Application & admission

Admission requirements to a PhD programme


In order to be admitted as a candidate to the PhD programmes at NMBU, applicants must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme. A master’s degree that awards at least 120 credits is required, or a degree or another relevant five-year programme of professional study in which at least 120 credits are at master’s degree level. 

Documented proficiency of English

The applicant must be able to provide documentation of English language proficiency, cf. section 5.2 of the PhD regulations

Other requirements

The applicant may be required to attend specific courses and/or  be expected to pass specific tests before admission is concluded.

Full funding of the program  period: It is not possible to apply for the PhD education without being able to secure and document full funding for the entire period of admission. Therefore, most applicants to a PhD programme at NMBU, first apply for a position as a research fellow (within a relevant discipline/field). The best option is to look for vacant research fellow positions at: Funding can be arranged by employment as a doctoral research fellow at NMBU, by employment at NMBU-cooperating research institutions, by funding from the Research Council of Norway, from public or private organisations, or from the corporate sector. 


Application for admission to PhD programmes at NMBU is made with FORM 1.1.1, and must be submitted at the latest two months after the start-up date.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • a proposal for a supervisory team and indication of affiliation to an active research community     
  • an overview of sources of funding and if relevant, any agreement on external funding
  • project outline with a plan for the research work (1-3 pages)
  • any plans for a stay at another institution
  • a request to use a language other than English or Norwegian in the thesis if relevant
  • documented access to the required infrastructure for implementation of the research project and, if relevant, an agreement with an external party on this

The following documents are attached to the application:

  • documentation of English language proficiency, cf. section 5.2 of the PhD regulations
  • certified copy of original master’s degree  diploma, other degree diploma or equivalent forming the basis for the admission
  • proof of citizenship / passport
  • For education undertaken abroad: assessment of the education from NOKUT – the Norwegian Competence Centre for Foreign Education
  • For education undertaken  abroad: an official description of the grade system from the institution at which the education was completed.

Who can be your supervisor?

The supervisor must have completed a doctoral degree or equivalent within the field of study and that he/she is an active researcher. The requirement "active researcher" pertains that Assistant Professor and docent may not be PhD supervisors (PhD regulations section 7). The main supervisor must have experience with supervision of the PhD candidate either by earlier supervisory experience or completed supervisor training. The main supervisor should be employed by the faculty in question, however, in particular instances an external person may also be appointed to be main supervisor. Should the main supervisor be external the candidate must have at lest one supervisor from NMBU.

PhD contract and education plan

Admission to one of the university’s PhD progammes is formalised by a written contract signed by the PhD candidate, his/her supervisors, the department and any external party (FORM 1.1.2). The PhD candidate shall have an individual education plan (FORM 1.1.3).

The contract for completion of the doctoral degree (FORM 1.1.2) and the Education plan (FORM 1.1.3) can be submitted along with FORM 1.1.1, or at the latest six months after the start-up date.

The contract governs the parties’ rights and obligations during the admission period (the contract period). If you are employed as a doctoral research fellow at NMBU, you must sign a separate employment contract with the university.

The education plan shall contain a schedule for the progress of the PhD project and the required course work. In accordance with more detailed specifications from the faculty, the required course work shall include courses at PhD or master’s degree level equivalent to 30-60 credits (ECTS). A course in research ethics and the philosophy of science giving a minimum of 5 credits shall be included in the required course work. Elements that form part of the required course work cannot be older than two years on the start-up date. Together with the work on the thesis, the required course work must be such that it provides the necessary academic breadth and specialisation.

Employment as a doctoral research fellow at NMBU

Employment as a doctoral research fellow at the university does not mean that you are automatically admitted to a PhD programme. Employment and admission are two parallel processes that must be applied for separately, but they will, as far as possible, be coordinated at the faculty where admission is sought. Hence be prepared to be required to document the admission requirements for the PhD education when applying for a fellowship.

Collaboration with an external party

  1. If you are receiving funding from an external party (i.e. an institution that does not confer degrees, such as the Research Council of Norway, a business company, the public sector and the like), or are employed at or receive other  contributions from such an institution, the external party must be  involved when you set up the NMBU "PhD contract". Additional  points can be included as an enclosure to the PhD contract. Questions can be addressed to Legal Advisor
  2. If you are to complete your PhD education in collaboration with another institution that is empowered to confer doctoral degrees (a university or a university college), the share of responsibility, and cooperation, must be regulated through a cotutelle agreement FORM 1.2. Please note that the cotutelle agreement comes in addition to your NMBU PhD contract.
Published 16. December 2014 - 14:16 - Updated 4. February 2020 - 9:10