Frequently Asked Questions - PhD studies

We have collected a range of frequently asked questions related to different aspects in PhD education at the University of Stavanger. For more comprehensive information, please visit the Guide for PhD education at UiS.

Published Updated on

PhD education/ PhD candidates at UiS

No, UiS does not accept PhD candidates that are self-funded or lack funding.  

The most common way to enrol in a PhD programme is to be employed by UiS for a PhD fellowship. Here you can see vacant PhD positions at UiS.  

When you are employed as a PhD research fellow you will automatically enrol in one of the PhD programmes, no separate application is needed. The admission is granted on condition that the PhD candidate submits a project plan that gets approved by the faculty's doctoral committee. The project plan must be submitted three months after the employment starts.   

PhD candidates that are not employed by UiS must apply for admission to a relevant programme using this form. The application is sent to the PhD Coordinator at the faculty.   

Read about alternative routes to a PhD degree.

UiS has five different PhD programmes that cover a wide range of disciplines.  

More information about each programme can be found on the programme website.  

Applicants are expected to have a good command of oral and written English. For some PhD positions, you are expected to submit English tests (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS) when you apply. This will be specified in the call for applicants. If you do not submit the requested documentation your application might not be assessed.    

The PhD candidates’ rights and duties are set out in the Regulations for the PhD degree at the University of Stavanger. Furthermore, The Norwegian Association of Researchers (Forskerforbundet) has issued a useful handbook (pdf) on this topic. Another crucial document is the “Agreement on Admission to the PhD programme” which must be signed before the PhD candidate starts his or her training. 

UiS offers Norwegian language courses at a reduced rate to new international students. See courses offered to employees at UiS.  

If you are experiencing these problems, you should first try to discuss it with someone you know and trust, and see if it is possible to do something with your work situation that can decrease the stressors. If this does not help, you should contact the Occupational Health Service at UiS (for PhD candidates wo are employed at the university) or at the place you work. 

If you are employed at UiS, the Occupational Health Service can provide help concerning different work-related health issues. The Occupational Health Service can offer an inspection of your physical work environment and provides health specialists depending on your physical health problems. If you are not employed at UiS you will need to contact your workplace.    

The industrial PhD and the public sector PhD are two different schemes for funding PhD training, administered by the Norwegian Research Council (NFR). They do not represent a new type of PhD, and the candidate enrols to one of UiS' PhD programmes. The difference is that the candidate is not employed by the university, but by a public body (e.g. municipality) or a company which have a special need for research into a given topic.

PhD project and plan

This depends on what is requested in the job advertisement. In most cases, you must prepare a preliminary project proposal within the subject area. Some faculties provide a template for the project outline.          

Some PhD projects are pre-defined. In this case, you do not need a project proposal when applying for the position. In either case, a full project plan will be due three months after your employment starts.   

A project plan is more than just a scientific description of your project. A project plan should include:  

  • A scientific description of the project, which includes the thematic area, research questions, and the choice of theory and methodology  
  • Progress plan   
  • Funding plan 10  
  • Plan for the coursework (30 ECTS)  
  • Information about any plans for a research stay abroad  
  • Plan for research dissemination  
  • Documentation of special needs for academic and material resources  
  • Information about any restrictions on intellectual property rights to protect other’s rights  
  • 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 

It should be stated in the application if the project is dependent on permission from the research ethics committee, other authorities, or private parties (informants, patients, parents, etc.). Such permits should, if possible, be obtained and submitted with the application.  

External PhD candidates must submit a full project plan with their application for enrolment in the PhD programme.   

If the final plan for the research project is not approved, the doctoral committee will explain deficiencies in the present plan and set a new deadline for submitting an improved version.    

Yes. An approved project plan is a requirement to obtain full admission to the PhD programme, and full admission is a condition for employment in a PhD fellow position (cf. Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow), stipendiat (research fellow), vitenskapelig assistent (research assistant) and spesialistkandidat (resident), § 1-3, 8).  

If you and your supervisor do not agree, you will have to present and describe your disagreement to the academic community – normally theIf you and your supervisor do not agree, you will have to present and describe your disagreement to the academic community (normally the doctoral committee at your faculty). Formally, this committee has the final say.  

Even if you do not finish by the end of your period of funding, you will still be able to submit the thesis for assessment for the degree. As long as the required coursework of at least 30 credits (ECTS) is completed you can send an application for assessment to your faculty. You will also keep your programme enrolment until you pass the sixth year. However, you will lose the right to academic supervision as well as other rights related to your employment status (e.g., salary and personal budget).   

If conditions out of your control have hindered your progression, the admission period is extended correspondingly. The faculty may also extend the admission period after a justified application. Upon granted extension, the faculty may set additional terms. An extension can only be granted if you will be able to complete the doctoral education by the end of the extension period.

It is also important to correctly report approved leaves of absence during your time as a PhD candidate to extend the funding period appropriately.   

Academic supervision

This depends on the nature of your PhD project. If you work on a pre-defined project, a main supervisor has already been selected. This will likely be one of the researchers in charge of the larger project of which your PhD project is part of. In the case of a more independently developed project, the dean of the faculty or head of department will suggest a supervisor with expertise in the respective research field. The supervisor is formally appointed by the faculty’s Doctoral Committee.  

