PhD Veterinary Science
PhD Programme 3 years
The PhD programme in Veterinary Science at Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
The objective of the PhD education is to give candidates knowledge, skills and expertise in line with the Norwegian qualifications framework.
On completion of the PhD programme in Veterinary Science, new doctors are expected to have in-depth knowledge in the chosen subject area within the PhD programme of study in Veterinary Science, and to be at the forefront of knowledge in their field of expertise within this discipline.
The PhD programme in Veterinary Science shall qualify candidates for research of international standard within the departments' 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.
The PhD programme shall qualify candidates for research work within veterinary science, including animal welfare, food safety, and "one health" problems, as well as other work where there are high demands on scientific insight regarding production animals, fish, and companion animals. The PhD programme seeks to meet the current and future needs for competence in order to conduct research, development and dissemination at universities, other public and private institutions, enterprises and organisations. The PhD candidate will complete an education that offers deeper and broader competence, based on a relevant master's degree or programme of professional study. The PhD candidate will carry out an independent work of research that will lead to a scientific thesis of high academic quality. The candidate must learn critical thinking skills, academic collaboration, and how to disseminate knowledge.
On completion of the PhD programme in Veterinary Science, new doctors are expected to:
- have in-depth knowledge in the chosen subject area within the PhD programme of study in Veterinary Science, and to be at the forefront of knowledge in their field of expertise within this discipline
- 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 Veterinary Science, new doctors are 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 master equipment normally used by researchers
- master relevant statistical methods and be able to assess the utility and limitations of different statistical methods
- have conducted original research that has led to new knowledge that can be published in the form of academic articles 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
GENERAL COMPETENCE NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF LIFE SCIENCES UNIVERSITY BOARD
On completion of the PhD programme in Veterinary Science, new doctors are expected to:
- be able to conduct their research with professional and ethical integrity, take into consideration animal welfare and environmental issues, and be able to identify new relevant ethical questions
- 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 livestock or aquaculture industry, the authorities and public administration, and to the general public through contact with the media
- 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
Contents and structure:
The PhD programme in Veterinary Science is based at the departments at Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. 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 about rules, application forms, and completion of the PhD programme of study here: https://www.nmbu.no/en/studies/study-options/phd/veterinary-sciences. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine encompasses a wide range of disciplines and comprehensive research activity in veterinary science and related biology subjects.
The departments at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine have their own PhD committee, which assists the four departments and performs quality assurance of the admission process, the implementation and progress of the doctoral studies, as well as the finalization and conclusion of the PhD programme.
All PhD candidates must attend three regular seminars at their department (See NMBU's Regulations section 9.1.): an introductory seminar, a midway assessment seminar about 1.5-2 years into the PhD education, and a final seminar about 6 months before submitting the doctoral thesis. The midway assessment seminar must be carried out in accordance with section 9.2 of NMBU's Regulations. The seminars are considered part of the required coursework and the quality assurance of the PhD programme of study, and will give the candidates useful feedback for the work ahead.
PhD candidates must submit annual progress reports on a standard form by 15 January every year. Deviations from the plan must be explained. The requirement of a progress report is set out in section 9.1 of NMBU's Regulations. PhD candidates and supervisors share responsibility for progress.
RESEARCH WORK IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROGRAMME OF STUDY
The research work shall be an independent, scientific work that fulfils international standards and is of high academic quality (section 10 of NMBU's Regulations). 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.
SUPPORT FUNCTIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has its own PhD committee. The PhD committee shall develop and strengthen the PhD education at the Faculty. In addition, the PhD committee assists the four departments with execution of the PhD education.
The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine's IT staff will buy computers for the PhD candidates, offer support, and provide access to software, printers and the Internet.
The PhD candidates will have office space at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The principal supervisor will arrange for space in the laboratory when this is required.
THESIS AND PUBLIC DEFENCE
The thesis shall 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 shall contribute to the development of new knowledge in the chosen field and must be of such quality as to qualify for publication as a part of the scientific literature in the field (section 10 of NMBU's Regulations).
The doctoral thesis normally consists of three academic articles that can be published in scientific journals. The articles should be published or accepted for publication before submitting the thesis, but this often is not realistic within a three-year period. However, the articles must as a minimum have the same standard as a manuscript that is submitted to a journal for the first time. The PhD candidate must be the lead author of at least two of the articles. An extended abstract must also be written, in which the PhD candidate displays thorough knowledge of the field, and an ability to synthesise scientific findings and discussions from different articles. The PhD candidate shall write this section on his/her own. The thesis must also be written and submitted in accordance with the rules in sections 10 and 13.1 of NMBU's Regulations, and authorship declarations must be enclosed for each scientific article.
