Schedule for admitted students

You can find the schedule for Caucasus Studies I here

Caucasus Studies I


The course gives the student a broad knowledge of the Caucasus – a politically turbulent region with high ethnic diversity in a vulnerable geopolitical location. It offers an introduction to the Caucasus region, its ethnic groups and languages, history and recent political developments.

Admission requirements

General entry requirements + English B.

For Swedish Upper Secondary Grades merit rating will be calculated according to Områdesbehörighet 6/A6


credits 20% final grades 40% national university aptitude test 40%


What is Caucasus Studies?

Caucasus Studies at Malmö University is an ‘area study’. It is based on the assumption that the history of the Caucasus matters for the understanding of contemporary political, social and economic developments and that the region’s unique geographical location is crucial for understanding the conflict dynamics in the region. 

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The Caucasus region is located at the crossroads of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Historically the region has been dominated by different empires, including the Ottoman Empire, Persia, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War the Caucasus region has obtained a new strategic significance. Regional great powers – Turkey, Iran, Russia – again compete for political influence in the region, which is also rich in energy resources and constitutes an important transit corridor for oil and gas from the Caspian basin to Western markets. New external actors, notably USA and the EU, compete with the ‘traditional’ regional powers for political influence in the Caucasus region and for control over its strategically important energy resources and pipeline routes.

The Caucasus is one of the most complex regions of the world in terms of ethnic and linguistic diversity. Contested borders divide similar ethnic groups and nationalities.  Feelings of national 'we' are weak, while sub-national identities (clan, ethnic groups, region) are strong. The Caucasus is also a meeting place for different Islamic, Christian and pre-Christian religious traditions. Our courses provide students with an understanding of the role of ethnicity, language and religion in the post-Soviet state- and nation-building processes.

What makes Caucasus Studies unique?

Caucasus Studies at Malmö University is the only center in Western Europe providing distance learning courses on this topic. The flexible online design makes it easy for students to follow the courses in their home country and even to combine them with orther studies or work.

The multidisciplinary staff consists of researchers with solid knowledge of the particularities of the Caucasus region, combined with extensive experience from doing  field work in the region.

Caucasus Studies at Malmö Universiy has tight links with academic institutions and scholars in the Caucasus Region, as well as other international institutions with Caucasus research. The center often hosts academics from the region who stay at Malmö University campus and actively involve in Caucasus Studies courses and research.

Course modules

Introduction to Caucasus Studies
A language of the Caucasus (choice of Georgian and Russian)
Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus
History of the Caucasus

Read more about Caucasus Studies




Syllabus for students autumn 2019, spring 2019, autumn 2018

Course Code:
IM112L revision 2
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Date of establishment:
09 February 2012
Date of ratification:
01 March 2012
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
03 September 2012
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
01 March 2012

Course description

The course gives the student a broad knowledge of the Caucasus – a politically turbulent region with high ethnic diversity in a vulnerable geopolitical location. It offers an introduction to the Caucasus region, its ethnic groups and languages, history and recent political developments.

Advancement in relation to the degree requirements

The course can normally be included as a part of a general degree at undergradate level.

Entry requirements

General entry requirements + English B.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

After finishing the course, the student shall:

have a basic knowledge of the Caucasus region, including its geography, ethnic composition, main languages, religions, demographic distribution, political systems, economy, administrative division;

demonstrate understanding of the role of history and geopolitics in present political developments in the Caucasus region;

demonstrate knowledge of existent research within Caucasus Studies as well as of topical empirical issues related to the Caucasus region;

have an introductory knowledge of one language of the Caucasus, and

be familiar with Malmö University’s perspective areas: environment, gender, migration and ethnicity.

Skills and abilities

After finishing the course, the student shall be able to:

apply obtained knowledge of the geographical, political, socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the Caucasus region as tools in further analyses of empirical reports as well as theoretical works on the region;

interpret current political, cultural and socio-economic processes in the region within the framework of Soviet as well as earlier history;

engage in simple communicative situations in one language of the Caucasus, and

demonstrate ability to relate knowledge about Malmö University’s perspective areas to current issues in Caucasus region.

Critical skills and approach

After finishing the course, the student shall:

Demonstrate an ability to evaluate sources and assess bias in material used as empirical evidence.


