SIW4301 Philosophy of Social Science Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Philosophy of Social Science
Master Programme in Applied Social Sciences - Study Option International Social Welfare and Health Policy / Master's Programme in Applied Social Sciences – Study Option Nordic Social Policy and Global Sustainable Development
10 stp.


This course is designed to inform and enrich the material learned in the research methods courses. It combines a descriptive and a normative approach to reflection on social science.

Among topics covered, are the role of values in research, objectivity, realism, social constructivism, social ontology, feminist philosophy of science, evidence-based policy, and causality. 

Language of instruction is English




After completing the course, the student should have the following overall learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student has

  • thorough knowledge of main social science philosophy topics relevant to social welfare and health policy studies
  • knowledge of theories and concepts enabling systematic reflection on social science


The student can

  • analyse, discuss and evaluate social science from the viewpoint of philosophy of science

General competence

The student has

  • thorough understanding of the relation between actual research and theories about research
  • a well developed understanding of the foundations of research results and design

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

The teaching consists of lectures (including electronic lectures), seminars and tutorials related to the coursework requirements. Students are expected to play an active role.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

The following coursework must be completed and approved by the given deadline in order for the student to take the exam:

Students must submit three essays on the philosophy of social science (500 Words each). 

The four essays are separately awarded a Pass or Fail. A Pass in all of them qualifies for sitting the school exam. 

Students whose coursework requirement is not approved may resubmit once. If not approved after two submissions the student will be disqualified from sitting the final school examination.

Vurdering og eksamen

The assessment consists of a six hour school exam.

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

Students may use a spelling dictionary, as well as a bilingual dictionary during the written school exam.


Grade scale A - F. 


The exam papers are assessed by an internal and an external examiner.

A random selection consisting of at least 25% of the exam papers will be graded by both an internal and external examiner. This will inform the grading of the remaining exam papers.


Dag Jenssen

Erika Gubrium