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Study Abroad in Oslo – Peace & Conflict Studies

Despite being a small country at the "edge of the world", for decades Norway has played a major role in many difficult conflicts far away from Scandinavia. This legacy has created an academic environment with world-leading research in the fields related to International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies.

Are you interested in expanding your horizons by learning more about international issues and how the world works? Bjørknes University College, situated in Norway’s capital Oslo, offers a unique study experience for both Norwegian and international students in a small and intimate college setting.

The Peace and Conflict program draws on expertise from Norway’s renowned peace research community. Students will be challenged to discuss and analyse both historical and current international issues and receive advanced academic training. As the first educational institution in Norway offering Peace and Conflict Studies at an undergraduate level, we are confident that you will find your Oslo semester to be a life changing one.


International Focus

Bjørknes is a small university college with a broad international focus and network. In addition to collaborating with a number of international institutions, we facilitate study trips and exchange programmes to the United States, Tanzania, the Middle East, South Africa, Ethiopia, Australia and Svalbard. Each autumn we invite international students to spend an exciting semester with us in Oslo.

Electives for International Students

The range of courses which are offered in English during the autumn semester is revised annually. Students take three courses, which make up a full semester’s workload (30 ECTS credits). The following courses were offered in the fall of 2020:

Bjørknes University College, Oslo, Norway

Bjørknes University College is the first and only institution in Norway to offer an undergraduate programme in Peace and Conflict Studies, and we host study abroad students on our campus in the centre of Oslo every year. The college has a staff of young, enthusiastic scholars who are dedicated to the field and teaching. Courses in Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations are offered in English during the autumn semester (August–December) in an international teaching environment together with Norwegian students. The semester represents a highly attractive opportunity for students looking for a unique study abroad experience.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, email us at hei@bhioslo.no.

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Over the years, Bjørknes University College has established strong institutional links with other academic and research institutions, such as:

We have institutional partnerships with Mekelle University in Ethiopia and the State University of Zanzibar in Tanzania.

With our strong and dedicated team of academics, we can guarantee an interesting and thought-provoking academic experience. Our staff have extensive international experience and come from a variety of academic disciplines. Their enthusiasm to share this with our students in the classroom makes for a one-of-a-kind semester.

Our Teaching Staff Includes

  • Professor Henrik Syse (member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and research professor at PRIO),
  • Professor Bernt Hagtvet (one of Norway’s most renowned political scientists and former professor at Yale Univeristy),
  • Associate Professor Hilde Restad (US foreign policy expert, PhD from the University of Virginia),
  • Associate Professor Christopher White (specialist in political theory and British politics, PhD from London School of Economics, LSE),
  • Professor Kjetil Tronvoll (Africa expert and formerly professor of human rights at the University of Oslo).

For more information about our staff, see our staff presentation.

Each semester we welcome international guest lecturers. Lectures have been given by amongst others

  • Jan Egeland (Director of NRC and former UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs)
  • Kjell Magne Bondevik (former Prime Minister of Norway)
  • Shamil Idriss (CEO of Search for Common Ground)
  • Kai Eide (Ambassador and former UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan)
  • Erik Møse (Supreme Court Justice of Norway and former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)
  • Professor Raymond Apthorpe (LSE, SOAS)
  • Barry White (former US Ambassador to Norway)

Our college also draws on human resources from various sectors, such as the NGO community, the peace research sector, from the military as well as from politics.

INT6010 Terrorism and Counterterrorism (10 sp)

Why do some people commit terrorist acts? What is a terrorist? What is terrorism? This class examines these fundamental questions and many more in order to gain some insight into one of the most talked about political phenomenons of our time. The class is taught by Dr. Hilde Restad, and has been developed in collaboration with Dr. Anders Romarheim at the Institute of Defence Studies (IFS).

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INT6040 Foreign Policy Analysis (10 sp)

In this course we examine the various theories of foreign policy and how foreign policy is made, focusing in particular on states. The intention is to provide students with an insight into the decision making process, the role of leadership in the process, the importance of history and identity in framing the foreign policy goals of a country, and how biases, perceptions, psychology and interests (bureaucracies) shape the agenda.

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INT6060 The Geopolitics of the Arctic (10 sp)

The Arctic is experiencing fast and unprecedented economic, environmental, political, and security challenges, which provides new opportunities for international cooperation, but also a potential for regional competition and even conflict. For example, the reduction of the Arctic ice cap is now exceeding earlier climatic model predictions.

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INT6070 War and Peace in the Middle East (10 sp)

In this class, we survey great power politics in the Middle East from the First World War to today in order to better understand this complex region. What role did Great Britain play in "creating" Israel? Why can’t Israel and Palestine make peace? Why does Iran resent the United States? How did the Cold War affect geopolitics in the Middle East? Why did the Arab Spring fail? And what role is Russia playing in Syria today?

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INT6080 The Ethics of War and Peace (10 sp)

The last 100 years have seen brutal wars, murderous totalitarian regimes, genocide, and nuclear weapons. But we have also witnessed an unprecedented development of international law, a great resurgence of interest in international ethics and the ethics of war, humanitarian initiatives on a large scale, and the founding of international organizations such as the United Nations.

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INT6090 Understanding Global Violence: Contemporary Trends and Theories (10 sp)

Every year in excess of half a million people die as a result of armed violence and many more suffer its consequences. In this module we examine the issues surrounding armed violence.

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INT6100 The Nobel Peace Prize – What, Why and to Whom? (10 sp)

This course will analyze the ideas behind and the actual practice(s) expressed by the Nobel Peace Prize, which is handed out in Oslo every year – the city of Bjørknes University College.

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INT6110 Migration and Refugee Studies (10 sp)

This interdisciplinary course draws on a range of theoretical approaches from political science, law, economics, sociology and history to make sense of the complex ethical, political and legal concerns surrounding population mobility.

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INT3110 International Political Thought (10 sp)

I dette emnet vil du bli introdusert for en rekke begrepsmessige og analytiske redskaper som åpner for en dypere og mer nyansert forståelse av internasjonale relasjoner. Vi tar for oss ulike teoretiske "skoler" innenfor internasjonal politikk og gir en grundig innføring i hvordan politisk tenkning om internasjonale relasjoner har oppstått og utviklet seg.

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