Regulations concerning courses, course groups and degrees at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Adopted at the meeting of the Faculty Board on 19 June 2006 under authority provided by the Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo, approved by the University Board at the University of Oslo on 20 December 2005. Revision of the regulations is approved by the Dean's Office at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences 10 March 2015. The regulations constitute part of the Faculty's programme plans. These rules apply to the Faculty's Bachelor's degree programmes, two-year Master's degree programmes and the five-year Master's degree programme in Pharmacy as from 1 April 2015. The Lecturer and Teacher Programme, continuing and further education, experience-based Master's degrees and the PhD programme are subject to their own rules and regulations.
The prefix in the course codes should correspond to the subject area of the course. Prefixes connected to two courses or an interdisciplinary subject area can be considered if the course is part of a formalized cooperation. The first digit in the course code refers to the level of the course where this is appropriate. Bachelor level courses will have course codes beginning with 1, 2, or 3. Master level course codes begin with either 4 or 5, and PhD course codes begin with 9. 0 is normally used to indicate introductory courses.
Courses that can be taken as part of both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree programme should be offered at both 3- and 4000 level. Courses that can be taken as part of both a Master's and PhD programme should be offered at both 4-/5- and 9000 level.
Bachelor and Master level courses will normally have a credit value of 10 credits.
Within the Master's degree programme, it is possible to design a specialized syllabus with a different credit load than the normal credit load for Master level courses. The specialized syllabus will normally be used for individually designed courses, or if it is required to offer a course for a limited period of time without creating a new regular course.
The departments can establish courses for necessary or desired laboratory training or training in equipment usage, library usage, writing techniques and academic presentation. These courses can consist of several smaller modules with a total credit load of 5 or 10 credits.
When a student has passed two of the Faculty's courses that have overlapping course content, the amount of credits awarded will be reduced if the overlap equals 3 credits or more. The same rule applies when there is an overlap in course content between one of the Faculty's courses and a course taken at another educational institution. The reduction in credits awarded should be registered on the external course. Credits awarded for approved courses from other educational institutions should be registered with whole credits. If a course is approved from an educational institution using ECTS credits, credits can be registered using decimals.
If the overlap in course content is at least 2/3, the courses should be considered as a whole when determining the question of the number of examination attempts allowed, cf. § 5.6 (5) in the Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo.
2. Course groups
The departments offer predefined 80- and 40-credit groups that can form part of the degree of Bachelor for freely-composed degrees. A list of approved course groups is available on the University of Oslo web pages. Only these course groups can be part of the Bachelor’s degree. 60-credit groups that are approved for the Lecturer and Teacher Programme satisfy the requirement of a 40-credit group in the degree of Bachelor for freely-composed degrees.
3. The Bachelor's degree
A Bachelor’s degree from one of the Faculty’s Bachelor’s degree programmes consists of examen philosophicum, programme-defined courses of at least 120 credits, and courses that may be selected freely, cf. § 2.4(2) in the Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo. The programme-defined courses are the courses that are common for all students on the programme and courses that can be chosen from a given subject or subject field. A Bachelor’s degree will normally include some courses that may be selected freely.
A freely-composed Bachelor’s degree consists of examen philosophicum, an 80-credit group, a 40-credit group and courses that may be selected freely, cf. § 2.4 (4) in the Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo. If the 80- and 40-credit groups overlap to make a total of less than 120 credits, additional courses must be chosen from the subject field of one of the course groups. The Department offering the course group should formally approve any additional courses.
Students can apply to include Master level courses worth a total maximum of 20 credits as freely selected courses. Applications will be processed by the Faculty administration.
The student graduates the semester in which the final examination is passed. If the final examination is passed with a postponed examination in the beginning of the following semester, the diploma will be issued using the semester for the regular examination.
The diploma for a specific degree programme will be issued when all requirements for programme-defined courses are fulfilled and the student is admitted to the programme.
4. The Master's degree
The Master’s degree consists of the Master’s thesis and theoretical curriculum. The programmes offer theses with a credit value of 30 or 60 credits for the 2-year Master’s degrees. The Department will decide if a Master’s degree programme and its various programme options should offer both types of theses. The Master’s degree programme in Pharmacy offers a thesis with a credit value of 45 credits.
Master’s degree programmes with 45 credits worth of theoretical curriculum will normally include a minimum of 30 credits within the natural sciences. Master’s degree programmes with 60 credits worth of theoretical curriculum will normally include a minimum of 40 credits within the natural sciences. Master’s degree programmes with 90 credits worth of theoretical curriculum will normally include a minimum of 50 credits within the natural sciences. Credits within the natural sciences are defined as courses offered by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences or equivalent courses from other educational institutions.
