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Regulations for the degree of Doctor Philosophiae (Dr. Philos.) at the University of Oslo

This English translation is for information only. For all legal purposes the original document in Norwegian is the authoritative version.

Adopted by Rector by authority on 5 January 2011 pursuant to Act no. 15 of 1 April 2005 relating to universities and university colleges, §§ 3-3, and to Regulations of 16 December 2005 related to degrees and vocational training, protected titles and nominal length of study at universities and university colleges, § 2 nr. 11, and last amended on 17 January 2017.

§ 1 Applicability of regulations

These regulations apply to the degree of Doctor Philosophiae (Dr. Philos.) and pertain to the right to apply for admission to the Dr. Philos. examination and the procedures for this examination.

§ 2 Description, content and objectives of the degree of Dr. Philos.

The degree of Doctor Philosophiae (Dr. Philos.) is a non-supervised degree which may be conferred to persons who have completed a second cycle degree, i.e. a master's programme or equivalent studies. The research and the doctoral thesis is completed without formal connection with the university.

The Dr. Philos. degree shall qualify the candidate for research activities and other work requiring high levels of scientific insight, methods and analytical thinking, in accordance with recognised scientific traditions and ethical principles.

The Dr. Philos. degree is conferred on the basis of:

  • the doctoral thesis
  • the doctoral examination

The doctoral examination consists of two trial lectures and the public defence of the thesis, also known as the disputation. One trial lecture is on a given topic, while the second is on a chosen topic.

§ 3 Responsibility for the Dr. Philos. degree

The university board has the overall responsibility for the Dr. Philos. degree at the University of Oslo and establishes the regulations concerning the degree.

The faculty decides whether a submitted thesis has a theme which falls within the faculty’s portfolio, whether the thesis is worthy of defence for the Dr. Philos. degree and whether the doctoral examination may be approved.

The authority given to the faculty by these regulations may not be delegated to the department level.

§ 4 Application 

§ 4.1. Admission requirements

An applicant must have a five year master's degree or equivalent studies. The faculty may grant applicants who can demonstrate equivalent qualifications in the specific discipline admission to the doctoral examination. It rests upon the applicant to document equivalent qualifications.

The applicant should be a citizen of Norway or another Nordic country. Other applicants may following a substantiated application be granted admission to the Dr. Philos. examination if they have a residence permit in Norway, or if the thesis meets:

  • treats topics or makes use of material directly related to Norway, or
  • is closely related to Norwegian research within the discipline, or
  • has been carried out during stays at a Norwegian university or research institution, or in close contact with Norwegian researchers. 

§ 4.2. Application and documentation requirements

Applications must be submitted to the relevant faculty depending on the thesis' topic. 

The following documentation must be attached to the application:

  • One copy of the thesis
  • Documentation of previous education or equivalent qualifications 
  • Summary of previous scientific work/papers (these must be shown on request)
  • Proof that the necessary permissions have been obtained
  • Declarations by co-authors, when required in accordance with § 5.1
  • A declaration as to whether the doctoral thesis is being submitted for evaluation for the first or second time
  • A declaration that the doctoral thesis has not previously been submitted and/ or evaluated by any other Norwegian or foreign institution

Non-Nordic citizens must in addition attach a residence permit and/or a statement outlining the thesis' connection to Norway

The faculty evaluates the application and may grant admission to the doctoral examination for the degree of Dr. Philos.

§ 5 The thesis

§ 5.1 Thesis requirements

The thesis shall be an independent, scientific work that fulfils international standards regarding ethical requirements, academic standards, methodology and documentation.

The thesis shall contribute to the development of new scientific knowledge and must be of sufficiently high quality to merit publication as part of the scientific literature in the field.

The absence of a required educational component equivalent to one semester shall be compensated by thesis work which is more extensive than what is required in the organized doctoral programmes.

The thesis can be a monograph or a compilation of several shorter papers. If the thesis is a compilation of several shorter papers, the relationship between them should be clearly explained.

One thesis may be submitted for evaluation by several contributors provided that their individual contributions can be identified and the scope of each candidate's contribution is equivalent to one thesis.

If a written work is the product of a collaborative effort with other authors, the candidate shall adhere to those norms for co-authorship that are commonly accepted in the scientific field.

Theses that include works by several authors shall be accompanied by a signed declaration describing the contributions made to each work by the candidate and each individual co-author.

The faculty decides what languages may be used in a doctoral thesis.

The thesis shall be available to the public.

§ 5.2 Work not eligible for evaluation

A work or a part of a work that has been approved as the basis for previous examinations or degrees is not eligible for evaluation. However, data, analyses or methods used in previous degrees may be used as a basis for the Dr. Philos. thesis.