At first, both parties should try to make the relationship work and, where necessary, attempt to remedy problems that have originated (cf. Agreement on Admission to the PhD programme). One viable way is to consult with your second supervisor or your manager (head of department). You can also ask your PhD coordinator for advice.   

If the problems cannot be solved, you have the right to ask for a new supervisor. In this scenario, the Ethical Guidelines for Supervisors/Employees at UiS can be useful. If you are unsure if your case is being handled in a responsible manner by the university you can contact The students’ ombudsperson, an independent consultant for students and PhD candidates, who can offer guidance and advice.   

Both you and your supervisor can ask the institution to appoint a new supervisor for the project (cf. PhD regulations at UiS § 7.1). To change supervisor, fill out the form Application for appointment/change/termination of supervisors (pdf). The supervisor you have cannot withdraw before a new supervisor has been appointed.  

According to § 7-1 of the PhD regulations at UiS, a PhD candidate is expected to have two supervisors (one main and one co-supervisor), and we strongly recommend you follow this stipulation. A third person can be of huge benefit when discussing the PhD project and its quality.  

Both supervisors are expected to advise on formulating the thematic focus and research questions of the PhD project, as well as to discuss and assess hypotheses and methodology, the results and interpretation of these, the structure and implementation of the thesis, including the outline, choice of language, documentation, provide guidance on the academic literature and advise the candidate on issues of research ethics. The time the co-supervisor is expected to allocate varies across PhD- programmes. However, you can expect to have regular contact also with your co-supervisor.  

Sometimes a co-supervisor is appointed to ensure competence in one or some of the aspects relevant to the project that the main supervisor does not know thoroughly enough.   

Your supervisor is expected to assist you in the process of getting familiar with the relevant research environments, including facilitating a stay abroad during the doctoral training period. This can for example mean to include you when meeting relevant people.  

Thesis writing / article publication

If a certain number of articles is required varies across faculties. There can also be different requirements regarding the status of the articles and your role, i.e., whether the article is submitted, accepted, or published by a journal as well if you have written it as a first or a sole author. Generally, most candidates have 3-5 articles in their doctoral thesis.   

Altogether, the articles must represent a consistent entity. Their interrelation and coherence must be demonstrated in the synopsis of the thesis (“kappe”). Check out the website for your PhD programme for more information.     

The “kappe” is an academic text of which the PhD candidate is the sole author. Together with the scientific articles, it forms the doctoral thesis. In the "kappe", the candidate is expected to demonstrate the articles' contribution to answering the question(s) that the thesis as a whole intends to address and clarify how the articles are interrelated. This introductory section should, from a holistic perspective, summarise and compile the issues and conclusions that are presented in the works. The introductory section should also account for the choice of theory and methodology and assessment of the results according to academic standards within the subject area.  

A supervisor is not automatically listed as a co-author. In order to be a co-author of a research work, it is required that a substantial contribution to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data have been given. If co-authorship is applicable this should be clarified as early as possible. See the guidelines for co-authorship (pdf)

If your thesis contains articles with co-authors, signed declarations of co-authorships (pdf) must be handed in when you submit your doctoral thesis.  

Making a correct PDF file can be time-consuming. We, therefore, advise you to use the electronic template available by the IT department from the very beginning. 

When your thesis is ready for submission, you must contact the PhD coordinator at your faculty to get the contact information for the UiS printing office (Aksell). They print all the theses accepted at UiS and will guide you through the full process. The timeframe depends on their workload, but normally it does take 2-3 workdays from it is printed to delivery.  

Contact your local communication officer.  

Research stay abroad / mobility

There are different mobility grants to support your research stay abroad. PhD candidates who are funded externally (e.g., by the NFR or the EU) must apply to the external funding source for a mobility grant. If the external source of funding does not grant mobility grants, it will be possible to apply to the faculty. In such cases, a letter of rejection must be attached to the candidate’s application.  

PhD candidates who are employed by an external employer (industrial PhD, public sector PhD) must apply to their employer for a mobility grant. If their employer does not grant mobility grants, it will be possible to apply to the faculty. In such cases, the reason why an employer is unable to fund the stay must be attached to the candidate’s application.  

For candidates who are not part of an externally funded project, it will be possible to apply to the faculty for a mobility grant. To be awarded a mobility grant, the total time spent abroad should be at least 3 months. This period can be divided into shorter stays (min. 6 weeks x 2)

The UiS grants follow NFR rates. For 2023 the rates are NOK 22 000 per month. See the rates at forskningså   

This is the UiS rates and do not apply to candidates seeking funding from external parties. The rates can be subject to budgetary constraints. 

It is recommended that applications for mobility grants should be submitted at least 3 months before one is planning to stay abroad to ensure that payment is made prior to departure.  

You should be free to bring your family with you. UiS Mobility Scholarship grants a higher rate for researchers travelling with family, in accordance with NFR’s rate. To be eligible your stay must last for a minimum of 3 consecutive months. In such cases family members must live with the researcher concerned for all or almost all of the entire research period (80%). Check with your faculty before you apply, as this can be subject to budgetary constraints.   

Your PhD coordinator can guide you. Euraxess Mobility Centre UiS can also offer support.