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PhD Programme in Social Sciences

The PhD programme in Social Sciences at the University of Stavanger is divided into five research schools: Research School in Economics and Business Administration, Research School in Politics and Society, Research School in Social Work and Welfare, Research School in Radical Interdisciplinarity and Research School in Service Leadership, International Business and Hospitality Management.

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Admission Requirements: Applicants with a academic background who have completed a five-year Master's degree (3+2) or (4+1). In order to apply for the PhD programme, you must apply for an available PhD vacancy. We do not accept self-funded PhD candidates.

Regulations: The PhD programme is mainly regulated by the Regulation for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor at the UiS level, and the study plan at the faculty level.

About the programme

The aim of the education is for the candidates to achieve scientific competence at the highest level and to further develop the candidates’ qualifications for research and other work in their respective fields.

The PhD education is intended to qualify for research of an international standard, and for other work in society where great demands are made to academic insight and analytical thinking. The training includes independent research in the form of an academic thesis of an international standard at a high level. Additionally, the candidate must undergo a training component, providing training in the disciplinary context, methods and theories that provide a disciplinary breadth and depth in their field. The PhD programme also includes training in the dissemination of academic work to colleagues, students and the general public.

Program structure and requirements

The PhD programme consists of an educational (coursework) component (30 ECTS credits) and a research component comprising the doctoral thesis (150 ECTS credits). The programme is intended to be completed within an effective researcher training period of three years, alternatively four years including mandatory duties (pliktarbeid).

Research School in Economics and Business Administration

The Research School in Economics and Business Administration (ECOBA) educate researchers who study how people and firms behave and interact within and between organizations and markets.

ECOBA builds on the UiS Business School’s Master Programme in Economics and Business Administration, and allow for wide set of research questions related to the broad field of Economics and Business Administration.

Examples are topics related to investment decisions, corporate finance and governance, wage formation and labour markets, environmental, energy and resource economics, motivation and learning, strategic marketing, management and innovation, firm organization and network analysis. Read more at the Research School website.

Leader: Professor Mari Rege

Deputy: Professor Aslaug Mikkelsen

Research School in Politics and Society

The Research School in Politics and Society provides an interdisciplinary research environment for PhD students interesting to study politics, society, media and organizations.

Fargerikt grafisk element

Today’s social science research is faced with a diversity of transformations. Societies are entering the Anthropocene – where the implications of studying politics, society, media and organizations become prominent.

Climate changes, migration and leadership

Climate change poses challenges for sustainable development goals, globalization and digitalization processes alter the conditions for work, communication, health and infrastructure. Social inequality, migration and rising populism puts pressures on social and political processes, raises new questions about resource allocation, and challenges fundamental social and democratic structures.

Private and public institutions and organizations face new demands in aeas of leadership and innovation. The Research School in Politics and Society provides an interdisciplinary research environment for PhD students aiming to tackle these challenges.

Varied topics

The aim of the Research School in Politics and Society (POLSOC) is to create a high quality interdisciplinary research environment at UiS for PhD students whose projects are situated within political science, sociology, organizational-, media and energy and environmental studies.

Suitable topics for sociology PhD students are varied, and reflective of the main areas of research among the sociology staff at the UiS, which all circle around a core of cultural sociology in a broad sense. These topics include social class, gender and inequality; culture; migration and ethnic relations; microsociology; digital sociology.

Students may embark on projects of both qualitative and quantitative nature. The following political science disciplines are covered by the research school: comparative politics, international relations, public administration and management, public policy, political sociology, political theory, and methods.

Societal challenges

Within these broad areas, PhD students will meet an academic staff focusing on topics such as:

Energy and environmental politics and policy, climate policy, sustainability transitions and studies related the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs); public policy at local, regional, national and supranational level; multilevel governance, innovation and reform in the public sector; international organisations and negotiations; interest groups, lobbying and corporatism; public opinion, electoral behaviour and party competition; mediatisation of politics, political communication and political agenda setting.

Media- and journalismconcerns the role of media in society at the individual, organizational- and structural level and covers digital journalism studies, social media and technology studies, political communication, media systems and organisations, as well as documentary production.

