PhD programme plan at the Faculty of Educational Sciences

The Faculty has amended the programme plan for its organized research training. The new plan entered into force on 1 January 2013, and has particularly been amended and expanded on in line with the intentions in the Norwegian Qualifications Framework.

Legal authority for the programme plan can be found in the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo, adopted by the University Board of the University of Oslo on 22 June 2010.

Scope of the programme

The nominal period of study for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences is 3 full-time equivalents (FTE). The organized educational component is included in this. The educational component must correspond to at least 30 credits (50% of an FTE). In order to meet the requirement for breadth, all candidates must take courses corresponding to 20 credits (compulsory component), while 10 credits can be selected freely from approved courses, in consultation with the main supervisor. In order to present oneself for the PhD examination, the candidate must have acquired some experience in academic dissemination corresponding to 1.5 weeks' work within the 30 credits of the educational component. The thesis work should correspond to 2.5 FTEs.

Basis for the degree

The PhD degree is awarded on the basis of:

  • completed training component
  • scientific thesis
  • PhD examination

The PhD examination consists of a trial lecture and a disputation (public defence of the thesis), pursuant to section 2 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo.

Programme Objectives

The PhD education at UiO aims to educate independent researchers of a high international calibre in accordance with recognized academic and ethical principles. The education is provided in a research environment that provides a professional community for the candidate. During the PhD education, the candidate is also responsible for his/her own academic, professional and personal development. The education will qualify students for research activity and other employment in which the expected standard of scientific insight and analytical thinking is high. The education will give the candidate competence to assess the suitability and application of different methods and processes in research, and contribute to the development of new knowledge, theories, methods, interpretations and forms of documentation in the field.

At the Faculty of Educational Sciences

The purpose of the PhD programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences is to further develop the candidate's qualifications in research and other work within areas that require a high level of scientific insight. The programme will place emphasis on both specialist study and breadth of the scientific schooling. The focus on depth will be dealt with through the theoretical and methodological research associated with a scientific thesis (the PhD thesis). The objective of academic breadth is safeguarded in the educational component through compulsory courses and planned literature studies. The educational component will provide insight to key philosophy of science and ethics subjects, research methods, and a selection of thematic subjects and theories of relevance to the candidate's research topic. The educational component also aims to provide experience with academic dissemination. The interaction between research and personal development means that each candidate achieves unique competence in the field of educational sciences. The organized research training will prepare the candidate for par­ticipation in and building, maintaining and further developing research environments and other work that requires high levels of scientific insight and analytical thinking.

Qualifications upon completion of the programme

When the programme is completed, the candidates will have an understanding and a good command of key philosophy of science and research ethics questions, and of the research methods of the subject area and their relevance. They will further be able to assess the suitability and application of new methods in research and development projects, be able to help develop new theories, methods and interpretations in the subject area, and assess them critically and with professional integrity.

The doctors must be able to formulate research questions for, plan and execute research and development tasks, and conduct research of an international calibre. They must be able to analyze complex academic questions and challenge practices and established and new knowledge in their own field. They must also be able to supervise others in research and development work, be able to participate in and help further develop their own research environments, manage complex interdisciplinary tasks and projects, and disseminate their subject constructively to the national and international academic environment and public. The doctors must also be able to assess the need for, initiate and pursue innovation.


Admission to the PhD programmes at UiO requires that the applicant has taken at least a five-year degree (Master's degree or corresponding) or corresponding education, which the relevant faculty has approved as a basis for admission. The faculties may make further admission requirements in their respective PhD programmes, pursuant to section 5.1 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo.

