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Supplementary Regulations at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences to the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo

Revised by the Board of the Faculty on 17.12.2013, pursuant to the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Oslo approved by the Board of the University at the University of Oslo on 22.06.2010, pursuant to the law 01.04.2005 regarding universities and university colleges § 3.3 and § 3.9.



§ 3 Responsibility for the PhD education

Supplement to § 3 Responsibility for the PhD education

The formalised research education at the MN Faculty is organised in one single PhD programme. The programme is not divided in the line organisation. The PhD programme is linked to the subject areas that are present in the MN Faculty’s portfolio at any given time.

§ 5 Admissions

Supplement to § 5.1 Admission requirements

The Faculty may set additional criteria for the documentation to be enclosed with the admission’s application.

5.1.1 Qualifications

The Faculty may, after an individual assessment, approve the following educational backgrounds as sufficient grounds for admission:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system

5.1.2 Criteria for academic background

Interdisciplinary PhD degrees are encouraged at the MN Faculty. It is possible for an applicant to be admitted to the PhD programme with a non-normative background at the department if the department concludes that the applicant’s academic level is sufficient for successful completion of the PhD degree.

5.1.3 Grade requirements

The norm is as follows:

  • the average grade point for courses included in the Bachelor’s degree must be C or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the average grade point for courses included in the Master’s degree must be B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the Master’s thesis must have the grade B or better in the Norwegian educational system

The department and the supervisor must make a case if the applicant does not fulfil these criteria. The department must take into consideration the supervisor’s documented track record in getting his/her PhD candidates successfully through the programme. Alternatively, the department must state how the candidate’s progress will be monitored for ensuring successful completion.

5.1.4 English language skills

All PhD candidates must demonstrate high English language skills. International applicants must document these skills prior to admission to the PhD programme by passing one of the following tests with these or better grades:

  • TOEFL – Test of English as Foreign Language, internet based test (iBT) (test centre or home edition). Minimum total score of 90 with at least 19 in reading, 20 in listening, 20 in speaking and 24 in writing.
  • IELTS – International English Language Testing System. Minimum overall band score of 6.5 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) and Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) from the University of Cambridge
  • PTE Academic – Pearson Test of English Academic. Minimum overall score of 62 with at least 58 in each component (listening, reading, speaking and writing).

The following applicants are exempt from the above-mentioned requirements:

  • applicants from EU/EEA/EFTA-countries
  • applicants with one year of completed university studies in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States
  • applicants with an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma
  • applicants who have completed a Bachelor’s and/or a Master's degree with English as the language of instruction in one of the Nordic countries or the Netherlands

5.1.5 Deadlines

Admission to the PhD programme is on-going throughout the year (see also § 5.3).

5.1.6 The application

The applicant shall, in collaboration with the supervisor, present a cohesive plan for the PhD degree. The relevant forms must be used.

The admission’s application must be sent to that department with the most relevant and desirable academic affiliation for the applicant. The department sends an evaluation of the application and the application itself to the faculty. Enclosures to the application

The application and cooperation forms must be filled in electronically and have the following enclosures:

       1. copies of diplomas for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees supplemented with transcripts showing which courses are included in both degrees

       2. an official description of the grading structure from the degree conferring institution (for applicants with international education)

       3. results from TOEFL or IELTS test for international applicants (see 5.1.4 – Supplement MN for exemptions)

       4. project description (see Supplement MN)

       5. publication list if the applicant has published academic work

       6. course description and transcripts/confirmations for courses already taken which the applicant wishes to include in the educational component for the PhD study (see §8)

       7. Curriculum Vitae (CV)

       8. agreement with external party, if relevant (§6) The project description

The project description (from 4 to 10 pages) must include a reference list and contain the following:

  • an account of the research question (goals and hypotheses, if any) describing the background for the project and relating the project to international research within the field. The project description must contain a reference list in accordance with good citation practice
  • a description of the data and the source materials to be used and, where applicable, how these will be collected and analysed
  • an account of the applicant’s independent contribution if the PhD project is to be part of a larger research project
  • a progression plan for the work with verifiable milestones. The progression plan will be used in connection with the third semester evaluation and other evaluations of progression Principal supervisor’s statement

The principal supervisor must, as part of the application, write a statement about the applicant. The statement must include the following points:

  • the supervisor’s evaluation of the applicant’s ability to complete the research assignment
  • the origin of the research. It must be made clear if the research is a continuation of the applicant’s previous work (e.g. published research) and if parts of such research are to be included in the dissertation
  • the funding for the project
  • collaborators, if any, or research networks with which the applicant may be affiliated Academic and material resources

The department must ensure that the applicant has access to the necessary academic and material resources for the successful completion of the research project. The department is ultimately responsible for making the necessary infrastructure and resources available. For applicants with an external workplace an agreement between the department and the external workplace must be entered into specifying the academic and material resources for every research project. Residency

The PhD programme is an organised research education and the PhD candidate must generally spend one man-year at the University of Oslo (residence duty). The residence duty can be divided into maximum three periods. The residence duty may be reduced if it is documented that the PhD candidate is a part of a rigorous research environment and the academic demands for supervision are sustained. The agreement must detail how the residence duty is meant to be upheld. It is the department’s responsibility, in cooperation with the departmental supervisor(s), to ensure that the residence duty is upheld.

Supplement to § 5.2 Decisions regarding admission

5.2.1 Admission

The Faculty informs the applicant and the department about the outcome of the admission’s application. Upon the Faculty signing a successful application it is to be regarded as a contract for the completion of the PhD degree (§6).

5.2.2 Study right

Upon admission to the PhD programme, applicants gain admission privileges to PhD and Master’s level courses at the University of Oslo and can register for courses which are to be included in the educational component for the PhD degree without having to pay the semester- and copy fees. External courses are subject to the regulations of institution offering the courses.

PhD Research Fellows automatically receive a temporary study right for 6 months from the date of commencement. The temporary study right expires in cases where the faculty has not received an application for the admission to the PhD programme within three months after the start date.

Supplement to § 5.3 Admission period

5.3.1 Admission period

The PhD candidate/supervisor sends the application for admission to MN’s PhD programme to the department within the first two months of the PhD employment contract. The department sends the application for admission to MN’s PhD programme to the faculty within the first three months of the applicant’s employment contract (July is not counted due to summer vacation).

5.3.2 Extension of admission period

The PhD candidate sends the application for extension to the department. The appropriate form must be used.

PhD candidates with academic responsibilities other than their research and mandatory instructional duties may apply to extend their admission period. These responsibilities must be agreed upon by PhD candidate, supervisor and the department in advance. The faculty must be notified about the agreement reached.

The department is obliged to ensure that all active PhD candidates have valid PhD contracts.

PhD candidates employed externally are obliged to inform the faculty of leaves of absence.

5.3.3 Modifications in contract

Changes of academic nature resulting in delays in the timeframe for the PhD must be presented to the department for evaluation and then sent to the faculty for approval.

5.3.4 Mandatory duties

The PhD candidate’s mandatory duties should be relevant with regards to future advancement in research- and instructional positions. The mandatory duties should mainly consist of instruction such as:

  • instruction on Bachelor’s and Master’s level
  • collecting and arranging material for instruction
  • examination
  • supervision of Bachelor’s and Master’s students

Time spent on:

  • compulsory pedagogical instruction
  • participation in official committees of the University of Oslo

is to be registered as mandatory duties.

The department may allow other tasks to be registered as mandatory duties.

Mandatory duties must be spread evenly throughout the employment period. The department must arrange the mandatory duties so that the PhD candidates may spend unhindered at least six months abroad as part of their PhD programme.

§ 7 Academic supervision

Supplement to § 7.1 Content of academic supervision

7.1.1 The supervisor’s obligation

The supervisors must keep abreast with the PhD candidate’s progress comparable to the progression plan. The supervisors must also be available for regular written/oral dialogue with the PhD candidate. The existence of external supervisors puts greater onus on departmental supervisors to evaluate the project and affiliate the PhD candidate to the faculty’s research environment.

7.1.2 The candidate’s obligation

The PhD candidate is obliged to uphold the agreed residency requirements, hold an active dialogue with all supervisors about the progression as well as presenting drafts for written work for discussion with supervisors.

Supplement to § 7.2 Appointment of academic supervisors

Each PhD candidate shall have at least two supervisors who are actively involved throughout the candidate’s degree. Supervisors must have a doctoral degree and/or have experience comparable to a professor or associate professor.

A supervisor should ideally have the responsibility for maximum six PhD candidates. An explanation must be given if this number is to be increased.

