PhD education start-up


PhD fellow at NMBU

Admission to one of NMBU's PhD program is done in connection with employment in a PhD fellow position. The faculty may, if necessary, request the Application for admission (FORM 1.1.1) to be completed and sent to the faculty.

External PhD candidates

If you are employed at an external institution and wish to be admitted to one of NMBU’s PhD programmes, you must send Application for admission (FORM 1.1.1) to the faculty two months after start-up at the latest.

The application must include documentation of:
  • The education that will form the basis for the admission
  • English proficiency
  • Passport if the applicant is not a Norwegian citizen
  • Full financing of the entire programme period
In addition, the following must be described:
  • Proposed supervisors and affiliation to an academic environment
  • Project outline including an academic description of the project and a progress plan
  • Description of any special needs for professional and material resources, such as access to the necessary infrastructure to carry out the PhD project
  • Information about planned main place of work
  • Information on any intellectual property matters and an account of any legal and ethical issues raised by the project
  • Information on whether the project depends on permission from research ethics committees, permission to process personal data or other permissions. Such permissions should, if possible, be enclosed with the application.

Your supervisor group and cooperation with the supervisors

As a PhD candidate at NMBU you must have a main supervisor and one or more co-supervisors, together they will be your supervisory group.

It is a requirement that the supervisor has a doctoral degree within the field of study and that he/ she is an active researcher. The main supervisor must be an employee of NMBU and have previous experience of or training in the supervision of PhD candidates. When academic considerations so require, an external main supervisor may be appointed.  Reasons must be given and the appointment must be based on a written agreement between the main supervisor’s employer and NMBU. A co-supervisor from the Faculty must be appointed if the Faculty appoints an external main supervisor.

Cooperation with the supervisors

The supervisors are your closest partners, and it is important that you at an early stage, go through what expectations you and your supervisor(s) have in this collaboration. Use this tool to discuss and have an agreement for your relations.

The supervisors should give advice on formulation and delineation of topics and issues, discuss and evaluate hypotheses, methods, data collection and data management, discuss results and their interpretation, discuss presentation and implementation of the production, as outline, linguistic form and documentation and provide assistance with orientation in professional literature and data.

The supervisors should provide the PhD candidate with guidance on research ethical issues related to the PhD project and the thesis.

The PhD candidate and supervisors should have regular contact. The contact frequency should be stated in the annual progress report. The PhD candidate and supervisors have a mutual duty to stay informed of the progress of the work and to evaluate it in relation to the progress plan. The supervisors are obliged to follow up on academic matters that may lead to delays in the completion of the PhD program, so that the programme can be completed within the specified time.

Change of supervisor (s)

The PhD candidate or supervisor may together or individually ask the faculty to appoint a new supervisor for the PhD candidate. The supervisor cannot resign until a new supervisor has been appointed. The faculty is responsible for immediately appointing a new supervisor for long-term illness, leave or the similar. Application for change of supervisor(s) is made by filling in NMBU 2.2 Change of supervisor (see faculty wise forms).

The PhD Contract

Admission to the PhD program shall be formalized through a written agreement PhD study contract (FORM 1.1.2), an Education Plan and a Data Management Plan no later than four months after start-up. 

The PhD study contract (FORM 1.1.2) is concluded between the PhD candidate, supervisors and the faculty, and with any external parties involved. The PhD study contract regulates the parties' rights and obligations within the contract period and mentions, among other things, funding, supervision, reporting, publication and ownership of results.

When working with an external institution:

If you have funding from, appoint with or receive other contributions from an external party such as a research institute, company, public sector etc., the external party should also be involved when you enter into the PhD contract. Should it be necessary to regulate agreements other than those mentioned in the PhD study contract, this can be done in the form of an appendix to the PhD agreement. If you have any questions, please contact Legal Advisor

If you are going to complete your PhD programme in collaboration with another graduate institution such as a university, or a college with the right to award doctorates, in Norway or abroad, you need to enter into the Cotutelle agreement (FORM 1.2) . Please note that this agreement is in addition to the regular PhD study contract.

