Department of Cultural Studies and Languages

The Department of Cultural Studies and Languages (IKS) is involved in teaching, research and dissemination related to religion, culture, languages, literature, history and pedagogy.

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Research fellows


In a world subject to climate change, migration waves and rapidly changing technology, it is necessary to understand the value of identity, values, religion, culture, ethics and languages. Representative democracy calls for enlightened authorities, who in turn need reading and writing skills as well as knowledge about history and international affairs. Working life is characterised by globalisation, restructuring, increasing complexity and technological development. Social developments make it increasingly more important for schools to be able to teach their pupils to handle complex, ambiguous information. The humanities are central to all of these areas.

The department takes expectations about the study of humanities seriously and we are doing our best to respond to social challenges and parliament’s goals for clearer adjustments to working life. Employees and students are honing their skills for Norway in 2020 by engaging in Jærskulen’s research project on critical thinking, the EU’s project on green citizenship research, practical courses for Bachelor’s students and top expertise in the environmental humanities.

With 80 employees and around 600 students, the Department also offers an attractive researcher training environment for both national and international research recruits, and it has around 15 doctoral research fellows. Attracting and supporting talented humanist researchers is important for the University of Stavanger.

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The Department of Cultural Studies and Languages offers a number of courses and degrees on history, religion, culture and languages, as well as teacher training.

If you want to understand other people, you need to understand their language and the culture they belong to. Literature and languages create, and are created by, culture, history and society.

As a humanist, you will acquire broad expertise in processing large amounts of information and data, and analysing, synthesising and interpreting information. You will gain experience in reading large amounts of text critically and efficiently, you will acquire a good knowledge of source criticism and you will develop your analytical abilities. We will train you to think independently and trust your own judgement.

As a student of religion, culture and society, you will learn to see the world as being compound and complex, and the diverse skills that you will acquire will be a useful tool for understanding complex situations when you start work later on.

History teaches you to understand, analyse, compare and explain what has happened in the past: everyday life and politics, industry and religious strife, peaceful coexistence and ideological collision. It provides us with important perspectives about our own time, and it is a tool for reflecting on our own lives.

Language, both Norwegian and English, concerns us all — we use it every day and we see and hear it around us all the time. At the same time, language and literature are an important part of our history and national culture. With language subjects in your academic toolkit, you will acquire sought-after expertise and a comprehensive understanding of linguistics and culture.

The Department also offers Norwegian courses for foreign students and employees.

This is what you can study at the IKS

Secondary school teacher 8-13, 5-year Master’s (humanities, natural sciences)

  • 1-year programme in educational theory and practice (full-time, part-time, session-based part-time)
  • English (Master’s, Bachelor’s, one-year programme, specialisation)
  • Nordic (Master’s, Bachelor’s, one-year programme, specialisation)
  • History (Master’s, Bachelor’s, one-year programme, specialisation)
  • Religion, culture and society (Bachelor's, one-year programme, specialisation)

What work can you do after studying humanities subjects?

A background in the humanities gives you the opportunity to undertake a variety of different jobs.

In many cases the right path is to pursue a school career where you will pass on your knowledge of your subject to children and young people. Both our Master’s programme for secondary school teachers and our 1-year Master’s programme in educational theory and practice will provide you with the opportunity to become a good teacher with sound academic training which will create motivating, varied teaching. You will then be able to work as a teacher at lower and upper secondary schools.

Historians can be found in many different fields, including research and education at all levels, cultural life, media and publishing, travel, private organisations and public administration. Many historians work in museums or archives, presenting history to the public at large.

Studies in religion, culture and society can qualify students for working in schools (with PPU), the media and cultural life, as well as working for religious and voluntary organisations. Insight into religious and philosophical diversity is also relevant in the public sector, such as the health and social services, counselling, working on integration and in areas where the several different cultures meet.

Language studies provide the basis for working with languages, literature, communications and text production in many different contexts. This education provides you with linguistic and cultural expertise that can be used for translation work, language and text consultancy work and information work. Jobs could include working in libraries, cultural institutions, publishing houses, marketing and the tourism industry.

A Master's degree could qualify you to apply for admission to a doctoral programme which could provide you with the basis for a career as a researcher.


Humanist knowledge about the culture and history of oneself and others paves the way for alternative perspectives, contributes towards developing new concepts and hones one’s ability to think creatively and be critical, including being critical of oneself.

When researchers at the department engage in memory research and critical thinking in schools, this provides important contributions to democratic values such as openness and critical perspectives.

A society that is only interested in the moment and in acute problem-solving is not viable. Understanding history and being critical about it is essential for successful future development. We cannot understand social challenges such as the climate, the environment and migration without analysing official views about such phenomena. Environmental humanities can help us to see environmental challenges from a different perspective than that of the natural sciences, and they can contribute towards important interdisciplinary work.

Researchers at the IKS analyse how different individuals and groups in both Europe and the rest of the world have argued in favour of different social models. Humanist research shows how these different models and arguments interact, correlate or conflict with current global reality. What is identity? How do demographic changes affect culture and ethics?

Change processes related to globalisation, migration, transnationalism, increasing individualisation and socioeconomic and sociocultural differentiation have consequences for the everyday lives of many of our citizens. Well-known social networks crumble and new groups which we might belong to are created, or maybe not. Good integration is essential for facing the challenges associated with migration, inequality and the consequences of being an outcast and dropping out of education. How do schools and kindergartens work with religious, philosophical and cultural diversity in their teaching practices?

How are identities expressed through linguistic forms? Researchers on our “Linguistic Identities” programme are bringing together a number of related specialist fields at the Faculty and are looking at both historical and modern languages, with the focus on English and Nordic languages. In this way they are contributing towards Norwegian continuing to be a societal and dynamic academic and scientific language.

The Department hosts a total of four research programmes under which most of its research activities are coordinated. Its externally funded project portfolio is growing, and its projects are resulting in extensive cooperation with partners in both Norway and abroad.

Department management

Head of Department
Faculty of Arts and Education
Department of Cultural Studies and Languages
Head of Administration
Hulda Garborgs hus
Faculty of Arts and Education
Faculty Administration UH
Administration IKS