Doctoral degree
Full time
Life and Food Sciences

The PhD programme in Life and Food Sciences at the Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science.

Start of Studies:


Student Jøran Solnes utfører labøvelser i kjemilaben.

The objectives will be evaluated at the end of the study by means of a trial lecture and public defence of the thesis.

Career opportunities

The PhD programme in Life and Food Sciences shall qualify students for research of international standard within the faculty's subject areas, and for other work in society where there are high demands on scientific insight and analytical thinking, in accordance with recognised principles of academic and research ethics.



    On completion of the PhD programme in Life and Food Science, the new doctor is expected to:

    • Have in-depth knowledge in the chosen programme option (microbiology, biotechnology, chemistry, bioinformatics, applied statistics or food science) and to be at the forefront of knowledge in their field of expertise within this option.
    • Have in-depth knowledge about scientific theories and methods associated with the field.
    • Be able to assess and analyse different theories, methods and processes in research and academic development projects ¿ also from an international perspective.
    • Contribute to the development of new knowledge, new theories and methods in the field.


    On completion of the PhD programme in Life and Food Science, the new doctor is expected to:

    • Be able to formulate issues, and plan and conduct research and academic development work of high international calibre within their field.
    • Know how to use the scientific equipment, instruments and analysis tools of their field of specialisation, and be familiar with equipment they normally use.
    • Master relevant statistical methods.
    • Have conducted original research that has led to new knowledge that can be published in international peer-reviewed journals.
    • Be able to handle complexity, create an overview, and synthesise scientific information.
    • Be able to perform critical assessments and give constructive criticism on scientific work in their field.
    • Be able to disseminate research results orally and in writing, in both scientific and popular scientific forums.


    On completion of the PhD programme in Life and Food Science, the new doctor is expected to:

    • Be able to conduct their research with professional and ethical integrity, and be able to identify and evaluate relevant environmental and ethical issues in their field.
    • Be able to perform risk assessments of their work, and to take health, safety and environmental aspects into consideration.
    • Be able to participate in complex interdisciplinary tasks and projects.
    • Be able to disseminate research and development work through recognised national and international channels, and participate in scientific debates in international forums.
    • Be able to disseminate the results of their research work to the business sector, the authorities and public administration, and to the general public through contact with the media.
    • Be able to teach students within their subject area or field of specialisation.
    • Be able to place own research in larger academic and societal contexts.
    • Be able to assess the need for and, if required, stimulate innovation in the field.

    NMBU facilitates national and international exchanges. Part of the doctoral work or doctoral courses may be taken at other Norwegian or foreign academic institutions when it can be incorporated into the plans, and funding has been secured


    PhD students shall apply for approval of their PhD education plan as soon as possible after admission and at the latest within 6 months. Courses that make up the required coursework must total at least 30 credits, including a compulsory course in research ethics of at least 5 credits: PHI401 or the equivalent. The required coursework must be seen in the context of the research plan, so that the PhD programme of study as a whole gives the student adequate academic breadth, depth, and internal academic context. The research education committee at KBM must approve the required coursework, ensure that the courses are relevant, and as a whole offer a cohesive education at an adequate level.

    The required coursework, which consists of a combination of different courses, is specific to each programme option, and each one of its subject areas. The required coursework will be adapted to the PhD student's individual specialisation in the subject area, based on his/her master's-level competence. Except for the above-mentioned course in research ethics, no courses are formally compulsory. Students are free to take the courses in the order that best suits their timeline of activities.

    The faculty offers six courses on the PhD level that can be incorporated into the education plan if relevant:

    • Proteomics II (KJB420), 10 credits
    • Organic mass spectrometry (MS) (KJM410), 10 credits
    • Food process technology (MVI480), 10 credits
    • Meat science and technology (MVI481), 5 credits
    • Dairy technology (MVI483), 10 credits
    • From milk to cheese (MVI484), 5 credits

    Some master's-level courses are permitted, if they fit the overall profile of the plan. Students are particularly encouraged to take STAT340 (Applied methods in statistics, 10 credits) if they do not have adequate knowledge within this field. The PhD student may carry out supervised self-study in areas in which there are no relevant courses (individual course). All courses and individual courses that are part of the required coursework must have a lecturer/supervisor in charge, and an external examiner must evaluate the courses.


    The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science has a broad scientific portfolio. The PhD programme is therefore divided into 6 programme options: microbiology, biotechnology, chemistry, bioinformatics, applied statistics and food science. The doctoral work provides expertise and specialisation in one of these areas of research. The programme is based on the general description of the PhD Education at NMBU, and is regulated by the Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. You can find information in English about rules, application forms, and completion of the PhD study at NMBU here.

