Regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) 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 the Board of the University of Oslo on 22 June 2010 pursuant to Act no. 15 of 1 April 2005 relating to universities and university colleges, § 3-3, § 3.9 and § 4-13, and last amended on 29 June 2018.
PART I INTRODUCTORY PROVISIONS
§ 1 Applicability of regulations
These regulations apply to the doctoral education culminating in the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD). The regulations pertain to admission to, participation in and completion of the PhD education.
§ 2 The scope, content and objectives of the PhD education
The PhD education is organised in programmes with a stipulated length of three years' full-time study. The programmes include an educational component of at least 30 credits.
The PhD education at the University of Oslo shall educate independent researchers of high international standard, in accordance with recognised scientific and ethical principles. The programmes shall qualify candidates for research and other work requiring high levels of scientific insight and analytical thinking. The PhD degree is conferred on the basis of:
- completion of the programme's educational component
- the doctoral thesis
- the doctoral examination
The doctoral examination consists of the trial lecture and the public defence of the thesis, also known as the disputation.
§ 3 Responsibility for the PhD education
The university board has the overall responsibility for PhD education at the University of Oslo. The university board establishes and discontinues programmes for the PhD education at the each faculty.
The rector may stipulate rules regarding the content and format of programme descriptions. The faculty itself stipulates and amends the programme description for each PhD programme. 'The faculty itself' refers to bodies at faculty level.
The faculty itself may stipulate supplementary regulations to this document, particularly concerning admission requirements, decisions regarding admission and admission period.
The faculty itself makes decisions regarding admission to PhD programmes, whether a submitted thesis is worthy of defence and whether a doctoral examination can be approved.
PhD candidates participating in inter-faculty education must be enrolled in the PhD programme at one host faculty.
§ 4 Quality assurance
The PhD education is regulated by the quality assurance system for educational activities at the University of Oslo. The faculties shall ensure the quality of the PhD education in accordance with this system.
PART II ADMISSIONS
§ 5 Admissions
§ 5.1 Admission requirements
To be admitted to the PhD programmes at the University of Oslo, an applicant must have a five year master's degree or equivalent studies that have been recognised by the faculty as forming a sufficient basis for admission. The faculties may stipulate additional admission requirements.
The faculty itself stipulates which documentation should follow the application.
Applications for admission to a PhD programme must be submitted to the faculty on the prescribed form.
§ 5.2 Decisions regarding admission
Decisions regarding admissions are made by the faculty itself. The decision is based on an overall assessment of the application. The faculty may rank qualified applicants when the number of applicants exceeds the programme capacity.
Admission shall be denied if:
- agreements with external third parties will prevent the public release and public defence of the thesis
- the applicant will not be able to fulfil the requirement that at least one year of the doctoral programme shall be carried out after admission, cf. § 5.3.
The faculty itself may stipulate additional conditions for admission.
The decision regarding admission shall specify the admission period and the name of at least one academic supervisor.
§ 5.3 Admission period
The PhD education has a stipulated length of three years' full-time study. A proposed schedule of more than six years will not be accepted. The faculties may stipulate stricter progress requirements.
An application for admission to a PhD programme must normally be submitted within three months of the start of the research project which leads to the PhD degree. If less than one year's full-time work at the project remains, the application shall be rejected, cf. § 5.2.
In case of statutory leaves of absence, the admission period is extended accordingly.
A candidate may apply for an extension of the admission period on other grounds. The application must include a statement confirming what work has been completed so far and what work remains to be undertaken. The application may be approved if the faculty determines that completion of the project is feasible within the extended period. The supervisor and the basic unit must provide confirmation of supervision during the extended period.
The faculty may impose further conditions when approving the extension.
Following expiry of the admission period, the parties' right and duties under the doctoral contract cease to exist, such that the doctoral candidate loses entitlement to supervision, course participation and access to university infrastructure. The candidate may, however, apply to the faculty for permission to submit the thesis for evaluation for the PhD degree.
§ 5.4 Premature termination
The candidate and the institution may agree to terminate the PhD education before the agreed time of completion (voluntary termination). In the event of voluntary termination, the parties shall enter into a written agreement regulating issues such as employment, funding, rights to research results etc.
In the case of voluntary termination due to the candidate's desire to change project or transfer to a different programme, the candidate must reapply for admission on the basis of the new project.
The faculty itself may terminate the PhD education (involuntary termination) in the event of scientific misconduct cf. the Act on ethics and integrity in research § 8, second paragraph, and the Act relating to universities and university colleges § 4.13, first paragraph.