At the Faculty of Educational Sciences

In order to be admitted to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences and affiliated with the faculty's units, an applicant must have completed a second degree (Master's degree in Education/Special Needs Education, Education Management, Master's degree from the Secondary School Teacher Training programme (LAP)) or a professional degree (cand.paed., cand.paed.spec., cand.ed., cand.polit) with specialization in Education/Educational Welfare, Subject Didactics (e.g. cand.scient., cand.philol.), or a professional degree in relevant subjects or other relevant education at a corresponding level. Applicants whose background is outside the subject areas covered by the faculty must demonstrate academic rele­vance and a premise for the subject in the application/project plan. The previous education must be of a high quality (in accordance with the lower limit in the UiO grading scale: grade B).

In addition to requirements regarding the scope and quality of previous education, a project description must be submitted as part of the grounds for assessment for admission. See the point below for the requirements regarding project descriptions. A confirmed funding plan must be submitted before admission can be granted.

The Faculty has its own Supplementary Rules for admission, which specify admission criteria and assessment procedures.

Any required duties are extra, and will extend the admission period, such that the admission period with 25% required duties is four years.

At the end of the admission period, the candidate will no longer have the status of an affiliate of the PhD programme, and the candidate will be discharged. However, an application may be submitted to extend the admission period, as long as the period of time necessary to complete the thesis work is presumed to be less than 1 year. An application may be submitted to extend the admission period based on a leave of absence pursuant to the Ministry's guidelines for appointment to educational posts. Candidates who are discharged from the programme will still be able to apply at a later date to defend the thesis for the degree of PhD under the management of the Faculty of Educational Sciences. Dedicated guidelines may then be drawn up for completion of the work for the degree of PhD.

Deadline for applying for admission

From 1 February 2017 the Faculty receive applications ongoing without any deadline. The maximum annual admission capacity will be set for each year of admission based on an assessment of the unit's resources. The PhD candidate will be affiliated with the research environment at the unit that covers the subject area in question. Applications for admission to the PhD programme must be written on the dedicated form which is available from the faculty, and sent to the faculty's administration. The application must state the name of the unit at which admission is sought.

Project description requirements

The applicant's project description will normally be submitted together with the application for admission. The project description must be 5–10 pages long, with single spacing, including the bibliography. The project description must give an account of the research questions, theoretical framework, choice of methods, progress plan, and information about the funding of the project. The plan must be well thought through, and it must be possible to execute the project within the nominal period of study.

When applying for admission to a programme based on a project organized by a member of the academic staff at the faculty, the project manager and the supervisors on the project will guarantee the quality. In such cases, an independent project description must be submitted within 3 months of admission. The provisions regarding approval of the project description will be set by the Faculty.

Admission decision

Before a formal decision regarding admission is final, a written agreement must be signed regarding admission and supervision, as well as any agreements with external institutions regarding funding. The admission and supervision agreement should be entered into within four weeks of starting the PhD programme. The agreement must stipulate the topic of the thesis, the agreement period, the funding plan, supervision arrangements, the place of work, and the educational component. The agreement will clarify the responsibilities, rights and obligations of the candidate, supervisors, faculty and unit, in addition to obligations towards a possible external funding body.

In connection with the signing of the agreement, the unit must ensure that external supervisors are given a copy of the rules for the PhD programme, the programme plan for research education, and other relevant provisions associated with ethical guidelines for supervisors at UiO and the Guidelines for research ethics in the social sciences, law and the humanities (NESH).

Structure and content, supervision requirements

Programme content

The programme consists of a training component and a thesis. Together with the work on the thesis, the content of the training component will offer the necessary academic specialization and breadth.

The scope of the programme plan

The PhD degree at the Faculty of Educational Sciences is linked to subject areas that are covered at all times by the faculty's subject portfolio. The PhD programme provides organized research training in the programme options Education, Special Needs Education, Subject Didactics, Learning and ICT.

The organized research training gives the candidates access to qualified supervisors. The quality of the education depends on the coherence between the candidate's work, the supervision, and the research environment that the candidate is part of.

The objective of the organized research training is to develop both academic competence and more generic skills. The Faculty encourages participation at international conferences, in relation to credit for the educational component, and research stays abroad in connection with the thesis work. The faculty also facilitates candidates’ participation in national and international academic activities and networks.

Content requirements for the training component

The training component shall correspond to at least 30 credits, with at least 20 credits being completed after admission. The training component shall normally be taken at the University of Oslo.

Together with the work on the thesis, the training component will provide education on a high academic level. The candidates shall complete a scientific/scholarly work, receive training in academic dissemination and an introduction to research ethics, theory of science and scientific method, pursuant to section 8 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo.

At the Faculty of Educational Sciences

The aim of the training component is to provide insight into theories and methods at a high academic level with a view to aid the work on the PhD thesis, as well as to contribute to the general training which is necessary for the candidate’s research and other tasks in areas where great demand is made on scientific and scholarly insight. The training component shall contribute to ensure

  • the candidate’s mastery of the central issues and challenges regarding philosophy of science and research ethics within the field of educational sciences.
  • the candidate’s ability to participate in educational debates in international forums.
  • the candidate's participation to research activities and networks nationally and internationally,
  • give the candidate an introduction to ethical research practices, among other things as laid out in the national guidelines for ethics in the social sciences and the humanities (NESH).

Candidates with 25 % required duties have, in addition to the formal requirements, greater opportunities to attain generic competencies and skills such as application writing, project management, commercialization, and entrepreneurialism.

The candidates may choose courses that are offered at the Faculty of Educational Sciences or approved research training courses that are given at other departments, faculties or universities. Courses taken at other universities (external courses) normally cannot amount to more than 10 credits in total, in accordance with section 8 of the Regulations for the PhD degree at UiO. Relevant national research training courses at one of the other universities is not considered an external course, and may be submitted for approval without being included in the quota for external courses.

A course catalogue is provided each semester by the Faculty. The more permanent courses offered in both autumn and spring will be announced on a general basis. In collaboration with the supervisor, the PhD candidate is responsible for taking courses that meet the requirements of the training component.

Each candidate's course plan (for the training component) will be drawn up together with the supervisor. The Department  will approve each candidate's training component within the frame of the current elements in the programme plan.

For approval of a course, whether within the compulsory or the elective component, participation in all teaching will be required, unless otherwise stated in the course description. A course cannot allow for absence from more than 20 % of the teaching period. The course leader is responsible for checking attendance.

The Faculty's Programme Council for Organized Research Training will determine the number of credits, syllabi and the types of documentation that should apply to courses / lecture series / seminar series, etc. in the training component, following a proposal from the applicable unit, course leaders and lecturers.

The selection of the various courses for the candidate's training component must be approved by the unit within the frame of current elements in the programme plan.

Frame for the training component

The compulsory components of the training will not be linked to specific courses but topics. Topics are organized into groups of 10 credits x 3.  They are broken down as follows:

Compulsory topics/subjects

Philosophy of science                        7 credits  
Ethics:                                                3 credits               = 10 credits
Qualitative methodology                   5 credits  
Quantitative methodology                 5 credits               =  10 credits
Total compulsory topics/subjects                                = 20 credits
Total elective component                                                 = 10 credits
Total training component                                              = 30 credits

Specification of the elective component

The elective component is based on one or more of the specified points below, and shall normally be completed after admission to the PhD programme.

1. Thematic subjects and theories in different research fields at the Faculty, methodological courses  

(max. 10 credits)

2. National, international or Nordic research courses (the Department must approve Nordic and international courses).

(max. 10 credits)
3. Special syllabi (from courses, seminars or literature studies) (max. 10 credits)
4. A stay of at least 2 weeks at a relevant institution to learn methods/theory.      (max. 3 credits)

5. Presentation of findings from own research at national/ international conferences, e.g. presentation of own posters (1 credit per presentation)

(max. 3 credits)

6. Participation in writing applications for funding to NFR/EU (externally funded activities)

 (max. 1 credits)

General information for the compulsory and the elective parts

In general, for the compulsory and the elective parts taken together, a candidate can have approved a maximum of 2 credits of the training component from completed courses without documentation.

The documentation requirement will differ between the different courses. The forms of documentation normally include exercises, course assignment, essay, report, popularized/ scientific article, presentation of own paper / prepared oral academic presentations or other academic contribution to courses, oral or written accounts.

The candidate must safeguard and be able to produce documentation of the completed training part. The unit is responsible for registering approved training for each PhD candidate.

The requirement regarding the academic level of course documentation in the training component is of high standard..

Participation in research training prior to admission to the PhD programme may be approved upon admission, following a recommendation by the main supervisor. This also applies to courses organized by institutions outside the Faculty, e.g. abroad. Submission of documentation of the scope, course programme and execution are required for approval.

If examinations completed earlier are used as part of the training component, documentation must be provided that they were taken with an adequate result. Examinations that are older than 2 years on the date of application for admission cannot be part of the training Component.

Academic dissemination

In order to present oneself for the PhD examination, the candidate must have acquired some experience with academic dissemination. The requirement of academic dissemination shall be part of the frame of the training component. Academic dissemination must meet the prerequisites listed below. The work in the dissemination part must correspond to a lecture or seminar series of 1 hour per week over a period of one semester (approx. 1.5 weeks' work). The content of the dissemination part must be approved by the supervisor.

Examples of academic dissemination that is approved are:

  • lecture or seminar series where the supervisor gives the candidate feedback (may be lecture series during required duties)
  • popular science work (e.g. feature articles, popularized articles, lectures, etc.)
  • communication of own research
  • communication at international conferences
  • point 5 of the elective part of the course part – presentation of findings from own research in faculty research forums, international forums / conferences (e.g. presentation of own posters) may be part of the academic communication.

Guide for the calculation of credits

Credit calculation is based on the following:

One day (0900–1600) = 6 teaching hours. One-day courses are granted 2 sp (credits) with documentation, 0 sp (credits) without documentation. Documentation submitted includes work with the required reading for the course – see the table below.  Two-day courses = 1 sp (credit). All documentation will be granted 2 sp (credits). This means that a two-day course with documentation is granted 3 sp (credits). If a maximum number of pages of literature is required, the documentation requirement may be reduced (and vice versa). Based on this, the following may serve as a guiding model:

Days of teaching All dokumentation Courses with dokumentation Courses without dokumentation


scope of required reading

Total number of weeks
One day course 2 sp 2 sp 0 sp 200  pages 1.5 - 2 weeks
2 days  = 1 studiepoeng (sp) 2 sp 3 sp 1 sp 200- 300 pages 2 weeks

3 -4 days = 2 sp

2 sp 4 sp 1 sp 300- 400 pages 3 weeks
5-  6 days = 3 sp 2 sp 5 sp 1 sp 400- 500 pages 4 weeks
7-  8 days = 4 sp 2 sp 6 sp 1 sp 500- 600 pages 5 week

The calculation of credits can be related to the advice regarding workload per credit in the international ECTS scale and the national guidelines (Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions), which state that 1 credit corresponds to a normal workload of 25–30 working hours.

Compulsory part of the programme

The candidates must:

  • receive training in research ethics, the philosophy of science and research methodologies
  • submit annual progress reports
  • submit an independent, academic contribution of international calibre
  • complete the training component
  • complete the dissemination requirement
  • complete the PhD examination:

The PhD examination consists of

a) give a trial lecture
b) defend the thesis at a public disputation

Before submitting their thesis for examination, all candidates must have completed a 30-credit training component, as specified above, and also have completed the dissemination requirement, as specified above.

Academic environment

Upon admission, PhD candidates will be affiliated with the Department where the candidate has an academic attachment. The Department must ensure that the candidate is affiliated with an active research environment.

The Faculty's PhD candidates will be given an introduction to the research environment and culture through a dedicated internal supervisor. Candidates shall participate actively in the Research Forum organized by the research education coordinator at each unit, and shall also be invited to academic meetings in the different areas of the research environment. As far as possible, PhD candidates shall also be affiliated with the Faculty's research Groups

Supervision requirements

  • all candidates shall normally have two supervisors with a doctoral degree or similar competence
  • the candidates shall receive individual supervision
  • candidates and supervisors shall have regular contact
  • supervisors shall, among other things, give advice and contribute in discussions and deliberations connected to the preparation of the thesis, cf. section 7 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo (issued by the Board of the University of Oslo on 22 June 2010, pursuant to Act No. 15 of 1 April 2005 relating to Universities and University Colleges, section 3-3 and  § 3.9.)
  • supervisors shall provide guidance to the candidate on issues of research ethics related to the thesis
  • supervisors shall ensure that the PhD candidate participates in an active research environment

The work with the thesis must be conducted under individual supervision (see Regulations section 7), and it is the Department's responsibility to ensure that supervisors are appointed for the candidate. The Faculty appoints supervisors. There must always be a main supervisor. If the main supervisor is employed outside the university (external), a co-supervisor who is a permanent employee at the Faculty must be appointed. The main supervisor has the formal responsibility for issues regarding the candidate. If the main supervisor is external, the main supervisor and co-supervisor will share the responsibility. The reports and written work must be presented to both the external and internal supervisor.

The internal supervisor is under an obligation to maintain contact with the candidate, and to keep him- or herself informed about the candidate's study progress. The candidate shall be part of the academic environment. The internal supervisor is responsible for bringing the candidate into the academic environment at the Department, e.g. through seminars.

The academic supervision shall take place with due attention paid to the requirement that the thesis shall be an independent research contribution.

The amount of hours of supervision offered during the admission period is stipulated by separate agreements at the units or at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. The candidate is not entitled to supervision after the admission period.


The thesis will be an independent, scientific work that meets international standards in terms of academic level, methods and ethical requirements. It will contribute to the development of new knowledge in the chosen field (innovative) and will be of such quality as to qualify for publication as a part of the scientific literature in the field, pursuant to section 12 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo.

At the Faculty of Educational Sciences

The thesis is the central component of the programme, and is an independent contribution that must meet the requirements of the PhD study programme regarding specialization. The supervised work with the thesis shall provide the candidate with the competency needed to identify new, relevant research questions, and to conduct research with academic integrity. The work with the thesis should correspond to 2.5 years (FTEs). The thesis may be submitted either in the form of a monograph, or in the form of articles that are linked as a whole through an introduction and a summary of the key findings and conclusions. For further provisions regarding the scope and content of the introduction and summary of the key findings and conclusions in an article-based thesis, see the Faculty's Supplementary Rules. For further information regarding expectations in connection with article-based theses, see the approved guidelines for article-based theses and UiO's Guide to assessment of Norwegian doctorates.

The thesis must be at an academic level that corresponds to the standard for international publication.

Language used in the thesis

Theses should preferably be written in a Scandinavian language or in English. The thesis can also be written in another language if approval is granted by the Faculty/department.


Adjudication committee

The application to have the thesis assessed, pursuant to section 12 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo must be sent to the faculty. An expert adjudication committee will be appointed to assess the thesis and the PhD examination, pursuant to section 13 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo.

The adjudication committee will be appointed by the faculty, following a proposal by the unit at which the candidate is affiliated. The committee's recommendation should normally be delivered within three months of the committee members receiving the thesis. The committee's recommendation will be reviewed by the faculty. The committee's recommendation, unanimous or split, must be one of two alternatives:

a. accept,

b. reject

Reference is further made to the Regulations and the Faculty's Supplementary Rules for the Faculty's Research Training.

