Regulations for the Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D.) degree at NHH

Regulations for the Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D.) degree at NHH

Adopted by the Executive Board of NHH on 26 April 2007. Changes adopted by the Executive Board on 9 February 2010 pursuant to the Act of 1 April 2005 relating to Universities and Colleges, sections 3-3, 3-6, 3-7, 3-9, 3-10, and 3-11.

On 7 December 2017 the Board at NHH approved a new regulations for the ph.d. degree. The new regulations is currently not available in English.

Chapter 1 General rules

Section 1-1. Scope

These regulations apply to the organised doctoral programme leading to a Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D.) degree at NHH.

Section 1-2. Aim

The aim of the doctoral degree programme is to qualify candidates for research activities at a high international academic level and other work in the international community requiring a high level of scientific insight. The programme shall conclude with independent research work in the form of a scientific thesis of a high academic standard.

As the basis for work on their theses, doctoral students shall complete advanced theoretical and methodological training in order to acquire deeper and broader insight into their field of study and place this field in a broader perspective. In addition, the student shall undergo training in the dissemination of academic work.

Section 1-3. Responsibility for the doctoral degree programme

The Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) bears the overall responsibility for the doctoral degree programme, which includes responsibility for ensuring that the academic content, pedagogical methods and resources of the programme are adapted in the best way possible to meet the competence requirements the programme is intended to fulfil. The PDU supervises, coordinates and approves the departments' instruction and supervision activities. The PDU can initiate changes in the courses offered, as well as in instruction and examination methods. The Programme Board bears the overall responsibility for the quality assurance of the programme.

The departments have academic responsibility for the provision of instruction and supervision.

Section 1-4. Content of the doctoral degree programme

The doctoral degree programme consists primarily of active, independent research work under supervision.

The doctoral degree programme consists of:

  • Independent research work (scientific thesis) in cooperation with supervisors and other researchers
  • Active participation in national and international research communities
  • An approved training component

Chapter 2 Admission

Section 2-1. Applicants' formal qualifications

To be admitted to the doctoral degree programme, applicants must have completed an education equivalent to a five-year Master's degree programme in the Norwegian education system. The education must be academically relevant to the applicant's doctoral degree programme.

In the assessment of applications for admission to the doctoral degree programme, the applicant’s grade point average is calculated on the basis of the five-year degree. The grade point average should normally be equivalent to the grade B (4,0) or better in the Norwegian education system. The requirement of the grade B also pertains to the thesis from the Master’s degree programme.

The Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) may grant exemptions from the admission requirements for applicants who seek admission to certain components of the programme.

Section 2-2. Contents of the application

The application should provide the best possible basis for assessing the applicant's qualifications and ability to complete the doctoral degree programme.

Applications for admission should normally include:

  • Documentation of previous education and other academic background
  • A tentative project description with details of the research topic and issues to be addressed
  • A plan for the training component of the doctoral degree programme
  • Any plans for sojourns at other, including foreign, research institutions or establishments
  • A schedule for completion of the programme
  • Any wishes concerning supervisor(s) to be included in the supervisory committee
  • Financing plan
  • Information on any intellectual property right restrictions

Applications for permission to use a language other than English for the thesis, trial lecture and public defence proceedings must be submitted with the application for admission.

Section 2-3. Admission procedure

Supplementary regulations relating to application deadlines, admission requirements, and the processing and ranking of applications for admission will be stipulated by the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) and be included in the amendments to these regulations.

Section 2-4. Admission decisions

Admission decisions are based on an overall assessment of applications.
Admissions can be made subject to the financing, admission capacity, supervision capacity, additional educational qualifications and intellectual property agreements.
Normally, decisions on admission will include the appointment of a principal supervisor and confirm the supervision period.

Section 2-5. Contract

Students who have been admitted to the organised doctoral degree programme must sign a written contract regulating the relationship between the doctoral student, the principal supervisor, the department to which the student will be affiliated, and any external financing institutions.

The contract shall regulate:

  • the subject of the thesis
  • the contract period
  • the financing plan
  • the training component, including grade requirements
  • supervision-related matters
  • reporting to the department/milestones
  • the place of work
  • the parties' mutual rights and obligations in addition to those listed above

The Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) shall approve the contract before it is signed by the parties. Any subsequent amendments of the contract shall be submitted to the PDU for approval.

The parties to the contract can present allegations concerning breach of contract to the PDU. PDU will consider the claims and make a decision on the matter.

