Programme code:
Programme name:
Start of study:
2022 Autumn
120 ECTS Credits
Master’s Degree
Start semester:

NLA University College in Bergen offers a Master`s programme in Intercultural Studies consisting of a two year full-time academic study, 120 ECTS. Upon completing the required course work and a master`s thesis, the candidate is awarded a Master`s Degree in Intercultural Studies and the right to use the academic title.


In a time of intensified globalisation, accelerated urbanisation and increased migration, cultural diversity increases in most levels of society and is found nearly everywhere. While cultural diversity has always been a source of opportunity and change for different groups, it has also been a source of anxiety, fear, misunderstanding and conflict. Cultural diversity is thus simultaneously a fundamental fact of human existence and a potential challenge to peaceful human coexistence.

Intercultural Studies study intercultural communication and interaction, and cultural and social factors influencing intercultural relations with an objective to understand, describe, analyse and manage cultural diversity in different contexts in theory and practice. Intercultural communication is not merely a question of language and translation, but of encounters between different worldviews and capabilities. The master programme in Intercultural Studies aims to enhance the professional intercultural competence (knowledge, skills and attitudes) of students preparing for careers with significant international and/or intercultural contact and content. The programme is based on current international developments and research perspectives and the student's own ethnographic fieldwork as a basis for the master`s thesis. The study instigates advanced analytical and ethical awareness of life in multi-ethnic and complex societies. Through a combination of theory, practical fieldwork, oral presentation and academic writing, students will develop knowledge and capability to recognise and analyse intercultural issues and situations and to adapt, apply and transfer intercultural competence productively and in a context-appropriate manner.

The students are expected to develop cultural sensitivity and skills for intercultural interaction that will enable them to manage various multicultural settings and situations. Students will also develop their skills in data assessments, critical and independent thinking, and their ability to analyse and solve issues where experienced cultural diversity and difference add complexity and challenges to particular situations and dilemmas.

The programme also provides students with an opportunity to reflect systematically and academically on their intercultural experiences within a theoretical and research-informed framework.

To be admitted to the Master's Programme in Intercultural Studies, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  1. Completed a 3- or 4-year bachelor's degree (depending on the country in which the degree was completed), including at least 80 ECTS credits in intercultural studies or equivalent specialisation. Equivalent specialisation are studies with
    • learning outcomes and curriculum on cultural theories and descriptive cultural analysis at an international level (e.g. social/cultural anthropology, ethnology, cultural studies) with at least 50 % of the 80 ECTS credits including multicultural/intercultural empirical settings, such as ethnic and religious minority perspectives, transnational migration, and/or local appropriation and effects of globalisation, and
    • competence in qualitative methods with equivalent of at least 5 ECTS credits and a minor thesis (min 4000 words).


  2. Applicants are required to possess an average grade of C or higher (ECTS) in the relvant specialization of the undergraduate study. Grade records from foreign institutions will be converted in line with common conversion scales or by individual assessment.
  3. International applicants whose first language is not English, must document their English proficiency in one of the following ways:


    • TOEFL (the Test of English as a Foreign Language) with a minimum score of 80 points on the internet-based test (IBT). TOEFL results must be sent directly from ETS (code 1886), and the test must not be older than 2 years.
    • IELTS (the International English Language Testing System, academic) with an overall band score of 6.0 or better, with 5.5 as the minimum score for each of the four categories listening, reading, writing and speaking. The IELTS results must be verifiable online, and not older than 2 years.
    • The applicant will be exempted from taking an English test, if such a test is not required according to NOKUT’s GSU-list. To be exempted, the applicant must provide the relevant secondary school documentation from the country in question, or the relevant higher education documentation, as specified in the GSU-list.
    • In exceptional cases applicants may provide proof of English proficiency in other ways, with the level of competence equivalent to the test results required for TOEFL and IELTS.


  4. Applicants are required to submit a one-page motivational letter, explaining the reasons for applying for the study.

By the end of the Master´s programme, the candidate should have achieved the following aims:


The candidate

  • has advanced knowledge of central cultural theories and cultural analysis and current research debates on intercultural communication, inclusion and interaction, and specialised insight in a limited area as indicated by the thesis title.
  • has advanced knowledge of the theoretical and fundamental research discussion concerning cultural encounters, cultural interpretation and representation, and of the basic principles, challenges and dilemmas in intercultural analysis and praxis.
  • has thorough knowledge in the human capability approach, and into intercultural challenges in North-South relations and development cooperation or migration/minorities.
  • has thorough knowledge of ethical challenges and the significance of religion and worldviews in intercultural and multicultural (empirical) settings
  • has thorough knowledge of the scientific standards, methodology, research methods and sources of knowledge in Intercultural Studies, particularly in qualitative interviews and ethnographic research methods across cultures.
  • can apply cultural theories and analyse a particular intercultural issue, empirical field and intercultural challenges independently and innovatively.
  • can analyse intercultural challenges and dilemmas according to accepted theoretical and methodological norms and standards within the humanities and social sciences and on the basis of the history, traditions, and the distinctive character of Intercultural Studies as an academic field.


The candidate

  • can analyse and deal critically with different sources of information to multicultural/intercultural problems and issues, and use valid sources to formulate academically adequate arguments.
  • can analyse existing cultural theories, methods and intercultural interpretations and work independently with practical and theoretical issues within intercultural settings.
  • can apply relevant methods for carrying out research and academically sound work within Intercultural Studies in an independent manner alone and in cooperation with others.
  • can carry out a limited independent research project under supervision with due ethical awareness and in accordance with scientific and research ethical standards.

