to specific global challenges in independent research 
  • can discuss and assess the relevance of academic and professional contributions to the field concerning different policy problems
  • can communicate and discuss advanced and professional arguments with different audiences
  • can provide practical applications of theory through written and oral presentations and in discussions with relevant actors in public policy and administration

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
GOV351, GOV352, GOV353, GOV354
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course

The course is open for students who have been accepted to the Master's program in Politics and Governance of Global Challenges. 

Exchange students at master level may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

Teaching and learning methods
Lectures, student-led seminars; final conference
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
A non-graded assignment: student-led seminar where students prepare and present either a policy brief for a blog, a curated book review, or a poster (or similar assignments of student choice) at the global challenges day.
Forms of Assessment

Written essay, approximately 6000 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 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
The Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.