Master's Programme in Applied Social Sciences – Study Option Nordic Social Policy and Global Sustainable Development Programplan

Engelsk programnavn
Master's Programme in Applied Social Sciences – Study Option Nordic Social Policy and Global Sustainable Development
Gjelder fra
2024 HØST
120 studiepoeng
4 semestre


The master's programme focuses on the Nordic model, with an emphasis on social welfare policies' sustainability in the face of global challenges and the need for global sustainable development. The master's programme is unique in its focus and provides students with the knowledge and skills in social science theories and methods to analyse, develop and manage social policies at an advanced level. The programme provides insights into drivers and challenges of social policies in the Nordic countries, how they compare to other welfare models, and lessons learned for global social policy and social policies globally.  


Rethinking sustainable welfare or sustainable welfare models is compelled by a series of interrelated societal changes that have become challenges globally: for instance, demographic and family changes, new migration patterns, urbanisation, digitalisation of society, democratic backsliding and climate change and the green transition. This includes focus on present situations and future strategies, but also reckoning with the historical power relations that have shaped social inequalities and injustices we see reflected in society today, both within nation-states and globally. 


Many actors have called for the restructuring of Nordic and other European welfare states to promote human rights, social cohesion and social sustainability in a globalised economy. This involves a broad range of actors including the UN, the European Commission, OECD, the Nordic governments, social partners and civil society organisations. The internal and external pressures on welfare states also raise questions about the capacities of individual citizens and households to overcome contemporary societal challenges and improve their life opportunities, as well as reduce risks of poverty and social exclusion. 


The societal and environmental transformations we witness all over the world today pose significant questions about the future organisation of the welfare state. The economic and social values that have shaped past policies in the Nordic and other mature welfare states are being questioned, as is the appropriate balance between, state, market, family and organised civil society in protecting the rights and fulfilling the needs of the inhabitants. Additionally questioned are the connections that have and will continue to exist between Nordic welfare states and other global entities. The transformations and ongoing crises raise concerns about new inequalities and the need to critically examine existing policies. 


This degree provides you with the knowledge and skills to contribute to developing new welfare policy solutions to foster the well-being of all individuals, local communities and nations given the challenges they face. 


In the programme we explore:

  • How the Nordic countries have fared during past crises and during ongoing societal and environmental transformations, including within a global context.
  • Different strategies for critically evaluating the outcomes of social policy interventions, as well as how the design of an evaluation may be framed around particular questions or priorities.
  • Different approaches to and critical perspectives concerning what is meant by “sustainability”. Some scholars first and foremost focus on the need for green transition. In the programme you will learn about both growth and post-growth perspectives on welfare. We will also examine other megatrends such as demographic aging, climate change, migration, family change and digitalisation of society to critically assess the sustainability of the Nordic and other welfare models.
  • Critical insights into drivers and challenges of social policies in the Nordic countries, within a global context.

The NORPOL programme consists of 6 mandatory courses (60 ECTS), 3 elective courses (30 ECTS) and a master's thesis (30 ECTS). Elective courses allow students to pursue topics of special interest that may be relevant for both the master's thesis, as well as for future career possibilities.


All courses are taught in English, and the diploma will be issued in English for all successful candidates. Candidates will be awarded the title Master of Applied Social Sciences, programme option Nordic Social Policy and Global Sustainable Development.


This degree provides the candidates with the knowledge and skills to contribute to examine welfare models and measure and develop new welfare policy solutions to foster the well-being of all people, at the local, regional, national and global level. The degree qualifies for

  • positions in public and private sector that require the knowledge and ability to undertake systematic documentation and evaluation of social service programmes, as well as the knowledge of Nordic, international and comparative studies within social welfare.
  • positions in government agencies, non-governmental organisations or voluntary organisations engaged in local, national, regional and global social policies
  • social science positions dealing with welfare and social policy issues
  • PhD programmes in the social sciences, including social policy


Candidates find work in management, development and examination of welfare policy issues in municipalities, directorates, government ministries, NGOs, international organisations, research and education, and multilateral and bilateral aid.


This programme is aimed at social science students who have a special interest in Nordic and global perspectives on social policy and sustainable development.


Admission to this programme is regulated by Regulations Relating to Admissions to Studies at OsloMet.     


Admission requires a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent degree) in social work, childcare and welfare, education, political science, sociology, economics, anthropology or other social science degrees.


Applicants will be ranked on the basis of grade average from their bachelor's degree.


