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How to apply for admission to the PhD programme

Please make sure that all necessary information is enclosed with your application before you submit it to your institute. There are no application deadlines.

application form, pen and a cup of coffee

Photo: Kristin Ellefsen, UiO

Before you apply 

  1. Check whether you meet all necessary requirements for admission.
  2. Make sure you know what has to be enclosed with the application.
  3. Find out if you are employed at the University of Oslo or not.

Admission period

The PhD education has a stipulated length of 3 years’ full-time study.  A proposed schedule of more than 6 years on the PhD programme will not be accepted (i.e less than 50 %).

The PhD agreement

Admission to one of the university's PhD programmes will be formalised in a written agreement signed by the PhD candidate, supervisors, the basic unit and the faculty. The agreement governs the parties' rights and obligations during the admission period.

Admission requirements

Familiarize yourself with the regulations for the degree of PhD before you apply for admission.

1. Agreement with an external party

PhD candidates who receive support from an external party in the form of funding, employment or other contributions must fill out an agreement with an external party.

Candidates not employed by the University of Oslo

  • If you are not employed by the University of Oslo, you must fill out agreement with an external party (docx) (pdf).
  • The contact person who signs on behalf of the external party must have authority to commit the external party. Your supervisor should as a general rule not commit the external party.
  • The agreement must be entered into with the unit at the institution you receive resources from.
  • Being employed by a university hospital is not the same as being employed by UiO.

Candidates employed by the University of Oslo

  • You should not enclose an agreement with an external party if you are employed by the University of Oslo as a doctoral research fellow. PhD candidates employed by UiO sign an employment contract with the university.

2. Agreement concerning institute affiliation

All candidates admitted to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Medicine are affiliated to the programme either through a doctoral research fellowship or a supervisor at the faculty.

Affiliation criteria for PhD candidates at the faculty, in order of priority:

If you are employed by the faculty:

1. Your workplace at the University of Oslo (as stated in your employment contract)

If you are not employed by the faculty:

2. Your principal supervisor's workplace, if he/she is employed by the faculty

3. Your internal co-supervisor’s workplace if your principal supervisor is not employed by the faculty

4. If your internal co-supervisors are employed by different institutes, they should upon application for admission agree among themselves which workplace the candidate should be affiliated by filling out the Agreement concerning institute affiliation (docx) (pdf). Information about institute affiliation (Org. Unit ID - 6 digits) can be found on the faculty’s website under departments and other units.

3. Education

  • To be admitted to the PhD programme you must have completed at least five years of higher education, i.e. a master's degree or equivalent studies. In exceptional cases the faculty can give admission to the programme on the basis of a one-year master's degree after having evaluated the scope and quality of the degree, as well as any other relevant documentation, e.g. research practice.

4. Grade requirements

  • The average grade given at bachelor's level should be no less than grade C
  • Subjects at master's level should have an average grade of no less than grade B
  • Master thesis should have grade B or better.

The grade requirements do not apply if:

  • you have a degree from Norway, or
  • you have any other higher education degree from Norway where only grades pass or fail are given

5. Documentation of English language skills

International students must document their English language skills by taking one of the following tests:

6. Funding

  • The PhD education has a stipulated length of 3 years’ full-time study.  You must be able to document funding for the entire admission period.
  • In exceptional cases candidates can document funding for only one year (100% funding), or two years (minimum 50% funding).  

7. Project description

You must submit a project description. The project description must only cover your specific PhD project. The project description should consist of maximum 10 pages, including a reference list, and should normally contain the following:

  • Explanation of topic, including the background of the project and relationship to national and international research within the field of study.
  • Clarification of the research question.
  • Description of the data basis and source material that will be used, and how the data and material will be collected and analysed (if relevant).
  • An account of your independent contribution if the PhD project is to be included in a larger research project.

8. Approvals

9. Supervisors

  • You must have a minimum of two supervisors. One of your supervisors must be employed by the faculty.
  • The principal supervisor should as a general rule be internal and employed by the faculty. When relevant for the project, a candidate can submit a short application giving his/her reasons for choosing an external principal supervisor.
  • If the principal supervisor is external, the co-supervisor must be internal, i.e. employed by the faculty.
  • All supervisors must hold a doctoral degree or equivalent qualifications.
  • Your application should be signed by all your supervisors before it is submitted.

What to enclose with the application

You are responsible for documenting that you meet the requirements for admission to the PhD programme. Below you will find an overview of all the documents you must enclose with the application. 

  • All forms must be filled out electronically. Handwritten and/or incomplete forms are not accepted.

Forms for admission to the PhD programme

Type of document


Application form and contract for admission to the PhD programme


Agreement with an external party (if relevant)


  • If you are not employed by the UiO, you must enclose agreement with an external party. The agreement must be signed by someone with budget authority to commit the external party.
  • This also applies to applicants who are employed by one of the university hospitals.
  • Two completed copies of the agreement should be enclosed with the application.

Agreement for Industrial PhD / Public Sector PhD (if relevant)


Agreement concerning institute affiliation (if relevant)

  • If you have an external principal supervisor and more than one internal co-supervisors employed at different institutes, you must enclose  agreement concerning institute affiliation.
  • The agreement must be signed by all the supervisors and institute leaders who are parties to the agreement.

