Programme description

The aim of the course har been provide knowledge and skills that qualify and provide security for new PhD supervisors, while simultaneously providing experienced supervisors with tools and inspiration to do an even better job.

Course structure

The course has been offered by the UiA, UiS, Nord university network, and consists of three modules each with a 2-day session. There will be arranged a course dinner on each of the 3 modules. The modules are held in Kristiansand, Bodø and Stavanger. Participants will be expected to complete assignments between the modules.


The course was until 2018 offered once or twice a year. 

Target group

  • Academic staff working at the three cooperating institutions.

  • Potential, new and experienced supervisors.


Applicants must have a doctoral degree or an equivalent qualification. The applicant will benefit more from the course if they are already doing some PhD supervision (or have done some).


Primarily English


Participation on all three modules and the assignments should be equivalent to three working weeks.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the participant should be able to:

  • Describe the goal of research training and common structure of the doctoral education

  • Place themselves as research supervisors in a local, historical and international context.

  • Describe the role and responsibilities of the professional supervisor and how it changes during the course of a PhD.

  • Reflect on supervisory role in relation to equal opportunities, internationalization and diversity.

  • Work within a scholarly framework to propose approaches to manage commonly occurring conflicts in connection with the dissertation.

  • Identify and critique key issues highlighted by examining from their own experience a case study around doctoral supervision

  • Discuss commonly occurring ethical and legal issues associated with doctoral supervision

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning methods will include lectures, case work, group work and individual assignments. Active participation is expected, including a group assignment that will be orally presented to the course group in module 3. Participants will also be expected to hand in an individual written assignment after the course.

Academic content

Course content varies from year to year, but the mail themes of the three modules are as follows:

Module 1

  • research training in national / international context
  • approaches to supervision and the supervisor's roles
  • supervising the writing process / academic writing

Module 2

  • ethical challenges in supervision
  • learning contexts in doctoral education
  • management tools
  • conflict management

Module 3

  • legal challenges in supervision
  • symposium (presentations of group work)
  • an overview of the purpose of doctoral education
  • managing across cultures

Requirements for completion

  • Participation on all three modules, starting with module 1

  • Preparation and oral presentation of a group assignment

    This can be a literature review and/or a research project. Over the next two modules you can use the resources of your home group and the readings listed (see "Litteratur") to research an aspect of research supervision, ready to make a presentation for the final module. Every member of the group should be involved in the work on the topic and the presentation.  Topics are to be chosen by your group but might include:

    • Expectations of new supervisors or candidates

    • Practices of successful supervisors or candidates

    • Changes to the doctoral process

  • Written assignment to complete the course (up to 1000 words, in English, not graded, sent to academic leader at within 7 days after the end of module 3)

Describe a conflict or difficulty you have experienced in supervising research. Look at this problem from different perspectives and explain how you have overcome it, or how you would overcome it if you were to face it again. If you have not yet supervised a doctoral student you may draw on your own experience of supervising research at Master’s level or on your own experience of being supervised.

Occasionally we use ideas from these assignments to develop more course materials or for further research. The assignments are always completely confidential. If anonymized case studies or any other work are inspired by any of the assignments we will share that with the original author and ask for their permission to use it in the future before anything further is done.

Course certificate

The course certificate is awarded after participating on all three modules, oral presentation of the group assignment and submission of the written assignment. Upon completion of this course the applicant is qualified to supervise PhD candidates.

Course fee

The institutions have their own practice for covering tuition fees, labor, hotel and travel expenses. For questions, please contact the administrator at your university.