The public defence will begin with a trial lecture on a topic that is assigned to the PhD candidate 10 working days in advance. The lecture must last 45 minutes, and be of a standard that corresponds to a lecture for master's degree students in the subject. Two external opponents will then critically review the thesis, and assess the candidate's responses. The evaluation and the work of the evaluation committee must comply with the rules in sections 12 and 15 of NMBU's Regulations.
MEANS OF ACQUIRING THE KNOWLEDGE
- The required coursework of at least 30 academic credits, which offers comprehensive in-depth competence.
- Reading and keeping updated on literature within his/her field of specialisation.
- The research work.
- Work on the extended abstract 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 the results as a whole in an international perspective.
MEANS OF ACQUIRING THE SKILLS
- Participating in planning and shaping the PhD project in detail and, if applicable, participating in the planning of new project applications.
- Supervision and own research, where the PhD candidate actively benefits from the competence of the supervisory team.
- Developing his/her own international academic network outside the supervisory team.
- Attending courses on research methods and writing, when required.
- Working on publications, submissions to journals, handling of remarks from referees, and working on the thesis.
- Participating in peer review of scientific manuscripts, giving feedback on colleagues' manuscripts, and attending seminars where the ideas and results of other PhD candidates and researchers are discussed.
MEANS OF ACHIEVING GENERAL COMPETENCE
- Taking a course on research ethics of a scope of at least 5 credits.
- Supervision and own research.
- Working on publications and the thesis.
- The trial lecture, by familiarising him/herself with a specified topic quickly, time management, searching for/selecting/evaluating/processing information, and giving an oral presentation of the specified topic.
- Presenting own research findings at national and international scientific conferences.
- Giving lectures at national academic meetings.
- Give interviews on the radio, TV, newspapers, other journals or web sites.
As part of the application, the PhD candidate must complete an individual education plan. The plan must contain subjects at the PhD or Master's level and make up a total of 30 ECTS credits.
The compulsory courses at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are as follows:
- VET400 - Introduction to ethical and philosophical perspectives in biomedical research (5 ECTS)
- VET420 - Midterm course: Writing the PhD thesis (2 ECTS)
- VET421 - Midterm evaluation (3 ECTS)
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 candidate adequate academic breadth, depth, and internal academic context. The PhD committee must approve the required coursework and ensure that the courses are relevant, and as a whole offer a cohesive education at an adequate level.
The required coursework is specific to each subject area, and consists of a combination of different courses in this field. The required coursework will be adapted to the PhD candidate's individual specialisation in the subject area, based on his/her existing competence. There therefore are no scientific courses that are formally compulsory, other than the general courses already mentioned. Candidates are free to take courses in the order that best suits their timeline of activities.
The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine offers several courses at the doctoral level. Other courses at the doctoral level at NMBU should also be considered.
Another way of earning credits during the required coursework is to take courses at the NOVA Postgraduate School or another external institution. It is also possible to apply for approval of master's-level courses as part of the doctorate. The PhD candidate may carry out supervised self-study in areas in which there are no relevant courses (special syllabus). All courses and special syllabus that are part of the required coursework must have a lecturer/supervisor in charge, and the courses must be evaluated by an external examiner.
The candidate's plan for carrying out the required coursework will be approved in accordance with the following guidelines for calculating credits:
- Periods of study abroad lasting at least 2 weeks are equal to 1,5 credits. A maximum of 3 credits are awarded.
- Special syllabus, upon submission of an application. In order to have the syllabus approved as part of the required coursework, an examination will be held. A maximum of 6 credits are awarded.
- A presentation (oral or poster) at a national or international conference equals 1 ECTS. Maximum 4 ECTS.
No credit will be awarded for work corresponding to less than 1.5 credits or credits for education that is part of a first degree. One exception is coursework in connection with the veterinary studies research programme the research option at the Faculty of Veterinary Science. The Faculty reserves the right to calculate credits independently of weighting at other institutions.
Admission to one of the university's PhD progammes is formalised by a written contract signed by the PhD candidate, his/her supervisors, the department and any external party (FORM 1.2). If changes are made to the required coursework, an application must be submitted for changes to the required coursework.
The degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD) is conferred 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 of NMBU's Regulations.
FORMS OF EVALUATION
The required coursework is evaluated using different forms of evaluation, such as an oral or written examination, submitting assignments or a semester paper. The department head shall approve the content of the doctoral work and the required coursework. The department head also monitors progress by means of the 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 time frame of the doctoral work.