It is the department’s responsibility to inform external supervisors of the rules and regulations for the PhD degree as well as the document Guidelines for the evaluation of Norwegian doctoral degrees.

Members of a supervisory group must not have close personal relationships to the PhD candidate or to other members of the group.

7.2.1 Change of supervisors

The PhD candidate and the supervisor can in cooperation request the faculty to appoint additional supervisors. A supervisor may not vacate his/her post prior to the faculty appointing additional supervisors. If a PhD candidate or a supervisor finds that the other party is not fulfilling their obligations in accordance with these regulations, it is the duty of the injured party to discuss the matter with the adverse party. The candidate and supervisor must jointly find a solution. The departmental PhD council must be contacted if the parties fail to reach a solution. If a solution cannot be reached even after the department’s intervention, the candidate or the supervisor may request to be released from the supervisory agreement. A request for such release is sent by the injured party to the faculty via the department. The final decision is made by the faculty in consideration with the departmental PhD council’s recommendations. The departmental PhD council suggests new supervisors which are then appointed by the faculty.

§ 7.3 The principal supervisor

The principal supervisor must be a permanent member of the academic staff or be an adjunct associate professor/adjunct professor at one of the departments sorting under the faculty. Temporary academic staff at one of the departments sorting under the faculty may become a principal supervisor upon the department’s recommendation. Experienced researchers at well regarded partner research institutions may similarly be appointed as principal supervisors upon the department’s recommendation. In both cases, the robustness of the supervisory group must be evaluated.

§ 8 The educational component

Supplement to § 8.1 Legal framework, objectives, content and scope

The faculty decides which elements are to be included in the educational component. The academic content is vouched for by the department with which the PhD candidate is affiliated.

8.1.1 The educational component’s scope, composition and content

The educational component must contain no fewer than 30 and no more than 40 credits (in accordance with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)). The content must be of such a nature that it will in combination with the thesis impart academic breadth and depth. Up to 10 credits may be used on Master’s level courses with a pass grade of either A or B in the Norwegian educational system. At least 5 credits must be used on a course on research ethics, academic theories and methods. The educational component must generally include a minimum of 20 credits of academic/scientific courses.

The courses included in the educational component must not have been included in any previously obtained degrees or have formed the basis for admission to the PhD programme.

All courses to be included in the educational component must have final examinations with grades.

The educational component must be completed with pass grades in its entirety before the PhD candidate may apply the faculty to have his/her thesis assessed.

Along with the application to have the thesis assessed, the department also sends documentation to the faculty showing pass grades for the courses in the educational component.

8.1.2 Research courses and special syllabus

Up to 10 credits may be used on national or international research courses or special syllabus in the form of literature or method studies that are relevant for the dissertation. Research courses with final exams arranged partly or wholly by MN/NHM may be accepted in the educational component as ordinary courses.

The scope and academic level of the research courses must be evaluated by the department. The following crediting is used: 25-30 student hours is awarded with 1 credit. National and international research courses lasting five full working days give 2 credits.

In order to add a research course without a final exam in the educational component, the candidate must hold a seminar at the department within six months of attending the course. The seminar must be evaluated by a representative from the departmental PhD council.

Courses taken as special syllabus must be described in a separate form, comparing content, level and scope with other course descriptions on the faculty’s webpages. The mode of examination must be detailed. The syllabus description must be approved by the department prior to the examination.

The Faculty awards research courses and special syllabus only with whole number of credits.

8.1.3 MSCA Doctoral Networks courses (Formerly ITN)

PhD candidates affiliated with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Doctoral Networks must take the MNSES9100 Science, Ethics and Society course (5 credits). Courses given through MSCA Doctoral Networks can amount to a maximum of 25 of the 30 compulsory credits in the faculty's educational component. The courses are awarded credits according to the assessments given by the MSCA Networks. PhD candidates belonging to the MSCA Innovative Training Networks (ITN) are also covered by this section.

8.1.4 The CompSci Programme

PhD candidates affiliated with the CompSci Programme must take the MNSES9100 Science, Ethics and Society course (5 credits). They will also take the courses FYS4150 Computational Science (10 credits) and FYS-STK4155 Applied Data Analysis and Machine Learning (10 credits). The remaining 5 of the 30 compulsory credits of the educational component in the PhD programme will be covered by the CompSci programme's yearly workshops.