Academic entry requirements

Type of document Description
  • Enclose copy of your original diploma. Note that a diploma is a document certifying which degree you have achieved and is not the same as a transcript of records. An authorization letter or a certificate of competency cannot be used as diploma.
Transcript of records                  
  • Enclose copies of all relevant transcripts of records. You are responsible for documenting that you meet the grade requirements for admission. 
  • If you do not meet the grade requirements, you must enclose an explanation as to why you should be exempt from the requirements (see below).

Translations of documentation from abroad (if relevant) 
  • If the diploma and transcripts of records are not in English or a Scandinavian language, you must enclose an official translation from a state-authorized translator.

  • Note that you still have to enclose copies of the diploma and transcript of records.
Statement concerning exemption from grade requirements (if relevant)
  • If you do not meet the grade requirements for admission, you must enclose a statement from your principal supervisor/research environment as to why you should be exempted from the requirements.

Statement concerning admission based on a one year master's degree (if relevant)

  • If you apply for admission on the basis of a one year master's degree, you must enclose a statement from your principal supervisor/research environment explaining why you should get admission on an exceptional basis.
Documentation of English language skills (if relevant)

Conditions of employment and funding

Type of document Description
Employment contract                                               
  • Enclose employment contract for the position concerning the PhD project. You do not need to enclose contracts of employment that do not concern the PhD projects.
  • If the position is not earmarked for the PhD, you must enclose a confirmation stating that you have an allocated amount of time to work on the PhD (see below).
Confirmation of  funding/project funding
  • In addition to the employment contract, you must enclose confirmation of funding and/or project funding from the institution financing the project (e.g. The Research Council of Norway, Southern and Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, etc.).
  • If you do not have said confirmation available, the project manager or principal supervisor can confirm the funding source.
Plan for further funding (if relevant)
  • If you cannot document funding for the entire admission period (3 years' full-time study or equivalent), you must provide a realistic plan for further funding, including documentation of submitted applications for funding. The plan must be prepared in cooperation with your principal supervisor.

Confirmation regarding allocated time to work on the PhD (if relevant)


  • If you are not employed in a position earmarked for a PhD, you must enclose a confirmation from your employer in addition to the employment contract.
  • The confirmation must be dated and signed by a person who has budget authority to commit the employer. The confirmation must indicate both the percentage of employment time allocated to the PhD project (minimum 50%) and the time period (minimum one year full-time or equivalent).

Completing the project

Type of document Description

Project description

  • Enclose project description of your  specific PhD project.

Plan for completing the project

  • Enclose plan for completing the PhD project within the prescribed admission period.
Plan for completing the educational component
  • Enclose plan for completing the educational component of the PhD programme. 
Ethical approvals
  • Enclose all ethical approvals procured regarding your PhD project. Both application and answer to application for approval(s), including case numbers at REC and other bodies, must be enclosed.
  • If the project does not require approval(s), you must enclose an explanation concerning this matter from your principal supervisor.
  • Any changes to the PhD project must also be enclosed.
Explanation of exemption from the requirement of internal principal supervisor (if relevant)
  • If you have an external principal supervisor, you must enclose a short explanation of why this is appropriate for the PhD project. The principal supervisor must be employed by a Norwegian institution.

What happens to incomplete applications?

  1. You will get an email if your application is incomplete.
  2. You must forward incomplete documentation within six weeks.
  3. Your application will be regarded as withdrawn if the incomplete documentation is not submitted within six weeks.

Handing in your application

The application for admission must be quality controlled and signed by the PhD coordinator at the institute before it can be processed by the faculty.

  • Send or hand in your application for admission to the institute you are affiliated after the application has been signed by you and your supervisors. 
  • Applications can be submitted to the institutes throughout the year.
  • Your institute forwards your application to the faculty after it has been signed.

Institute of Health and Society

Applicants must follow the institute's routines for admission

  • Visiting address: Institute administration, Fredrik Holsts hus, Kirkeveien 166
  • Postal address: Institute for Health and Society, P.o. box 1130 Blindern, 0318 Oslo

Institute of Basic Medical Sciences

  • Visiting address: Human resources administration, Domus Medica, Gaustad, Sognsveien 9, 2nd floor
  • Postal address: Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Human resources administration, P.o. box 1110 Blindern, 0317 Oslo

Institute of Clinical Medicine

  • Visiting address

Your application can be handed in at one of the following places:

  • Reception desk, Søsterhjemmet, Ullevål, building 2, entrance A, 2nd floor
  • Reception desk, Rikshospitalet, B1.3099
  • Ahus, contact person Berit Lund Opheim, Building Nye Nord, 4th floor
  • Postal address: Institute of Clinical Medicine, P.o. box 1171 Blindern, 0318 Oslo

Industrial PhD and Public Sector PhD

Do you want to take a doctorate while you are working?

See guidelines for cooperation agreements concerning Industrial PhD and Public Sector PhD.

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Published Feb. 13, 2018 10:42 AM - Last modified Mar. 20, 2018 9:02 AM