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MET5310: Methodology: Texts and History

Time schedule | PDF-version for print

General information | Course requirements | Final assessment | Course objective and content | Literature 

Person responsible for the course:Brent Nongbri (
Credit points (ECTS):10
Start of studies:Spring
Study programme:Master's degree (2 years) - Master of Theology
Master's degree (2 years) - Master in History of Religions
Programme of professional study - Professional Degree in Theology
Department:Department of Education, Religion and Society

General information

The goal of this course is to prepare students for writing a master's thesis based on historical texts or objects broadly understood. In order to finish the thesis within the stipulated time frame, it is important that the students get started on their thesis quickly. In this course, students will learn about relevant method; find a research topic; find a supervisor; write a project description; and participate in writing and searching courses. Students are required to create part of the bibliography themselves (ca. 300 pages), literature directly connected to the thesis they will be writing. 
The course consists of three parts:
Part A. Historical Theory and the Linguistic Turn (2.5 ECTS)
Part B. Historical method (2.5 ECTS)
Part C. Thesis-related study (5 ECTS)

Course requirements

In order to complete the course, students must: 
  • Participate in the obligatory search course (not for students who have passed SAM5030). Registration lists will be made available in Canvas if there is more than one course offered.
  • Participate in the seminar on academic writing (minimum 75% obligatory participation)
  • Participate in the evaluation of the curriculum and/or of the learning environment, if such evaluation is stipulated in the relevant term
Part A:
  • Attend the lectures on historical theory and the linguistic turn (minimum 75% obligatory participation)
  • Pass the in-class test on theory and the linguistic turn
Part B:
  • Attend the lectures and seminars on historical method and project design (minimum 75% obligatory participation)
  • Pass the in-class test on historical method
  • Register the topic of the dissertation (100-300 words)
  • Fill out and submitt the digital student-supervisor contract
  • Write and have approved a project description (ca 1000-1500 words). The following is a recommended outline of the project description:
1) Research question and brief discussion of why this should be studied 
2) Primary material, including delimitation and motivation 
3) Method 
4) Preliminary structure of the thesis 
Part C:
  • Write and have approved an annotated bibliography which presents ca. 300 pages of self-chosen literature and relates it to the thesis the student will write (2000-2500 words)
When course requirements are not fulfilled this will count as one examination attempt, unless you withdraw within the set deadline (1 May/ 1 November).

Final assessment

The course is assessed as pass/fail, based on whether or not the course requirements are fulfilled. All course requirements must be fulfilled in order to pass. The course must be passed before students will be allowed to begin their thesis.

Course objective and content

Part A. Historical Theory and the Linguistic Turn
The student has:
  • Good knowledge of recent developments in historical theory and the linguistic turn
  • Good knowledge of research ethics in relation to the study of historical sources
The student can:
  • Reflect on the relevance of theoretical questions and the linguistic turn for historical study
  • Make informed decisions about the use of historical evidence based on current discussions in research ethics
Part B. Historical method
The student has:
  • Good knowledge of questions concerning primary and secondary historical sources and a broad range of methodological questions in historical research
The student can:
  • Choose and delimit the source material and research question for a thesis within history
  • Make use of historical method in order to design a master's thesis in a historical topic
Part C. Thesis-related study
The student has:
  • Good knowledge of the academic discourse of which the thesis will be a part
The student can:
  • Find and critically assess secondary literature relevant to the writing of a master's thesis


To access electronic literature when you are not at MF:

  • Evans, R. (2002). From historicism to Postmodernism: Historiography in the Twentieth Century. History and Theory, 41(1), p. 79-87. Library (Check Canvas).
  • Hamilton, P. (2003). Historicism (2nd ed. ed.). London: Routledge. Library. Hentet fra
  • Jenkins, K. & Munslow, A. (2003). Re-thinking history. London,New York: Routledge. Library


  • Mazza, R. (2015). Papyri, Ethics, and Economics: A Biography of P.Oxy. 15.1780 (P 39). The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, 52, p. 113-142. Library, 19386958. Hentet fra
  • Tosh, J. (2015). The pursuit of history: Aims, methods and new directions in the study of history (6. ed.). London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. Library


  • Students are to choose a bibliography of ca 300 pages, in cooperation with their supervisor. The literature should be directly relevant to the chosen topic of study.

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