Topics for organization-and managementPhD students include process perspectives, innovation and change, leadership, institutional ethnography, organizational complexity, justifications and legitimacy. The empirical fields span across private, public and volunteer sector.

Together, the breadth of subject areas covered by the disciplines embedded in the POLSOC research school reflects the wide application of social science research to societal challenges. The POLSOC research school will offer an interdisciplinary home for candidates aiming to answer such challenges, fostering a research environment founded on scientific excellence, sustainability, and innovation.

Leader: Associate Professor Ann-Karin T. Holmen

Deputy: Associate Professor Hande Eslen-Ziya

Research School in Social Work and Welfare

The Research School in Social Work and Welfare is aiming to promote international research in social change, development, inclusion, social justice, empowerment and the role of the welfare state within these.

Åpen bok med barn som leker og trær som vokser - illustrasjon kilder

The interdisciplinery research school SWEL was launched November 1, 2019. It is a space for early stage researchers working on a doctorate to work as a community of practice with their peers, advisors and other experienced colleagues on projects addressing social problems and challenges in society, development of welfare services and professional practices.

A variety of disciplines

The research school’s candidates have a background in social work and/or other related disciplines, and through their participation in SWEL, collaborate with experienced educators, professionals and researchers from a variety of disciplines such as social work, sociology, pedagogy, psychology, philosophy, social policy, criminology, public health etc.

The research school encourages its members to take an active role in addressing social concerns and injustices both locally, nationally and internationally, and contribute to building a rigorous body of knowledge that makes a different to welfare practices

Advanced research competences

SWEL activities include opportunities to develop advanced research competences through a range of courses and workshops, seminars, formal and informal knowledge exchange opportunities in a collegial and stimulating research environment.

Leader: Professor Ingunn Studsrød

Deputy: Professor Sarah Hean

Research School in Radical Interdisciplinarity

The aim of The Research School in Radical Interdisciplinarity is to facilitate research that seeks to investigate modes of existences, inequalities, and materialities in temporal perspectives.

Åpen bok med bilder av arkeologiske gjenstander

ITEM is a collaborative, cross-sectional initiative between the Museum of Archaeology and Centre for Gender Studies. The aim of The Research School in Radical Interdisciplinarity is to facilitate research that seeks to investigate modes of existences, inequalities, and materialities in temporal perspectives.

In these times of ecological and political crises, it is urgent to scientifically scrutinize the past, present and future histories to do with human life, inter-species relations, environments, technologies, and artefacts, to name a few. As such, ITEM interrogates epistemological and ontological questions from a radical interdisciplinary mode of inquiry.  

Senter for kjønnsstudier

Across disciplines

ITEM draws on assemblages of knowledges, methods, and empirical material across disciplines such as archaeology, gender and sexuality studies, anthropology, cultural studies, environmental history, conservation studies, geology, critical race studies, and migration studies.

ITEMoffers courses and supervision that are committed to interdisciplinary knowledge production and critical thinking on issues such as of life/death, inequalities, sustainability, human-environment interactions, bodies, identities, the posthuman, technology, migration, kinship, (de)colonization, oppression, racism, resistance, welfare, and politics.

ITEMis at once a research and training platform for PhD candidates and a structured environment for exploratory research engagements at the University of Stavanger. ITEM’smission is to establish itself as an innovative and sustainable research school for the next generation of researchers. We aim to contribute to the frontline of research training excellence nationally and internationally, and to engage collaborative research training activities through mobility and internationalization programs for PhD candidates as well as for faculty members associated with ITEM.

Integration of PhD candidates

At the core of ITEM’sapproach to doctoral training is a commitment to offer PhD candidates a critical foundation research environment devoted to ethical reflections, bottom-up and collaborative participation. ITEM will actively pursue ways to integrate PhD researchers into faculty activities to enhance the knowledge-base and encourage cross-sectional creativity and community. By including PhD candidates in a collaborative research environment, the ITEMcollective will facilitate and create processes of intersectional knowledge production, assuring the highest quality by also cooperating with external expertise. PhD candidates are expected to actively partake in and co-organize research activities.

