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Programme structure - PhD

The PhD education is stipulated to 3 years’ full-time study, and aims to educate independent researchers of high international rank, in accordance with recognized scientific and ethical principles.

The PhD education

The education shall qualify candidates for research and other work requiring high levels of scientific insight and analytical thinking. The PhD degree is conferred on the basis of:

  • completion of the programme's educational component
  • the doctoral thesis
  • the doctoral examination

The PhD examination consists of a trial lecture and a public defence of the thesis, also known as disputation.

The educational component

The educational component is compulsory for all candidates on the PhD programme, and corresponds to 30 credits. It can be carried out throughout the admission period, but the bulk of it should be completed during the first year.

It consists of a compulsory part of 10 credits and an elective part of 20 credits.

The educational component must be approved before you can apply for thesis evaluation.

The doctoral thesis

The thesis shall be an independent, scientific work that meets international standards with regard to ethical requirements, academic standards and methodology. More about thesis requirements can be found in the rules and regulations.

The PhD examination

The PhD examination consists of a trial lecture and a public defence of the thesis (disputation). The trial lecture must be passed before the public defence may take place.

Internal and external PhD candidates

PhD candidates employed by the University of Oslo must sign a separate employment contract with the university. These candidates are internal PhD candidates.

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. Being employed by a university hospital is not the same as being employed by UiO.

What amendments to the PhD project do I have to report?

You do not need to do anything if the amendments are minor, i.e. if the main features of the original project description remain unchanged.

If the amendments in the project are major, the project may have to be regarded as a new research project. If you are in doubt, contact the faculty at

The faculty must be notified of all major amendments, and you must send a well-founded application to  The faculty will consult the institute which will deliver its opinion before the faculty makes a final decision.

Examples of amendments:

  • new hypotheses
  • new theories
  • new approaches
  • new / changed employer
  • new / changed funding
  • new project

Please note that amendments in the project may mean that you have to notify REC, NSD or other bodies of the changes.

Quality Assurance System for the PhD programme

The Quality Assurance System for the Faculty of Medicine (pdf in Norwegian) was adopted by the Faculty Board 3 March 2015. A revision was adopted at the management meeting on 15 March 2022. The system shall contribute to the quality and further development of the PhD programme.

Information about the Quality Assurance System below will be updated during spring/summer.

Expected learning outcomes

See goals for knowledge, skills and competences under expected learning outcomes.

Mid-term evaluation

All PhD candidates must carry out a mid-term evaluation 15 to 18 months after admission to the PhD programme, calculated according to full-time PhD studies. The mid-term evaluation was implemented autumn 2015, and applies to all PhD candidates who have been admitted to the PhD programme as of 1.1.2015.

See mid-term evaluation for information and routines.

Performance appraisals

Candidate and principal supervisor should carry out periodic appraisals and discuss the different aspects of supervision. The first appraisal should be held when starting up on the PhD project when supervision and mutual expectations are discussed and determined. The PhD education’s expected learning outcomes should be reviewed. Candidate and supervisor should together consider what training is required according to the expected learning outcomes.

The next appraisal should be carried out 6 months later, and should focus on project progress and collaboration. If relevant, the head of division may also participate in the appraisal. Annual appraisals should thereafter be held throughout the admission period. The appraisals should be reported on a seperate form (docx) (pdf) and should be sent by email to for filing at the faculty administration.

All candidates on the PhD programme must as of 1.1.2016 carry out performance appraisals.

Rules and regulations


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Published Apr. 22, 2015 8:21 AM - Last modified May 19, 2022 10:27 AM