Scandinavian Politics and Government

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The objective of the course is to provide the student with a basic understanding of political structures, political actors and public policies in the Scandinavian countries.

State- and nation building processes of the Scandinavian states, including the current status of ethnic minority groups with the societies.

The current structure of the governmental institutions, with a focus on the role of parliament, the relationship between parliaments and the executive power, the structure of the state and the relationships between the central level and regional and local authorities.

Political participation, party systems and political representation. This part focuses on the developments of electoral and other forms of participation, the structure of the party system and the linkages between the electorate and the political parties. Included in this theme, is the study of interest organizations and the 'corporatist' nature of Scandinavian societies. The topic of representation covers the operation of the electoral system, the nomination of candidates and the representation of parties and socio-economic groups in parliament.

The public policy part of the course focuses particularly on the development of and structure of the Scandinavian welfare state, while the theme on foreign policy is focused on the Scandinavian states' relationship to European integration.  

Learning Outcomes

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


  • Demonstrate knowledge of the forms of government and the political systems of the Nordic countries.


  • Compare the Nordic countries in order to identify similarities and differences related to form of government, the welfare state, parties and party systems, state- and nation-building and the relationship between the Nordic countries and the EU.
  • Analyze various institutional, historical and policy processes that unite and separate the Nordic countries and thereby discuss the validity of the concept of the Nordic model.

General competence

  • Critically relate concepts, models and theories to empirical examples and facts
  • Write an essay based on the principles of academic writing and correct use of sources

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
A student who has already completed SAMPOL240, SAMPOL110 or SAMPOL105, SAMPOL106 and SAMPOL107 will get the credit for SAMPOL120 reduced by 10 points.
Access to the Course
Teaching and learning methods

Form: Lectures and seminars

Hours per week: approximately 4

Number of weeks: minimum 10

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

One compulsory group presentation in the seminar.

The approval of a compulsory assignment has no time limit.

Forms of Assessment

4 days take-home exam, maximum 4000 words.

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

The exam can be submitted in English. It is also possible to submit in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Grading Scale
Grading A-F
Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester

Re-take exams are 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 15th.

Reading List
The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber 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 Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.