Change of the PhD study contract period

If you experience delays during the PhD education, The NMBU 2.2 Change of the PhD study contract (see faculty wise forms) must be completed and sent to the faculty PhD advisor. In case of statutory interruptions or agreed leaves of absence (such as parental leave and sick leave), the PhD candidate must send documentation / confirmation to the PhD advisor in order to have the absence registered in Felles Stusendtsystem (FS).

Education Plan and Required Coursework

The Education plan (FORM 1.1.3) must contain a schedule for the progress of the PhD project, the required course work/ training section, publication plan, and plan for residency at other institutions (at home and abroad).

Required coursework

In accordance with more detailed specifications from the faculty, the required coursework shall include courses equivalent to 30-60 credits (ECTS). Together with the work on the thesis, the required coursework must be such that it provides the necessary academic breadth and specialization. In addition to academic subjects, the PhD candidate should include training that provides general competence (see below). The required coursework must be completed, passed, and approved by the faculty before the thesis could be submitted for evaluation.

Age and level of courses

The courses shall be at PhD or master’s degree level

Research Ethics

A course in research ethics and the philosophy of science giving a minimum of 5 credits shall be included in the required coursework. By completing PHI401 and VET400, this requirement will be fulfilled. If you have completed another research ethics and philosophy of science course, you may present the course description and the course certificate to your faculty and apply for approval of this course. Your faculty will consult the NMBU Ethical Board if the course content must be evaluated.

General skills

PhD candidates are also expected to acquire general skills – for example skills in presentation techniques and in dissemination, scientific writing etc.

NOTE: Not all courses within generic knowledge and skills provide credits. In addition, your faculty may have rules for how many of such courses you can include in your training section.

Courses at NMBU

For courses offered at NMBU, please see links to the right on this page.  You can find the deadlines for registration in the NMBU Academic Calendar.

Courses at other institutions

If NMBU itself does not organise all the required coursework, arrangements must be made to ensure that the PhD candidate is given appropriate training at other institutions or units that provide accredited PhD education. Courses at other universities must be identified by the PhD candidate.

NMBU belongs to networks such as NOVA University Network (the Nordic Forestry, Veterinary and Agricultural University Network). 

It is important that candidates are familiar with the admission rules for such courses and find out about deadlines for application, enrolment for examinations etc.

Information about courses organized by the National Research Schools.

Special syllabus

If no suitable courses, a special syllabus at PhD level may be approved as part of the required coursework. Before a PhD candidate goes ahead with special syllabus, NMBU 3.1 Agreement for special syllabus must be in place. To be registered with the course in the system the agreement must be sent to the Student Information Centre at

Changes in the required coursework

If you see that you need to replace a subject (s) in the training section, you must complete and submit NMBU 2.2 Change of required coursework (see faculty wise forms). The subject (s) must be changed before the new subject (s) have been taken. The faculty decides whether you can exchange courses.

Data Management Plan

The Data Management Plan (DMP) shall describe the type and the scope of research data generated in the PhD project. In addition, the DMP shall describe where the data will be stored during the project and how it will be archived and possibly made available after the project is completed. It is recommended that you create the data management plan using the Norwegian Center for Research Data (NSD) data management plan DMP + tool or using the ELIXIR Data Stewardship Wizard tool (especially for life science research data). Read more about research data management here. The data management plan shall be updated during the PhD education. As a minimum, you and your main supervisor must connection with progress reporting, go through the data management plan and assess the need for adjustments.

Here you can read more information about research data management here

  • Policy and guidelines for research data management at NMBU
  • FAIR principles
  • Data Management Plans (DMP)
  • Privacy in research (including handling of personal data in research)
  • Metadata and file format
  • Storing research data in ongoing projects
  • Archiving research data
  • Courses in handling research data and developing a data management plan
Published 16. December 2014 - 14:38 - Updated 17. September 2020 - 17:02