ITEMoffers robust PhD courses that address vital theoretical and methodological knowledge as well as a diversity of new developments at the international research front. In addition, a key role for ITEMis to provide spaces and forums for collaboration, exchange and discussion. The school will continuously strive to attain a high level of psychosocial work environment for everyone as part of a resilient research environment.  

ITEMis collaborating with The National Research School for Gender Studies and the international PhD school of archaeology, Dialogues with the past.

Leader: Professor Kristin Armstrong Oma

Deputy: Professor Lene Myong

Research School in Service Leadership, International Business and Hospitality Management

The Research school in Service Leadership, International Business & Hospitality Management educate researchers within all aspects central to the service industries in general, and tourism and hospitality in particular.

Hotellrom med nøkkel i døren

Our current and future PhD-students conduct research within disciplines like marketing, leadership, international business, service management & innovation, strategy, and managerial decision making, but also specialize in tourism experiences, tourism economics, the digital service economy or hospitality management. In addition, all businesses, industries and public branches within the service sectors are areas of research interest for the school.

Leader: Professor Torvald Øgaard

Deputy: Professor Rune Todnem By

Required educational part

The required educational part of the PhD-programme in Social Sciences.

The educational component can be taken on a rolling basis, but most of it should be taken during the first year of the admission period. The training component will provide the candidate with basic knowledge and training that, together with the thesis, provides the necessary academic breadth and specialisation that is embodied in the description of the objectives and learning outcomes for the PhD programme. The training or educational component includes a total of 30 ECTS credits.

Approval of the educational component

You should apply for approval of the educational component at least 6 months before you hand in your thesis for evaluation. In the application, the candidate must provide a plan for completion of the organized academic training in consultation with the supervisor(s).

The Faculty approves the individual candidate’s required academic training based on the recommendation of the supervisor. The PhD Board undertakes the final approval of the educational/ training component. The educational/ training component must meet the following requirements:

The training component shall normally be conducted after admission or appointment to a PhD fellowship.

Courses taken five years or more before admission to a PhD programme will not usually be approved. At least 20 out of 30 credits must be completed after admission.

All courses taken outside the University of Stavanger must be documented in the form of a certified copy of the course certificate. The training component must be approved before the thesis is submitted.

Requirements for documentation can be found under a separate tab on this page. The application should be sent by e-mail to PhD coordinator.

The candidate and supervisor plan the educational component in line with the description of the project's learning outcomes, and the candidate's project and career plans.

The training component within the given framework is individual and adapted to the thesis work and the career plans of the individual candidate.

Elective courses in the educational component

Within the framework of the Faculty’s programme description, the candidate may choose which courses and activities are to be included, but the educational component must be planned in consultation with the candidate’s supervisor, and the choice of courses must be clarified in advance with the research school leader at the research school the candidate is affiliated with.

The structure of the organized academic training provides room for flexibility tailored to the candidate's needs and the project arrangements, but must include the following three elements: 

  1. 10 ECTS within Philosophy of Science and Research ethics
  2. 10 ECTS within Methods and/or Research design
  3. 10 ECTS Thematic courses

Most PhD courses arranged by the Faculty of Social Sciences and UIS Buisness school is accessible for registration via Studentweb. There is a general overview of the courses offered and other academic activities under Courses and seminars.

Once a course has been completed, it will appear as approved in Studentweb.

External PhD-level courses (courses arranged by other faculties or institutions) from an educational institution that give credits/ECTS can be approved as part of the educational component. Documentation must be attached to the application to the Faculty after completion of these courses. Application for approval of required coursework should be submitted when you have achieved 30 credits.

Elements that are to be recognised as part of the educational component may not have been completed more than 2 years prior to the date of admission to the PhD programme. At least 20 credits must be obtained after admission to the programme.

All courses taken outside the University of Stavanger must be documented with a course certificate.

If the activity is not weighted in the form of credits, the candidate must attach the programme and, as applicable, a reading list. The Research School will then determine how many credits the activity can be assigned. On completion of the approval round, the PhD candidate will receive a separate decision document from the PhD administration, and the courses will appear as approved in Studentweb.