A work or a part of a work that has been evaluated previously and found worthy or not worthy for defence for a doctoral degree at another Norwegian or foreign institution, is normally not eligible for evaluation, even if the thesis is rewritten.

A doctoral thesis can only be submitted for evaluation at one institution. If, after submission to the University of Oslo, the thesis is also submitted for evaluation at another institution, the University of Oslo's evaluation procedures will cease.

As a general rule, it is not possible to leave an organized doctoral programme to present oneself for the Dr. Philos. degree. If a thesis in part or whole has been written within the frame of an organized doctoral programme at the University of Oslo or another institution, the candidate must argue on what grounds this should be defended for the Dr. Philos. degree and not for an organized doctoral degree.

§ 6 Submission

When the faculty has granted the candidate admission to the Dr. Philos. examination, the candidate must submit the thesis in the prescribed manner.

A submitted thesis may not be withdrawn before a final decision has been reached as to whether it merits a public defence. 

§ 7 Appointment of the evaluation committee

When the faculty has approved the application for thesis evaluation, the faculty shall appoint an expert evaluation committee of at least three members which shall evaluate the thesis, the trial lecture and the public defence. The rules on impartiality contained in § 6 of the Public Administration Act apply to the members of the committee.

Normally, the committee should be appointed no more than six weeks after approval of the candidate's application for thesis evaluation.

The evaluation committee shall normally be composed such that:

  • both genders are represented
  • at least one of the members has no association with the University of Oslo
  • at least one of the members has no association with Norwegian institutions
  • all members have a doctoral degree or equivalent academic qualifications

Specific reasons must be supplied if these criteria are not complied with.

The basic academic unit shall propose the composition of the evaluation committee. The proposal must be substantiated and indicate how the committee as a whole covers the subject area(s) dealt with in the thesis. The candidate shall be informed of the proposed composition of the committee and is entitled to submit written comments no later than one week after the basic academic unit has forwarded the proposal to the faculty. The faculty itself decides whether such comments shall be taken into account.

The faculty appoints the secretary to the committee.

The faculty may, if required, appoint one substitute member to the evaluation committee. Persons who have contributed to the thesis [including the appointed academic supervisors], may not serve as members of the evaluation committee or as its secretary.

§ 8 The work of the evaluation committee

§ 8.1 Obtaining supplementary information

The evaluation committee may require access to the Dr. Philos. candidate's source material and additional information for the purposes of elaboration or clarification.

§ 8.2 The evaluation committee's report

The evaluation committee delivers its report as to whether the thesis is worthy of being defended for the Dr. Philos. degree. The report and any dissenting opinions must be substantiated.

The evaluation committee shall deliver its report within three months of receiving the thesis.

The evaluation committee's report shall be delivered to the faculty. The faculty presents the report to the candidate, who is given a deadline of 10 working days to present written comments to the report. If the candidate does not wish to comment, the candidate must inform the faculty of this as soon as possible in writing.

Any comments by the candidate shall be submitted to the faculty. The faculty itself makes the decision in accordance with § 9.

§ 8.3 Correction of formal errors in the thesis

The candidate may apply for permission to correct formal errors in the thesis after submission. The application must be accompanied by a complete overview of the relevant errors. An application to correct formal errors must be submitted no later than six (6) weeks before the date of the public defence.

§ 9 The faculty's procedures relating to the evaluation committee's report

The faculty itself decides, on the basis of the evaluation committee's recommendation, whether a doctoral thesis is worthy of a public defence. 

If the faculty itself finds that there are reasonable doubts as to whether the committee’s recommendation should be endorsed, or if the committee delivers a split recommendation, the faculty itself shall seek further clarification from the evaluation committee and/or appoint two new experts to give individual statements on the thesis. 

Such clarifications or individual reports must be presented to the candidate, who should be given an opportunity to comment.

§ 10 Re-submission

A thesis that has not been found worthy of defence by the faculty itself, may be re-evaluated after extensive revision no earlier than six months after the faculty's decision. A thesis may be re-evaluated only once. As a general rule, re-evaluation of the thesis should be done by the same institution that did the first evaluation.

When re-submitting a thesis, the candidate must provide notification that the work has been previously evaluated and not found worthy of defence.

§ 11 Publicising the thesis

§ 11.1 The faculty’s requirements for the printed thesis

Once the thesis has been found worthy of defence, the candidate shall submit the thesis to the faculty in the standardised format and in accordance with the provisions stipulated by the faculty.

The thesis must be printed in accordance with the faculty's templates and its other provisions on the publication of doctoral theses.