In the case of postponed submission of the Master’s thesis, cf. section 4.3.5, or a conditional offer of admission to the Master’s degree programme, cf. section 4.3.1 paragraph four, the student will be given four weeks holiday in July and one week Christmas and Easter holiday if these periods fall within the new deadline for submission.
After the assessment of the written Master’s thesis, a final Master’s degree examination will be held, consisting of an oral presentation and examination of the thesis, cf. 4.3.7 below.
There should be at least 3 weeks from the submission of the thesis until the final oral examination, and normally no more than 6 weeks. When necessary, and in agreement with the student and the examiners, the Department can deviate from the rule that 3 weeks should pass from the submission of the thesis until the final examination.
Students submitting short Master’s theses in the autumn semester will normally sit for the final Master’s degree examination in the beginning of the spring semester, and no later than the end of January. Students submitting short Master’s theses in the spring semester will normally sit for the final Master’s degree examination in June, and no later than the end of August.
4.1 Teaching and supervision
Teaching is offered in connection with courses, specialized syllabus and as individual academic supervision. The supervisor is appointed by the Department. The Department will also designate the various roles when there are more than one supervisor, assigning one of them as the main supervisor. If the supervisor/main supervisor is not permanently employed or is employed as Adjunct Professor at the Department offering the Master’s degree programme, the Department will also appoint an internal supervisor who is permanently employed in an academic position or as an Adjunct Professor at the Department. Employees at the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, are considered internal supervisors in this connection.
4.2 Theoretical curriculum
The theoretical curriculum in the Master’s degree consists of courses on 4- and 5000 level. This can include both courses and specialized syllabus, also from subject areas that are outside the natural sciences. Courses in method can be part of the curriculum. The Department should formally approve the theoretical curriculum in the Master’s degree agreement, and it should be registered in the student's individual education plan, cf. 4.3.1 below.
Students can apply to include Bachelor level courses worth a maximum total of 20 credits. Students on interdisciplinary Master’s degree programmes can apply to include Bachelor level courses worth a maximum total of 30 credits. The application should be supported by a contact person/supervisor. The Department will decide if the application is approved. The Department will consider the use of specialized curriculum in the Master’s degree. Any specialized curriculum should have a title that will appear on the student’s diploma.
4.3 The Master's thesis
The Master’s thesis is an independent scientific project, completed under supervision.
A Master’s thesis of 30 credits corresponds to 17 consecutive calendar weeks of full-time study in the autumn semester and 18 consecutive calendar weeks of full-time study in the spring semester, including the Easter holiday and public holidays.
A Master’s thesis of 45 credits corresponds to ¾ year of full-time study.
A Master’s thesis of 60 credits corresponds to one academic year of full-time study.
4.3.1 Master's degree agreement and individual education plan
At the beginning of the Master’s degree programme, the student will be assigned a contact person appointed by the Department. The contact person will help the student choose courses and ensure that the student is appointed a supervisor. When a supervisor is appointed, the supervisor will take over the responsibilities of the contact person.
A Master’s degree agreement should be signed no later than a given deadline set by the Department. The agreement is registered as part of the individual education plan which the student will be able to access in the StudentWeb. The agreement will state the theoretical curriculum and the scope of the thesis. The agreement should also include a schedule and a project description. The schedule states the student’s planned progress and, when relevant, agreements on part-time study or planned leave of absence. When a course includes experimental work or field work, a risk assessment is to be included, in accordance with the University's HSE regulations.
It is the Department’s responsibility to ensure that the Master’s degree agreement is signed by the student, all supervisors, head of the Programme Council and, when necessary, the Department or departments contributing important resources. The Department should also approve the theoretical curriculum, within the framework described in sections 4 and 4.2. If the student does not fulfil his or her part of the process, the offer of admission can be withdrawn.
If a student is given a conditional offer of admission to the Master’s degree programme before all academic requirements are completed, the course of study for the Master’s degree should be prolonged. Similarly, the course of study should be prolonged if any examinations remain before the student is awarded the Bachelor’s degree. If at the time of admission to the Master’s degree programme previously passed examinations are approved as part of the Master’s degree curriculum, the course of study for the Master’s degree should be shortened. The extension/shortening is calculated based on the nominal length of study for the courses that remain or are included in the curriculum.
The Department can decide that the student is to submit progress reports. These reports may be a part of the Department’s observation of each student’s progress. If a student is delayed beyond the current agreement, the Department may withdraw the offer of admission, cf. Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo, §§ 7.1 – 7.3.