The faculty itself may terminate the PhD education (involuntary termination) if a candidate to a significant extent does not fulfil his or her obligations of the doctoral contract, cf. the Act relating to universities and university colleges § 4.13, second paragraph.
PhD candidates who are employed by the University of Oslo may be dismissed from their employment where reasonable grounds exist that affect the situation of either the institution or the employee, cf. the Act relating to civil servants, §§ 9 and 10, or where dismissal takes place pursuant to § 15 of the Act.
§ 6 The PhD agreement
Admission to one of the university's PhD programmes is formalised in a written agreement signed by the PhD candidate, the supervisor, the basic unit and the faculty. The contract governs the parties' rights and obligations during the admission period. An academic supervisor who is appointed after the candidate's admission must sign the contract immediately after the appointment. At least one supervisor must be appointed at the time of admission, cf. § 7.2.
Where a PhD candidate receives financial support from an external party in the form of funding, employment or other contributions, a separate agreement between the candidate, the university and the external party must be entered into. This agreement shall normally be attached to the admission agreement.
If the PhD candidate is to be affiliated with foreign institutions, a separate cooperation agreement must be entered into in accordance with the university's guidelines for such cooperation. This agreement shall normally be attached to the admission agreement.
If the PhD candidate is to be affiliated with more than one faculty, a separate cooperation agreement must be entered into in accordance with the university's guidelines for such cooperation. This agreement shall normally be attached to the admission agreement.
PART III CONDUCTING THE PROGRAMME
§ 7 Academic supervision
§ 7.1 Content of the academic supervision
Work on a doctoral thesis shall be conducted under individual supervision. The faculty, the basic organisational unit and the supervisors shall collectively ensure that the candidate participates in an active research environment.
The candidate and the supervisors shall maintain regular contact.
The supervisors have a duty to keep themselves informed of the progress of the candidate's work and to assess the work in relation to the time frame of the project description.
The supervisors have a duty to follow up on academic matters which may cause delay in the research education, ensuring that it may be completed within the stipulated time frame.
The supervisors shall advise on the formulation and definition of the topic and problem statements; discuss and assess hypotheses and research methods; discuss results and their interpretation; discuss the form and presentation of the thesis, including its structure, linguistic form, documentation etc.; and guide the candidate towards scientific literature and data in libraries, archives etc. The supervisors shall also advice on matters of research ethics pertaining to the thesis.
§ 7.2 Appointment of academic supervisors
As a general rule, a candidate shall have two supervisors. The supervisors are appointed by the faculty itself, and at least one of the supervisors must be appointed at the time of admission. All supervisors must possess a doctoral degree or equivalent competence in the relevant field.
The principal supervisor has the main academic responsibility for the candidate. The principal supervisor shall normally be employed at the faculty to which the candidate has been admitted, or at another unit at the university approved by the faculty.
The faculty itself may appoint an external principal supervisor. In such cases, a co-supervisor employed at the University of Oslo shall be appointed.
Co-supervisors are experts who supervise, and share academic responsibility for, the candidate.
The rules on impartiality contained in § 6 of the Public Administration Act apply to the supervisors.
§ 8 The educational component
The educational component shall, together with the thesis work, provide an education of a high academic standard and include the completion of a scientific research project; training in the dissemination of academic knowledge; and an introduction to research ethics, the philosophy of science and scientific methods.
The educational component shall correspond to at least 30 credits, of which at least 20 must be obtained after admission. Credits that are to be recognized as part of the educational component may not have been completed more than two years prior to the date of admission.
The faculty itself may recognize courses and other academic activities undertaken outside the University of Oslo as part of the educational component.
The faculty itself decides which elements may be included in the educational component, documentation requirements and priority rules for admission to courses at the PhD level offered by the faculty.
Examinations during the educational component are governed by the provisions concerning examinations in the act relating to universities and university colleges and the regulations concerning studies and examinations at the University of Oslo.
§ 9 Reporting
During the admission period, the PhD candidate and appointed supervisors shall, in the prescribed manner and within prescribed deadlines, report on the progress of the research education. Guidelines for such reports are drawn up by the faculty itself.
§ 10 The thesis
§ 10.1 Thesis requirements
The thesis shall be an independent, scientific work that fulfils international standards with regard to ethical requirements, academic standards and methodology.
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 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 candidates provided that their individual contributions can be identified.
