The History of Educational Systems

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 4PE121

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Sociology of Education A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 12 October 2015
Responsible department
Department of Education

General provisions

The course is part of the Master's Programme in Sociology of Education.

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree corresponding to at least 180 credits, including at least 90 credits from a discipline pertaining to the social sciences or the humanities.

Learning outcomes

A student who successfully completed the course will be able to:

  • Summarise and analyse the general development of educational systems until the middle of the 20th century.
  • Explain how political and social struggles have shaped educational systems.
  • Summarise and critically value different theories and perspectives used to explain and investigate mass education and educational systems.


The course deals with the establishment and development of different educational systems in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. It treats the rise of mass education and the attempts to explain this development from different theoretical perspectives. It focuses on the material and economic pre conditions for schooling and learning as well as on the diffusion of educational systems and institutions through borrowing and transfer. The course also highlights the functions and aims assigned to education in different political systems. One central feature of the course is thus the relationship between political aims and struggles and the design of the educational system as such.


The course will consist of lectures and seminars


Examination will include active participation at course sessions and oral and/or written exams