General competence:

The candidate

  • can identify and analyse relevant ethical and multicultural/intercultural challenges academically and professionally with critical empathy and reflexivity.
  • can apply his/her intercultural knowledge and skills on new empirical fields and in new ways and carry out advanced tasks and projects on multicultural arenas.
  • can communicate an extensive independent intercultural work and masters the appropriate terminology and language of Intercultural Studies.
  • can identify and analyse ethical and multicultural/intercultural challenges in intercultural work.
  • can communicate knowledge on intercultural issues, challenges, research results and current intercultural research discussions appropriately according to context and audience, and communicate clearly and understandably across cultural and worldview boundaries.
  • can contribute to new thinking on multicultural/intercultural challenges and initiate constructive solutions to intercultural communication and interaction in accordance with the human rights and with particular attention to vulnerable individuals and groups.

Course Structure

Compulsory courses are written with bold font below, while optional courses are annotated with normal font.

1. year

2. year
1. semester2. semester3. semester4. semester

IKF301 Intercultural theories (20 ECTS)

IKF303 Project Development and Applied Intercultural

Theories (15 ECTS)

IKF_THE Master thesis (60 ECTS)

IKF302 Methodology

(10 ECTS)


a) IKF304 Socio-Cultural and Regional Specialisation (15



b) IKF305 Socio-Cultural Specialisation (5ECTS) +

IKF307 Gender, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice (10



c) IKF306 Internship ICS 15 ECTS**


d) Studies abroad may be included upon special application

(15 ECTS)***

Compulsory Courses:

  • IKF301 Intercultural Theories (20ECTS)
  • IKF302 Methodology (10 ECTS)
  • IKF303 Project Development and Applied Intercultural Theories (15 ECTS)
  • IKF_THE Master thesis (60 ECTS)

Optional Courses:

  • a) IKF304 Regional Specialisation (15 ECTS)


  • b) IKF305 Regional Specialisation (5 ECTS) +
  • IKF307* Gender, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice (10 ECTS)


  • c) IKF306** Internship (15 ECTS)


  • e) Studies abroad may be included upon special application (15 ECTS)***

*This is a joint course with students from UCU with digital transfer between campuses, .

** This is a joint course with the master programme of Development Studies at UCU. The internship can take place with our partner organization in East-Africa or in other NGOs upon approval in pair with a master-student from UCU.

*** Students may also choose to study abroad, at one of our partner institutions. Check with NLA´s office for international relations. Courses have to be approved in advance as a specialization within the field of the master.

  • IKF_THE - Master's thesis - 60 sp
  • IKF301 - Intercultural theories - 20 sp
  • IKF302 - Methodology - 10 sp
  • IKF303 - Project Development and Applied Intercultural theories - 15 sp
  • IKF304 - Socio-Cultural and Regional Specialisation - 15 sp
  • IKF305 - Socio-Cultural Specialisation - 5 sp
  • IKF306 - Internship - 15 sp
  • IKF307 - Gender, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice - 10 sp

The Master's programme in Intercultural Studies will deal with South-North relations abroad and at home, and effects of globalisation on local communities. It will study the interplay between people and their social and psychical environment, peoples´ quality of life and subjective wellbeing, and challenges such as social inequality and cultural differences, power differences and violence. The study explicitly raises awareness on social justice, cultural recognition and agency and provides the students with theoretical and methodological tools to analyse and work with complex intercultural fields and issues.

The programme will raise awareness of cultural analytical and ethical perspectives on life in diverse, multi-ethnic and complex societies focusing on conditions and consequences of inclusion and exclusion, identity formation, human dignity and religion. Particular attention will be given to the roles religion play in identity and value formation, in conflicts and peace-making, and the impacts of religious pluralism in civic life. The reasons for this special focus on religion are threefold. Firstly, religion and secular ideologies are fundamental to individual and collective norms and values, and therefore important to understanding central aspects of cultures and also of intercultural interaction and communication. Secondly, while religion is often seen as a prominent reason for intercultural difference and tension, religion tends to be overseen or at best superficially treated in much existing research within the field of intercultural studies. Finally, the focus on religion complies well with NLA University College`s institutional profile and competence, as a private Christian college.

Intercultural studies have a multivocal and pluralist basis and are not conforming to a particular religion or to a Christian theological study. The theoretical foundations of the Master`s program are based on socio-cultural anthropology, religious studies and intercultural communication[1], and in particular on the interfaces between the three fields. The programme also draws on the concept of life-world and actor oriented perspectives, postcolonial theories and the Human development and capability approach (Sen and Nussbaum). The curriculum consciously includes academics from the global south as well as from the global north to secure a multitude of voices in academic discussions on- and theories of interculturality.


[1] Including "sub-disciplines" such as cross-cultural communication, intercultural communication, discourse communication and development communication.

See Course Descriptions.

The Master`s programme in Intercultural Studies aims at providing education relevant for positions in research and education, as well as positions within Norwegian and international institutions and organisations in the private, public and civil sectors working with intercultural challenges and diversity management. Internationally as well as in Norway the multicultural field is expanding, and candidates with a Master`s Degree in Intercultural Studies will also have opportunities as counsellors, mediators or leaders of different fields of praxis requiring professional Intercultural competence. The degree is an advanced specialisation in intercultural competence but also a useful addition to various professions working within an intercultural field.[1] It provides students with awareness, knowledge, insights and tools essential for managing and communicating appropriately in diverse cultural relations and multicultural settings in Norway and abroad. Conversations with and observations in relevant organisations and corporations before and/or during empirical fieldwork may further the opportunity for future employment. 


[1] Among our former students are nurses, teachers, preschool teachers, child-care officers and social workers.