Chapter 3 Doctoral degree programme

Section 3-1. Study right

The doctoral degree programme shall normally be organised so that it can be completed within an effective study period of three years.

The right to study is limited to a period of six years from admission to submission of the thesis. In special cases, and based on a recommendation from the department, the PDU can decide that the right to study should be prolonged.

Section 3-2. Leaves of absence, sickness absence and parental leave

Any leave of absence due to childbirth, adoption or prolonged illness must be documented to the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU), and will constitute grounds for an extension of the study period.

Normally, leave of absence for other reasons than the ones listed above will not be granted for periods exceeding one year. Applications for leave of absence for other reasons than the ones listed above will be determined by the PDU.

Section 3-3. Training component

The training component shall include the academic training that is desirable for work on the student's thesis and to qualify the student for professions requiring a high level of scientific insight. The training component must be equivalent to a minimum of 45 ECTS credits, and it must include training in the philosophy of science and ethics.

The school is responsible for giving all doctoral students training at an advanced scientific level. If the school cannot provide the entire training component itself, it must arrange for the student to participate in corresponding training at another institution offering recognised doctoral degree training.

The training may consist of regular lectures or seminars, short intensive gatherings, or any other type of training approved by the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU). In instances where no suitable course is available, a supervised individual self-study programme may be approved as part of the course programme.

All applicants admitted to the doctoral degree programme must follow the training programme. The students must document that they have acquired the necessary academic knowledge. Such documentation can be provided in the form of obligatory practical exercises, written or oral examinations, lectures, seminar presentations, written work, or by any other means approved by the PDU. The students are required to obtain certain grades in the training component. The grade requirements are stipulated in the contract, cf. section 2-5.

A student is normally allowed two examination attempts for doctoral degree courses. Applications for further attempts will be handled in accordance with the ”Regulations for examinations at NHH (full-time programmes)” section 14,2.

The Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) may grant exemptions from participation in parts of the training programme if the corresponding requirements have been fulfilled at our own or another institution providing organised doctoral degree training.

The training component must be completed and approved prior to submission of the thesis.

Section 3-4. Supervision

The Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) shall appoint a supervisory committee based on the department's proposal. The principal supervisor shall chair the supervisory committee. The committee shall consist of at least one person in addition to the principal supervisor. Members of the committee shall have a doctorate or equivalent academic qualifications. At least one member of the committee shall be an employee of the NHH. At least one member of the committee must be a person who is not employed by NHH in a full-time position.

If it is desirable or necessary to change the principal supervisor/supervisory committee, a proposal must be submitted to the PDU with the department’s recommendation. PDU will make a decision on the matter.

The student cannot expect supervision after the end of the ordinary right to study, cf. section 3-1, first paragraph. The department may decide to extend the supervision period in special cases. The department should inform the PDU on a decision to prolong the supervision period.

Section 3-5. Progress

The doctoral degree contract will contain milestones. The department is responsible for monitoring that the student reaches the determined milestones.

If agreements on milestones are not kept, the department can submit the matter to the PDU. The PDU will consider whether material breach of contract has taken place and make a decision.
Both the supervisor and the doctoral student are obliged to submit annual progress reports.

Section 3-6. Termination of the right to study

The PDU can, independently or based on a recommendation from the department, decide that the student will forfeit the right to continue the doctoral programme at NHH.

Decisions to terminate the right to study can be made on the following basis:

  • Repeated material breach by the student of his/her duties concerning disclosure, follow-up or reporting.
  • A material delay in the progress of the research project of a kind giving rise to justified doubt as to whether the student will be able to complete the project within the stipulated deadline. In order for this to constitute grounds for enforced termination, the delay must be due to factors under the student’s control.
  • A material delay in the training component, due to factors under the student’s control.
  • Violation of the research-ethical rules that apply to the field of study.
  • Behaviour on the part of a student that is in breach of the trust which must exist between the school and the student during completion of the programme, including criminal acts in connection with the doctoral programme.
  • This list is not exhaustive.

If the doctoral student is employed by the school, then the right of study can only be terminated if the requirements for dismissal set out in the Civil Service Act are met.

The doctoral student and the institution may agree to terminate a student’s participation in a doctoral programme prior to the agreed upon termination date. In the event of voluntary termination, all questions regarding employment, funding, rights to use of research results, etc shall be settled in a termination agreement.