See NMBU's Regulations § 5 and 6
It is not possible to apply for the PhD education without being able to secure and document full funding for the entire period of admission. Therefore, most applicants to a PhD programme at NMBU, first apply for a position as a research fellow (within a relevant dicipline/field). The best option is to look for vacant research fellow positions at: https://www.nmbu.no/en/about-nmbu/positions
To be admitted to the PhD programme in Veterinary Science, an applicant must have an academically relevant education. The applicant must document a strong academic background from previous studies. The Faculty has adopted further admission requirements. These criteria are openly available on the programme's website.
The following educations are relevant for admittance:
- a cand.med.vet. degree or an equivalent education from a foreign institution
- a relevant five-year master's degree programme
- other relevant programme of professional study from a national educational institution or equivalent education from a foreign educational institution.
Documented proficiency in written and oral English is required.
Following a recommendation from the PhD council, the faculty may stipulate that applicants must complete special courses and/or pass a special test prior to admission.
An application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD programme.
Applicants with funding from a source other than a PhD position at NMBU must send NMBU 1.1 Application for admission to the PhD advisors (firstname.lastname@example.org) within two months of the start date for funding of the PhD education.
The application must contain:
- A copy of original diploma for master's degree or equivalent
- Documented proficiency in both written and oral English (see section 5.2 of NMBU's Regulations)
- Copy of relevant pages of international passport (non-Norwegians)
- Documentation of full funding for the whole admission period, cf. Section 5-3; a funding plan and agreement(s) on external funding
- A project outline (approximately 1-3 pages) including an academic description of the project and a progress plan
- A description of any special needs for academic and material resources, such as access to infrastructure required to carry out the project and, if relevant, an agreement concerning this with an external party.
- Proposed supervisors and affiliation to an academic environment
- Information about the planned main place of work
- Information about any relevant matters relating to intellectual property rights.
- An account for possible legal or ethical issues that the project might give rise to
- Information about whether the project is dependent on permission from research ethics committees, permission to process personal data or other permissions
Admission may be made conditional upon:
- funding, admission capacity, supplementary education and satisfaction of infrastructure requirements
- agreement being reached on any intellectual property rights issues when the contract is signed (see section 6.1 of NMBU's PhD Regulations)
The school operates rolling admissions throughout the year. The application will be reviewed by the PhD council representative at each department who, together with the department head, determine whether it can be granted. The Chair of the PhD council following an overall assessment of the application sends out admission decisions. A minimum of two supervisors will be appointed in the admission letter. The duration of the contract must be stipulated with a start date and an end date. The start date is the same as the start date of funding. Any extension of the contract period must be related to employee rights or must be clarified in relation to the candidate's funding base.
Admission to the PhD programme is formalised in a written agreement (NMBU 1.2 PhD contract), accompanied by an individual education plan (NMBU 1.3 Education Plan) and a data management plan no later than four months after the start-up date. The PhD contract, the individual education plan and the data management plan must be filled in by the PhD candidate in cooperation with the supervisors.
Cooperation with other institutions:
The PhD programme in Veterinary Science is a doctoral programme that will educate independent researchers of international calibre in conjunction with national and international research communities. Each PhD candidate is assigned a principal supervisor and one or more academic co-supervisors. Supervisors are encouraged to form networks that include highly competent co-supervisors from foreign universities.
The academic communities at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine participate extensively in international research projects, and international experts in the different fields participate in our projects. Each principal supervisor has a professional network that includes foreign researchers. They are actively brought into PhD projects when relevant, so that the PhD candidate also develops an international network during their PhD education. Almost all PhD candidates at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine attend international conferences, which helps them expand their professional networks.
RESEARCH COMMUNITY LINKED TO THE PROGRAMME OF STUDY
A PhD candidate's principal supervisors are normally appointed from among the department's associate professors and professors (including adjunct positions). In exceptional cases Faculty of Veterinary Medicine can admit external employees as principal supervisors, in such cases there shall be an arrangement between the external institution and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Other researchers with relevant expertise can be appointed as co-supervisors, also those who come from other national or international institutions.
The principal supervisor must have a doctoral degree or equivalent competence; i.e. be an associate professor or professor, possibly an associate professor II or Professor II). In special cases, permanent employees in research positions who hold a doctoral degree or equivalent competence may serve as a principal supervisor. All supervisors must have a doctoral degree or equivalent academic competence. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine does not as yet require formal supervisor competence, but all (recent) associate professors and professors who are permanent employees must have completed pedagogical training.