Valmynd Leit

Modern Studies BA

Modern studies. Photo: Auðunn Níelsson.This programme is taught in Icelandic

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Akureyri offers a three-year, 180 ECTS path of study leading to a BA degree in Modern Studies

What are modern studies?

The term modern studies refers to an interdisciplinary branch of the humanities. It is well known as a field of study abroad but the University of Akureyri is the only university in Iceland that offers such a programme. Modern studies explore the roots of modern times and the revolutionary changes that have ensued. Modernity refers to the ways of life, the world-view and social structure emerging in the western world in the late 18th century. The interdisciplinary character of these studies lies in their approach to modernity from several viewpoints like philosophy, history, literature and use of diverse social science methods. The courses are given by Faculty members and temporary instructors, specialists in their respective fields. A part of the teaching is conducted in English.

What is the meaning of modernity

Max Weber described the onset of modernity as a secularisation of the world, which refers to scientifically founded logic as a dominant feature in the daily life of man in lieu of religion and superstition. It implies that society, administration and culture increasingly are subject to logical order, thus blazing the trail for progress of human rights, democracy, and freedom of the individual. This progress is accompanied by an uprooting and isolation of the individual, aimlessness in a secularised world, and new forms of discrimination and injustice. The attractions of urban life are powerful, irrespective of whether we are dealing with Brazil, China or Iceland, and the city is one of the most significant symbols of the present or modernity. Modernity continues undaunted with all its contradictions that are reflected, for example, clearly in growing life expectancy on the one hand and genocide on the other.

Why Modern Studies?

  • Modern Studies as a path of study is a promising option for those who want to acquire a broadly founded education in the field of humanities.
  • Modern Studies are well suited to the needs of those who want to complete parts of their study at universities abroad. The first-year courses are a good preparation and various subjects of study can be fitted into the diverse humanities and social science courses offered for the BA degree in Modern Studies at the University of Akureyri.
  • Modern studies are well suited to the requirements of those who want to take their major or minor subjects of study in humanities or social sciences at the University of Iceland or at cooperating universities abroad.

Five fields of emphasis in Modern Studies

Students who pursue a 180 ECTS BA degree in Modern Studies select their own fields of emphasis (see further information below). This makes the studies quite flexible and in effect individually oriented. Most of the electives are offered within the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, while some are given within the Faculty of Education and the School of Business and Science.

Study structure

It is possible to take 180, 120 or 60 ECTS in Modern Studies. Studies toward a 180 ECTS BA degree in the Modern Studies programme are structured in the following way: During the first year, students take various basic courses, such as Practical Skills for the Social Sciences and the Humanities, History of Ideas, Industrialisation and Globalisation, Critical Analysis of Information, Introduction to Journalism and Media Studies, Introduction to Social Studies, Deconstructing the 20th Century, and Ethics and Moral Controversies. In the 2nd and 3rd year students take courses such as, The Concept of Modernity, Gender Studies, The Fourth Estate I and II, and Icelandic Media I. In parallel they attend seminars in Modern Studies, one each semester, where specialised issues are delved into, such as the ideal of progress of the present, nationality and national consciousness, cities and urbanisation, the holocaust, utopias, the concept of freedom, development of individual consciousness, alleged conflicts of different cultural worlds, and acts of terrorism and ethnic cleansing. In the second and third year students increasingly assume responsibility for their own studies by selecting courses in two out of six fields of emphasis. The studies finish with a 12 ECTS BA thesis.

On completion of studies

The BA degree in Modern Studies constitutes a sound basis for advanced studies in various subjects of humanities and social sciences. It makes for a broader outlook on life, and an improved understanding of the environment, critical thinking, and ability to cope with complicated tasks. The studies provide in other words a sound general education that is desirable for employment of various kinds, with various employers such as the public sector, state or municipalities, institutes, associations or private corporations.

Continuous assessment

All courses are continuously assessed, with emphasis on regular assignments and tests instead of a comprehensive exam. This enables students to monitor their own achievement. However, as some courses are shared with other Faculties and paths of study, especially in the first year, some exceptions to the continuous assessment will occur. The courses will partly be taught in English.

Schools & Faculties

School of Health Sciences

School of Business and Science

Distance Education?????

Graduate Studies????

School of Social Science and Humanities

Resarch Institutes????

University of Akureyri

Nordurslod 2         600 Akureyri, Iceland         unak@unak.is         S. + 354 460 8000 

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