Doctoral degree
Full time

PhD programme in Biosciences: Check out relevant positions here!

Application deadline:

Please see the relevant job listing

Start of Studies:



Master's degree in a relevant field

  • See Section 5 of the PhD Regulations.

    To be admitted as a PhD candidate, the applicant must have a relevant education equivalent to a five-year Norwegian basic education, of which 120 credits are at master's level. The applicant should have a strong academic background from his/her previous degree program.

    The requirement for a strong academic background from previous studies shall be covered as follows:

    • The grades from the higher degree examinations (120 credits) should normally be in the best half of the applicant's student population. This must be documented in the form of grade distribution, ranking number among master's students or declaration from the degree-conferring institution.
    • Applicants with a grade of A or B for a master's thesis in science from a relevant master's degree at a Norwegian university or university college, or with a grade of equivalent level from other countries, are normally eligible for admission to the PhD program at the faculty.
    • The applicant must have courses in statistics from the bachelor's and/or master's degree.

    Applicants who satisfy the admission requirements insection 5-2 of the Regulationsshall be ranked according to an overall assessment of

    1. the documented educational background; relevance and grades;
    2. job interview and references; research talent, academic maturity, motivation and ability to work.
    3. For applicants for research fellowships at NMBU, admission to the PhD program and employment at NMBU take place simultaneously. Applicants with funding other than via research fellowships at NMBU must submit an application to the faculty, in the application form stipulated by NMBU, within two months of the start date for the funding of the PhD position. The faculty is the formal admission authority and admission takes place on a rolling basis. Applications for admission must be sent to the faculty on the stipulated application form.

      Applications for admission must contain:

      • documentation of the education that will form the basis for admission
      • documentation of English proficiency, written and oral
      • Simplified description of the project (as an attachment)
      • A description of the necessary infrastructure
      • Notification of the desire to use a language other than English or Norwegian in the thesis if relevant
      • Proposal for main supervisor and co-supervisors
      • Overview of funding sources

      Documented knowledge of written and spoken English is required, and the requirement can be covered in several ways as described in section 5.2 of the Regulations.

      The admission decision is based on an overall assessment of the application. A prerequisite for admission is that the applicant's academic background satisfies the requirements of section 5.2 of the Regulations.In the admission decision, supervisors are appointed, and the agreement period is determined by the start date and end date of the PhD period. In order to be admitted as a PhD student, the applicant and/or supervisor must document full funding of salary for at least three years, as well as the necessary funds for operation of the project in accordance with the project budget and educational component.

      PhD candidates with a) an external employer outside NMBU Campus or b) fieldwork outside NMBU Campus or in other countries, must normally have a stay in the main supervisor's academic environment, or other relevant academic environment at NMBU, for a total of at least one year of the PhD education. The FU may approve exemptions from these provisions on the duty of residence.

      Admission may also be given on the condition that:

      • issues with funding, admission capacity, additional education, and/or infrastructure needs are addressed
      • agreement on any intellectual property law matters at the conclusion of the contract (section 6.1 of theRegulations).
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Bildet viser  Bildet er fra tresking av kornforsøk på NMBU Vollebekk i Ås
Bildet er fra et forskningsprosjekt med uttak av fisk fra fiskelaben på UMB. Isotoplaboratoriet ved IPM undersøker fisk på Norderås.

​​​​The PhD programme in Biosciences is an opportunity to work on exciting research projects with leading scientists within animal science, plant science, aquaculture, and more.

The Faculty of Biosciences’ aim is to help shape the future of food production through basic and applied research, spanning traditional subject disciplines and cutting-edge technologies. We have important research infrastructure available to us such as the Imaging Centre, the Plant Cell Lab, the Centre for fish trials, and more.

Career opportunities

​​​​​The PhD programme in Biosciences will qualify students for performing research at a high international standard and for other work in society which requires deep scientific insight and analytical thinking.

The PhD program aims to fulfill current and future needs for expertise within research, development and dissemination at Universities, other public and private institutions, businesses, and other organizations.


    Upon completion of the PhD program in Biosciences, the graduate candidate is expected to:

      • Has in-depth knowledge in their field and is at the forefront of knowledge in their specialist field.
      • Has in-depth knowledge of scientific theories and methods related to the field.
      • Can evaluate and analyze different theories, methods and processes in research and professional development projects, also within an international perspective.
      • Can contribute to the development of new knowledge, new theories and methods within the field.


    Upon completion of the PhD program in Biosciences, it is expected that the graduate:

      • Can formulate research questions, plan and carry out research and professional development work at a high international level within their field of study.
      • Is familiar with scientific equipment, instruments and analytical tools used in their field of specialization and has mastered the equipment they themselves use regularly.
      • Has mastered relevant statistical methods and can assess the applicability and limitations of different statistical methods.
      • Has contributed through original research to new knowledge that can be found in peer-reviewed international journals.
      • Can handle complexity, create an overview and synthesize scientific information.
      • Can critically evaluate and give constructive criticism on scientific works within their field of study.
      • Can communicate research results both orally and in writing, in scientific as well as popular science forums.