§ 9 Reporting

Supplement to § 9 Reporting

Third semester evaluations must take place no sooner than twelve months and no later than fifteen months after the start of the employment period. Results achieved in this period must be presented to a committee and the PhD candidate must clarify deviations, if any, from the progression plan. The department appoints a knowledgeable committee consisting of at least three members. Issues concerning supervision must be discussed with and without the supervisors’ presence. The committee must aim to uncover difficulties, if any. A summary along with the committee’s conclusions is sent to the departmental PhD council and to the faculty.

The department is responsible for carrying out the yearly reporting sessions for candidates and supervisors. After receiving all the submissions, the department makes a summary which is sent to the faculty. Considerable deviations, if any, from a candidate’s progression plan or other noteworthy issues, must be specified and discussed in the summary.

§ 10 The thesis

Supplement to § 10.1 Thesis requirements

The supervisors have a responsibility to consider publishability criteria when choosing a research project. In the duration of the degree work, parts of the thesis must normally be sent in for publication in international journals and/or presented at international conferences.

The thesis is usually submitted in the form of articles which are fused into a whole (superstructure) containing an introduction and a comprehensive gist of the most important works and conclusions. The superstructure must also present the main issues and conclusions of the smaller works in a holistic perspective and thus document the coherence in the thesis.

Co-author declarations must be handed in for all relevant publications if they form the basis for a thesis presented in the form of a monograph.

In the case of an article that has already been used in another thesis or is meant to be used in a future thesis, special emphasis must be placed on describing the contribution of all PhD candidates involved. The contribution from Master’s students must also be described.

The thesis must be written in English.

§ 12 Submission

Supplement to § 12.1 Submission of the thesis

The department must receive the application to have the thesis assessed no later than three months prior to the tentative date of defence. Final date for the defence must not be set prior to the evaluation of the thesis being approved by the faculty.

The committee must evaluate the thesis within six weeks and the PhD candidate has two weeks for commenting the evaluation.

An electronic copy of the thesis must be submitted with the application as well as a proposed adjudication committee from the main supervisor (see § 13). The department evaluates and recommends the proposed adjudication committee, the information on which is then sent to the faculty together with the application to have the thesis assessed.

Co-author declarations and confirmation of passed theoretical curriculum must also be enclosed with the Application.

§ 13 Appointment of the adjudication committee

Supplement to § 13 Appointment of the adjudication committee

The third member of the adjudication committee represents the department and functions as an administrator for the committee. The administrator must make certain that all deadlines are met, that the evaluation is of an excellent academic quality and that the external opponents are made familiar with the evaluation process. The administrator must actively participate in evaluating the thesis.

The proposed adjudication committee must be presented in the appropriate form which must include the following:

  • candidate’s name
  • the final title of the thesis
  • full name, title, place of work and address for all members
  • clarifying the choice of members
  • a statement that the members of the proposed committee have been asked and have agreed to take on the responsibility
  • declaration of impartiality for each member of the committee
  • the third opponent must be employed by MN/NHM
  • two opponents must have no association with MN/NHM

The faculty evaluates and approves the adjudication committee and informs the department of its decision. The department then informs the PhD candidate and the members of the adjudication committee. The department ensures that the members of the adjudication committee receive a copy of the thesis and the rules and regulations. The department ensures that the third member has sufficient knowledge about administering a defence so that this knowledge may be imparted to the opponents.For previously rejected thesis that are revised and submitted anew, at least one member from the original adjudication committee must participate in the new committee.

§ 14 The work of the adjudication committee

Supplement to § 14.2 Revision of a submitted thesis 

The adjudication committee is given a six week deadline to evaluate the thesis. The committee must conclude whether:

  • the thesis is worthy of defence without changes;
  • the thesis is worthy of defence, but the thesis has minor shortcomings which must be corrected before the defence. The PhD candidate should be able to complete the revision within two months. No re-examination is necessary;
  • the thesis has major shortcomings which must be corrected before a defence. The PhD candidate should be able to complete the revision within six months. The thesis must be evaluated anew by the same adjudication committee;
  • the thesis must be rejected if the adjudication committee finds that the thesis cannot be adequately revised within six months. The PhD candidate is entitled to a detailed, written account of the rejection.