If voluntary termination is due to a doctoral student’s request to change projects or transfer to another doctoral programme, the student is required to reapply for admission to the programme on the basis of the new project. A decision to transfer to a Dr. philos. degree (the independent doctorate) shall be considered voluntary termination.

Chapter 4 The thesis

Section 4-1. Thesis requirements

Theses shall represent independent scientific work of a high academic standard that meets the international publication standards within the subject area with respect to the formulation of the issues raised, definition of concepts, methodological and theoretical basis, documentation and form of presentation.

A thesis can be a self-contained piece of work or the continuation of previous work. Under normal circumstances, only work published during the past five (5) years prior to submission of a thesis may be included as part of the thesis.

Part of a joint work may be accepted for evaluation, and it may also be accepted as one of several works, provided it represents an independent, identifiable contribution. In such cases, declarations shall be obtained from all the co-authors and others who have followed the work, so that the contribution of the doctoral candidate is identified and documented.

Several shorter works may be accepted as part of a doctoral thesis when they make up a collective whole based on their content, provided that the doctoral candidate's independent contribution can be identified and documented. In addition to the individual parts, a summary explaining the overall content of the thesis shall be prepared.

Theses must be written in English, unless special permission has been granted to write a thesis in another language, cf. section 2-2.

Section 4-2. Unacceptable work

Work accepted as the basis for previous examinations is not admissible for evaluation unless the work constitutes only a minor part of a thesis consisting of several connected works.

Work may not be accepted for individual evaluation if it has previously been accepted as a thesis at second degree level or as a thesis or dissertation for a Master’s, magister or licentiate degree, unless the work constitutes only a minor part of a thesis consisting of several connected works.

Work previously evaluated for a doctoral degree at another Norwegian or foreign institution cannot be accepted for evaluation, even if the work is submitted in a revised version.

Section 4-3. Resubmission

In cases where a thesis is not approved, a new piece of work or the original thesis in a revised version cannot be submitted for new evaluation until six (6) months after the decision to reject the thesis was made. The final deadline for submitting a thesis for new evaluation is two (2) years from the date when the decision to reject the thesis was made.

A new evaluation may be made only once. As far as possible, a thesis that has been resubmitted should be evaluated by the original evaluation committee,

Section 4-4. Public availability

The thesis shall be made publicly available no later than 14 days prior to the public defence.
No restrictions may be placed on the release or publication of a doctoral degree thesis with the exception of a postponement of the date of release or publication that is agreed on in advance. Such a postponement may be made when the doctoral degree programme is financed in part or entirely by an external party, so that the external party can decide on patenting or commercialisation. The external party may not stipulate that all or part of the doctoral degree thesis shall not be released or published.

Section 4-5. Right to commercial use of own results

Candidates’ right to use their own results commercially is governed by general rules in this area unless other arrangements have been agreed upon.

Chapter 5 Evaluation

Section 5-1. Evaluation

Doctoral degrees are awarded on the basis of an approved:

  • training component,
  • thesis,
  • trial lecture on a prescribed topic and
  • defence of the thesis at public defence

Section 5-2. Submission

The application for evaluation of a thesis shall be submitted to the PDU. Documentation on the completion and approval of the training component, as well as a written copy and an electronic version of the thesis shall be submitted along with the application.

If the thesis is accepted for defence, the student is required to submit an abstract in English and in Norwegian that will be used in the invitation to the public defence, as well as a brief summary in Norwegian that can serve as a press release.

The thesis shall be submitted in a standardised format determined by NHH.

Section 5-3. Appointment of an evaluation committee

To evaluate the thesis, trial lecture and defence of the thesis, an expert evaluation committee consisting of at least three members shall be appointed by the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) based on a proposal from the relevant department.

The committee shall be composed so that:

  • both genders are represented whenever possible,
  • at least one of the members has no affiliation with NHH,
  • at least one of the members is recruited from a foreign institution and
  • all the members have a doctorate or equivalent academic qualification

A chairman shall be appointed from among the committee members by the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) based on a proposal from the relevant department.

The appointed principal supervisor and others who have made a significant contribution to the thesis may not be a member of or chair the evaluation committee. The remaining members of the supervisory committee should not be members of the evaluation committee if at all possible.

The doctoral candidate shall be notified of the composition of the committee.