Thematic courses in the training component:

Within the framework of the Faculty’s programme description, the candidate may choose which courses and activities are to be included, but the training component must be planned in consultation with the candidate’s supervisor, and the choice of courses must be clarified in advance with the research school leader at the department the candidate is affiliated with.

The following attachments must be enclosed with your application if the courses do not have credits/ECTS:

  • Confirmation that the course is a PhD-level course.
  • Confirmation of course duration (i.e. number of hours course lasted). If relevant, confirmation of number of hours of preparation before the course started/course literature and confirmation of exam (i.e. number of hours an exam lasted as well as any preparations before an exam).
  • If relevant, confirmation of presentation - poster or oral presentation.
  • Web address to the course.

Courses cannot be approved as part of the educational component if the above mentioned documentation is not enclosed. Credit points equal the ECTS grading scale (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). 1 credit = 1 ECTS= 25-30 hours.

As a PhD candidate, you must also contribute to disseminating your research. This can be done e.g. by publications, participating in conferences, and science dissemination to a wider audience. Academic presentations are obligatory and have to include these elements:

  1. Minimum one annual presentation of progress to the research environment at the University of Stavanger.
  2. At least one presentation at an international scientific conference during the research training period.
  3. At least one popular science contribution during the research training period. (e.g. feature articles, popularized articles, lectures, etc.)
  4. 50%- seminar according to the procedures for 50%- seminars.

Scientific publication – articles

Most PhD candidates publish articles in the course of the PhD period. The world of publication, and not least learning to master the article format, can be a major challenge for new PhD candidates, and your supervisor will be an important support person in this process.

Here you can find useful information about the publication process as well as the terms and guidelines for uploading.

PhD on Track is a useful online resource. Here, you can find information about reference tools, citation indexes, how to submit articles, peer review etc.

Conference participation

Participating in conferences is a good way to make new contacts and make your research known. By presenting your own research, you can also gain useful input that you can build on later. You should look at which conferences may be relevant to you with your supervisor and participate in conferences with a paper or poster presentation.

Popular science dissemination

There are many forms of popular science dissemination: Interviews, writing op eds, giving talks etc. How easy it is to disseminate your research can vary depending on the research project, angle and what the media and the general public are interested in. Journalists can sometimes contact you to get a statement in a case. They often do this through their own networks or via media contacts.

If you have a topic you wish to disseminate either because you have research-based knowledge on a topic debated in the media or because you have made interesting findings that you think the public may be interested in, you can contact the communication advisers in the central administration for tips and advice.

Approval of academic dissemination

Once the dissemination component is considered complete, all the activities are entered in the application form. Activities must be documented by means of a certificate of participation, course programme (for lectures), a copy of the book or article cover, etc. The documents must be attached to the application, which will be processed by the PHD Board.

Form for approval of the dissemination component:

On completion of the approval round, the PhD candidate will receive a separate decision document from the PhD administration.

Other activities

Most departments expect PhD candidates to participate in other activities that do not provide credits, including PhD seminars and research seminars. In addition, the Faculty will regularly offer seminars in academic writing and careers planning.

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.

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.

*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.

For an activity to be approved as part of the educational part, you must first document your attendance at the event. Thereafter, the supervisor and department must approve that the activity can be included in the educational part and how many credits should be awarded.

Usually, no more than 30 credits should be included in the training part, and the PHD Board will not approve more credits than necessary. Under certain conditions, it is possible to allow the training part to exceed this limit by 1-2 credits.

From other educational institutions: Credits obtained from other educational institutions in Norway or abroad must be documented with a transcript/course certificate from that institution. The transcript/course certificate must be in English or Norwegian.

Application form for approval of educational component.

Application content: List the courses you wish to have approved in order of priority.

Documentation of each component in the form of diplomas, course certificates and confirmations must be enclosed. Confirmation of courses registered in the University’s Studentweb is not necessary.

Courses, conferences and seminars: To document participation on courses, conferences or seminars, you must provide documentation of participation. Candidates are responsible for obtaining approval and documentation for all credit-bearing participation and for the safekeeping of copies of all documentation throughout their PhD education. Participation in conferences can be approved by sending in:

  • Name of the candidate
  • The front page of the conference programme with the name and date of the conference
  • The page with title of your presentation - poster or oral presentation
  • Abstract.