4.3.2 Offer and approval
The Department administering a Master’s degree programme is responsible for ensuring that there are available thesis projects for the students admitted to the programme. The thesis project is normally to be approved by the Department before it is initiated. As basis for approval, the supervisor will make a risk assessment, cf. subsection 4.3.1, and a project description that shows that it is viable to complete the thesis within the nominal length of study. Access to necessary experimental equipment, software, data and finances should be documented. If the student, in agreement with the supervisor, begins work on the thesis before the project is approved by the Department, the supervisor is required to make a preliminary assessment of the student’s access to resources and if it is viable to complete the work within the nominal length of study.
4.3.3 Project description
The project description for theses with a credit value of 45 or 60 credits should be approved together with the complete Master’s degree agreement, unless the Department has decided otherwise. The project description for theses with a credit value of 30 credits should be approved before the student begins work on the thesis.
4.3.4 Completion of the work and submission of the thesis. Completion of the theoretical curriculum
All Master's theses are to have a given deadline for submission. In the case of full-time study, the deadline for submission will normally be towards the end of the final semester, unless otherwise agreed upon in the Master's degree agreement, cf. subsection four in section 4.3.1.
The Department may decide upon one deadline for all candidates in a semester when this is practical, or they may decide upon individual deadlines.
A work, or parts of a work, that has previously been submitted for the Master’s degree at a higher education institution in Norway or any other country cannot be accepted for assessment even if it is reworked or edited. About revised Master’s theses, see section 4.3.7.
All courses in the theoretical curriculum should normally be passed within the semester before the final one, cf. section 4.3.6.
All research results should be available for the University for use in further research.
The student retains the intellectual property rights for his or her thesis. This is regulated in the Norwegian Copyright Act.
A thesis' period of restriction is regulated by the Norwegian Public Administration Act.
4.3.5 Regulations governing part-time studies, leave of absence, re-scheduled submission of thesis and delays in the completion of studies
Part-time studies, leave of absence and re-scheduled submission of the thesis can be agreed upon.
- Part-time studies
Part-time studies amounting to 50-80 % of full-time studies can be agreed upon by application to the Department from students who are admitted to a Master's degree programme. Part-time studies are normally entered into from the beginning of a semester. The application should be submitted to the Department no later than the end of the semester prior to the semester when the student wants to begin part-time studies. It the student is in the first semester, the application must be submitted before the Master's degree agreement is approved.
Part-time studies can be approved for the entire Master's degree only when the student is doing a 60-credit thesis. In case of a 30-credit thesis, part-time studies can only be approved for the theoretical part of the degree.
- Leave of absence
A planned leave of absence from the Master's degree studies can be approved for students admitted to a Master's degree programme for the following reasons: Compassionate leave, compulsory military service, illness, or if the student is doing top-level sports at the national team, is involved in cultural activities at national level or is actively engaged in politics at the national level. The application for a leave of absence must be supported by relevant documentation. If a leave of absence is approved while the student is working on a short thesis, the thesis should be stopped. A new thesis will be given when the leave of absence ends.
- Re-scheduled submission of thesis
A re-scheduled submission of the thesis can be approved in case of issues with the project that causes problems through no fault of the candidate or if non-lasting illness befalls the student or the student's children. Issues with the project that causes problems through no fault of the candidate must be documented. Illness must be documented with a medical certificate submitted before the deadline for submission. Anew deadline will be set by the Department.
4.3.6 Delay in the completion of the theoretical curriculum
If the theoretical curriculum in the Master's degree is not completed by the end of the semester prior to the final semester in the agreed-upon schedule, cf. section. 4.3.4 subsection three, the deadline for when all of the theoretical curriculum must be completed should be agreed upon by the Department and the student. The same goes for the time for the final, oral examination and presentation of the Master's thesis if the theoretical curriculum will not be completed before the given deadline for the Master's thesis. The thesis should still be submitted by the given deadline. If the agreement is not kept, the student's admission will be terminated in accordance with §§ 7.1-7.3 in the Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo, without the final oral examination and presentation and the examination of the thesis being held.
4.3.7 Final examination for the Master's degree
If a student is given a conditional offer of admission for a Master's degree programme, all requirements for the admission must be fulfilled no later than 1 year after admission is granted, cf. § 7 (2) in the Regulations governing local admission to the University of Oslo. The final examination for the Master's degree cannot be held before all the theoretical curriculum in the Bachelor's and Master's degree is completed, cf. section 4.3.6.
The Master's thesis should be submitted electronically to DUO via the StudentWeb within the given deadline, cf. section 4.3.4. The Department can decide that the student should also submit a given number of printed copies or an electronic copy to the Department.
After the submission of the Master's thesis, the Master's degree studies are completed by a final, oral Master's degree examination within 3-6 weeks, cf. section 4.3. The student will give an overview of the thesis in a presentation of approximately 30 minutes. After this presentation, the appointed examiners will question the student based on the thesis. The oral presentation and examination is public, cf. the Act relating to universities and university colleges § 3-9(3).
