Step by step description of submission, assessment and printing of a doctoral thesis

  • The PhD candidate must within agreed deadline submit the thesis to the faculty and apply for evaluation
  • Prior to thesis submission, all elements included in the required coursework must be successfully completed and approved by the faculty 
  • The faculty, by the Dean, appoints an evaluation committee based on the proposal of the main supervisor
  • Once the thesis is approved for defence, it can be sent to printing 
  • The approved thesis must be made publicly available before the public defence

Approval of the completed required coursework

Prior to thesis submission, all elements included in the required coursework must be successfully completed and approved by the faculty. Transcript of records/ diplomas from external education (i.e. coursework conducted outside NMBU), must be submitted for approval and registration, to the faculty PhD Coordinator. Results from courses completed at NMBU are registered on an ongoing basis. If the completed academic coursework differs from the approved Education Plan, the PhD candidate must fill in and submit the form NMBU 3.2 Application for approval of completed coursework (e-mail template in zip)

Submitting the thesis

See PhD regulations section 10 for the thesis requirements.

The PhD candidate must within agreed deadline submit the thesis to the faculty and apply for evaluation. Before submission the PhD candidate orders a set of prescribed numbers for the thesis; "ISBN-nr, ISSN-nr og Thesis number", by sending an e-mail to at the NMBU Library. The Thesis number must be allocated for the year of the public defence.

The PhD candidate must submit the following to the faculty:
  • NMBU 4.2 Submission form (lenke), with a confirmation from the main supervisor recommending the thesis to be evaluated.
  • "PhD candidate report, coursework FS990.001" OR NMBU 3.2 Application for approval of completed coursework (e-mail template in zip) (see above).
  • An electronic version of the thesis in PDF-format. This electronic version will be archived by the faculty.
The following documents must be attached, if relevant:
  • NMBU 4.3 Co-authorship declaration (Word document) for an article-based thesis for all co-authored manuscripts/ articles.
  • A statement from the main supervisor to clarify which parts of the thesis constitute the candidate’s own contribution in a joint work (a joint work is defined as one thesis with several candidates as co-authors).
  • Documentation that the necessary authorisations have been obtained, i.e. obtaining permission to self-archive the article in the open archive "Brage" at NMBU (more information below and on the Library's own page with information about Brage).

Declarations of co-authorship 

When submitting a thesis involving several co-authors, the NMBU 4.3 Co-authorship declaration (Word document) must accompany the subission, i.e. one form for each co-authored manuscript/article forming part of the thesis.

The statement should describe the candidate's and the individual co-author's independent contribution to the research work and the manuscript/ article in question. The PhD candidate is responsible for obtaining such co-authorship declarations.

Evaluation of the thesis

Appointment of an evaluation committee

The Faculty appoints in line with the PhD regulations section 13, an evaluation committee to evaluate the thesis, the trial lecture (if applicable), and the public defence of the thesis.

The main supervisor sends a reasoned proposal of evaluation committee members to the faculty, prior to thesis submission: NMBU 4.1 Proposal for evaluation committee (e-mail template in zip). The PhD candidate must be informed of the proposed composition of the evaluation committee, and be given an opportunity to comment this in writing no later than five working days after being informed. The Faculty decides how any comments will be dealt with.

The proposal is processed by the faculty and the Dean appoints the evaluation committee.


After submission, the thesis will be forwarded to the evaluation committee.

When evaluating the thesis, particular emphasis must be placed on whether the thesis meets the requirements set out in the PhD regulations section 10. An overall assessment must be made, and the thesis's strengths and weaknesses considered, including an evaluation of whether the material and methods are appropriate in relation to the questions raised in the thesis, and whether the arguments and conclusions presented are tenable. All parts of the submitted or presented documentation must be reviewed on the basis of the criteria in section 10.

The committee must submit a joint reasoned recommendation to the Faculty on whether the thesis should be:

  • Approved for public defence
  • Not approved for public defence in its present form, but minor revisions, within a deadline of maximum 3 months (of full time) work, should be permitted before the final recommendation is made.
  • Rejected, i.e. not approved for public defence. In this case fundamental changes are necessary. The thesis may be reworked and resubmitted one time after minimum 6 months.

The evaluation committee must submit its recommendation NMBU 4.4 Assessment of thesis (digital form by faculty) to the faculty no later than 25 working days before the planned date of the public defence. The faculty decides on the basis of the assessment committee's recommendation.

