Doctoral degree programmes (PhD)
Taking the PhD programme
- The training component
The training component is a compulsory part of the PhD programme and should include courses worth a minimum of 30–35 ECTS credits. Please check what applies to your programme. The scope of the training component is described in the relevant programme description. All PhD programmes at OsloMet include philosophy of science, ethics and scientific methods courses.
The different PhD programmes may have different requirements linked to elective specialisation courses. For more information, see the relevant programme description (oslomet.no)
In some cases, it may be relevant to take PhD courses at other institutions if your PhD programme does not offer the courses you feel you need. Before you choose a course at another institution, it is important to check whether the course meets the formal requirements, that it is at PhD level, and that it confers credits. Courses must always be chosen in consultation with the principal supervisor. This is important because you must later apply to have the courses approved by the doctoral committee at the faculty/centre as part of the training component.
- Follow-up during the PhD period
Each PhD programme has different types of follow up:
Start-up introductory seminar and start-up meeting with supervisor
How the start-up for new PhD students is organised at OsloMet can vary from programme to programme. Please refer to your PhD programme for more details.
Annual progress report
The quality assurance system at OsloMet is intended to ensure the quality of the compulsory training component, identify lack of progress in the thesis work, and any supervision shortcomings.
Both you and your principal supervisor must submit separate annual progress reports, cf. Section 3-3 of the PhD Regulations. Dedicated forms must be used for this. The reports must contain information about progress in the project and deviations from the plans for the PhD period, e.g. with respect to funding, stays abroad, publication and the training component.
You and your supervisor are responsible for ensuring that reporting takes place, and lack of reporting can lead to the loss of the right to study and dismissal from the research fellow position. Your PhD programme will ask you to submit a progress report on a specified submission date. Based on your report and that of your supervisor, a joint follow-up interview may subsequently be held.
Performance appraisal interview
OsloMet employees have a right to a performance appraisal interview with their immediate superior. The interview is a planned, prepared, personal and binding conversation between an employee and his/her immediate superior. It is intended to supplement the ongoing dialogue throughout the year and provides a chance to take a wider perspective, evaluate the year that has passed and plan the year to come. Performance appraisal interviews are held once a year.
Midway evaluation/midway seminar
Midway through the PhD period, research fellows will be subject to an external viewpoint on their work and progress so far in the project. The seminar is intended to give you an impression of your current status and provide assistance in the event of problems.
What the midway evaluation/midway seminars emphasise can vary from programme to programme so please refer to the guidelines and programme description that apply to you.
Final reading seminar
Some PhD programmes at OsloMet hold final reading seminars. The purpose of a final reading seminar is to give the PhD candidate feedback on how the quality of the thesis could be improved, and thus help to quality-assure the thesis before submission.
The final reading seminar comprises two elements: a) an external colleague assesses the thesis as if they were a member of an expert committee b) the final reader presents their views at an open seminar.
Affiliation to the research environment/research group
To give you the best possible start and form the basis for a successful PhD programme, it is important that you are integrated in the research community at your faculty/centre early on. The unit that is responsible for your PhD programme is obliged to facilitate this. You will normally also be affiliated to a relevant research group.
For candidates employed at a company or an institution other than OsloMet, it is also expected that you are integrated in a research community early on. Your employer is obliged to facilitate this.
- Required duties
OsloMet has both three-year and four-year research fellow positions. If you are employed in a four-year research fellow position, required duties will comprise 25% of the workload. You will have three years in total to work on your PhD thesis.
Distribution of working hours for required duties
The employer is responsible for ensuring that you are not assigned more than one annual equivalent of required duties in the course of the four-year period. Required duties should be distributed such that the last year of the PhD programme is dedicated in full to work on the PhD. The distribution of workload between the researcher education and required duties must be stated in the employment contract.
Relevant required duties
Required duties should be as relevant as possible to your PhD project and provide relevant experience for a further career in academia, the public sector or business and industry. Administrative tasks should be avoided and must not comprise more than 10% of the total working hours on an annual basis. The content and distribution of required duties is decided by the employer in consultation with the research fellow and, if relevant, supervisor. The adopted plan for required duties is updated each year and you, as a research fellow, are responsible for keeping track of the time spent on required duties.
