Study plan

You can read more about the different elements in the programme description for the PhD programme in Social Sciences

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Study plan for the PhD programme in Social Sciences

Study plan

Norwegian name of the course of study: Ph.d. i samfunnsvitenskap.
English name of the course of study: PhD in Social Sciences.

On the basis of a completed and approved research training component, the PhD thesis, a trial lecture and thesis defence, the candidates are awarded the degree of Philosophiae doctor (PhD).

The PHD programme amounts to 180 credits and is expected to be completed within the standard period of three years of full‐time study. The research training component amounts to 30 credits.

The PhD programme in Social Sciences is organisationally rooted in the Faculty of Social Sciences. The PhD programme is operated in cooperation with the UiS Business School and the Museum of Archaeology.

The PhD programme is aimed at well‐qualified candidates with projects within the social sciences who wish to qualify for the highest level of education in the field.

Students enrolled in the program must have the equivalent of a five‐year master's degree within the relevant field of study. The weighted average grade of the master's programme must be B or better, and the grade on the master’s thesis must be minimum B. During assessment for admission, in addition to formal competence, the quality of the applicant’s PhD project proposal and relevant academic work will be given weight. Moreover, the admission requirements of the UiS PhD Regulation are in effect.

The PhD education is designed so that it can be completed within the standard timeframe of three years of full‐time study. Through the research training component, the programme will support the thesis work and ensure breadth of academic and scientific training. The research programme mainly consists of active research work under supervision and includes:

•    A thesis based on independent research work in active cooperation with advisers and other researchers
•    An approved research training component
•    Collaboration with active research communities, national and international
•    Professional dissemination of research related to the ongoing doctoral work
The thesis must be an independent, international‐level scientific work within the field of study. This requires a high academic level in terms of formulation of the thesis issues, conceptual clarity, methodological, theoretical and empirical foundation, documentation, analysis and presentation. In all these areas, the thesis must also demonstrate that it relates critically to current national and international research. The thesis must contribute towards new academic knowledge and be at a level that warrants publication as part of the topic’s scientific literature.
The thesis must have a summary/abstract at the beginning that gives a detailed account of the basis for the thesis, approach and coherence, as well as the main findings, and that situates the work in relation to international research in the field. The thesis may be either a monograph or an article‐based compendium. An article‐based thesis is preceded by a "kappa"/framework/compilation of the research works. Reference is made to the University of Stavanger’s PhD Regulation.
The research training component must include the academic and methods training necessary for the work on the thesis. The research training component within the PhD programme must constitute at least 30 credits distributed as follows:

10 ECTS within Philosophy of Science and Research Ethics
10 ECTS within Methods and/or Research Design
10 ECTS credits within courses related to the thesis topic
According to the guidelines of Universities Norway (UHR) and the International ECTS scale, 1 credits equals a normal workload of between 25 and 30 hours of work. In addition,reference is made to Section 3.8 of the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Act, which states that the academic year consists of 10 months (approx. 40 weeks or approx. 1500 weekly hours, and 37.5 hours per week) and that a full academic year is assessed as comprising a standard of 60 credits. This amounts to a normal workload of 25–30 hours of work for the candidate per credit. The most common form of documentation is an academic text, or a “paper”.

Philosophy of Science and Research ethics: The collaborating faculties offer PhD courses in Philosophy of Science and Research ethics.
Methodology and/or Research design: The collaborating faculties offer PhD courses within qualitative and quantitative methods, and Research design.
Thematic courses: The Faculty of Social Sciences offers various thematic PhD courses.
The doctoral level courses offered in the PhD programme are organised by various thematic research schools included in the programme. These research schools are also responsible for organising 50‐percent and 90‐percent seminars (see the mention of compulsory academic dissemination), and for offering the PhD fellows an active academic environment.
PhD courses/subjects offered at other PhD‐accredited educational institutions awarding credit points may, upon application to the PhD fellow’s research school, be approved as part of the research training component.
The training component shall also consist of compulsory academic dissemination comprising the following elements:
•    Annual presentation of the research project in the academic community at UiS
•    A minimum of one presentation at an international scientific conference during the period of study
•    A minimum of one popular scientific contribution during the study period
•    50‐percent seminar as described in separate guidelines pertaining to this
50‐percent seminar / midterm evaluation is public and announced in the research fellow’s research school.
The other dissemination activities can be linked to work on mandatory assignments in the training component and to the actual thesis work. Oral presentations underway during the course of the PhD programme will ensure that candidates get practical training in disseminating research and will ensure the quality of the independent thesis work.
The training component must be completed and approved prior to submission of the thesis.
A 90‐percent seminar will also be held towards the end of the PhD course, before submission of the thesis can take place. The 90‐percent seminar is public and is announced in the fellow’s research school. The seminar consists of a conversation between the candidate and the commentator, whose task is to assess and give critical and constructive views on the thesis work. The purpose is to give the candidate apportunities to improve the work in the final phase and to prepare for the defense.

