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Supervision - PhD

What can you expect from your supervisors? Who can you have as your supervisors? What do you have to do if you want to change your supervisors?

Candidate and supervisor

Photo: Øystein Horgmo, UiO

You must have at least two supervisors. This is to ensure your rights and make you less vulnerable if problems should arise between you and one of your supervisors during your PhD training.

Are you a supervisor?

Information for supervisors about academic supervision is found on a separate website.

Principal supervisor and co-supervisor

You must have one principal supervisor and up to two co-supervisors. If you want an additional co-supervisor, you can submit a well-founded application to the faculty . A candidate cannot have more than 3 co-supervisors appointed at the same time. 

The principal supervisor must be employed at a Norwegian institution.

If you want to have an external principal supervisor, you must enclose an explanation as to why with your application for admission. If the principal supervisor is external, you must have at least one internal co-supervisor.

All supervisors must hold a doctoral degree or equivalent qualifications.

All supervisors must sign the application form for admission to the PhD programme before the application is submitted.

Academic progress

You and your supervisors have a duty to inform each other of conditions regarding your PhD training. In the event of anything arising which may cause delay or interruption in your research training, you and your supervisors must attempt to find a solution to the situation.

You should:

  • make a plan for completing the PhD project within the prescribed admission period,
  • make reports or drafts to your supervisor of the thesis or parts of the thesis,
  • comply with research ethical principles applicable to your research area,
  • meet deadlines or at least adjust your plans in consultation with your supervisor.

Your supervisor should help you to:

  • develop a plan for completing your PhD project within the prescribed admission period,
  • formulate and restrict research topics and questions,
  • discuss and assess hypotheses and research methods,
  • become familiar with the research literature and databases,
  • get in touch with relevant scientific communities,
  • follow the plan for completion of the PhD project,
  • get supervision as regards research ethical questions,
  • discuss how the supervision is working,
  • solve any challenges related to the learning environment,
  • implement the obligatory mid-term evaluation.

Changing your supervisors

Sometimes situations arise when a supervisory relationship must end. The faculty must, however, approve a supervisor’s resignation or appointment.

If you wish to change your supervisors, you must fill out the contract for the change of supervisors (docx) (pdf) . Both you and your supervisors must sign the contract before you submit it to the faculty.

Your supervisor cannot resign before a new supervisor has been appointed if

  • you only have two supervisors,
  • your principal supervisor is going to resign

Please note that changes in the supervisory team will not be backdated and that the changes only take effect from the faculty's filing date. The faculty will not accept changes in the supervisory team six months before planned submission date of the thesis, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Problems with supervision

You should talk to your supervisor about the academic supervision and how it is working. It is important that you do not let a bad supervisory relationship continue. If problems do arise, you should address them as quickly as possible.

In certain cases this may be difficult. Please get in touch with the Head of Postgraduate Studies at your institute who will follow up the case in order to find the best possible solution.

Ethical guidelines


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Published May 12, 2017 1:50 PM - Last modified June 15, 2022 2:14 PM