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Supervision - PhD

PhD candidates at UiO normally have two supervisors. The supervisory relationship is governed by an agreement and ethical guidelines. Supervisors are appointed by the Faculty in cooperation with the relevant department(s).

Expectations of supervision

All supervisors must hold a doctoral degree or equivalent qualification in the relevant field. When a candidate and the supervisors sign the admission agreement, they also enter into a mutual contract. The candidate and the supervisors are obliged to maintain regular contact and to keep each other informed about all matters of significance to the supervision. If the supervisors or candidate are of the opinion that one of the parties is not complying with the terms of the agreement, they should contact their unit without delay.

Read more about candidates and supervisors’ rights and obligations in connection with admission to the Faculty’s doctoral programme.

Scope of supervision

  • Hours of supervision are distributed between the main supervisor and co-supervisor(s) as agreed between the parties and the department.
  • The guidelines for records of required duties specify the hourly rates for supervision at doctorate Level.


Upon appointment of a co-supervisor, a separate agreement is entered into between the co-supervisor and the candidate’s unit (department/centre). This agreement sets out the distribution of hours of supervision between the main supervisor and the co-supervisor, and the fees of co-supervisors outside the department/faculty. The faculty is not party to such an agreement. The guidelines for records of required duties specify the hourly rates for supervision at doctorate level. Some departments have their own guidelines and procedures for the appointment of supervisors.

Supervisory problems

It is important not to let an unsatisfactory supervisory relationship continue for any length of time. The nature of the supervision and how it works in practice should be discussed in a meeting between the supervisors and candidate. If the supervision is not functioning satisfactorily, for the supervisors or the candidate, the matter should be raised directly with the other party. If it is difficult to approach the other party directly, you should contact the Head of Department or the Research Education Coordinator at the relevant department, or the PhD Coordinator at the department they are affiliated with. The PhD Coordinator serves as an ombudsman in relation to all candidates on the programme. Performance reviews at the departments, talks with the PhD Coordinator and annual reports from the candidate and the supervisors are intended to safeguard the quality of supervision.

Changes to the supervisory relationship

If changes are made to the supervisory relationship for whatever reason, or a new supervisor or a co-supervisor is appointed, this must be approved and the admission agreement/supervision agreement must be amended and sent to the parties for signing.

Joint supervision agreement (cotutelle)

A cooperation agreement may be entered into with a foreign institution, covering admission, supervision and study at the two institutions. The initiative for such an agreement must come from the doctoral candidate or the supervisors, who must establish contact with the partner institution. The faculty’s management will decide whether such an agreement can be entered into.

Contact the research administration at your department to ask about the possibilities for a joint supervision agreement.

Applying for admission/doctoral research fellowship

Applicants submit their applications without a formal affiliation with supervisors and without approval from supervisors. Successful doctoral research fellowship applicants are allocated supervisors by the management at the unit in question. The supervisors will normally be employed by the faculty. The awarding of a doctoral research fellowship and admission to the PhD programme are subject to the faculty having the supervisory resources and capacity in the relevant field.

The supervisors will be professors or hold a doctoral degree/equivalent qualification. The doctoral project will normally be hosted at the faculty where the supervisors work. However, a supervisor may be appointed from another unit at UiO if the thesis is to span several disciplines. An external supervisor may also be appointed, but it is important to note that no extra funds will be allocated for this. In the event of admission, any external supervisor’s fee must be agreed, and the distribution of supervision hours must be agreed between the main supervisor and co-supervisor(s),

Supervision manual

Patent solutions and Fingerspitzengefühl. Guidelines for supervision of PhD candidates (PDF) (In Norwegian)

Published Apr. 22, 2015 8:22 AM - Last modified May 31, 2022 2:41 PM