Assessments are based on mandatory assignments, group or individual on-line presentations and short essays. The language module is assessed differently (cf. syllabus of the language course). The total grade for the course is the amalgamate grade of the (ECTS) grades obtained for the four course modules.

There are two resubmission possibilities for failed assignments/ presentation/ essays. Each examination moment will be resubmitted in the same form as the original examination.

Course content

The course includes an overview of the history of the Caucasus region under Russian and Soviet rule, as well as earlier history of the region. Against this background the course focuses on problems within the Caucaus region related to the transition from Soviet power to democracy and market relations in the Post-Soviet period. The course gives basic skills in one of the languages of the Caucasus region as a useful tool in future field studies and work in the region or contacts with original materials.

The course is divided into four 7,5 ECTS modules:

1. Introduction to Caucasus Studies

2. A language of the Caucasus

3. History of the Caucasus

4. Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus

Learning activities

- online lectures
- online forum discussions
- mandatory assignments
- interactive exercises
- independent reading
- individual studies

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

The web-based course literature is accessible at Malmö University library to enrolled students.

1. Introduction to Caucasus Studies

Coene, F. The Caucasus: an introduction. Routledge, 2009 (255 p.)

The module uses additional online resourses and articles of approx, 150 pages.

2. A language of the Caucasus

Literature depends on the language chosen. Cf. the syllabus of the language course.

3. History of the Caucasus

King, Ch. The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, (314 p.)

Polian, P.M. Against their will: the history and geography of forced migrations in the USSR. Budapest, New York: Central European University Press, 2004. 135- (40 p.)

Winrow, G. M. A New Great Game in the Transcaucasus? Gareth M., In: Lynch, D. & Y. Kalyuzhnova, Euro-Asian World. New York, NY USA: Palgrave Publishers, 2000. (p. 45-67)

Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus

  • Åslund, Anders. 2008. ‘Transition Economies.’ In: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Library of Economics and Liberty.
  • Cornell Caspian Consulting. 2002. The South Caucasus: A Regional Overview and Conflict Assessment, SIDA, Department for Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Dudwick, Nora, Elizabeth Gomart, and Alexandre Marc. 2003. When Things Fall Apart: Qualitative Studies of Poverty in the Former Soviet Union. Washington DC: The World Bank. [Selected chapters]
  • Fairbanks, Charles H. 2001. “Disillusionments in the Caucasus and Central Asia”. Journal of Democracy, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 49-56.
  • Gafarli, Orhan et al. 2016. “The Role of Global and Regional Actors in the South Caucasus”. Caucasus Edition - Journal of Conflict Transformation, June 1. 2016.
  • Hunter, Shireen T. “The Evolution of the Foreign Policy of the Transcaucasian States” In: Garry K. Bertsch et al. (eds), Crossroad and Conflict. Security and Foreign Policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Florence: Taylor and Francis, 1999. pp 25-47.
  • Kempe, Iris et. al. (eds). ”Social Capital.” Caucasus Analytical Digest (CAD), issue 31, November 2011. Pp: 1-18.
  • Malek, M. 2006. “The South Caucasus at the Crossroads: Ethno-territorial Conflicts, Russian Interests, and the Access to Energy Resources”. In: G. Hauser & F. Kernic (eds.) European security in transition. Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006, p.145-160.
  • McFaul, Michael. 2005. “Transitions from Postcommunism”. Journal of Democracy, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 5-19.
  • Philip G. Roeder. 1998. “Liberalization and Ethnic Entrepreneurs in the Soviet Successor States” In: Beverly Crawford and Ronnie D. Lipschutz. (eds.) The Myth of “Ethnic Conflict”: Politics, Economics, and “Cultural” Violence. University of California at Berkeley. Pp. 78-107.

Reference literature for all modules

Minahan, J. One Europe, Many Nations : A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000

Dalby, A. Dictionary of Languages. Huntingdon, GBR: A & C Black, 2006.

Thomas de Waal, The Caucasus an Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Course evaluation

All students are given the opportunity to comment the course at the end of the term in an online survey. A compilation of the results will be available on the university computer net. Students are also given the opportunity to offer oral feedback at various points earlier in the term.


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the department Department of Global Political Studies.

Further information

GPSstudent - Malmö universitet,
Katrine Gotfredsen, Course Coordinator
Phone: 040-6657590


02 September 2019 - 19 January 2020 100% Distance (Malmö) Application code: mau-91150

National application round

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 38000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 38000 SEK

Open for late application