autumn 2024
STV-3040 Northern Governance - 10 ECTS

Type of course

Northern Governance is required in the Joint Master's Program in Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas (GENI).

The course may also be part of other disciplinary Master programmes within Social Sciences and Humanities and may be taken as a single course.

Admission requirements

Basic academic requirements

Students must document at least a bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS), or an equivalent qualification, with a specialization of 80 ECTS, preferably within social sciences, law or education.

Applicants with degrees in fields other than social sciences, law or education are expected to demonstrate their knowledge of the circumpolar north and its Indigenous peoples.

Course content

Course Description

This course will introduce students to theories of governance so they can apply them in the northern context. The course will give students an opportunity to compare the situation in different countries, in different areas, and for different resources in Northern areas. The course is a venue for students interested in comparing governance challenges in a circumpolar Northern context.

as well as give them knowledge about different historical experiences of colonization and state integration, and contemporary policies and management of selected circumpolar countries. It is a venue for students interested in comparing governance challenges in a circumpolar North context.

Course Content

The course consist of two main parts. The aim of the first, the theoretical and conceptual framework, is to give students necessary tools to analyze different aspects of governance in northern areas. In the second part, the goal is to introduce students to different cases of governance, both to illustrate various aspects of governance and to understand the variety of challenges in Northern areas.

Theoretical and conceptual framework

  • Arctic Governance

The development in the North, and not least the possibilities for a rapid and radical new development resulting from climate change, has renewed and reframed the interest for the Arctic. As part of the change, Arctic states are developing new policies and their cooperation, and actors outside the region want to be involved in decision-making processes. The aim of this part is to present the architecture of politics and government in the Arctic; the main characteristics, how it has developed, and how it possibly might affect the development in the region. The presentation will have a focus on the Arctic in general, but with a particular emphasis on Canada and Norway.

  • An age of governance?

The "governance turn" originates from an observation that hierarchies, with states at the top as dominant actor, is not a sufficient description of current decision-making. Borders are much more porous, whether it between actors in government, market or civil society, or between different levels of government. Governance structures is not least important when new structures and processes develops. Multi-level governance has gained momentum from EU-studies, and studies of Arctic development has stimulated debates over regime theory and transnational governance. In this part, analytical dimensions of governance theories is critically discussed related to issues like resource management, regimes, and multi-level challenges.


Large variation and uneven processes characterize arctic development. The governmental framework is quite different from state to state, and prospects and resources vary among local communities and regions. A limited number of cases/areas will be used to introduce students to these sides of Arctic governance. By using cases and not an approach aiming for a comprehensive picture, the goal is to learn from details and specific challenges of governance and next to discuss how to use the experience in new settings. There will a selection of cases by the teachers from main themes like:

  • Management of renewable resources
  • Management of extractive resources and the challenges of extractive industries
  • Climate and energy
  • Arenas and institutions for Arctic governance at national and international level
  • Northern governance and Indigenous peoples

Objectives of the course

The students have the following learning outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will have acquired advanced knowledge within the fields of different approaches to governance as well as knowledge of the theories of governance and the fundamental operating principles of governance in northern areas.

Student acquired skills

By the end of the course, students have acquired skills making them able to

  • Define the fundamental principles of governance in Northern areas at different levels of government
  • Conduct governance analysis of Northern governance systems and how different institutional arrangements enable and constrain local and regional options for innovation, economic, and social development

Student acquired competence

By the end of the course, students will have acquired the competencies making them competent to

  • Understand local and regional level drivers shaping emerging governance structures in the North e.g. evolving indigenous rights, local civil society, economic and demographic changes
  • Explain implications of federal and unitary frameworks, including processes of devolution and delegated authority for local and regional governance processes.

Language of instruction and examination

The teaching and examination language is English.

Teaching methods

The teaching consists of a combination of lectures and seminars, including interactive teaching, comprising a total of 20 hours. Video conferencing will be applied during the whole course. The students are expected to be prepared and active during the seminars in discussing legal approaches to the issues at hand. Students are expected to study independently in periods of no seminars or lectures.

Quality assurance

The course will follow the procedures for quality assurance and program evaluation at both Universities. At the University of Tromsø the course follows the Quality Assurance System for the Educational Activities guidelines, as outlined in the GENI program description. Evaluation by partner communities and institutions will be of special relevance for this course. The course will be reviewed at least once during a program period (i.e. six semesters).

Information to incoming exchange students

This course is available for inbound exchange students.

This course is open for inbound exchange student who meets the admission requirements. Please see the Admission requirements section.

Do you have questions about this module? Please check the following website to contact the course coordinator for exchange students at the faculty:



Examination: Date: Grade scale:
Portfolio 25.11.2024 09:00 (Hand out)
28.11.2024 13:00 (Hand in)
A–E, fail F
UiT Exams homepage

More info about the portfolio

The portfolio consist of 2 parts:

  • A paper with a given question from the reading list. The time limit for the paper is 72 hours and should be approximately 2500 words.
  • An oral presentation of maximum 15 minutes. The presentation should be recorded and uploaded to UiT. The topic of the presentation is decided by the student, but it should include a short theoretical presentation/framework and an empirical case.

You can start the work on your presentation early in the semester, as the 72 hours are meant for the written part of the exam.

Re-sit examination

Students who do not pass the previous ordinary examination can gain access to a re-sit examination.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Nettbasert | Annet |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: STV-3040
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet