Supplementary Rules to the Regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo
The rules apply to the Faculty of Educational Sciences.
Discussed by the Programme Council for organized research education (PFU) with the approval of the Dean on 18 October 2016. Revised ad Point 0, with the approval of the Dean 25 January 2017. The revision is based on earlier Supplementary Rules approved by the Dean 29 June 2011.
0. Application deadline and addressee
For applicants who have external funding, there is no deadline for submission of applications to the PhD programme. Applications are processed consecutively as received The applications must be written on a dedicated application form and sent to the Faculty of Educational Sciences, with documentation enclosed as specified separately under Point II. An application for admission to the programme must be complete before they will be processed by the Faculty. For applicants with external funding, the following criteria apply for submission of enhanced versions of their applications (applications with earlier rejections):
- the changes and improvements that have been made to enhance the project proposal are specified in the cover letter.
- the applicant must wait three months before a new and improved application can be submitted.
- enhanced applications can be submitted only three times for the same project.
I. Eligibility for admission, cf. Section 5 of the Regulations
1. Scope of prior education
The prior education must correspond to at least 5 years' education at the university level in Norway, with at least 2 years (120 credits) at the Master's level. This normally means a two-year Master's degree that includes a Master's dissertation/thesis.
The applicant is responsible for submitting adequate documentation of Master’s level education, including the conversion key for converting to standard European credits or study modules, i.e. the European credit transfer system (ECTS).
2. Prior education quality requirements
When assessing the quality of the prior education, particular emphasis will be placed on the grades at the Master's/second-degree level, and particularly the Master's dissertation.
Applicants with an A or B, following the ECTS scale of A to E, may be assessed as qualified for admission to the PhD programme as long as the study programme has used the scale with emphasis on the good grades (A and B).
Applicants' grades from higher degree studies should be in the top third of the subject in question. Applicants who are clearly in the bottom third will not be admitted, irrespective of the project description, etc. The grades this corresponds to will depend on the type of grading scale, and may vary in practice between subjects/institutions. For applicants with grades on their postgraduate examination that may raise a degree of doubtfulness, the quality of the project proposal (beyond the minimum requirements), research/supervision environment and any scientific output after the Master's degree will be of importance for admission.
For examination grades recorded according to the earlier Norwegian grade scale (number-based) , an applicant must have a grade of 2.5 or better to carry a laud distinction. If the grade is 2.6 or poorer, the applicant normally will not be qualified for admission.
The Master's degree must normally contain a dissertation representing at least 30 credits, and the education must include training in research methods.
Work experience is not included in the assessment, except for directly relevant research experience (publication of a high academic level, project management, etc.), which may be a factor in cases of doubt.
3. Other requirements for admission to the programme
A. Project proposal requirements
The Faculty writes its own guide, containing project proposal requirements. The project description/academic plan for execution of the project must be of good quality.
It must show that this project has been planned in such detail that it can feasibly be completed within the given time frame.
For applicants whose research project will be linked to research for which an academic staff member of the Faculty of Educational Sciences is responsible, a briefer academic description of the research field is required.
The project manager and supervisor of the project will be the guarantor of the quality. The deadline for approving the project description in such cases is 3 months after admission.
Admission based on the project proposal will normally be granted on an either-or basis, not with the proviso of an improved project proposal within a given date. Minor remarks regarding revision may follow an admission recommendation.
B. Competence in English
Good English skills are required for all participants in a doctoral programme. International students must document this, based on the following tests with the following results or better:
- TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language, with a minimum result of 550 on the Paper-based Test (PBT), or 80 on the Internet-Based Test (iBT).
- IELTS - International English Language Testing Service with a score of 6.5.
The following applicants are exempted from the above requirements:
- Applicants from member countries of the EU/EEA and/or the European Council / UNESCO-Cepes, and whose first foreign language is English, taken over a period of at minimum 7 years in primary and secondary school. The applicant must provide documentation of this.
- Applicants who have completed a Bachelors' degree and/or Master's degree in which English was the language of instruction.
- Applicants with an A-level examination in English.
Applicants from other countries should consult UiO’s web pages for detailed information.
C. Additional requirements
The Faculty can make stipulations pertaining to topics and/or combinations of topics prior to admitting an applicant to the PhD programme.
D. Funding requirements
An applicant with external funding must submit a financing plan with the application; in the plan, the Faculty must not have a role as an employer. The financing plan must document funding for the research training within a time frame of
- 3 years corresponds to 100 % research and no required duties
- 4 years corresponds to 75% research and 25 % required duties
- 5 years corresponds to 60% research and 40% required duties
E: Supervision requirements, cf. Section 7
Generally, the candidate shall have two supervisors. The supervisors are appointed by the Faculty itself and at least one supervisor must be appointed at the time the candidate is admitted. All supervisors must have a doctoral degree or equivalent competence within the relevant academic field. Normally there will be a main supervisor from the unit/Faculty. If an external main supervisor is appointed, an internal supervisor must also be appointed.)
To the extent that the Faculty/Department lacks sufficient supervisory capacity, this will constitute grounds for rejecting applications from applicants with external funding and do not entail that the Faculty has a role as employer.
II Decisions on admission and admission period, pursuant to Section 5.2
The Faculty itself will review the recommendation of the assessment committee. The Faculty's Programme Council for Organized Research Training, chaired by the Vice Dean for Research, will make the final decision at a dedicated admission meeting.
Applicants are assessed based on the quality of their prior eduction, project proposal, satisfaction of the other requirements in addition to the university’s supervisory capacity on the basis of admission capacity and academic profile. Applicants will also be assessed based on the actual funding plan they submit.
An application must contain:
a) Filled out application form,
b) documentation and description of prior education,,
c) project proposal (5–10 pages,
d) documentation of English language skills, when applicable,
e) any financial plan and confirmation of the plan,
f) list of publications, when applicable, g) CV
Applications may be rejected without an academic assessment if:
- There is no documentation of the prior education that provides the foundation for the admission, or the prior education obviously does not meet the scope specified in Points I.1 and I.2 above.
- The application lacks an individual project proposal.
- No information is provided regarding the planned funding for the project or the funding plan is clearly inadequate (see section I.3D).
- There is insufficient supervisory capacity at the Faculty, of if the focus of the project is peripheral to or outside the competence of the academic environments at the Faculty, so that the Faculty does not have a relevant, active research environment to offer the applicant. Here the applicant should be referred to other more relevant research training institutions.
Admission will not be granted to the programme with the proviso of an improved project proposal within a specific deadline. In such cases, applicants may be asked to submit a new application based on the criteria found under Point 0.
Admission will not be final until an admission contract has been signed. The requirements for admission must be met before the applicant's offer of a place in the programme can be realized. The intention of the Faculty is that the agreement is to be entered into 1.5 months after the applicant’s date of admission.
The contract must include the topic of the thesis, the contract period, the funding plan, supervision issues, the place of work, and the training component. The contract will help secure the candidate's, supervisor's, Faculty's, and unit's responsibilities, rights and obligations, in addition to commitments to a possible external source of funding.
UiO has determined that the admission period must be the same as the funding period. The candidate will be affiliated with the cohort group that is relevant in relation to the semester in which the candidate is admitted to the programme, and seen in the light of the funding period. This admission period cannot be shorter than one year, pursuant to Sections 5.2 and 5.3 of the Regulations (Regulations set by UiO's Board on 22 June 2010, most recently revised 09 February 2016).
III Scope and content of supervision
The individual unit of the Faculty shall set the scope of gross hours and net hours for supervision.
Candidates' supervisors must:
- remain up-to-date and informed on the progress of the candidate's work and assess it in relation to the project proposal's progress plan
- follow up academic issues that may lead to a delay in execution of the organized research training, so that it can be completed within the nominal period of time
- provide advice on the wording and delimitation of the research topic and issues.
- help with a survey of the academic literature and data (library, archive, etc.)
- discuss and assess hypotheses and methods
- discuss findings and their interpretation
- discuss the plan and execution of the presentation (outline, linguistic form, documentation, etc.).
- guide the candidate on issues of research ethics associated with the thesis
- ensure that the candidate participates in an active research environment, including follow-up of the candidate in relation to internal research seminars, etc. where the candidate can present his/her preliminary work on the thesis, and help introduce the candidate to relevant external research environments
- submit annual written reports on the progress of the research education on a designated form
- follow up any obligation to be present, and send notification of non-compliance when applicable.
- help integrate the candidate into relevant academic environments; this shall include helping the candidate to identify good time periods and places the foreign study visit.
- help report and treat personal data information as required, pursuant to the guidelines of the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD)
- follow UiO's professional ethical guidelines for supervisors.
- discuss with the candidate in advance whether the supervisor wants to co-author an article in the thesis.
- ensure that aspects pertaining to co-publishing and access to shared data are agreed beforehand. In cases where the PhD project is part of a larger project, this can be clarified in a separate addendum to the contract.
- advise the candidate about publication in approved national/international periodicals (applies to article-based theses).
- help the candidate report to the unit that the thesis will soon be ready for submission, with a view to notifying the assessment committee so that they can be ready shortly after the thesis has been submitted
Doctoral candidates must:
- discuss the progress schedule, choice of courses and foreign study visit, when applicable, with their supervisor
- work in accordance with the agreed progress schedule and, in consultation with the supervisor, adjust the schedule when necessary, submit to the supervisor reports on or drafts of parts of the thesis (chapters/articles/summaries) at least on a semi-annual basis,or in accordance with what has been agreed between the supervisor and candidate in the progress schedule. Note also the duty to report pursuant to Section 9 of the Regulation – Reporting and the programme plan’s point pertaining to quality assurance. Parts of the thesis may be presented in conjunction with a seminar.
- comply with research ethics principles for the subject area in his/her work
- follow the University of Oslo’s guidelines for addressing in academic publications
- participate actively and contribute to the Faculty’s course offerings, seminars and research environment
- gather all documentation showing completed coursework in research training (internal and external)
- write and submit a progress report to the academic unit, using the designated form
- discuss work delays in the progress of the thesis if this is reported in the progress report.
- follow up the agreements made with the supervisor concerning submissions, supervision, participation in seminars etc.
- Abide by research ethics principles for the relevant academic field, and see to it that personal data information is reported and treated as required, pursuant to the guidelines of the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD)
IV. Requirements associated with the training provision, pursuant to Section 8 of the Regulations
For a more detailed description of content and scope of the training provision, reference is made to the Faculty’s study programme plan.
The Programme Council for organized research training (PFU) or the Vice Dean for Research, acting on behalf of the Programme Council, sets the courses and study credits for these based on the criteria defined in the study programme plan. Approved documentation for individual courses can be can be set by the individual course instructor in consultation with the academic unit’s research training coordinator.
The department (e.g. the unit’s research training coordinator as a member of the Faculty’s Programme Council for organized research training) recommends approval of the research training part based on the stipulations of the programme study plan and regulations for the PhD degree.
Any complaints concerning the setting of criteria/approval will be processed by the Programme Council.
The candidate must safeguard and be able to produce documentation of the completed training module.
The unit is responsible for registering approved training for each PhD candidate.
Candidates who wish to collaborate and co-author an essay after completing a course must apply to the research training coordinator at the relevant unit for permission to do this.
Normally no more than three persons should collaborate on co-authoring an essay.
In conjunction with submission of a co-authored essay, the candidates must write and submit at the same time
A joint memorandum clearly stating how the work was distributed and describing what each individual candidate contributed.
The course descriptions shall identify any courses for which it is not permitted to submit a co-authored essay.
V Reporting, pursuant to Section 9
The annual compulsory progress report must be submitted on an electronic form that will be sent to the candidate by the department with which the candidate is affiliated. The filled-out form must be returned to the department by 1 December each year. The supervisor must submit a separate electronic report by the same deadline.
The supervisor must help the candidate report to the department that the thesis will soon be ready for submission (beginning 6 months prior to submission).
VI Requirements pertaining to the thesis, pursuant to Sections 10 and 12 of the Regulations
1. The quality level of the theses
The required level of quality of a thesis remains the same, whether it is a monograph or consists of several lesser works (hereinafter referred to as articles). The articles shall be of such quality as to qualify for publication in recognized scientific publications with peer review. The supervisor must recommend whether the thesis has the qualities required for submission. The candidate is ultimately responsible for the content, and seeing to it that it is submitted, when applicable.
