Master in Intercultural Studies

Since NLA started with intercultural studies in the 1990s, intercultural studies have become an increasingly important topic. Today, NLA has the largest academic environment for intercultural studies in the country and holds two professorships within the field.

The 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.


  • Language: All teaching are in English. Assignments can be written in English or a Nordic language.
  • Cost: 2690 NOK per semester for Norwegian Students. 1345 NOK per semester for International Students. Students pay additional 570 NOK in SIB Semester Fee. Please note that minor changes may occur
  • Application deadline: 1th of February (International students) and 15th of April (Nordic students)



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.


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 , 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.

Job opportunities

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 may 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.  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. 

Learning outcomes

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

1 year  2 year 
 1. semester 2. semester  3 & 4 semester

IKF 302 Methodology

(10 ECTS)


a) IKF 304 Socio-Cultural and Regional Specialisation (15 ECTS)


b) IKF 305 Socio-Cultural Specialisation (5ECTS)
    IKF307 Gender, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice (10 ECTS)*


c)  IKF 306 Internship ICS 15 ECTS**


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

ICSM_THE Master thesis (60 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 approved in advance as a specialization within the field of this master.

Course descriptions


Code Name Period ECTS
IKF 301 Intercultural theories (20 ECTS) Autumn 2017 20
IKF302 Methodology Autumn 2017 10
IKF303 Project-Design and Applied Intercultural Theories Spring 2018 15
ICSM_THE Master thesis (60 ECTS) Autumn 2018
Spring 2019


 Optional Courses:

Code Name Period ECTS
IKF304 Socio-Cultural and Regional Specialisation Spring 2018
IKF305  Socio-Cultural Specialisation Spring 2018 5
IKF307 Gender, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice Spring 2018 10
IKF306 Internship Spring 2018 15
Studies abroad may be included upon special application Spring 15


To be admitted to the Master´s programme in Intercultural Studies the candidate must have:

1.    Completed a bachelor´s degree or a cand. mag. degree, with at least 80 ECTSS in Intercultural Studies or equivalent specialisation, and with an average grade of C or better in this field of study. Optional courses may have additional requirements.

Equivalent specialisation are studies with

a.    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 including  multicultural/intercultural empirical settings, such as ethnic and religious minority perspectives, transnational migration, and/or local appropriation and effects of globalisation.

b.    competence in qualitative methods with equivalent of at least 5 ECTs and a minor thesis (min 4000 words) based on empirical data.

2.    International students should note that all students whose first language is not English, or who have not completed a major part of their schooling in English, can enter NLA University College by submitting their transcripts, meeting the academic requirements and showing a proof of English language competency by completing the Test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (cf. the GSU-list) In order to qualify you need to achieve a minimum score of 500 points on the Paper Based Test or 170 (computer-based) TOEFL test, or a minimum score of 5.0 from the IELTS (academic) test. Results should be sent directly to NLA University College.  NLA's TOEFL code number is 1886. Please use this code when indicating NLA as your score recipient. Then your score will be sent directly to us. NLA University College may give international students meeting these requirements priority access to the master´s degree programme to enhance cultural diversity.


The application deadline is 1. February for international applicants. Next admission will open in November. For Norwegian residents and EU residents the application deadline is 15. April. Please use the online application form. To proceed in the application form, please choose “NLA Høgskolen” in the “Institusjon” drop-down menu, then click “Gå til pålogging”. On the next page, choose English in the drop-down menu to the left.

You can get additional assistance through Application Procedures or by contacting us at