    Upon completion of the PhD program in Biosciences, it is expected that the graduate:

      • Can conduct their research with professional and ethical integrity and can identify and assess relevant environmental and ethical considerations.
      • Can disseminate research and development work through recognized national and international channels and participate in debates in the field in international forums.
      • Can communicate results from their research work to industry, authorities and public administration, as well as to the general public through contact with the media.
      • Can place their own research within larger academic and societal contexts.
      • Can assess the need for and possibly initiate innovation in their field.
  • NMBU facilitates PhD candidate exchange, nationally and internationally.

    To ensure that PhD students have a broad background of experience and the necessary specialist expertise that cannot always be covered by local supervisors, it is desirable that parts of the doctoral work or doctoral courses can be carried out at other Norwegian or foreign academic institutions, where this can be incorporated into the plans and funding is secured.

    Such periods of study and/or research must be described and justified in the individual PhD student's education plan.

  • The PhD program in Biosciences is affiliated with the Faculty of Biosciences at NMBU. The program is based on the main description of PhD education at NMBU and is regulated bythe Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

    Information about rules, forms for applications and completion of the PhD program, as well as supplementary rules and procedures for the PhD program at the faculty can be found in both Norwegian and English via links on NMBU's web page for PhD education.


    The required coursework component is 30 credits, including at least 5 credits within research ethics and philosophy of science. The candidate may, in consultation with the main supervisor, choose to include more credits. Coursework in statistics is required unless strong skills in statistics (in relation to the PhD student's field of study) can be documented upon admission. Within the framework of 30 credits, the educational component may include up to 5 credits in generic courses such as project management, research dissemination, or pedagogy.

    The educational component can consist partly of doctoral courses/courses at the 400 level, and partly of master's degree courses at the 300 level. Bachelor courses (100- or 200-level) are not approved. Courses in academic writing are recommended, but BIOVIT does not give credits for this type of course. The Reine laboratory course (lab methodology course) is also not approved as part of the education plan. Special syllabus can be included, but only at the 400 level and in topics for which there are no relevant courses at NMBU. Master's or doctoral degree courses from other universities/university colleges and research schools in Norway or in Europe with a defined number of ECTS points may be approved unless there is too much overlap with other courses taken by the student. All courses in the educational component must have an approved form of evaluation. To be approved, courses at master's level are currently required to have at least a grade of C, while doctoral courses must be passed (these should normally only be evaluated as Pass or Fail).

    The research must constitute scientific work of international standard and at a high academic level (see §10). The work is to be planned and carried out in cooperation with the supervisors and, if relevant, external partners. This research work includes planning and conducting one’s own research, the analysis of the results, as well as drafting of the thesis. This part is the most important contribution to providing PhD students with research competence. Active participation in the academic community will give PhD students insight into research management, experience with research collaboration, the opportunity to discuss issues and research plans, challenge established knowledge and practice, and present their own project.

    A realistic milestone plan must be drawn up so that the work can be completed, and the doctoral thesis submitted by the end of the agreement period. The main supervisor is particularly responsible for ensuring a realistic plan. The progress of the research is to be reported in the annual progress report.


    All PhD students must complete three regular seminars, section 9.1 of the PhD Regulations:a start seminar before submitting their application for approval of their study plan, a midway seminar approximately 1.5-2 years into the PhD education, and a final seminar approximately 6 months before submitting the doctoral thesis. The midway seminar shall be carried out in accordance with section 9.2 of the PhD Regulations.The seminars are considered part of the required coursework and quality assurance of the PhD program and are intended to provide the students with relevant feedback to help them in their further work.


    PhD students must submit annual progress reports in a web form with a deadline of 15 January each year. Deviations from the plan must be explained. The requirement for progress reports is authorized by section 9.1 of the PhD Regulations.PhD students and supervisors are jointly responsible for progress.

    Main supervisors for PhD students are appointed from among the faculty's associate professors and professors (incl. Professor II positions). Permanent employees in research positions and post-docs in tenure-track positions may also be main supervisors, if they have completed supervisor courses. Researchers with relevant specialist expertise, also from other institutions nationally or internationally, may be appointed as co-supervisors. The faculty requires that all main supervisors have completed supervisor courses. It is a requirement that the main supervisor must be employed by the faculty, and efforts are made to link external PhD candidates to research projects where the faculty is an active partner. All supervisors must hold a doctoral degree or equivalent.

    PhD students are entitled to 100 hours of supervision per year for three years, i.e. a total of 300 hours, distributed among everyone in the supervision group. The main supervisor and the doctoral student are both responsible for ensuring that the supervision group's expertise is utilized in the best possible way.

    The thesis must be an independent scientific work of an international standard, and at a high academic level with regards to formulation of the research questions, conceptual specifications, the methodological, theoretical and empirical basis, documentation, use of primary literature, and form of presentation. The thesis must contribute to the development of new academic knowledge and be at a professional level that indicates that it can be published as part of the scientific literature in the field (section 10 of the PhD Regulations).

