You may have watched Thor: Ragnarok, heard about the Vikings, read the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, or bought your furniture at IKEA. But “Nordic” encompasses much more!

It includes the Indigenous Circumpolar territories of Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) and Sápmi, as well as Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and the Faroe Islands. In this way, “Nordic” has a broader and more inclusive reach than “Scandinavian.” This region has a long cultural history, and our classes and Minor in Nordic Studies invite you to learn more. The CENES Department offers two language programs in Nordic Studies — Danish and Swedish — and a variety of exciting courses in Nordic literature, film, culture, folklore, media and society.

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If you're interested in taking a Nordic Studies course but are unsure of what to expect, my best answer is anything. You'll get so many different forms of media and case studies to learn about, whether that be surreal Icelandic literature or Danish gangster rap. These classes will dismantle your assumptions about the Nordic countries.

Alex Hewlett-Bowbrick
Minor in Nordic Studies

Nordic Culture Courses

Today’s Nordic region is a landscape of innovation and creativity, which includes but is not limited to Scandinavia. The social welfare system, public support to students, and social equity are among the most striking trademarks of these countries. Nordic lands benefit from their remarkable history of experimentation and exploration: diplomacy, information technology, fashion, arts, and design dominate the new job market in this era of globalization. Significant international companies like IKEA (Swedish), Lego (Danish), Telenor (Norwegian), and H&M (Swedish) reflect the development of this dynamic region. In the CENES Department, you can learn about Indigenous Sámi cultures, Nordic crime fiction, Nordic cinema and drama, the Viking world, epics and sagas. We offer Nordic culture courses that showcase the variety of this region and fulfill your Arts breadth requirements at the same time!

Nordic Language Programs

Nordic Language Courses

Our Danish and Swedish language courses give students communicative competence in the five proficiencies of language learning: listening, reading, speaking, writing, and culture. Our language courses also provide you with a good foundation, if you would like to study or work abroad in Denmark and Sweden. Through UBC’s Go Global exchange agreements with an array of partner universities throughout the region, we offer you a unique opportunity to pursue studies abroad, or improve your language skills.

Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish are mutually understandable, and knowing just one is sufficient to make oneself understood in the two other countries as well! Our department at UBC offers Beginning and Intermediate Danish and Swedish (DANI/SWED 100-110 + 200-210) and by the end of the two years you will have developed a basic linguistic proficiency through communicative learning, and you will have expanded your intercultural awareness through authentic texts, music, and film.

Minor in Nordic Studies

The Minor in Nordic Studies gives you the opportunity to combine your interest in the Nordic region with your other programs of study. The minor is made up of a lower-level language and an upper-level literature and culture component. Students must complete 12 credits of lower-level language credits in either Swedish or Danish.

The literature and culture component consists of 18 upper-level credits. However, since they are all taught in English, it is not necessary to complete the lower-level language requirement before taking the 300- and 400-level courses.

In consultation with the Nordic Undergraduate Director, students may replace one of the upper-level courses (i.e., 3 credits) with, for example, a social science or history course with a strong Nordic component.

*Please note that students with a background in Danish or Swedish must take a placement test before the beginning of classes.

Welcome, Dr. Tim Frandy!

Check out this interview with our new Nordic Studies professor.
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