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Programme structure - PhD

What does a PhD include, and how is the PhD educational programme structured?


Structure of the PhD programme


  1. Programme plan
  2. Doctoral research fellows at the faculty
  3. PhD candidates with external funding

Supplementary provisions for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Theology

  1. Educational Component
  2. Introductory meeting and midway Meeting
  3. Progress reports
  4. The doctoral thesis

Structure of the PhD programme

The nominal length of the PhD programme is 3 years. A PhD degree requires admission to a PhD programme, and concludes with a public trial lecture and defence.

In addition to writing a doctoral thesis, PhD Candidates must also complete an educational component equivalent to six months’ work, or 30 credits. The educational component is made up of compulsory activities and elective courses/seminars.


The PhD programme at the Faculty of Theology is organized as a single PhD programme and covers all of the faculty’s research fields: biblical studies, church history, systematic theology, ethics and professional ethics, practical theology, diaconal studies, and religious studies.

1. Programme plans and regulations

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the provisions that are applicable to the organized research training at the faculty. The PhD Regulations apply to all PhD candidates at the University of Oslo, while the programme plan defines what specifically applies to PhD candidates at the Faculty of Theology.

The PhD programme is regulated by:

2. Doctoral research fellows at the faculty

Doctoral research fellows normally hold three year positions at the Faculty of Theology. If you manage to hand in your dissertation within three years of studies, you may be granted the opportunity of a 4th year at the faculty. If you manage to hand in your dissertation within 3,5 years of studies, you may be granted the opportunity of six extra months at the faculty. With 6 months or a year extra, you may be asked to be involved in teaching and examinations. Other academic, administrative, or welfare-related tasks that otherwise would have been expected to be performed by a permanent member of the academic staff at the faculty can also be involved.

The Dean of Studies and the Head of Studies will meet with the doctoral research fellow to plan such tasks. For more information, see the Guidelines for compulsory work in four-year position at the Faculty of Theology.

Please see more information about being a doctoral research fellow at the University of Oslo.

3. PhD candidates with external funding

As a PhD candidate with external funding you can participate in research activities in the PhD programme and you will be supervised by a staff member at the Faculty of Theology. You will have access to the faculty’s library resources. You will not receive financial support from the faculty, and you will not receive office space.

The normal period of admission is up to 6 years, with a 3-year net organized research training period. In other words, it is possible to do the doctorate on a part-time basis, but it is essential that you work at least 50% on doctoral work during each year of part-time enrollment.

The admission period is defined in the PhD contract upon admission. You must have a valid admission agreement for the duration of the study period. If you need to extend the admission period, you must expressly apply for this.

Supplementary provisions for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Theology

1.Educational component

Together with the thesis work, the educational component will provide education of a high academic level, with completion of a scientific work, training in academic dissemination, and an introduction to research ethics, philosophy of science, and scientific methods.

The basis for the award of credits is the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

Thirty credits should correspond to six months of work, i.e. 750–900 hours. One credit should correspond to 25–30 hours of work.

Compulsory courses: 15 ECTS

Other courses: 15 ECTS

  • These courses should be specific to the thesis and discipline, or relevant interdisciplinary seminars.
  • The credits may be earned through seminars offered by the Research Schools, UiO or external actors. Conference participation with a paper can be apporved, as may be agreed on by the PhD leader.
  • The PhD candidates are responsible for finding relevant courses, having them approved and documented, and for keeping the documentation until the thesis has been delivered.

The PhD leader will approve individual courses and the candidate's overall educational component. We recommend that the educational component is completed as early as possible during the PhD programme.

More information about the educational component and current courses

2.Introductory meeting and midway meeting

All PhD candidates will be invited to an introductory meeting with the PhD leader, supervisor(s), the leaders of the relevant discipline units, and the research adviser. During the meeting, issues such as the following will be covered:

  • practical conditions
  • the educational component
  • expected learning outcomes
  • the thesis work
  • research stays abroad
  • the supervisory relationship
  • participation in a Research School
  • and general participation in the research community

Midway through the PhD study period, a meeting will be held between the PhD leader, the candidate, supervisor(s), and the research adviser. The meeting will cover the candidate’s progress in relation to the admission period and in relation to the requirements in the qualifications framework. The PhD Coordinator will report on the status of the individual candidates to the Programme Council for PhD studies.

3. Progress reports

All doctoral candidates are required to submit an annual progress report. This is done in the spring semester, and prior to the reporting deadline you will be told what to report and how. The progress report will provide details of the progress of your research work and of course completion. The main supervisor and co-supervisor will submit their own reports regarding your progress. The progress reports of the candidates will be approved by the PhD leader.

The progress report will be followed up with a progress meeting between yourself and the PhD leader. Any issues regarding progress and problems related to the supervisory relationship will be covered here. In the year that you have the midway meeting, it will replace the annual progress meeting.

4. The doctoral thesis

The scope of the doctoral thesis must enable it to be written within the framework of the PhD programme, with a nominal length of study of 3 years net.

The thesis may consist of a single work, or several shorter Works.

Contact us

The thesis: Requirements and guidelines

Published Apr. 22, 2015 8:21 AM - Last modified Jan. 25, 2021 8:52 PM