Lectures, articles and other popular scientific materials: Written materials should be documented in such a way that it is clear when and how they were published, for example, a page in a newspaper, an entire magazine, etc.

In the case of posts on television or on the radio, the supervisor confirms that this took place. The lectures must be documented by the organizer.

Candidates who had planned to attend a national or international conference with presentation, where the conference has been cancelled due to the corona pandemic can still apply for approval of the activity in his/her educational component if the following documentation is submitted:

  • A zoom recording of the presentation or an image of the poster to be presented
  • Documentation that the candidate was registered to attend the conference, preferably in the form of a conference programme in which the candidate's participation appears, alternatively a confirmation of registration with presentationl from the organizer.
  • The candidate must also state name, place and original time of the conference, unless stated in the programme or the confirmation of participation.
  • Abstract

The provision of the workshop program itself is not considered sufficient documentation.

Before submitting the thesis for assessment, candidates must complete the documentation form listing all documented courses, seminars, etc. with details of the title, type of participation, credits etc.

All elements in the training component must be documented and approved in accordance with the applicable guidelines. The entire training component must be approved at least six months before the candidate can apply for submission of the dissertation.

The training component is considered complete when formal approval of the overall training component is given.

PhD courses and seminars

The courses are inter- and multidisciplinary, and candidates enrolled in PhD training outside social science research, for instance, in fields such as humanities and educational sciences, medicine and health sciences are encouraged to apply

Candidates admitted to the PhD Programmes at the University of Stavanger should apply through Studentweb

If there are more applicants than the 15 admission places available, a selection will be made based on an assessment of the relevance of the course for the candidate’s research plan and qualifications in the relation to the objectives of the course. The course leaders carry out the selection process. PhD candidates do not pay the semester fee.

Not a PhD candidate at UIS but want to take one of our PhD Courses?

External PhD candidates or other with required prerequisite knowledge may apply for PhD courses.

Send application form to PhD coordinator

External applicants should apply for a right to study for a minimum of 3 weeks before the course start date.

PhD program in Social Sciences offers the following PhD courses

PhD Skills Development Courses

Resources and tools

Study plan

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

Welcome to new PhD candidates!

The University of Stavanger aim to make your move to Norway as smooth as possible.

Guide for PhD Education

External PhDs

The PhD board acts by the authority of and gives advice to the Dean of Faculty. The Dean of Faculty has the administrative and academic responsibility for the Faculty's PhD programme.

Chairman: Vice dean of research: Kristiane Marie Fjær Lindland, Faculty of Social Sciences

Deputy chair: Vice dean of research: Ragnar Tveterås, UiS Business School

Research School in Politics and Society (POLSOC) 

Chair of research school: Associate professor Ann-Karin Tennås Holmen

Vice-member: Associate Professor Hande Eslen-Ziya

Research School in Economics and Business Administration (ECOBA) 

Chair of research school: Professor Mari Rege

Vice-member: Professor Aslaug Mikkelsen

Research School in Radical Interdisciplinarity (ITEM)

Chair of research school: Professor Kristin Armstrong Oma

Chair at Center of gender studies: Lene Myong, professor

Research School in Service leadership, international business & hospitality management 

Chair of research school: Professor Torvald Øgaard

Vice-member: Professor Rune Todnem By

Research School in Social Work and Welfare (SWEL) 

Chair of research school: Professor Ingunn Studsrød

Vice-member: Professor Sarah Hean

Ph.d.-candidate appointed by the UiS Business School:

Helle Austvik Tholo (observer)

PhD board secretary: Nadya Sandsmark

Tuesday, June 14

Meeting dates autumn 2022:

Tuesday, August 30th

Tuesday, October 25th

Tuesday, December 13th

Meeting dates spring 2023:

Tuesday, January 31st

Tuesday, March 28

Tuesday 23 May

Tuesday, June 27th

The time limit for submissions to the PhD board is 14 days before the meeting date.