If a written work is the product of a collaborative effort with other authors, the PhD candidate shall adhere to those norms for co-authorship that are commonly accepted in the scientific field and the University of Oslo's guidelines for co-authorship.
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.
Published papers cannot normally be accepted as part of a doctoral thesis if the publication date precedes the candidate's date of admission by more than five years.
The faculty decides what languages may be used in a doctoral thesis.
§ 10.2 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 doctoral project.
If, after submission to the University of Oslo, the thesis is also submitted for evaluation to another educational institution, the University's evaluation procedures will be halted.
§ 11 Duty to report work results with potential for commercial exploitation
PhD candidates who are employed by the University of Oslo are obliged to report research results with potential for commercial exploitation that are obtained during the course of employment, pursuant to Act no. 21 of 17 April 1970 relating to the right to inventions made by employees, Act no. 2 of 12 May 1961 relating to copyright in literary, scientific and artistic works etc. and Act no. 27 of 15 June 1990 relating to the protection of layout-designs for integrated circuits, as well as other work results covered by the University of Oslo's policy on intellectual property rights. In connection with the signing of an employment contract, a separate agreement shall also be entered into between the University and the employee regarding the acquisition of rights to work results. This agreement shall stipulate the obligations of both the employee and the employer in relation to exploitation, division of royalties, etc.
Where a PhD candidate has an external employer, an equivalent reporting duty shall be stipulated in an agreement between the University of Oslo, the PhD candidate and the external employer.
Where a PhD candidate does not have an employer, an equivalent reporting duty shall be in the admission contract between the University of Oslo and the PhD candidate.
PART IV COMPLETION
§ 12 Submission
The application for evaluation of the thesis must be submitted to the faculty. The application can only be submitted after the educational component has been approved.
The faculty itself decides which documentation must be attached to the application.
The faculty itself shall assess the application for evaluation of the thesis. Applications that do not fulfill the requirements will be rejected.
§ 13 Appointment of the evaluation committee
When the faculty itself has approved the application for thesis evaluation, the faculty itself 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 four 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 itself appoints the secretary to the committee.
The faculty itself may, if required, appoint one substitute member to the evaluation committee. The appointed academic supervisors, as well as others who have contributed to the thesis, may not serve as members of the evaluation committee or as its secretary.
§ 14 The work of the evaluation committee
§ 14.1 Obtaining supplementary information
The evaluation committee may require access to the PhD candidate?s source material and additional information for the purposes of elaboration or clarification.
The academic supervisors may be summoned to meetings with the evaluation committee to give an account of their supervision and the thesis work.
§ 14.2 Revision of a submitted thesis
Before producing its final recommendation, and based on the submitted thesis and any additional materials it has required, cf. § 14.1, the evaluation committee may recommend that the faculty permits a minor revision of the thesis. The committee shall specify which aspects of the thesis require such revision by the candidate.
The faculty itself decides whether the candidate shall be given the opportunity to revise the thesis.
If the faculty permits a minor revision of the thesis, a deadline shall be set that shall not exceed six months. A new deadline shall also be set for submission of the committee's final recommendation. The faculty's decision pursuant to this paragraph cannot be appealed by the PhD candidate.
If the committee finds that fundamental changes regarding the theories, hypotheses, material or methods employed in the thesis are necessary before the work can be recommended as meriting a public defence, it shall not recommend minor revisions, but shall reject the thesis.
§ 14.3 Recommendation of the evaluation committee
The evaluation committee delivers its recommendation as to whether the thesis is worthy of being defended for the PhD degree. The recommendation and any dissenting opinions must be substantiated.
Unless the faculty has set a different deadline pursuant to § 14.2, the evaluation committee shall deliver its recommendation within three months of receiving the thesis.
The evaluation committee's recommendation shall be delivered to the faculty. The faculty presents the recommendation to the PhD candidate, who is given a deadline of 10 working days to present written comments to the recommendation. If the PhD candidate does not wish to comment, the PhD 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 the case in accordance with the provisions of § 15.
§ 14.4 Correction of formal errors in the thesis
A submitted thesis may not be withdrawn before a final decision has been reached as to whether it merits a public defence.
The PhD 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. The faculty stipulates the deadline for applications on correcting formal errors.
§ 15 The faculty's procedures relating to the evaluation committee's recommendation
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 PhD candidate, who should be given an opportunity to comment.
