The PhD degree is supervised doctoral education. The candidate is therefore required to have regular contact with his/her supervisor(s) and must also participate in an active research community.

The PhD candidate normally has at least two supervisors, one of whom is appointed as the main supervisor. The main supervisor has the primary academic responsibility for the candidate. At least one of the supervisors must be employed at the University of Stavanger.

All academic supervisors must hold a doctoral degree or an equivalent qualification in the relevant research field and be active researchers. At least one of the appointed supervisors must have successfully guided at least one candidate through a PhD, from start to public defence. If this requirement cannot be met, supervisors are required to undergo training as PhD supervisors during the first two years of supervision (cf. PhD Regulations § 3-2). Information about the research supervisor development programme at UiS can be found at

In Part B of the ABC Agreement, it is stated that the supervisor shall:

  • advise on the formulation and refining of the subject and its challenges, as well as discuss and evaluate hypotheses and methods
  • discuss the programme and the implementation of the project description (outline, language, documentation, etc.)
  • discuss results and the interpretation thereof
  • keep abreast of the candidate’s progress and assess it in relation to the planned progress
  • assist in the candidate’s integration into a relevant academic community, including facilitating research stays abroad during the course of the PhD.
  • Provide guidance regarding academic dissemination.
  • provide the candidate with guidance on issues of research ethics related to the dissertation

The supervisor has the overall responsibility for ensuring the highest quality of academic work within the timeframe for the PhD programme. In addition, the supervisor must keep the candidate informed about matters of importance regarding the completion of the programme, and also help to facilitate an opportunity to conduct research abroad at an institution that can contribute academically to the PhD project.

Both the supervisor and the candidate shall separately submit an annual progress report on a stipulated form.

In the event of a supervisor’s long-term illness, the Head of Department and the academic head of the PhD programme are responsible for finding a temporary supervisor for the candidate.

Ethical guidelines for supervisors

Termination of supervision
During the course of a long mentoring relationship, it is natural to have productive and creative phases and also more challenging phases. If either a candidate or supervisor fails to fulfill his/her obligations, this shall be taken up with the other party. The parties will jointly seek to find a solution to the difficult situation. Upon mutual consent, the PhD candidate and supervisor may request the doctoral committee to appoint a new supervisor for the candidate. If, after discussion, the parties have not reached an agreement regarding a resolution of the dispute, the candidate and supervisor may jointly or separately request the appointment of a new supervisor. The supervisor cannot be relieved of her duties before a new supervisor is appointed. The head of department must approve the change in the supervisor relation before a decision is made.


Conditions governing changes in supervision are described in Part B §7 of the ABC Agreement.