Theory of Science and Ethics PHDTSRE

This course provides an introduction to, as well as an elaboration of, basic theoretical issues in Culture Studies. It aims to prepare students to construct methodologically and ethically sound PhD projects.



Course Content

The course has three parts: (1) theory of science, with an emphasis on theories of the social sciences and the humanities; (2) theories of creative aesthetic practices; (3) ethical theories and concerns applied to science and creative aesthetic practices. In addition to discussing traditional problems within theories and ethics of science and research, the course deals with theoretical and ethical questions that arise with knowledge generated through experience, action and creative practices.

The overall goal of the course is that the students gain an understanding of theories concerning conditions of scientific knowledge, conditions of the generation, organization and institutionalization of science, and conditions of creative aesthetic practices. The course promotes critical reflection on established traditions of science, research and creative practice, including the tradition within which they do their own work, together with critical awareness of ethical concerns pertaining to scientific and creative practices. The PhD program in Cultural Studies at University College of Southeast Norway is interdisciplinary. Accordingly, one aim of the course is to help the students develop the ability and tools to engage in scientific communication across the traditional boundaries between scientific disciplines and areas of research and creative practices.


See formal requirements for admission to the Cultural Studies PhD program.

Learning Outcomes


Upon completion of the course, the students will have acquired knowledge and understanding of central concepts, theories, and ethical concerns pertaining to science and research (with an emphasis on the humanities and social sciences) and to creative aesthetic practices.


The course will help the students develop the ability to critically apply their knowledge and understanding of relevant theoretical and ethical issues to their formulation and design of scholarly, scientific and creative projects.

General competence

Having completed the course, the students should possess the theoretical tools that will enable them to judge the scientific or creative merit of their own and others’ work and projects, and to communicate such judgment to colleagues and to the community at large. They will possess an attitude of openness and a capacity for critical thinking and reflection, essential to the scientific enterprise and aesthetic practices.

Teaching and learning methods

  • Lectures: appr. 30 hours.
  • Essay seminar: duration depends on the number of students – each student will give a presentation (20 minutes) of his/her course essay or essay proposal (see below) as a work in progress.


  • Course paper (max. 3000 words of text, titles, names, notes/references, bibliography), paper topic is subject to professor’s approval, grade of pass/fail (where pass = B or better).
  • Other work requirements: a brief description (max. 2 pages) of own PhD project (or of current scientific or aesthetic work in the case of those who are not enrolled in a PhD program), to be submitted prior to the course; participation and presentation at essay seminar.


Click here to see the Fall 2017 syllabus.

Course Registration  

 Please complete an application form and attach required documents.

Credits: 7.5 ECTS

Work load: Approx. 225 hours

Level: PhD

Semester: Fall 2017

Dates: Part I: 6-12 November (week 45). Part II: 27 November-1 December (week 48)

Campus:  Bø

Language of instruction: English or Norwegian (if all participants speak a Scandinavian language)

Course coordinatorSven Arntzen (Culture Studies), USN, campus Bø