§ 16 Re-submission
A thesis that has not been found worthy of defence by the faculty itself, may be re-evaluated after extensive revision only six months after the faculty's decision. A thesis may only be re-evaluated once.
When re-submitting a thesis, the PhD candidate must provide notification that the work has been previousy evaluated at the University of Oslo or another institution and not found worthy of defence.
§ 17 Publicising the thesis
§ 17.1 Faculty requirements for the printed thesis
Once the thesis has been found worthy of defence, the PhD 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 other provisions on the publication of doctoral theses.
The faculty itselt may stipulate requirements concerning the delivery of abstracts of the thesis.
§ 17.2 Publicising
The thesis must be made publicly available no later than two 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, subject to any revisions made on the basis of the committee's interim comments, cf. § 14.2.
No restrictions may be placed on the public release, including the publication, of a doctoral thesis, with the exception of a previously agreed postponement of the public release date. Such postponement may be permitted when the research training has been partially or completely funded by an external party, to allow that external party to consider possible patenting. The external party is not entitled to deny the public release or publication of the thesis, neither in whole nor in parts, cf. § 5.2.
When publishing a PhD thesis, PhD candidates employed by the University of Oslo must follow the university's general rules of address and must supply the University of Oslo as their address. A publication by a candidate in external employment must include the addresses of both the University of Oslo and the candidate's main employer. This rule also applies to work that was entirely or mainly completed during the doctoral programme, but which is published at a later stage.
§ 18 The PhD examination
§ 18.1 Trial lecture
When the faculty has found the thesis to be worthy of defence the PhD candidate shall deliver a trial lecture. The trial lecture is an independent part of the PhD 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 title of the trial lecture will be decided by the evaluation committee and announced to the candidate 10 working days before the trial lecture.
The trial lecture is normally 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 lecture must be evaluated by the evaluation committee. The committee shall report to the faculty whether the trial lecture merits a pass. The committee's recommendation must be substantiated if the committee recommends a fail.
The trial lecture must be passed before the public defence may take place.
§ 18.2 Public defence of the thesis (disputation)
The public defence of the thesis shall normally take place within two 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. For research groups where this is particularly relevant, the faculty may, however, arrange disputations at Oslo University Hospital, Akershus University Hospital, UNIS and SIMULA.
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 itself, 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 itself.
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 PhD 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 of the defence.
The defence must be approved before the degree can be conferred.
§ 19 Approval of the doctoral examination
The faculty itself decides whether the doctoral examination shall be approved, on the basis of the evaluation committee's recommendations.
If the faculty itself does not approve the trial lecture, a new trial lecture must be delivered. A new trial lecture must address a new topic. A new trial lecture must be delivered within six months and should be evaluated, if possible, by the original committee, unless the faculty decides otherwise.
If the faculty itself does not approve the public defence, the PhD candidate may defend the thesis once more. A second defence may only be held six months after the date of the original defence and should be evaluated, if possible, by the original committee, unless the faculty decides otherwise.
§ 20 Conferral of the degree and diploma
On the basis of the faculty's report that the educational component, the thesis and the doctoral examination are approved, the Rector shall confer the degree of Philosophiae Doctor of the University of Oslo to the candidate.
The doctoral diploma shall be issued by the University of Oslo.
§ 21 Diploma supplement
The faculty itself shall issue a doctoral diploma supplement in the standardised format. The diploma supplement should follow the university’s guidelines for diplomas as far as they are appropriate.
PART V APPEALS, ENTRY INTO FORCE AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
§ 22 Appeals
(1) Applications for admission and applications for recognition of elements in the educational component may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of the Public Administration Act, §§ 28 et seq.
(2) Decisions concerning termination of the PhD education may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of the Act relating to universities and university colleges, § 4-13.
(3) Examinations in the educational component may be appealed pursuant to the Act relating to universities and university colleges, § 5-3 concerning appeals relating to grading and § 5-2 concerning appeals relating to formal examination errors.
(4) The rejection of an application for a thesis evaluation and decisions not to approve of a thesis, trial lecture or public defence may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of the Public Administration Act, §§ 28 et seq. and the Act relating to universities and university colleges § 4-13 (4).
§ 23 Entry into force and transitional rules
§ 23.1 Entry into force
This regulation has immediate effect and the Regulation of 21 June 2007 is hereby abolished.
Section 23.2 Transitional provisions
Anyone who at the time this regulation came into force had been accepted onto a doctoral programme pursuant to the Regulation of 21 June 2007 retains the rights granted under the latter regulation if this is to their advantage.