Academic supervision

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

I do not get along with my supervisor. What shall I do?
First of all, both parties should try to make the relation work and, where necessary, attempt to remedy problems that have originated (cf. Agreement on Admission to the PhD programme part B). One possible way is to consult with your second supervisor or your boss (head of department). You can also ask your PhD coordinator for advice. The faculty/department will assist you in this process, if necessary. As humans are different, there are also many different ways to handle such situations. If the problems can’t be solved, you have the right to ask for a new supervisor. This is nothing utterly exceptional, in some cases two humans simply turn out to not be able to work together.

Useful advice on how to manage this sometimes tricky relationship can be found here. See in this context also the university's Ethical Guidelines for Supervisors/Employees


How can I change my supervisor?
Both you and your supervisor can ask the institution to appoint a new supervisor for the project (cf. PhD regulations at UiS § 7.1). This process will hopefully not take too long. The supervisor you have cannot withdraw before a new supervisor has been appointed.

Am I required to have a co-supervisor even if I feel I don’t need one?
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 to follow this stipulation. A third person can be of huge benefit when discussing the PhD project and its quality as well as to get feedback and another expert opinion.

What can I expect from my co-supervisor? How much is a co-supervisor expected to contribute?
Generally, both your supervisors are expected to advice on formulating and delimiting 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, etc., and provide guidance on the academic literature and data available in libraries, archives, etc. The supervisors must also advise the candidate on issues of research ethics related to the thesis.

A co-supervisor is usually appointed to ensure competence in one or some of the aspects relevant to the project that the main supervisor do not know thoroughly enough. He/she is therefore supposed to contribute especially in these respects. Usually, the co-supervisor contributes with 1/3 of the main-supervisor’s time allocated to supervision.

Is my supervisor required to introduce me to the relevant academic community? How do I push him or her to do so?
A 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 obviously also means to include you when meeting relevant people if you are available.