Application and Admission

There are different ways to fund a PhD programme. The most common of these is full funding through grants (which normally leads to employment at the University of Stavanger). An employer can also fund a PhD candidate and other sources of external funding are also accepted. Private funding is normally not allowed.


  • Research fellowship at UiS
  • Candidates with external funding

Admission to the PhD training

  • Application for admission to the PhD training 
  • Application Processing and Clarification of admission
  • Formalisation of Admission



Research fellowship candidates at UiS                                                                                                       
The majority of our PhD students are funded through scholarship/grant schemes that encompass a three or four year employment contract between the candidate and the University of Stavanger. The appointment to a PhD fellow position leads to admission to the PhD programme. Admission is granted under the assumption that the candidate hands in a completed project and education plan (PhD plan) to the faculty, within the time limit stipulated in the employment contract. The plan will be evaluated and subsequently approved by the doctoral committee.  

While examining the PhD plan, the doctoral committee should also be presented a well-reasoned suggestion as to who will be the supervisor (group). The planned study programme, including any dissemination of academic results and international research stays must be further specified and will be evaluated when the PhD plan is available. If the PhD plan is not in place within the deadline stated in the employment contract, the employer has grounds to terminate the employment contract.

Externally funded candidates                                                                                                                                 When an applicant is the recipient of external funding, the employment relation is not managed by the University of Stavanger. In this situation, the financial terms of participation in the PhD programme must be clarified by the funding party and the University of Stavanger before the application can be approved. This applies, for e.g. to candidates financed through the National Research Council’s Industrial PhD Scheme and Public Sector PhD Scheme.The UiS requirement is that external funding must cover an amount in line with the Research Council of Norway’s round sum for funding PhD candidates. This sum includes salary, social security costs, social and operating costs and well as funding for study abroad periods. The faculty stipulated potential requirements concerning residence duty.

Applicants, who are not fully funded through scholarship schemes, must produce documentation assuring that a minimum of 50% of their working hours during the PhD programme can be used for PhD education and that a minimum of one year can be allocated to full time studies. A possible requirement of being in residence at the University of Stavanger is stipulated by the faculty or PhD programme.

Regular rules of employment apply to PhD candidates, whether they are employed at the University of Stavanger or by an external party. Guidelines pertaining to conditions of employment at the University of Stavanger are maintained in the Personnel Manual. In addition, the research fellowships are governed by the Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident (2006).

Admission to PhD training

Candidates who are not employed at the University of Stavanger must apply for admission to the programme / course of study. Once funding/the letter of appointment is in place, the supervisor has been contacted and an outline of the project description is in place, the application for admission to the PhD programme must be delivered to the PhD coordinator at the concerned faculty. The faculty’s doctoral committee must approve the application before the commencement of the PhD training. Admission to the PhD programme is intitally granted on a conditional basis (see the paragraph below).

According to PhD regulations § 2-2, the application must include:

1. Documentation of education that forms the basis for admission                    

To be admitted to the PhD programme, applicants must have a five year masters degree or its equivalent. Applicants must have a strong academic background. The faculty can determine additional requirements.  (See Regulations § 2-1 Admission).

2. Description of the PhD project that includes:

  • A scientific description of the project, which includes thematic area, research questions and the choice of theory and methodology
  • Progress plan
  • Funding plan
  • Plan for the coursework
  • Information about any plans for a research stay abroad
  • Plans, if any, for study abroad / stay at another institution
  • Plan for research dissemination
  • Documentation of special needs for academic and material resources
  • Information about any restrictions on intellectual property rights that are intended to protect the rights of others
  • An account of any legal and/or ethical issues raised by the project and how these can be addressed and clarified
  • Proposal of at least one supervisor as well as a statement of association with an active research community.

Applications must be submitted to the appropriate faculty on the stipulated application form. The main academic supervisor must sign the application. The relevant department / centre must certify that office space and other infrastructural assistance can be provided to the candidate.

Application Processing and Clarification of Admission
Only candidates with external funding need to apply separately for admission to a PhD programme. The faculty’s doctoral committee handles application for admission to the PhD programme. Admission will normally be subject to funding, admission capacity, the individual coursework plan, further development of the scientific rationale of the project, additional educational qualifications and/or intellectual property agreements. The basis for the admission decision and its contents are described in Regulations § 2-3. If the application for admission is rejected, the candidate has the opportunity to appeal in accordance with Regulations § 10-1.

Once the candidate is granted admission, the faculty will send the PhD candidate a letter of admission and the admission agreement (the ABC agreement), together with the University of Stavanger’s PhD Regulations and Guide for PhD Education. The letter of admission issued by the doctoral committee will provide a deadline for the preparation and submission of the work plan5 for doctoral training.

Candidates employed at the University of Stavanger will usually receive the above-mentioned documents from the PhD coordinator at the relevant faculty. The employment contract will be sent by the HR department.

The candidate and main supervisor should work as quickly as possible to rewrite the project description and assess the need for adjustments. This process must be complete no later than three months after the admission decision has been taken.

A potential oglibation to be in residence at the University of Stavanger must be indicated in the letter confirming the admission. The faculty/researcher school itself can stipulate such obligation.  

Formalisation of Admission
If the application process results in admission, this is formalised through a written document, “Agreement on Admission to the PhD Programme” (ABC agreement). The ABC agreement, which is sent to the candidate along with the letter of admission, consists of Part A, B and C.

  • Part A is the general agreement required from all PhD candidates admitted to a PhD programme. The contracting parties in Part A are the PhD candidate and the institution (represented by the faculty and department).
  • Part B is an agreement on academic and scientific supervision in doctoral training that is required for all PhD candidates who are admitted to a PhD programme. The contracting parties in Part B are the PhD candidate, supervisor (s) and the institution (represented by the department). I Part B of the agreement must be entered into with each of the supervisors.
  • Part C is an agreement between the external institution and the university regarding the completion of the PhD programme. Part C is only required for those PhD candidates who either have external funding, or those who have another workplace than the degree-granting institution. The agreement can also be used for PhD candidates who work at another department / faculty / center at UiS than that which the candidate is affiliated to according to the admission agreement in Part A. If a candidate is associated with two external institutions (i.e., an external funding institution and another institution offering a workplace), agreements must be entered into with each of the external parties.

The agreement is completed by the PhD candidate and the other involved parties and must be sent to the faculty's PhD coordinator.

During the course of the PhD programme, if there is a need for changes to the agreement, this shall be clarified in cooperation with the concerned department heads and this will also be duly noted in the progress report. Part B is updated for each change in the supervisor relation. Both leave and other conditions that result in changes to the agreement must amended in the annual progress report.