Oslo Summer School for Social Sciences

Foundation, History, Main Objectives and Target Groups

The 21st Century Europe entails challenging processes of integration and disintegration. Integration radically challenges the social cohesion of old and new societies. European social science has so far largely been confined to the nation-state level.

But it is now, more than ever, crucial that social scientists are able to study the differential impacts of processes of integration and fragmentation. For such a purpose, comparative studies and methodology provide the obvious point of departure for any social scientist who wish to take the complexity of the European challenges seriously.

The Oslo Summer School for Social Sciences (previously Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies) consists of several short and intensive one-week postgraduate research courses at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway.

Founding the School

Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies was initiated by Professor Fredrik Engelstad in 1992 in order to further international contact among students and researchers working within comparative social science. The first summer school session was held in the summer of 1993, and in the summer of 2019 it was arranged for the 27th time.

From a relatively small summer session back in 1993, with 7 course modules offered and only about 55 PhD students participating, the Summer School during the last 10 years have had between 180 and 220 PhD students each year.

10th anniversary

In the year 2002, the Oslo Summer School celebrated its 10th year adding two 2 anniversary lectures to the programme, one of them held by the well known Norwegian political scientist and philosopher Jon Elster who lectured on the topic of The Comparative Study of Justice. Another anniversary took place in 2012 celebrating 20 years in existence, and with Professor Michael Mann (UCLA, USA) giving the anniversary lecture on the topic The Future of Capitalism.

In 2017 the Oslo Summer School included two separate 25th anniversary panels; the first one included political scientists Professor Ian Shapiro (Yale University, USA) and Professor Andrew Bennett (Georgetown University, USA) on the topic "President Trump’s first half year"; and the second panel on "Living up to the Paris Climate accord in the years of Trump"; that included Professor Karen O'Brien (University of Oslo) and Associate Professor Adnrew S. Mathews, University of California, Santa Cruz, US).

Also the number of courses offered have increased, from only 7 courses offered the first year, it is now up to 11/12 course modules a year.

Prominent scholars

Throughout the years, a number of well known scholars have lectured at the Oslo Summer School, such as Professor Craig Calhoun (1993), Professor Bob Jessop (1994, 2001), Professor Gösta Esping-Andersen (1995), Professor Charles Tilly (1999), Professor Michal Mann (2000), Professor Pippa Norris (2001), Professor Rogers Brubaker (2004), Professor Brian Wynne (2005), Professor Fathali M. Moghaddam (2012, 2017), Professor Akhil Gupta (2014), Professor Bo Rothstein (2015), Professor Karen O'Brien (2016, 2017), Professor Donatella Della Porta (2017), and Professor Ian Shapiro (2017), just to name a few.

Professor Charles C. Ragin have many times provided the methodological background and framework lecturing on Comparative Methodology (1994, 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2004), and in 2010 - 2019 Professor Andrew Bennett lectured fully enlisted courses on Case Study Research Methods. A course on Mixed Methods was included from 2014 and lectured by Professor Udo Kelle, and Mixed Methods continued in 2015 - 2018 lectured by Professor Giampietro Gobo.


The Oslo Summer School for Social Sciences aims to cover many social science disciplines, such as the following:

  • sociology
  • political science
  • human geography
  • economics
  • educational science
  • social anthropology
  • psychology
  • innovation studies
  • environment and climate
  • culture and society

The Main Objectives of the Oslo Summer School is

  • to provide advanced training for young European researchers at the post-graduate and post-doctoral level
  • to offer Ph.D.-courses at the highest international level, drawing on top-ranking experts, whether they be Europeans or from other parts of the world
  • to cover all of the social sciences, and to encourage interdisciplinary approaches
  • to inspire young researchers to take up comparative projects at as early a point as possible in their careers
  • to contribute to denser networks between European social scientists and research institutions working with various types of comparative social science

Target Groups

The main target group is doctoral students with an interest in comparative social science and social science methodology. In addition, researchers, research scholars and MA students aiming at an advanced level are welcome to apply for admission.

Tags: Summer School, PhD, Social Science, Sociology, Political Science
Published Dec. 9, 2010 11:59 AM - Last modified Feb. 2, 2021 9:41 AM