Printing of the approved thesis

A thesis that is approved for public defence is ready to be printed. It must be printed exactly as it was approved, with one exception:


The PhD candidate can apply once to the Faculty for permission to correct formal errors (errata) in the approved thesis to be made public. The application NMBU 4.6 Errata must include an errata list, showing the corrections the candidate wishes to make to the thesis. The deadline for application to correct formal errors is five working days after the candidate has received the evaluation committee’s recommendation.

The Evaluation Committee must be informed by the faculty about the approved errata.

Allowed corrections of the following formal errors: 

  • Spelling and language mistakes that make the text linguistically incorrect
  • Punctuation and reference errors 
  • Page layout, text format etc.

Not allowed corrections:

  • Specify or change the meaning of the text
  • Make changes to the content of tables
  • Change version or change status in manuscripts/ articles in your PhD thesis. For example, an article with the status "in press" cannot be exchanged with a journal's printed version, and change status to "published" prior to printing.

Printing the thesis

Follow the guidelines in "Printing the thesis". The PhD candidate orders the printing by sending an email to a printer company with the purchase order form attached (from the guidelines in "Printing the thesis"). Purchase order number ("Ressursnummer") must be given when ordering for further processing. The printer company has the correct NMBU official templates and design for the thesis cover. The printers will produce the number of theses set by the candidate and will send an electronic PDF-version of the thesis, as it will be printed, to the PhD candidate.

If the thesis is to be printed in Norwegian, or if you are to hold a public defence for the Dr. Philos. degree, you must make this clear to the printers so that they choose the correct template.

Printed copies will be distributed by the printer company to the National Library of Norway (5 copies) and to the University Library (1 copy). The 6 copies will be taken from the total number of copies ordered.

Compulsory deliveries, printed version to the faculty

  • Deliver 1 copy (or more) of the printed thesis, and a PDF-verson of this printed final version to the faculty. The number of copies will be agreed between the candidate and the faculty.
  • Proof of upload to NMBU Brage of the final print version (in PDF). (A description of how to upload below)
  • The above will be archived by the faculty.

Press Release

NMBU wish to make the work known to a broader audience than the university itself. As soon as the thesis is approved by the evaluation committee, the PhD candidate can download and fill in the press release form and submit it to the correct contact person listed in the form. The Communication Department will be able to prepare an article for the internet ahead of the public defence. Some advice on how to present the work to give a glimpse of the achievements and what has been done is given in the press release form.

Accessibility - Publicising the thesis

The printed thesis must be publicly available two weeks before the public defence (cf. section 17 in the PhD regulations). No restrictions may be placed on the doctoral thesis to avoid making it publicly available, except for a previously agreed postponement of the public release date. An external party is not entitled to demand that the whole or parts of the PhD thesis be exempt from public access (cf. section 6.1 in the PhD regulations).

Making the thesis electronically available in NMBU Brage

The PhD thesis will be made electronically available through Brage - NMBU's institutional research archive (link). Accessibility in Brage makes the research results generated by the PhD candidate more visible for the research environments nationally and internationally. The thesis is stored in Brage and will always be accessible through a permanent URL.

Making the thesis electronically available in NMBU Brage will consist of the following three steps:

  1. The PhD candidate uploads the printers PDF version of the thesis in NMBU Brage before the public defence. The candidate may at this point have opportunity to delay electronic publicising by two (2) years from the date of the public defence (ex. if manuscrips is included in the thesis).
  2. Once the public defence is approved, the University Library/ NMBU Brage will assess the uploaded version of the thesis. The University Library will always consider the PhD candidate requirements, and also to those limitations that the publisher has set for the articles.
  3. The thesis will be electronically available on internet at the given time set by the PhD candidate during the upload. The thesis will not be available before this specific date.

Description of how to upload the printed thesis file - click on this link.

Contact the University Library for more information at

Archiving and accessibility of research data

The research data on which the thesis is based must comply with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and be as open as possible and as closed as necessary (cf. NMBU Guidelines for Research Data Management). NMBU Open Research Data or corresponding research data archives must be used for archiving and to make research data accessible.

Doctoral degree examination

When your thesis has been approved and published you are ready for the doctoral degree examination. The doctoral degree examination consists of two parts: The trial lecture and The public defence. 

The faculty will make an announcement for the trial lecture and the public defence. If you have not done this already, you must at the latest 4 weeks ahead of the public defence, fill in and deliver the press release form to the correct recipient from the list in the form so that your work can have correct announcement.