    The thesis must consist of scientific work which is the equivalent to three scientific articles, publishable in scientific publication channels. The articles must, at a minimum, be on a par with the initial submission of the manuscript to a journal. The doctoral candidate must be the first author of the majority of the articles. In addition, a summary part (“Kappe”) must be written, where the doctoral candidate demonstrates thorough academic insight and ability to synthesize scientific results and discussions across the individual articles. The doctoral candidate writes this section as the sole author. The faculty has a guide for the design of theintroductory chapter or “Kappe”.The thesis must otherwise be prepared and submitted in accordance with sections 10 and 13.1 of the PhD Regulations,and it must be accompanied by co-author declarations for each scientific article.

    The public defense starts with a trial lecture on a given topic that the doctoral candidate is given 10 working days in advance. The trial lecture lasts 45 minutes and should be at a level equivalent to a lecture for master's degree students in the subject. Two external opponents then conduct questioning and discussion with the candidate. The assessment and the work of the evaluation committee must comply with sections 12, 14 and 15 of NMBU's PhD Regulations.

    The faculty has an appointed vice-dean for research who heads the Research Committee (FU), which is the faculty's program committee for the PhD program. The Faculty has its own working committee (FU-PhD) under the FU which deals with PhD matters, for example applications for admission to the PhD program, education plans, proposals for evaluation committees, and monitors the quality and progress of each candidate’s journey through the PhD program. The FU-PhD is led by a scientific employee. The faculty has its own administrative employees, the PhD advisers, who follow up practical and formal questions related to the PhD program on a daily basis, and who have a secretarial function for the FU-PhD.

    NMBU has its own websitefor PhD education where information about the PhD programs, regulations, procedures, and forms are found. The faculty also has its own website for the PhD programthat provides more specific information related to the completion of the PhD program at the faculty, including an overview of the entire process step by step from application for admission to completed public defense, with relevant rules, forms and practical advice.

    The faculty provides all necessary infrastructure for the PhD students such as office space, laboratory space, IT resources, etc.


    General information about universal design and facilitation at NMBU can be found here: Health and Wellbeing

    • BIOVIT is responsible for research, education, dissemination and innovation that provides biological knowledge and innovative solutions for sustainable food and bioproduction of the future (BIOVIT's strategic plan 2018- 2023).

      BIOVIT has a broad academic profile. The faculty offers specialized and interdisciplinary research and teaching in basic and applied biology, genomics and biotechnology, sustainable, climate-smart and animal-friendly food and agriculture, precision agriculture, new sustainable feed resources, marine bioproduction and aquaculture, agroecology, and urban agriculture.

      Our research topics often have direct and high relevance to society. The faculty has close research collaborations with industry, and our research results contribute greatly to innovation.

      The combination of basic and applied academic environments as well as extensive cooperation with other faculties and industry means that the faculty is well equipped to contribute to solutions to the major challenges related to sustainable food and bioproduction.


        • The required coursework of at least 30 academic credits, which provides extended professional competence both in depth and breadth. The coursework component includes a minimum of 5 credits in research ethics.
        • To read and keep up to date with literature in their field.
        • Via carrying out the actual research work.
        • In the work on the introductory summary of the thesis, where the candidate independently writes an introduction that provides theoretical and practical background for the research work, discusses and justifies the choice and use of methods, and puts the results as a whole in an international academic perspective.


        • By participating in the planning and detailed design of one's own PhD project, and possibly in the planning of new project applications.
        • Supervision and own research, where the PhD student actively benefits from the supervision group's expertise.
        • By developing a separate international professional network beyond the supervision group.
        • Participation in methodology courses and writing courses where relevant.
        • Work with publications, submission to journals and handling comments from referees.
        • Work with publications and the thesis.
        • By participating in peer review of scientific manuscripts and providing feedback on colleagues' manuscripts.
        • By participating in seminars where other PhD students' and researchers' ideas and results are discussed.


        • Attending a course in research ethics granting at least 5 credits.
        • Supervision and research.
        • Work with publications and the thesis.
        • The trial lecture, by familiarizing oneself with a given topic in a short time: time management, searching for/selecting/evaluating/processing information, and giving an oral presentation on this topic.
        • Presenting research results at national and international scientific conferences.
        • Holding lectures for students and/or being a teaching assistant within their area of expertise whenever possible.
        • Dissemination of research at professional days, in popular science writing or presentations, etc.
    • The degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD) is awarded on the basis of:

      1. Approved training component
      2. Approved scientific thesis
      3. Approved trial lecture on the given topic
      4. Approved public defense of the thesis

      The required coursework is evaluated via various forms of evaluation such as oral or written exams, assignment submission, or term papers.

      The content of the doctoral work and the educational component are approved by the working committee for the PhD education (FU-PhD), which is a subcommittee of the research committee at BIOVIT (BIOVIT-FU), and progress is followed up by the committee via annual progress reports and mandatory seminars (introductory seminar, midway seminar, and final seminar).

      Other learning outcomes do not need a separate evaluation, but it is the main supervisor's responsibility to help achieve these goals via relevant measures, for example through academic discussions, and initiatives for dissemination within the time frame for the PhD.

Study advisor(s):

Mara Dagestad

Mara Dagestad

Senior Advisor
Anna Mazzarella

Anna Mazzarella

Senior Advisor