About the course

- What is the purpose of the United Nations and how does it really work?
- Does the United Nations matter in international affairs?
- Is the critique of United Nations fair? And if so how can it be fixed?
- Are you interested in learning how to negotiate and acting as an international diplomat?

If you think that any of those questions are important and interesting, then this course is something for you.


This course is for anyone interested in the United Nations (UN) and how it deals with current issues of concern for the international community such as for instance disarmament and security, sustainable development, human rights and equality. The course will give you an insight into the role and workings of the UN in international politics and the interaction and dialogue between governments in trying to solve the issues on the global agenda.

The aim of the course is to give students in depth knowledge about the system of the United Nations and how its different bodies function, for example such bodies as UNCHR, UNICEF, UNDP and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The main focus of the course is on a model United Nations role play, that will through its simulation give the students practical skills in negotiations and diplomacy.

During the course we will further study and discuss the historical origin, development and challenges of the United Nations. We will also analyse different cases concerning, for example conflicts, interventions and sovereignty from the International Court of Justice. In addition, we will get a deeper understanding of the workings of the UN by the thematic study of the different bodies of the organisation for example, how does the UNDP work with achieving the UN Sustainability Goals in the region of Africa.

The course has a hands-on approach to the work of the UN by making use of real material produced by the UN, such as resolutions, reports, investigations and judicial decisions.

The main emphasis of the course will be on a Model UN role-play. In the simulation students will act as state representatives during a General Assembly session dealing with one of the seventeen sustainability goals. The students will attend meetings at the General Assembly representing their states, conduct negotiations and diplomacy as well as working with amending resolutions mirroring the real work of the General Assembly delegates.

The course consist of the following modules:

The Law and Practice of the UN (15hp)

In this module we will study the in and outs of the UN to gain as much knowledge about the world organisation as possible so that all are well prepared for the simulation of the Model UN.

Model UN (15hp)

The whole module is built around a Model UN role-play that takes place during a session of the General Assembly. Between the General Assembly meetings the state delegates will work on their state position on the issue at hand, work on amending resolutions, and negotiate and form alliances with other states represented in the role-play.

For further information on content, course literature and examination see the syllabus.

Course content

The aim of the course is for the students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the United Nations and its mechanism and functions on the international arena. The course stresses the interaction between international law and politics by examining the relevance, capacity, practice, and accountability of the United Nations.

Students will obtain a theoretical understanding of the United Nations and its role in global politics that will be practically applied with the preparation and participation in a Model United Nations. The course combines both substantive knowledge of the UN system and practical simulated debates of major issues on the international political agenda.


The course consists of 2 modules:

Module 1: The UN System (15 hp)

The first module gives an overview of the UN System and its purpose, functions and regulating principles on the international arena. The module introduces the students to the organisation’s wide range of lawmaking mechanisms, structures and institutions. Furthermore, the module identifies the legal and political interactions and processes of the Untied Nations.

The module is divided and consist of three parts:

A. The UN System 1: The UN Security Council (5 hp)

The first part focuses on the Security Council’s role as the decision-making body of the organistation and identify its functions and its involement in international peace and security from a historical and contemporary context.

B. The UN System 2: International Court of Justice (5 hp)

The second part has as its starting point the judicial law making system of the UN with a focus on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and its role as settlers of international legal disputes. The main emphasis is on the ICJ and its general jurisdiction over settlements between states and its role as the primary body for interpretation of international law.

C. The UN System 3: The UN General Assembly (5 hp)

The third part gives an in depth introduction to the functions and work of the General Assembly and its role as in international politics as legislative and norm setting body.

Module 2: Model United Nations (15 hp)

The second module is a preparation and participation in a Model United Nations (role play simulations). The purpose of the model is to convert the theoretical and substantive knowledge gained in module 1 into practical skills and capabilities by replicating the conditions of the UN through simulations. The students will assume the role of states’ government representatives to the UN and its different bodies such as for example; the General Assembly and its committees, the Security Council, subsidiaries organs and specialists agencies. The content of the course is determined by current issues of international concern on the UN agenda.

Syllabus and course literature

You can find a list of literature in the syllabus, along with other details about the course.

Entry requirements and selection

Entry requirements

General entry requirements + English 6.


Upper secondary grades 66%, Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT) 34%

Course evaluation

The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).


For more information about the education: