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Systems of Crisis Management in Comparative Perspective, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Krishanteringssystem i jämförande perspektiv

This syllabus is valid: 2016-01-18 and until further notice

Course code: 2FO001

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Peace and Conflict Studies: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Political Science

Revised by: Head of Department of Political Science, 2015-11-16


The purpose of the course is to prepare students for a professional carrier in crisis management. The course develops knowledge and competence necessary for positions in crisis management and preparedness work on local, regional, national and international levels. The course also aims to prepare students for continued Ph.D. level studies.

Studies include advanced literature studies, scientific analysis and empirical case studies.

Expected learning outcomes

After the course students are expected to be able to show that they can
  • Describe and compare institutions and processes for crisis management at local, regional, national and international levels.
  • Discuss and compare how different theoretical approaches define, understand and research key issues in crisis management.
  • Define and operationalize key concepts in crisis management and use them to complete course assignments.
  • Identify, collect and analyse empirical and theoretical material of relevance for course assignments.
  • Create a crisis management plan.
  • Analyse crisis management in different types of crisis and disasters.
For these purposes, the student shall have
  • Knowledge about literature about different types of crisis, antagonistic as well as non-antagonistic.
  • Knowledge about decision-making processes on local, regional, national and international levels.
  • Ability to independently identify, structure and analyse complex crisis situations.
  • Ability to think critically and constructively about competing theoretical perspectives.
  • Ability to systematically and methodologically collect relevant information.

Required Knowledge

Peace and Conflict Studies, 90 credits or Political Science, 90 credits, including an individual thesis 15 credits, or equivalent. Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish Upper Secondary course English A. Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

Teaching is conducted in form of lectures, literature seminars, and tutoring in connection to essay and report writing. Lectures aim to introduce key concepts and theories necessary for understanding of crisis and disasters and for studies of crisis management systems. Literature seminars are a complement to lectures, aiming to enable in-depth studies of different aspects of crisis management issues, as described in the course literature. Tutoring in connection to essay and report writing is conducted both individually and in groups.

Examination modes

The course is examined through participation in seminars, written assignments and an oral exam.

Course participants are expected to submit three shorter theoretically oriented essays. Essays are individually written and carry 45% of the grade in total.

Course participants are expected to present a project plan for a reform of a crisis management system. The work is done in small groups and the results are presented at a final seminar. The seminar carries 15% of the total grade.

Course participants are expected to complete a scenario project about a potential larger crisis or disaster in Sweden with the aim of constructing a crisis management plan. The project is completed in a written report totalling 15-20 pages. Crisis management plan project work carries 40% of the total grade.

The grade scale for the entire course is Fail (U), Pass (G) or Pass with distinction (VG). In order to be awarded Pass (G) as the final grade the student shall have been granted Pass (G) for both seminars, reports and essays. Additional detailed information about examination is provided at the course introduction lecture.

General rules regarding examination
A student who does not meet the requirements to pass an examination can, if decided by the course instructor, be given a complementary assignment to reach the requirements to pass the examination. The complementary assignment can be individually modified to the specific requirements that the student has failed to reach, but the assignment must be of corresponding proportion to the original examination.
Ordinarily, the complementary assignment is given at the end of the course or when the grades at the original examination is announced. When the student has been given the complementary assignment, he/she should finish the assignment within ten days (not including weekends and holidays). If the student fail to finish the assignment within the required time, a new complementary assignment can only be given the next time the course is arranged, or during the two weeks of re-take exams the Department arranges every year during week 34 and 35.
If it is not possible to do complementary assignments (if so, it is stated next to each individual examination above), the student is required to do a re-take exam. The first re-take exam should be given two months after the original examination, at the latest, but no sooner than ten days after the grade on the original examination has been given (not including weekends and holidays). If the examination is given during May or June, the first re-take exam should be given no later than three months after the original examination. Two weeks of re-take exams are also arranged every year, which means complementary assignments are treated during this time independently of when the course was given. These weeks are arranged during week 34 and 35.
Students who fail an examination may retake that examination. A student has the right to request a new examiner if he/she fails two sub-course examinations (i.e. an examination and a re-take). In such cases students should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Studierektor). Examination in accordance with the same syllabus as during the original examination can be guaranteed for up to two years after the student’s first registration.

Transfer of Credits
Students who wish to transfer credits from other Departments or universities (Swedish or foreign) should do so in accordance to the Principal's decision “Tillgodoräknandeordning vid Umeå universitet (Dnr. 545-3317-02)”.

The application must be submitted in written form. The request should specify which module or course the request applies to. An official transcript should also be submitted. The transcript must include the following information: where and when the course was given, the discipline and level of the course, total course credits and grade received. A syllabus describing the course and a list of required readings should be submitted with the request. Where applicable, written research papers should also be submitted.
Upon completion of this course, the credits can be transferred to a selective course. However it is always the responsible Department or program that determines the possibility for credit transfers and the extent of the credit transfer. The student should therefore always contact the responsible Department or program before submitting an application for credit transfers.

Other regulations

A written and anonymous course evaluation is given at the end of the course. During the course an oral evaluation is also arranged, and the student can also anonymously submit thoughts and opinions in digital form.


  • Valid from: 2018 week 36

    Expected Readings

    Boin Arjen, et al.
    The Politics of Crisis Management, Public Leadership under Pressure.
    Cambridge : Cambridge University Press : 2005 :

    Essence of decision : explaining the Cuban missile crisis
    Allison Graham T., Zelikow Philip D.
    2. ed. : New York : Longman : 1999 : 416 s. : ill. :
    ISBN: 0-321-01349-2
    Search Album, the University Library catalogue

    Sword & Salve, Confronting New Wars and Humanitarian Crisis.
    Hoffman J., Weiss Thomas G.
    Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. : 2005 :

    Selective Readings

    Key readings in crisis management : systems and structures for prevention and recovery
    Elliot Dominic, Smith Denis
    London : Routledge : 2006 : xii, 436 s. :
    ISBN: 0-415-31520-4
    Search Album, the University Library catalogue

    Further Readings

    Articles and publications from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap).

  • Valid from: 2016 week 3

    Course literature list and schedule can be found on the course homepage of the Department of Political Science:
    Department of Political Science :