The candidate must at the same time submit an abstract of the thesis in English, as well as an electronic, popular account in Norwegian.

§ 11.2 Publicising

The thesis must be made publicly available no later than four weeks before the date set for the public defence. The thesis must be made available in the form in which it was submitted for evaluation.

No restrictions may be placed on the public release, including the publication, of a Dr. Philos. thesis. A Dr. Philos. candidate who is employed by the University of Oslo when submitting the thesis, must follow the university's general rules of address when publishing the thesis and supply the University of Oslo as the address if the thesis is a product of work done as a University of Oslo employee. This rule also applies to work that was entirely or mainly completed as part of the Dr. Philos. thesis, but which is published after the disputation.

§ 12 The doctoral examination

§ 12.1 Trial lecture

When the faculty has found the thesis to be worthy of defence, the candidate shall deliver [two (2)] trial lectures.

The trial lectures are independent parts of the Dr. Philos. examination. The purpose is to test the candidate's ability to acquire knowledge of matters beyond the thesis topic, and to impart this knowledge in a lecture setting.

The candidate announces the title of the trial lecture of the chosen topic to the faculty one (1) month before the planned disputation date.

The title of the trial lecture on the given topic will be decided by the evaluation committee and announced to the candidate 10 working days before the trial lecture.

The trial lectures shall be delivered at the University of Oslo, and in the language of the thesis, unless the evaluation committee approves the use of another language.

The trial lectures must be evaluated by the evaluation committee. The evaluation committee shall report to the faculty whether the trial lectures merit a pass. The committee's recommendation must be substantiated if the committee recommends a fail.

The trial lectures must be passed before the public defence may take place.

§ 12.2 Public defence of the thesis (disputation)

The public defence of the thesis shall normally take place within six (6) months of the faculty's decision to find the thesis worthy of defence.

The time and place of the public defence shall be announced at least 10 working days in advance.

The disputation shall be held at the University of Oslo.

The committee that originally evaluated the thesis shall also evaluate the public defence.

The public defence must be held in the language of the thesis unless the faculty, on the recommendation of the evaluation committee, approves the use of another language.

There shall normally be two ordinary opponents. The two ordinary opponents shall be members of the evaluation committee and are appointed by the faculty.

The public defence should be conducted in accordance with the university’s guidelines for disputations at UiO. The public defence will be chaired by the dean, or the dean's proxy. The candidate shall be given the opportunity to defend the thesis. Members of the audience shall be given the opportunity to comment ex auditorio.

The evaluation committee delivers its recommendation to the faculty as to whether the defence should be approved. The committee's recommendation must be substantiated if the committee does not recommend approval.

The defence must be approved before the degree can be conferred.

§ 13 Approval of the doctoral examination

The faculty decides whether the doctoral examination shall be approved, on the basis of the evaluation committee's report.

If the faculty does not approve one of or both the trial lectures, one or two new trial lectures must be delivered. The new trial lecture(s) must address a new topic. The new trial lecture(s) must be delivered within six months and should be evaluated, if possible, by the original committee.

If the faculty does not approve the public defence, the Dr. Philos. candidate may defend the thesis once more. A second defence may be held no earlier than six months after the date of the first defence and should be evaluated, if possible, by the original committee.

§ 14 Diploma

(1) The faculty itself issues diplomas for completed dr.philos. degrees. The diploma should follow the university's guidelines for diploma design as far as they are appropriate.

(2) The faculty itself issues the standard English "Diploma Supplement" with the diploma.

(3) Each diploma and diploma supplement is issued only once. Upon application, the faculty may issue a duplicate in the event of a lost diploma or diploma supplement.

§ 15 Ceremonial diploma

UiO issues a ceremonial doctoral diploma in addition to the diploma. The ceremonial doctoral diploma is normally awarded at the creation ceremony.

§ 16 Appeals

Rejection of an application for a thesis evaluation and decisions not to approve of a thesis, trial lectures or the defence may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of the Public Administration Act, §§ 28 et seq. A substantiated appeal must be submitted to the faculty.

The faculty may overturn or amend the decision should the appeal be found justified. If the faculty upholds its rejection, the appeal shall be forwarded to the Appeals Board ("Den sentrale klagenemnd") of the University of Oslo for a final decision. The Appeals Board may review all aspects of the appealed decision.

§ 17 Entry into force

This regulation has immediate effect, and the Regulations of 8 April 1997 regarding the degree of Doctor Philosophiae (Dr. Philos.) at the University of Oslo is at the same time abolished.


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Published June 29, 2017 2:17 PM - Last modified Jan. 3, 2020 10:37 AM