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2021/2022  BA-BPOLO3207U  Philosophy of Social Science

English Title
Philosophy of Social Science

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc i International Business and Politics, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Christian Hendriksen - Department of Operations Management (OM)
  • Hubert Buch-Hansen - Department of Organization (IOA)
Main academic disciplines
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 09-06-2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course students are expected to be able to:
  • Understand basic terminology and positions in philosophy of science
  • Reflect critically on the philosophy of science assumptions underpinning research, including the student’s work.
  • Produce and present a coherent analysis that – combining relevant theory, methods and data – answers a clear and relevant research question.
Course prerequisites
The course BPOLO1232U Comparative Political Economy is a prerequisite for participating in this course
Joint Project: Comparative Political Economy and Philosophy of Social Science:
Exam ECTS 15
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-5
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
It is possible to write the assignment individually without applying for exemption.
Assignment type Written assignment
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Re-exam when the ordinary exam is failed is an individual oral exam (20 minutes per student) based on the original report and 3 standard page supplement. The assignment must also be resubmitted.
If you have not handed in a assignment in the first exam try you must hand in a full assignment plus the additional 3 pages.

Make-up exam when ill with Doctor's certificate at the ordinary exam is an individual oral exam (20 minutes per student) based on the original assignment. The assignment must also be resubmitted.

Make-up exam when ill with Doctor's certificate during the writing of the assignment is the same as the ordinary exam.
Description of the exam procedure

The exam covers the learning objectives in BPOLO3207U Philosophy of Social Science and BPOLO1232U in Comparative Political Economy.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

All social scientific theories, methods and empirical analyses are loaded with philosophical assumptions. With philosophy of science these assumptions can be explicated and analysed. The overall purpose of the course is to introduce students to key concepts and positions in philosophy of science so as to develop their skills in reflecting on the assumptions underpinning research – both their own and that of others. The course introduces established philosophy of social science positions such as positivism, constructivism and critical realism. It brings into focus the implications of philosophy of science for the research design, including the choice of theory, methods and data.


The course inter alia draws on content covered in other IBP courses – above all the Comparative Political Economy (CPE) course with which it shares its exam – to illustrate philosophical concepts and arguments. To render such concepts and arguments as tangible as possible, the course moreover relates to one or more running themes.


In extension of the classes, students write a project report in groups. The project report applies CPE theory in an empirically grounded comparative analysis with a view to answer a clear and relevant research question formulated by the group. The project report is to justify theoretical choices and account for methods, data and philosophy of science assumptions. It forms the basis of an oral group exam.

Description of the teaching methods
Feedback during the teaching period
Students receive feedback in the context of a workshop and through supervision. Additional feedback of relevance to the exam is provided in the Comparative Political Economy course.
Student workload
Preparation time (readings, group work etc.) 76 hours
Lectures / class exercises / “homework cafés” / workshops etc. 32 hours
Exam (incl. preparation for the exam and actual exam period) 160 hours
Last updated on 09-06-2021