A candidate who has completed his or her qualification has the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


Upon completion of the degree the candidate has

  • a thorough understanding of the Nordic model and Nordic social policies, 
  • advanced knowledge on what constitutes sustainable welfare state arrangements in the face of globalisation challenges
  • in-depth knowledge of the fields of welfare models and systems: their organisation, delivery, and financing
  • a thorough understanding of social policies and sustainable development in a global perspective 
  • advanced knowledge of research designs relevant to the investigate a particular research question
  • a high level of understanding of basic theoretical and methodological frameworks in order to examine, explain and understand drivers and consequences of social policies 


Upon completion of the degree the candidate is able to

  • analyse explicit and implicit knowledge in the fields of social policy and social welfare
  • identify dimensions and challenges in the current Nordic and global welfare situation
  • critically assess the advantages and disadvantages of various social policy approaches, and with a particular focus on street-level implementation where citizens meet services
  • contribute to develop new welfare policy solutions and critically evaluate the outcomes of social policy interventions 
  • relate specific research questions to specific research methods
  • conduct a systematic and critical analysis of a problem, apply core research principles and give a clear academic presentation of the results
  • evaluate relevant research in terms of methodological quality and appropriateness

General competence

Upon completion of the degree the candidate 

  • can contribute to assess the impact of social policies, including how policies can contribute to sustainable development 
  • can apply his/her knowledge and skills in innovation processes in order to carry out assignments within social policy development
  • can communicate extensive independent work and masters language and terminology of the academic field
  • can demonstrate a high level of ethical reflection when assessing the development of social policies, as well as a broad and in-depth knowledge of ethical dilemmas in research

Innhold og oppbygging

In addition to the mandatory courses, each student is required to select three courses from the electives available in this programme option (total of 30 ECTS). Students in need of advice regarding these courses can ask the program coordinator, course lecturers, or the administrator.


As an alternative to the elective courses provided in this program description, students may select courses from other programme options within the Master's Program at the Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy. In addition, students may choose among relevant courses offered at the master's level at Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet), or institutions of higher learning in Norway outside of OsloMet, or one of our partner universities outside of Norway. Students can choose up to 30 ECTS from outside OsloMet. Norwegian-speaking students can also choose elective courses offered in Norwegian. All external courses must be approved by the program coordinator in advance. 

The master's thesis is an independent dissertation consisting of 30 study credits. Students ought to begin reflecting upon a research topic and methods for the thesis in the first semester. In the second semester, students will prepare a research proposal for the thesis. Students are encouraged to contact potential supervisors as early as possible. On the basis of the research topics chosen, students will be assigned a supervisor.

Valgfritt emne Løper over flere semestre


This master's degree programme gives students a broad understanding of Nordic and global social problems and in-depth knowledge of the fields of welfare models and systems. All the courses are designed from a Nordic and global perspective, reflected in the curriculum. Class discussion, work requirements, group work and examinations will reflect the Nordic and global orientation of the courses.


Students have the opportunity to travel abroad in the third semester of the program, including to our international partner universities. Students are encouraged to collect data for their thesis while they are abroad or in their home country.


The faculty has partner organisations abroad which will be able to assist students with data collection and analysis. Students can also choose three elective topics to be taken in an institution outside of the program. Courses taken outside of the program must be approved by the program coordinator before semester start.


Information regarding studies and data collection abroad will be disseminated during the first two semesters.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

Work requirements are outlined in the course descriptions below. Coursework requirements are mandatory. Requirements that are not handed in on time or found dissatisfactory will disqualify students from sitting the final examination.

Students are strongly recommended to form tutorial groups to discuss ideas, critically assess research and prepare for work requirements and examinations.

Vurdering og sensur

Each course concludes with a final examination which takes the form of either a written examination, a written home assignment, a semester paper or a portfolio. Students may use a spelling dictionary, as well as a bilingual dictionary during written school examinations. All examinations are graded by an internal examiner. In addition, an external examiner will evaluate at least 25 per cent of examinations, which will form the basis for the internal examiners grading. 

Students who are not satisfied with their grades have the right to submit an appeal, whereupon examinations will be re-evaluated by two new examiners (one internal and the other external). Note that when appealing, students risk receiving a lower grade than the grade awarded for the initial examination.The Master Thesis will be evaluated by both an internal and an external examiner. Neither examiner shall be involved in the supervision of the Master thesis in question.

Students in the Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy must use the APA style when citing sources and referencing.

A grading scale from A to F will normally be used in assessment. A grade of pass ranges from A to E, while F is a fail. In some courses students will receive a grade of either pass or fail. In this case, pass will be equivalent to grade C or better. See the description of each course for further information on the use of the grading system. 


The following documents regulate examinations at OsloMet:

  • the Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges
  • the Directive for Curricula Regulations from the Ministry of Education and Research
  • Regulations Relating to Studies and Examinations at OsloMet.

It is the responsibility of students to familiarise themselves with these rules and regulations. Information regarding some of these responsibilities will be disseminated to students during Introduction Week, as well as during lectures, and on the e-learning platform Canvas


The link to the Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges can be found here: http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/kilde/kd/reg/2006/0031/ddd/pdfv/273037-loven_higher_education_act_norway_010405.pdf 


The link to Regulations Relating to Studies and Examinations at Oslo Metropolitan University can be found at: http://www.oslomet.no