2. Article-based theses
An article-based thesis consists of articles and a summary section. The Faculty has developed separate guidelines for article-based theses and for the summary section. We direct your attention to these.
3. Thesis language
For the language used in the thesis, we refer you to the programme study plan.
4. Submission of the thesis, pursuant to section 12
The application to have the thesis assessed must be addressed to the Faculty. Five copies of the thesis must be enclosed with the application. The thesis must also be delivered electronically as a PDF.
When submitting the thesis, the department/unit must confirm that the training component was completed as anticipated. The confirmation must specify the content of the training component.
An additional thirty (30) copies, as part of the documentation for assessment, must be submitted once the thesis has been approved for disputation. For printing requirements, reference is made to Point VIII.
5. Guidelines for declaration of co-authorship:
Declarations of co-authorship must help identify and assess the candidate's academic efforts in relation to the requirements laid down for a PhD degree.
All of the publications included in a doctoral thesis must comply with rules regarding research ethics and conventions for academic quality assurance of the research. These obligations apply to all contributors to a doctoral thesis. When submitting an article-based thesis, the co-authors’ and candidate’s individual contributions are to be specified on a separate form, signed by all co-authors. The author must specify:
- Significant contributions to ideas and design, or development and analysis of the theory model, or data collection, or data analysis and interpretation.
- Writing the manuscript itself or critical revision of the article's intellectual content.
- Approval of the article version to be published.
- Any other miscellaneous indebtedness.
All of the above areas must be specified in the declaration.
If a supervisor is to be a co-author, this should be clarified as early as possible with the candidate, and separately for each article.
VII. The work of the assessment committee, pursuant to section 14 of the Regulations
1. Revision of the thesis submitted, pursuant to section 14.2 of the Regulations and programme plan Item pertaining to the Assessment Committee:
The Faculty follows the system pursuant to section 14.2 of the Regulations set by UiO's Board on 22 June 2010 and most recently revised on 9 February 2016. Application of Section 14.2 enables the assessment committee to recommend improvements before it presents its recommendation. This option of improvement applies only to first-time submission. Detailed information about the application can be found in the Programme plan and in the Faculty's memo "Conclusion of doctoral work".
If the Faculty, represented by the Dean, does not approve the recommended revision, the case will be sent back to the committee, which will be asked to make its recommendation.
The Dean's decision that a thesis may be revised, or that permission is not granted to rework the thesis pursuant to Section 14.2, cannot be appealed (see Section 14.2).
In the event Section 14.2 is applied, the candidate shall enclose a cover letter together with the thesis describing the various adjustments and improvements that have been made and where in the thesis they were made. In each individual case, the Dean’s permission is sought before forwarding the afore-mentioned document to the assessment committee along with the enhanced version of the thesis. The revised version of the thesis is assessed independently.
A candidate who is unable to deliver a revised version of the thesis by the deadline, due to illness or other valid grounds, must submit a medical certificate or corresponding documentation to the Faculty as quickly as possible, and no later than three days after expiry of the deadline.
The medical certificate or corresponding document must state whether it was issued in connection with missing the submission deadline at the University of Oslo, and state the period of the beginning of the illness and date the patient was given a clean bill of health.
In the event of absence due to acute illness, the submission deadline will not normally be extended by more than two days after the period of illness, albeit no longer than 14 days after the ordinary submission deadline.
No grounds will normally exist for postponed delivery related to illness during the period granted to the candidate to revise a thesis.
2. The recommendation of the assessment committee, pursuant to section 14.3 of the Regulations – the assessment committee's recommendation and programme plan point pertaining to the Assessment Committee
When ready, the recommendation will be reviewed by the Faculty. The committee must present a unanimous or split recommendation, with the following possible conclusions:
a. verdig (Accept),
b. ikke verdig (Reject)
The Faculty will appoint a new assessment committee in connection with resubmission of a thesis that initially received a conclusion by the committee to "reject".
VIII The faculty's requirements regarding printed theses, pursuant to section 17 of the Regulations
Candidates in the PhD programme who are preparing for a disputation must deliver the thesis to be printed as part of the Faculty's "Doctoral theses" publication series.
The abstract (either in Norwegian or English) must be enclosed.
Any errata must be enclosed.
The departments normally cover the costs of printing 40 copies of the thesis.