Before writing a recommendation, the adjudication committee may give the faculty a detailed written recommendation that the candidate should be given the opportunity to revise specific points of the thesis – see section 14.2 of the Regulations. The Dean will make a final decision regarding this on a case-by-case basis. The adjudication committee must explicitly state what it wants to have revised, and the frame for this work, which must not take longer than 6 months. The faculty will draw up detailed rules for the management of this deadline.

If the faculty approves revision before the recommendation is presented, the faculty will give the PhD candidate a specific deadline for incorporating the changes. The adjudication committee will be given a new deadline for the recommendation when the revised version is ready. The committee will make a new and final assessment of whether the revised thesis is worthy of defence for the degree of PhD. The committee's recommendation should normally be delivered within three months of the committee members receiving the thesis.

Section 14.2 of the Regulations is only applicable the first time a doctoral work is submitted.

The PhD examination

The trial lecture

Assessment for the PhD degree includes a trial lecture on a prescribed topic.

The trial lecture will test the candidate's ability to acquire knowledge beyond the topic of the thesis, and the ability to communicate it in a lecture situation. The title of the trial lecture will be decided by the assessment committee, pursuant to section 18.1 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo.

The subject of the trial lecture is decided by the adjudication committee and announced to the doctoral candidate 10 days before the lecture. The trial lecture will be held after the committee's recommendation regarding the thesis has been reviewed by the Faculty, but before the disputation. The trial lecture shall be approved before the disputation.

If the trial lecture is rejected, see section 19 of the Regulations.

The public defence/disputation

The disputation (the defence of the thesis) is public, and shall take place at the University of Oslo, pursuant to section 18.2 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo.

In cases where the committee rejects the disputation, the committee's report shall give the candidate clear instructions on what issues to correct.

In cases where the doctoral examination is approved, a report shall be submitted to the Faculty's Board.

If the disputation is not approved, see section 19 of the Regulations.

Diplomas and Diploma Supplements


The doctoral diploma is issued by the University of Oslo, pursuant to section 20 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo.

Diploma supplement

The diploma supplement is issued by the Faculty, pursuant to section 20 of the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo, and shall state:

  • the content of the training component
  • the date and title of the trial lecture
  • the date of the public defence
  • the title of the thesis
  • any cooperation with other institutions

The diploma supplement shows the area of specialization and any participation in research school.

Quality assurance

Assessment scheme linked to the PhD programme

Assessment scheme linked to the PhD programme

The University of Oslo has developed a quality system which also covers the PhD education. The quality system shall contribute to doctoral candidates’ completion of theses of high academic quality, and the programme being completed in as close to the standardized period of study as possible. The system shall also contribute to doctoral theses from the University of Oslo following good research practice and complying with relevant rules and regulations. Doctoral candidates and supervisors shall submit separate progress reports for the doctoral project every year. They shall also participate in evaluations of both the doctoral programmes, which are conducted every five years, and of the academic environment, which shall be conducted every three years.

The faculties and units must also provide a brief account of planned and executed measures and improvements to the quality procedures every year in the work with the annual plan and annual report.

Separate guidelines have been drawn up for quality assurance of the Faculty's doctoral programme. The Programme Council for Organized Research Training is responsible for these.

Annual progress reports

With a view to contribute to quality and to adequate completion rate and time-to-degree in research education, candidates and supervisors are separately under an obligation to submit a written report on the progress of the work by 1 December. There is a separate form for the progress report, and it will provide the basis for an assessment of the candidate's progress on both own research work and the completion of courses. Procedures can be established for an expanded review of the candidate's status half-way through the PhD programme, and upon conclusion of the candidate's research work, albeit within the admission period. Lacking or inadequate reporting by the candidate may provide grounds for termination of the contract before expiry of the contract period.

The progress report shall be delivered to the unit and reviewed by the research education coordinator and research administration. The Programme Council for Organized Research Training reviews the results of the progress reports every year.

Published Mar. 22, 2016 10:19 AM - Last modified Aug. 16, 2018 11:13 AM