    The PhD programme in Life and Food Science is a doctoral programme that will educate independent researchers of international calibre in conjunction with national and international research communities. The PhD programme will qualify students for research work and for other work where there are high demands on scientific insight. The PhD programme seeks to meet the current and future needs for competence in order to conduct research, development and dissemination at universities and other public and private institutions. The PhD student will complete an education that offers deeper and broader competence, based on a relevant master's degree. The PhD student will carry out an independent work of research that will lead to a scientific thesis of high academic quality. The student must learn critical thinking skills, how to disseminate knowledge, and academic collaboration. Each PhD student is assigned a principal supervisor and one or more academic co-supervisors.

    The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science has its own research education committee, led by a research chair. The committee also has a secretary/ PhD contact person. The research committee manages, gives advice on and performs quality assurance of the admission process, programme description and progress of the doctoral studies.

    PhD students must submit annual progress reports on a standard form. The first of these must be submitted 6 months after the start date, then every year. Deviations from the plan must be explained. The requirement of a progress report is set out in section 9.1. PhD students and supervisors share responsibility for progress.

    All PhD students must take part in three regular seminars at the Faculty, see section 9.1: an introductory seminar before submitting the application for approval of the education plan, a midterm assessment seminar about 1.5 - 2 years into the PhD education, and a final seminar before submitting the doctoral thesis. The midway assessment seminar must be carried out in accordance with section 9.2. The seminars are considered part of the required education plan and quality assurance of the PhD programme, and will give the students useful feedback for the work ahead.


    The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science has strong research communities in microbiology, biotechnology, chemistry, bioinformatics, applied statistics and food science, with many potential supervisors in each subject area.

    A PhD student's principal supervisors are normally appointed from among the department's permanently employed associate professors and professors (including adjunct positions). Other researchers with relevant expertise can be appointed as co-supervisors. They may come from KBM, NMBU or other national or international institutions. All supervisors must have a doctoral degree or equivalent academic competence. A minimum of two supervisors must be appointed. The supervisors must have detailed knowledge and competence on the project the candidate will be working on. If the supervisory team consists of researchers with a close relationship (spouses or partners), the supervisory team will be supplemented by at least one extra supervisor. The supervision must be genuine; i.e. time must be allocated for a discussion of the work and of publication throughout the entire study period. A new principal supervisor will be appointed if the principal supervisor leaves NMBU to take up a position elsewhere, and can no longer supervise the student.


    The research work shall be an independent, scientific work that fulfils international standards and is of high academic quality (see section 10). The work will be planned and carried out in consultation with the supervisors and any external partners. A realistic milestone plan must be drawn up, so that the work can be completed, and the thesis submitted by the end of the contract period. The principal supervisor has general responsibility for ensuring that the plan is realistic.

    The progress of the research work must be reported in the annual progress report.

    • The PhD student will carry out an independent work of research that will lead to a scientific thesis of high academic quality. The student must learn critical thinking skills, how to disseminate knowledge, and academic collaboration


      • The required coursework of at least 30 credits, which offers comprehensive in-depth competence. The required coursework will be adapted to the PhD student's individual specialisation in the subject area.
      • Reading and keeping updated on literature within his/her field of specialisation.
      • The research work.
      • Work on the introductory chapter of the thesis, where the candidate has independently written an introduction that provides a theoretical and practical background for the research work, discusses and justifies the choice and use of research methods and puts his/her results in an international perspective.


      • Participating in planning and shaping the details of the project.
      • Supervision, where the PhD student actively benefits from the competence of the supervisory team.
      • Own research work.
      • Developing his/her own academic network outside the supervisory team.
      • Attending courses on research methods and writing, when required.
      • Working on publications and handling remarks from referees.
      • Working on the thesis.
      • Attending seminars where the ideas and results of other PhD students and researchers are discussed.


      • Taking a course on research ethics with a scope of at least 5 credits.
      • Co-supervision of master's-level students.
      • The trial lecture. The trial lecture requires familiarisation with a specified topic quickly (i.e. good time management, searching for / selecting / evaluating / processing information), and giving an oral presentation of this topic.
      • Presenting own research findings at national and international scientific conferences.
      • Giving lectures to students or being a teaching assistant within his/her area of competence.
      • Giving three seminars on the research work.

      The degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD) is awarded on the basis of:

      •  Approved completion of the required coursework
      • An approved doctoral thesis
      • An approved trial lecture on a specified topic
      • An approved public defence of the doctoral thesis (disputation)

      See section 12.


      The required coursework is evaluated using different forms of evaluation, such as an oral or written examination, submitting assignments or a term paper. The research committee shall approve the content of the doctoral work and the required coursework, and the progress is monitored by means of annual progress reports and the compulsory seminars (introductory seminar, midway assessment seminar and final seminar). Other input to learning outcomes does not need to be evaluated, but the principal supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the objectives are met through relevant measures, academic discussions and steps towards dissemination work within the period of the doctoral work.

      The thesis is an independent piece of work by the candidate. The candidate may apply for permission to submit it for evaluation without the supervisor's approval. This means that the quality of the supervisor and his/her remarks do not necessarily need to be taken into consideration.

Study advisor(s):

Trine Isaksen

Trine Isaksen

Senior Advisor