The adjudication committee receives a new deadline on six weeks for evaluating a thesis which has been previously evaluated and found lacking (§14.3)

Supplement to § 14.3 Recommendation of the adjudication committee

The department sends the committee’s evaluation to the PhD candidate. The committee’s final recommendation, including comments from the PhD candidate, if any, is evaluated by the department before it is sent to the faculty. The Faculty must receive the committee’s recommendation with all necessary enclosures at least four weeks before the date of defence. The committee’s evaluation must cover:

  • the subject area of the thesis
  • the superstructure of the thesis
  • a short description of content and goals for the work
  • PhD candidate’s original contribution and independence
  • the thesis’s level of quality (strong and weak points)
  • PhD candidate’s grasp of the subject area and placement of own research in a larger context
  • the technical quality of the thesis (composition, written structure, overall impression, level within an international setting)

§ 15 The faculty’s procedures relating to the adjudication committee’s recommendation

Supplement to § 15 The Faculty’s procedures relating to the adjudication committee’s recommendation

The committee has six weeks to evaluate the thesis. The PhD candidate has a deadline of ten working days to comment the evaluation.

§ 17 Publicising the thesis

Supplement to § 17.1 Faculty requirements for the printed thesis

The PhD candidate must hand in the popular science summary as well as the form for administrative information to the faculty four weeks before the defence at the latest. The popular science summary must begin with a short and simplified press release. This may function as an introduction or a supplement to the popular science summary.

Supplement to § 17.2 Publicising

The doctorate must only be awarded on the basis of the material available in the thesis.

The department must print 40 copies of the thesis. One copy of the thesis must be delivered to the Faculty library and six copies to the National library of Norway in Mo i Rana no later than 14 days before the defence. Copies of the thesis must be made available during the defence.

§ 18 The PhD examination

Supplement to §18.1 Trial lecture

The trial lecture must be held in English. It is organised by the department which is also responsible for the announcement. The trial lecture must be of 45 minutes in duration. The purpose of the trial lecture is to evaluate the PhD candidate’s proficiency in conveying research based knowledge outside of the candidate’s own subject area. The topic for the trial lecture must thus not be derived from central issues in the thesis. The committee sets the topic for the trial lecture.

The committee’s evaluation of the trial lecture is recorded on the relevant form. The following must be included:

  • the PhD candidate’s choice of materials
  • structure and organisation of the lecture
  • understanding and maturity
  • presentation techniques, including the use of visual aids

The department notifies the faculty about the time and venue for the trial lecture and defence no later than two weeks before the trial lecture. The PhD candidate receives the title for the trial lecture from the department ten working days before the defence.

Supplement to § 18.2 Public defence of the thesis (disputation)

The defence takes place at the University of Oslo and is held in English.

The head of the department chairs the defence on behalf of the Dean and according to set procedures. If the head of the department is unavailable, the defence may be chaired by the deputy head or another impartial professor/associate professor at the department. The defence is not to be chaired by the supervisors of the candidate or the administrator of the adjudication committee.

The person chairing the defence briefly apprises the audience of the submission and evaluation of the thesis and formally introduces the PhD candidate.

The PhD candidate’s presentation must be no longer than 30 minutes.

The first opponent places the PhD candidate’s work in an international, academic context.

The adjudication committee holds a short meeting after the defence. The chair then informs the audience about the adjudication committee’s evaluation of the defence.

After the defence, the adjudication committee prepares a report on the appropriate form. The report must contain an evaluation of the following points:

  • the PhD candidate’s presentation of the thesis
  • the PhD candidate’s defence of thesis
  • the level of the thesis as compared to the general academic level at the foreign opponent’s home institution

If ex auditorio opposition reveals substantial objections, these must be mentioned in the report.

§ 23 Entry into force and transitional rules

Supplement to § 23.1 Entry into force

MN’s revised Supplement to the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D.) at the University of Oslo has immediate effect and MN’s Supplement of 12th February 2008 is hereby abolished. The Dean is authorised to approve changes in the supplement. The Board of the Faculty must be informed about substantial changes.

List of contractions

  • Faculty = the Dean or the person the Dean has authorised
  • MN = The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • The faculty = The Faculty level in the line organisation
  • Department = MN’s departments and the Natural History Museum
Published Apr. 11, 2016 4:34 PM - Last modified Sep. 29, 2022 9:47 AM