The trial lecture

After the thesis has been submitted and before the public defence, the PhD candidate must give a trial lecture on a specified topic. This is an independent part of the doctoral exam. The purpose of the trial lecture is to test the PhD candidate's ability to acquire knowledge over and above the topic of the thesis, and the ability to convey this knowledge in a lecture setting. The lecture should last for 45 minutes. The academic level of the lecture must be suited to master's degree students or students in the final phase of a five-year programme of professional study.

The title of the trial lecture is to be decided by the evaluation committee and communicated to the PhD candidate 10 working days before the lecture takes place. The topic of the lecture should not be directly linked to the specific topic of the thesis. The trial lecture must be held in English or Norwegian unless another language is approved.

The Faculty decides when the trial lecture will take place. It can be held in connection with (the day before or on the same day as) the public defence or earlier. If the trial lecture is held in connection with the public defence, the evaluation committee assesses the trial lecture (see below). If a trial lecture is held earlier, the Faculty appoints a separate committee to evaluate the trial lecture using NMBU 4.5a Statement from the internal committee for a trial lecture held separately from the disputation (digital form by faculty).

The trial lecture must be passed before the public defence of the thesis may take place.

The public defence

The public defence of the thesis must take place within two months of the Faculty having approved it for public defence. The public defence is to be a scholarly discussion between the opponents and the PhD candidate on the formulation of research questions, the methodological, empirical and theoretical basis of the thesis, and the documentation and form of presentation. Particular emphasis should be placed on testing the tenability of important conclusions drawn by the PhD candidate in the thesis. The questions the opponents choose to pursue need not be limited to those discussed in the committee’s statement on the thesis. After both opponents have concluded their questioning and the PhD candidate have been given the opportunity to defend the thesis, members of the audience must be given the opportunity to comment ex auditorio.

If the trial lecture is not held in connection with the public defence, the evaluation committee assesses public defence on prescribed form - NMBU 4.5b Statement from the evaluation committee of the public defence (digital form by faculty).

If the trial lecture is held in the context of the defence, the evaluation committee assesses trial lecture and defence on a prescribed form - NMBU 4.5c Statement from the evaluation committee for the trial lecture and the public defence (digital form by faculty).

Certificate/ Diploma 

Once the academic training, thesis, trial lecture and public defence of the thesis have been approved, the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) will be conferred upon the PhD candidate by the Rector. PhD Certificates / Diplomas are issued on an ongoing basis, and will provide the area of specialisation, the title of the thesis, the topic of the trial lecture, courses included in the approved academic training, the names of the supervisors and of the members of the evaluation committee. There are several persons involved in the document issue, hence it will take a few days to complete.

NB!: For some countries (Ethiopia and others) it is necessary to legalize the Diploma before it is valid in the home country. Due to the corona pandemic, such processes take longer than normal, and it is recommended to allow for a minimum of 4 weeks after the disputation before you leave Norway, so that you will be able to bring the documents home with you, ready for authentification in your home country.

Doctoral degree ceremony

NMBU holds a doctoral degree ceremony for graduated PhD candidates once a year in September.  

The doctoral degree ceremony 2020 planned for Friday 18th September has been postponed due to the Corona situation. The event "The sustainability revel" was organised as an alternative event, to honour Doctors who were conferred upon this last year, and to provide an arena for projects funded by NMBU’s seed funding, to the Alf Bjørseths Inspiration Award 2020, and also to air thoughts on sustainability with a new seminar dialogue session. Go to this article to find out about nominees to the Alf Bjørseths Inspiration Award, and who was selected by the jury.

The doctoral degree ceremony 20th September 2019.

The doctoral degree ceremony 21th September 2018

PhD celebration dinner and tax deduction

Some of the expences may be tax deductable: "If you are working towards a PhD, you will be entitled to a deduction for your expenses in connection with printing and your PhD dinner."

Read about the deduction for PhD expenses here (link to the Norwegian Tax Administration).

You will only be entitled to a deduction for the dinner for supervisor(s), evaluation committee, etc. No deduction will be given for food expenses relating to family and friends. You enter the deduction in your tax return. You do not need to send any documentation for the deduction, but you must be able to present documentation (receipts and list of participants) if the Norwegian Tax Administration asks for it.

Published 16. December 2014 - 14:48 - Updated 24. November 2020 - 13:09