Examples of relevant required duties include:
• Contributing to teaching, laboratory and training work, supervision and exam work in the research fellow’s field of competence
• Contributing to the organisation of academic conferences
• Taking part in preparing research project applications
• Teaching relating to the use and management of research infrastructure
• Assisting other researchers or research groups in different types of research work
• Taking part in other qualifying work at the department/centre, such as dissemination, exhibition and collection work, and library, consultancy and assessment work
• Clinical activities
The relationship between the research fellow and supervisor is a key part of every PhD project. The supervisor plays a supportive and important role as a professional contact person. The research fellow and principal supervisor are obliged to keep each other up to date on all matters that are relevant to supervision.
All supervisors must hold PhD degrees or equivalent qualifications in the subject field and be active researchers. At least one of the appointed supervisors should have previous experience or training in supervising PhD candidates.
Principal supervisor and co-supervisor
As a rule, PhD candidates should have two supervisors, one principal and one co-supervisor. Adjustments may be made to your supervision arrangements in the course of the PhD period. This concerns both adjusting the time resources between supervisors, changing supervisors and bringing in new supervisors. Matters concerning the appointment of new supervisors are considered by the doctoral committee of your PhD programme.
The total framework for supervision is 210 hours. This includes all work in connection with supervision, supervision meetings, preparation, follow-up, participation in PhD seminars etc. If a co-supervisor is appointed, the hours will normally be divided between the principal supervisor and co-supervisor 140h/70h, respectively.
Content of supervision
We recommend that you and your supervisor schedule a meeting to clarify expectations and go through the project together. The principal supervisor will follow up the candidate particularly closely in the start-up phase to help get the PhD work underway. It is especially important to define the content of the project in more detail, set the necessary delimitations and agree on milestones.
The relationship between you and your supervisors is regulated by Section 3 of the Regulations and part B of the agreement on admission to PhD programmes at OsloMet.
Requirements and expectations relating to the supervisor and PhD candidate (part B of the agreement on admission to the PhD programme)
The supervisor will
- give advice on formulating and delimiting topics and research questions;
- discuss and assess hypotheses and methods;
- help the candidate to become acquainted with the literature and relevant data (library, archives etc.);
- discuss various aspects of written work (structure, language, referencing, documentation etc.);
- stay informed about the candidate’s progress and evaluate it relative to the plan for completion;
- help to introduce the candidate to relevant research environments;
- discuss results and their interpretation;
- provide guidance on scientific dissemination;
- provide the candidate with guidance in ethical matters related to the thesis.
The PhD candidate will
- provide a draft of parts of the doctoral thesis to the supervisor as agreed and in accordance with the project description. Parts of the thesis may be presented at relevant seminars;
- complete the required coursework in accordance with the progress plan;
- uphold the ethical principles that pertain to his or her area of research and obtain any licences and permits necessary in connection with the research project.
Challenges in the supervisor–PhD candidate relationship
Challenges sometimes arise in the relationship between the supervisor and PhD candidate. The most important thing you can do if problems arise is to bring them up as soon as possible and preferably with the supervisor in question. If, for any reason, it is difficult to bring the matter up with the supervisor or if it does not lead to improvement in the situation, the faculty/centre must provide the necessary assistance. Who you contact will depend on what the problem is and who you feel comfortable discussing it with. It could be the head of the programme, the person with administrative responsibility for the programme, or your immediate superior. The most important thing is that you contact someone and together agree on the way forward.
Different measures can be implemented depending on the nature of the matter, but you are responsible for informing someone about the case. The earlier in the process the problem is raised, the greater the chance of making the necessary adjustments to ensure progress and a good outcome for all parties.
If you or your supervisor experience that the other party does not meet its obligations in relation to the PhD agreement and regulations, you must discuss the matter and try to reach a solution. If this does not lead to improvement, you and your supervisor have a right to request that the supervisor relationship is ended. This request must be sent to the faculty/centre, in accordance with the PhD agreement. The faculty/centre makes the final decision in such cases and the supervisor is not permitted to step down until a new supervisor has been appointed. Any disputes about the supervisor and candidate’s rights and obligations can be brought forward by the parties to be considered and decided by the faculty/centre.
- Absence and delays in the course of the PhD programme
The researcher training is organised in a way that allows you to complete the programme within the nominal length of study. If unforeseen events occur that result in absence and that entitle you to an extension because it falls under your rights as an employee (e.g. sickness absence), it is important that you contact the coordinator of the PhD programme and keep him/her informed of this.
Illness and leaves of absence during the funding period
There are special regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident. Section 2-3 of these regulations concerns, among other things, extension of the employment period as a result of authorised and agreed absence. The following types of absence over two consecutive weeks provide automatic extension of the PhD period:
- sickness absence
- parental leave
- unpaid leave of absence to care for a child
- leave of absence for nursing mothers (as long as the mother has nursed for longer than two weeks after returning from maternity leave)
- compassionate leave
Other delays in the funding period
In special cases, an extension can also be granted for matters that prevent progress in the PhD programme. Examples include having to care for children or other family members and unforeseen obstacles related to work that are beyond the research fellow’s control. When such matters cause a delay, the PhD period may be extended provided that the candidate will be able to complete the researcher education by the end of the extension period. This could be due to individual days of absence as a result of your own illness or to care for sick children under the age of 12, on the following conditions:
- The PhD candidate is responsible for registering all absence on a continuous basis by submitting self-certificates etc. The absence should be registered without undue delay.
- Only days of absence registered in the personnel system will be counted. All processes must begin with this overview.
- The condition for being granted such an extension is that the supervisor can document that the extension is necessary for the PhD candidate to be able to complete the researcher education by the end of the extension period.
- The PhD candidate must submit an application for an extension two months before the period of the ordinary research fellow position lapses. The head of department/head of centre makes a recommendation on the basis of the supervisor’s statement on the status of the thesis work (e.g. the number of articles and how far the candidate has come with the introduction ('kappe'). The appointment committee for teaching and researcher positions makes the final decision on extensions on the basis of the supervisor’s statement and the head of department/head of centre’s recommendation.
Delay beyond the funding period
The PhD programme has a nominal length of three years of full-time study. If you have not completed the work within the nominal length of time and before the funding period ends, you can apply for an extension of the PhD programme for up to one year at a time. You can submit an application for an extension to the doctoral committee at the faculty/centre. The application must contain a progress schedule and be recommended by the PhD candidate’s supervisor. In cases where the supervisor does not recommend the application, the case can be reviewed by the doctoral committee at the faculty/centre. The PhD Committee may deny an application for extended time in a programme if it finds that a candidate's progression has been poor.
The maximum time for admission to a PhD programme as OsloMet is six years from the start-up date. The admission start date also serves as the start date for funding. Authorised leaves of absence or interruptions due to documented illness are not taken into the calculation of time spent on the programme.
You can read more about this in the guidelines (link). As long as you are affiliated to a PhD programme and in the period between submission and the public defence, you will also be registered at OsloMet. This means that:
- You can borrow books
- Your access card will work
- You will have the same IT access
- You will keep your email address
Illness and leaves of absence for external candidates
Please remember to report to the person with administrative responsibility at your PhD programme if you have illness or leaves of absence that provide automatic extension of the PhD period.
- Study abroad
All PhD candidates are encouraged to include a stay abroad in their education plan. This stay can be used to take PhD courses or to conduct research.
A stay abroad can be invaluable academically and personally, and can help to build networks and provide impulses that you would not have obtained at home. However, this is on the assumption that it is well planned. This will often require some extra work, and it will not always be easy to find a suitable time to go abroad.
A research stay abroad is primarily intended to help establish and further develop international research cooperation, and be a source of new inspiration for work on the thesis. It is therefore important that the institution and research environment to be visited are selected with great care. The supervisor may have contacts in the relevant academic communities and can help you in this process.
You can obtain information about e.g. practical matters that have to be organised in connection with a stay abroad via the researcher's mobility portal Euraxess – outbound researchers.
Funding options for stays abroad
Grants for stays abroad
OsloMet announces grants for stays abroad every year. Applications are considered on a continuous basis. The grants are used to finance stays at research institutions abroad and are intended to improve contact between OsloMet and international research communities. You must write a brief report on the outcomes of the stay abroad within two months of returning to Norway. There is a dedicated report form for this purpose.
As a PhD candidate, you can apply for a grant through the Erasmus+ programme as either a student or employee depending on what you plan to do and how long you expect to be away.
If you want to go to an institution in Europe to further develop skills that you need, such as a methodology and statistics course, or you plan to teach at an Erasmus+ partner institution, you can apply for an Erasmus+ employee grant https://tilsatt.hioa.no/erasmus-utveksling-ansatte. The stay must last a minimum of four days and maximum 60 days.
If you plan to take education or do fieldwork during a stay lasting at least 90 days at an Erasmus+ partner institution, you can apply for a student exchange https://student.hioa.no/hvordan-soke. A condition for this is that the Erasmus+ exchange agreement includes an exchange at PhD level. The international coordinators at the faculties have an overview of exchange agreements.
If you are given a place as an Erasmus+ student, you will receive a free place on a programme in addition to an Erasmus+ student grant https://student.hioa.no/erasmus-og-nordplus
- Publication and other dissemination
As a PhD candidate, you must also contribute to disseminating your research. This can be done e.g. by publications, participating in conferences, and science dissemination to a wider audience.
Scientific publication – articles
Most PhD candidates publish articles in the course of the PhD period. The world of publication, and not least learning to master the article format, can be a major challenge for new PhD candidates, and your supervisor will be an important support person in this process.
You can find useful information about the publication process here: https://tilsatt.hioa.no/publisering and guidelines for addressing/accreditation for publications here: http://www.hioa.no/Forskning-og-utvikling/Hva-forsker-HiOA-paa/Cristin/Adressering
English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at OsloMet offers a two-day course: Writing for International Journals – in the autumn and spring semesters.
PhD on Track is a useful online resource. Here, you can find information about reference tools, citation indexes, how to submit articles, peer review etc.
Participating in conferences is a good way to make new contacts and make your research known. By presenting your own research, you can also gain useful input that you can build on later.
You should look at which conferences may be relevant to you with your supervisor and participate in conferences with a paper or poster presentation.
Popular science dissemination
There are many forms of popular science dissemination: Interviews, writing op eds, giving talks etc. How easy it is to disseminate your research can vary depending on the research project, angle and what the media and the general public are interested in. Journalists can sometimes contact you to get a statement in a case. They often do this through their own networks or via media contacts. OsloMet has a special expert list (find a researcher) where journalists can find experts willing to answer their questions and give comments in various fields. Both permanent scientific staff and research fellows can be listed here.
If you have a topic you wish to disseminate either because you have research-based knowledge on a topic debated in the media or because you have made interesting findings that you think the public may be interested in, you can contact the communication advisers at the faculty/centre or in the central administration for tips and advice.
If you are writing a thesis comprising articles written by several authors, all co-authors must complete and sign a declaration of co-authorship. The declaration must describe your and your co-authors’ contribution to the article, and it is particularly important that your contribution can be identified.
The PhD programmes at OsloMet have somewhat different guidelines for article-based theses in relation to how many articles forming part of the thesis can have a co-author. It is important that you follow your PhD programme’s guidelines in this respect. Disagreements about co-authorships can be avoided if you clarify which articles are going to be written together with others as early on as possible.
You can read more about the guidelines for co-authorship here: https://www.etikkom.no/FBIB/Temaer/Medforfatterskap/Medforfattarskap-i-humaniora-samfunnsfag-juss-og-teologi/
- Types of thesis
A doctoral thesis can be submitted in the form of a monograph or a collection of several shorter scientific works (articles). Which is the best form for you depends on the topic of the thesis, the field etc. and it is often up to you to decide which to use in consultation with your supervisor. You should decide this early on in the PhD programme.
Article-based theses are currently the most commonly used form of thesis at OsloMet and they are also becoming more common in fields where monographs previously dominated. In an article-based thesis, the connection between the articles must always be explained. This explanation is often called a comprehensive introduction or a ‘kappe’. It is important that you follow the guidelines that apply to your PhD programme in relation to the number of articles, co-authorship and approach to the comprehensive introduction.
A monograph is a comprehensive text that describes a topic in detail. A thesis written as a monograph is structured in chapters and with an introduction and conclusion, and the candidate is the sole author of the whole work. Monographs were previously the most preferred form of doctoral thesis and remain such in certain academic environments.