Master's theses submitted at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences will be graded using a grading scale from A to F, cf. § 6.1 in the Regulations governing studies and examinations at the University of Oslo.
The Master's thesis will be graded by a committee appointed by the Department. The committee should consist of one external examiner without affiliation with the University of Oslo and one internal examiner. The external examiner cannot have been employed by the University of Oslo in the previous two years. The internal examiner must have knowledge of the thesis' subject area, but cannot have been a supervisor for the student, and should preferably not be a part of the same research group as the supervisor and the student. The supervisor should contribute with information about the method, the performance and the independence of the student's work with the thesis, but will not be included in the grading of the thesis.
Prior to the examination, the examiners will have a preliminary meeting with the supervisor. In this meeting, the supervisor will give information about the student's work on the thesis, cf. the above. After the oral presentation and examination, the examiners and the supervisor will review the performance before the final grade is decided upon by the examiners alone. The thesis will be given a separate grade. The student can appeal against this grade pursuant to § 3.9 (5) in the Act relating to universities and university colleges. In addition, a final grade will be given that includes the oral presentation and examination. All grades on the grading scale can be used.
If the members of the appointed grading committee cannot agree on the grade for the thesis and/or the final grade, the committee will be dissolved. The Department will then appoint a new committee with two new members.
The examiners should normally be present in the room during the examination, but they can conduct the examination via a direct video link when there are particular reasons to do so. The student cannot be alone in the room during the examination.
Master's degree theses submitted at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences are assessed based on the Grade description for Master's theses, which is the national grade description for Master's theses in the STEM fields. A guide for examiners is compiled based on this, and all examiners are to use this guide, cf. section 5.
Master's theses that are given a grade from A to E after the final Master's degree examination cannot be reworked and submitted again.
If the Master's thesis is given the grade F, the final Master's degree examination will not be held.
Master's theses with a grade F for the thesis can be reworked and submitted again within 6 weeks if the thesis has a credit value of 30 credits, and within 9 weeks if the thesis has a credit value of 60 credits, as long as the examiners conclude that it is possible to achieve a pass grade within this deadline. In order to be allowed to submit a reworked thesis, the original thesis must fulfil all the structural requirements for the Master's thesis, so that it can be assessed according to the description in the guide for examiners.
If a student wants to rework the thesis, a written agreement should be made with the Department no later than 3 workdays after the result is announced. The given deadlines above apply from the date of this agreement. The agreement should include the deadline for the new submission of the thesis and must be signed by the student, the Department and the supervisor. The agreement will be an appendix to the original Master's degree agreement.
If the submitted Master's thesis is given the grade F, and the thesis is not reworked and submitted again, or if the reworked thesis is still given an F, the student will have to apply for a new admission to a Master's degree programme if the student wants to continue the Master's degree studies.
A Master's thesis that has been submitted and given a grade cannot be reused in the case of a new admission to a Master's degree programme. This also applies to theses that have been submitted at other higher education institutions, cf. section 4.3.4.
In the case of a new admission, the student must choose a thesis that differs academically from the thesis that was not given a pass grade. The Department may change the theoretical curriculum of the student's Master's degree even if the new thesis is chosen from the same subject area as the previous one.
A Master's degree student who quits the Master's degree studies after having started work on the thesis, must choose a different thesis if a new admission is given to a Master's degree programme at a later stage. The Department may change the theoretical curriculum of the student's Master's degree even if the new thesis is chosen from the same subject area as the previous one.
In the case of an appeal, the student can only appeal against the grade given for the Master's thesis. If the appeals committee changes the grade for the Master's thesis, a new oral presentation and examination will be held for the new committee. If the appeals committee maintains the original grade for the thesis, a new oral examination will not be held, and there will be no changes in the grades given.
The degree is awarded in the semester when the final Master's degree examination is passed. When a thesis of 30 credits scope is completed in the autumn semester, the diploma will be issued in the autumn semester if the final examination is held within the deadline stated in section 4.3.
5. Appendices to the regulations
The guide for examiners to be used when assessing Master's theses is an appendix to these regulations. This guide should always be used when assessing Master's theses submitted to the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
6. Dispensations, changes and appeals
The Department will delegate tasks and responsibilities to relevant authorities within the Department.
The Dean can change these regulations, and will brief the board each year about significant changes. If a change is made based on an appeal made by a student or a suggestion by a case officer, the decision can be given retroactive effect if this does not lead to differential treatment of students.
An appeal made in accordance with these regulations will be processed according to the current rules by the University of Oslo's central appeals committee.