Research, courseswork and mandatory seminars

Independent research work and supervision 

An independent research work consists of gathering research results, analyses and scientific publishing. This will be done in close cooperation with the supervisory group. It is important for the research work that the PhD candidate participates in active research environments with senior researchers and other PhD candidates and be involved with national and international parties. The main supervisor is the primary contact person for the candidate, and holds the main academic and administrative responsibility for the candidate.

The supervisors will

  • Give guidance on relevant academic literature and data sources 
  • Follow up on the PhD candidate's academic progress in relation to the project plan
  • Offer advice on writing and help narrow down topic and issues
  • Discuss and evaluate hypotheses and methods
  • Discuss results and the interpretation
  • Discuss the disposition for the PhD thesis; structure, form of language, use of sources etc.
  • Offer guidance in ethical questions connected to the research work and thesis, like scientific fairness, and Publishing and co-authorship.

Change to the supervisory team

If changes are to be made to the supervisory team, application must be made using the form NMBU 2.2.3 Changes supervisory team. The general rule is that the supervisor may not withdraw from the position until a new supervisor has been appointed.

Required coursework

The required coursework is individual and will be planned in connection with the PhD contract. The required coursework must be completed and approved by the faculty before you can submit the thesis to be evaluated. See more information about the required coursework here.

Change to the required coursework

Should you need to replace a course in the required coursework, you must complete and submit the form NMBU 2.2.2 Changes required coursework component. The faculty decides whether you can make changes to your required coursework.

Writing the PhD thesis 

The thesis must be an independent scientific work that fulfils international standards and is of high academic quality in terms of the formulation of research questions, the specification of concepts, the methodological, theoretical and empirical basis, documentation, the use of literature and the form of presentation. The thesis may be a monography or a compendium of several scientific manuscripts/ papers (articles).

The requirements for the PhD thesis may be found in the PhD regulations section 10 and within the faculties supplementary rules.

Article-based PhD thesis

An article-based dissertation consists of several sub-works - manuscripts or published papers. Such a thesis should contain an introductory chapter ("Kappe") which summarises and compares the research questions and conclusions presented in the shorter works in an overall perspective, and which also documents the coherence of the thesis.  The PhD candidate must be the sole author of the introductory chapter. The faculties have developed guides on how to write the introductory chapter (“Kappe”), please see below.


A monograph is simply a unified text that fully describes a spesific topic. A thesis written in the form of a monograph is structured in various chapters with an introduction and a conclusion, and the candidate himself is the sole author of the entire work. Monographs apply in some professional environments.

Template for article-based thesis

There is a template available for when you are to start writing your thesis. The template is made in the correct size for printing, 17x24 cm, and can be used for the entire writing process (writing, submission for assessment and printing). In this way, it is ensured that all text, figures and images appear correctly when printed. The articles usually come in A4 size.

The template is designed to fit all subject areas at NMBU. It is quite possible that there are parts of the template that should not be included in your thesis. If so, it is possible to change it manually. You may also change the paragraphs in a different order. The title page however, should be unchanged.

An article-based PhD thesis contains:

  1. The introductory chapter (“Kappen”). Start using the template for this.
  2. The articles*
  3. Any appendices

* If the article is published in a subscription journal, you should include the post-print version (accepted version after peer-review, before the publisher's pdf version is made) in the thesis. If the work is published in a Gold Open Access journal or purchased from the publisher (Hybrid Open Access), you can include the publisher's PDF version in the thesis. Read more here about definition of post-print, publishing permit, etc. and about Gold Open Access or Hybrid Open Access here.

Useful notes about the template – read this before your start using the template:
  • It is only available in Microsoft Word. Fonts, font sizes and line spacing is set.
  • You have to start with selecting language from the first page, Norwegian or English for the title page.
  • You can change the content parts of the template (except for the title page), you can headings or change the order of the content parts.
  • There are added title and index components in the template to make the work easy and straightforward. It is wise to make adjustments of the components in the text as you go, and to make an extra check once in a while so that you know that they make sense all along.
  • Remember to add blank pages where necessary, i.e. after page 2 and 4.
  • The tools for Styles in the template have the most relevant styles for your work (under the tab Menu)
  • Before you submit your thesis to the faculty, you should send it as a pdf file. The best way to do this, to keep the 17x24 cm format, is to print to pdf. The advantage is that the printed version of your thesis will be as you and the evaluation committee have seen the content before.
Link to the template for writing the PhD Thesis.

Advice and help

The faculties have developed guides on how to write the introductory chapter (“Kappe”). Open your faculty’s guide in the list below:

The NMBU Writing Centre offer guidance and support during the writing process. You may read about the NMBU Writing Centre on this web page:

Scientific publication, NMBU Brage and CRIStin

Please find necessary information about scientific publishing on the website called Publishing ABC. You will need to familiarize yourself with the following topics:

  • How to find journals and publishers approved for scientific publishing
  • How to handle co-authorship and author addresses on your research results (manuscripts / articles / publications)
  • How to publish so that research results are Open Access (link)
  • How to get support through the NMBU Publications Fund for Article Processing Charge (APC) fees
  • How to avoid publishing in predatory journals and publishers 
  • How to register your scientific publications and curriculum (CV) in the CRIStin tool
  • How to digitally make your scientific publications available in Brage - NMBU's open institutional archive

Progress assessment and Data Management Plan

The faculties are responsible for the progress report and compulsory seminars and must have routines to follow up any deficiencies detected.

Progress report

The progress reports are to be written by the PhD candidate annually on a standard form NMBU 2.1 Progress report (digital form by faculty).

Data Management Plan

In connection with the progress reporting, the PhD candidate and the main supervisor shall go through the data management plan and assess the need for adjustments. Find more information about the data management plan in this link.

Compulsory seminars

The PhD candidate should go through three fixed seminars during the PhD education: an introductory seminar, a midway assessment seminar and a final seminar.

The start-up seminar is to be held during the forst semester, and preferably before agreement of the contract and the education plan. The purpose is to give opportunity for input about the project plan and help find relevant courses and activities to be part of the education plan.

The midway assessment seminar must be conducted when the candidate has completed a maximum of two years of the PhD education. The candidate must present his/ her work and be evaluated by a group of at least two persons appointed by the faculty, one member from the supervisory team and one member from the same faculty or other. The evaluation team must assess the academic status and progress of the work on the doctoral thesis, and must report its findings on a standard form NMBU 2.4 Midway assessment seminar. The form must be sent to the candidate, the supervisors and the faculty.

The final seminar is to be conducted when the work on the PhD thesis is approaching completion. The purpose is to receive input on the final work on the thesis and on preparing for the trial lecture/ public defence.

Read more information about the PhD seminars here.

Delay of the PhD education

In the event of any delay in the PhD education, the form NMBU 2.2.1 Changes contract period, must be completed. The PhD Coordinator is the recipient of this form. In the event of maternity leave and sick leave the PhD candidate must secure that documentation/ confirmation is sent to the PhD Coordinator.

Published 16. December 2014 - 14:31 - Updated 9. May 2022 - 10:38