The learning outcomes at the level of the study programme are to be described in both variants of Norwegian, bokmål and nynorsk. An English translation is to be included in the Diploma Supplement, which is attached to the application.
Having completed and passed the study programme, the candidate will possess the following learning outcomes:


  • Be in the forefront in terms of knowledge within their specific field of social sciences and have a mastery of the field’s scientific theory and methods.
  • Be able to contribute towards the development of new knowledge, new theories and new methods, when applicable, within the social sciences.
  • Possess broad knowledge in the social sciences.


  • Be able to formulate issues, to plan, conduct and carry out research at the international level.
  • Be able to deal with complex academic issues and critically analyse and challenge established knowledge and research practices within the social sciences.

General competencies

  • Be able to identify ethical issues and perform their research with academic integrity.
  • Be able to participate in and lead complex multidisciplinary work tasks and projects.
  • Be able to assess the need for, take the initiative to implement and carry out development work / be an innovation driver.
  • Be able to present research and participate in debates in national and international forums.

The PhD in social sciences qualifies candidates for private or public sector work that requires a high degree of competence and a good understanding of society.

The PhD candidate must have submitted a project plan no later than three months after the date of admission (see project plan guidelines). The project plan must be approved by the PhD Committee before admission is final.
Each year, the candidate and supervisor must prepare a progress report for the PhD project (cf. the PhD regulations). The reports are approved by the Vice Dean of Research / Research Manager at the Fellow's Faculty / Unit. In cases where there is weak progress and/or deviation from the training plan, additional information and / or follow‐up interviews with a candidate, mid‐term seminar or the like may be requested. The doctoral committee may consider compulsory termination of matters covered by sections 5‐6 to 5‐9 of the PhD regulations.

If the thesis is article‐based, the candidate must be the first author of at least three (3) of these articles.
Main Rule: Two(2) of the articles must be submitted for publication.

All the Research Schools have an opportunity to propose their own guiding standard with requirements for article-based dissertations. The requirements for article-based dissertations may go beyond the requirements stated in the study plan, but not lower than the mentioned ones.
The requirement for article-based dissertations applies to all PhD candidates who are admitted to the PhD program in Social Science. For research schools without their own guiding standards, the rules mentioned above, will apply. See also "Content of the study programme".

*Research School in Politics and Society (POLSOC):
The number of articles in doctoral dissertation:

The norm for the number of articles is at least three(3) articles, with the candidate as the first author.
Main Rule: Two(2) of the articles must be submitted for publication, of which at least one(1) must be published or accepted for publication.
*Research School in Social Work and Welfare (SWEL):
The number of articles in doctoral dissertation:

The norm for the number of articles is at least three(3) articles, with the candidate as the first author.
Main Rule: Two(2) of the articles must be submitted for publication, of which at least one(1) must be published or accepted for publication.
* Research School in Radical Interdisciplinarity (ITEM):
The number of articles in doctoral dissertation:

At least 3 articles should have the PhD candidate as the first author, and at least 2 articles should be submitted for publication and under review when the thesis is submitted for examination. It is recommended that at least 1 article is accepted for publication.
* Research School in Economics and Business Administration (ECOBA):
If the thesis is article-based, at least 3 articles should have the candidate as the first author. This may include shared first authorship for up to 2 (two) of the articles where the authors are listed in alphabetical or random order . The third article, in that case, must be written as sole author. At least 2 (two) articles should be submitted for publication when the thesis is submitted for examination. If 2 (two) PhD candidates write 1 (one) article together with shared first authorship, both can include it in their theses. In this case, only one joint article is allowed in each thesis.

Independent work is the primary way of working in a PhD programme.

For doctoral candidates who have a primary affiliation with another institution, an agreement must be entered into between the institution conferring the degree and cooperating institutions that regulate the candidates' working conditions and, secondarily, that ensure the candidate’s participation in an active research environment (cf. The PhD regulation).

Working forms and requirements in individual PhD courses are developed by the person responsible for the course and approved by the PhD Committee at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

The PhD programme enables the doctoral student to spend at least three months of study time at a recognised foreign education or research institution where it is possible to work on issues related to research work and/or the thesis. Candidates are asked to indicate relevant academic environments and time of study abroad as part of their project plan. If a stay abroad is not possible, a stay at another Norwegian educational institution may be approved, or other arrangements that ensure that the student gains insight into alternative academic and research traditions related to the issues addressed in the thesis ( Cf. The PhD regulation).

PhD courses are taught in English. Courses can be taught in Norwegian if all the candidates in the group master a Scandinavian language.

A written evaluation will be conducted after all PhD courses. The person responsible for the course summarizes the feedback from the participants in the course and submits a written report to the PhD Committee. The feedback from students is important for the annual review and audit of all courses/subjects.
Within the programme, PhD candidates are represented in the committee work pertaining to the training programme. Regular evaluations are conducted where supervisors and candidates are given opportunities to comment on issues related to general satisfaction, ethical issues, quality and communication. Based on reports, assessments etc. the doctoral administration prepares an annual academic report to the Doctoral Committee.