IKF301 Intercultural theories

All versions:
IKF301 (2024—2025)
IKF301 (2023—2024)
IKF301 (2022—2023)
IKF301 (2021—2022)
IKF301 (2020—2021)
IKF301 (2019—2020)
IKF301 (2018—2019)
IKF301 (2017—2018)

Course code: IKF301

Course name: Intercultural theories

Semester: Autumn

Location: Bergen

Academic year: 2024–2025

Language: English

Credits: 20 ECTS Credits

Available for course students: No

Required prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the Master of Intercultural Studies program.

Relevance within study programme

Compulsory course in the Master programme of Intercultural studies.


The aim of this course is to present varied and in-depth perspectives on intercultural theories and to provide students with a theoretical toolkit applicable in different cultural/regional and occupational contexts.

The course is based on and enhances students´ competences from the bachelor’s studies in Intercultural Studies. The theoretical foundation stems from anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, religious studies and intercultural communication, and the main focus is on basic opportunities and challenges in intercultural understanding. Throughout the course, students will improve their knowledge of relevant literature at the research frontier as well as their familiarity with classical texts.

Learning outcomes descriptors


The student has

  • thorough knowledge on foundational theory concerning social identity, belonging, citizenship and multiculturalism, representation, and language and power, and on the basic principles, opportunities and challenges in intercultural analysis
  • advanced knowledge about a variety of important theoretical perspectives on the intersection of culture, ethnicity, religion, race, and gender, among others, as well as a thorough understanding of current research debates on intercultural interaction

More specifically, this includes:

  • thorough knowledge on stereotyping, stigma, racism, and xenophobia
  • thorough knowledge of integration as a form of acculturation, as a multidimensional social process, and as a policy goal embedded in institutions and practices
  • thorough knowledge on how identities are articulated in diverse societies and understanding of processes of inclusion and exclusion, identity formation, differentiation and recognition.
  • insights into the connections between trust, belonging and equality in diverse societies.
  • insights into the significance of language for thought and world views


The student

  • can assess and apply a variety of intercultural theories and can make valid theoretical choices to analyse the cultural and social factors influencing intercultural relations and orientations to diversity
  • can analyse existing cultural theories and intercultural interpretations
  • can analyse inclusion and exclusion mechanisms that affect encounters between differently situated actors
  • can analyse barriers and obstacles to intercultural dialogue and inclusive participation
  • can analyse fundamental principles, problems and dilemmas in intercultural theory and practice

General competence

The student

  • can use and communicate knowledge on intercultural theories and current research discussions on intercultural themes
  • can show ethical awareness, reflexivity, and cultural sensitivity in their analysis of multicultural/intercultural challenges
  • can apply their intercultural knowledge and skills on new empirical fields and carry out advanced tasks focusing on multicultural/intercultural settings


The course examines socio-cultural elements that affect communication and interaction across group boundaries. Students will investigate those elements in different intercultural/multicultural contexts; examining processes of inclusion and exclusion, intersectional politics of belonging, and orientations to diversity, among others. The course participants will discuss challenges related to cultural recognition, multiculturalism, diversity and intercultural dialogue. The course also give insights into a variety of perspectives on inter-ethnic and inter-religious interaction, cultural pluralism, social differentiation and power.

Teaching and learning methods

Several forms of teaching will be employed, including lectures, seminars and workshops with opportunities to train oral presentation and communicative skills. The combination of teaching, seminars and assessment during the course are designed to assist the student’s acquisition of the various theories and to train them in how to apply theory in the analysis of intercultural cases and how to suggest solutions to challenges that are framed in terms of culture. The compulsory work requirements are also designed to train the student’s skills in group-cooperation and prepare the students for the final assessment.


600 work hours

Coursework requirements

Each student has to:

  • Participate in at least three theoretical seminars
  • Present a central intercultural theory in a theory seminar, and participate actively in the group discussion. The presentation is assessed as approved / not approved
  • Participate in at least three case-seminars
  • Write three short reflexive logs, one for each case seminar, where the student describes and evaluates what they have learned about the theme, the work-method, the group-dynamic andtheir own role and contribution in the group.
  • One of the above mentioned reflexive logs has to be handed in for evaluation
  • Oral group exercise with three days preparation. The students are set in groups of 2 or 3, and are given three days to prepare an analysis and proposed solution on an intercultural case provided by the teacher. After the three days of preparation, the group presents their case, their analysis and proposed solution, followed by a reflective discussion with the teacher(s) and co-students

Grading, coursework requirements

Approved / Not approved

Final assessment

  • Individual paper. The student has to write an academic text on a given topic. The length of the assignment shall be approx. 4000 words (+/- 10%).

Grading, examination

The assignment will be graded according to the normal ECTS grading scale from A to F, in which E or better is necessary in order to pass.

Permitted aids under examination

All aids permitted.

Assessment language

Scandinavian or English



Course evaluation

Annually course evaluation in accordance with the quality assurance system for NLA University College. Students may also give their feedback on the course in the student group/ in class.

Available as Single Course


Digital reading list