Chapter 6 The work of the evaluation committee

Section 6-1. Withdrawal and reworking

A thesis that has been submitted may not be withdrawn until a final decision has been made as to whether it is worthy of being defended for a doctoral degree. The doctoral candidate may nevertheless correct formal errors in the thesis after submission. In such case, a list of the corrections shall be submitted no later than one (1) month prior to the public defence.

Section 6-2. Duty of disclosure

The principal supervisor may be summoned to meetings of the evaluation committee to explain the supervision provided and the work on the thesis.

The committee may demand that the doctoral candidate's source material be submitted, as well as additional or clarifying information.

Section 6-3. Recommendation

The committee shall submit a recommendation on whether the work is worthy of being defended for a doctoral degree. Grounds shall be given for the conclusions in the recommendation and any dissent.

The evaluation committee's recommendation shall be issued no later than three (3) months after the committee receives the thesis, unless the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) has decided otherwise.

The evaluation committee's recommendation, including any dissent and individual statements, shall be submitted to the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) through the Student and Academic Affairs Office, which will forward the recommendation and statements as soon as possible to the doctoral candidate and to the head of the department to which the candidate has been affiliated. The doctoral candidate shall be given a time limit of two (2) weeks to submit written comments on the recommendation. If the doctoral candidate does not wish to submit any written comments, the PDU shall be notified of this as soon as possible.

Chapter 7 The recommendation and deliberations of the evaluation committee, the public defence and diploma/certificate

Section 7-1. Procedure in the case of a unanimous recommendation

A unanimous committee recommendation shall be approved, provided a majority of the members of the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) vote for approval. If a majority finds, in spite of a unanimous committee report, that there are grounds for doubting whether a thesis should be approved or not, the PDU shall seek further clarification from the evaluation committee or appoint two new experts to make individual statements on the thesis. The doctoral candidate's comments shall be enclosed. After this, the PDU shall decide itself on the matter on the basis of the recommendation and statements obtained.

The doctoral candidate shall be notified of the results of this procedure.

Section 7-2. Procedure in the case of a divided recommendation

If there are dissenting opinions in the committee, the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) may itself make a decision on the matter without obtaining any further evaluation, or it may seek further clarification from the evaluation committee, or appoint two new experts to make individual statements on the thesis. The doctoral candidate's comments shall be enclosed. After this the PDU shall decide itself on the matter on the basis of the recommendation and statements obtained.

The doctoral candidate shall be notified of the results of the procedure.

Section 7-3. Trial lecture and public defence

If the work is found to be worthy of being defended for a doctoral degree, the doctoral degree programme is concluded with a public trial lecture on a prescribed topic and a public defence.

The topic of the trial lecture on a prescribed topic shall be determined by the evaluation committee and announced to the candidate two (2) weeks prior to the lecture. The Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) may stipulate another time limit on application from the doctoral candidate.

The trial lecture shall be held prior to the public defence. If the evaluation committee finds that the trial lecture is acceptable, the doctoral candidate shall defend his or her doctoral work at a public defence.

The public defence shall normally be held within six (6) months after the thesis was submitted for evaluation. The time and place for the public defence shall be announced well in advance along with information about how the thesis has been made publicly available.

The trial lecture and public defence must be conducted in the same language that the thesis is written in, unless special permission to use another language has been granted by the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU), cf. section 2-2.

The public defence is chaired by the Dean or a person authorised by the Dean. The public defence takes place as a discussion of the thesis between the members of the evaluation committee and the doctoral candidate. The chair of the public defence proceedings shall give a brief account of the submission and evaluation of the thesis, and the trial lecture. The doctoral candidate then gives a brief account of the purpose and results of the scientific study. The chair of the public defence proceedings shall decide the order and division of duties between the doctoral candidate and opponents in consultation with the opponents. Any other persons present who wish to speak as opponents ex auditorio must give notice to the chairman during the defence no later than the time limit he has set for giving such notice.

As soon as possible and no later than two (2) weeks after the public defence, the evaluation committee shall submit a report to the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU), in which it gives an account of its evaluation of the thesis, trial lecture and defence of the thesis. The report must conclude whether the examinations as a whole are deemed to be approved or not approved.

Section 7-4. New evaluation

If the trial lecture is not approved, a new evaluation can be made no earlier than three (3) months after the decision not to approve the trial lecture is made.

If the public defence is not approved, a new evaluation can be made no earlier than six (6) months after the decision not to approve the public defence is made. If the public defence is not approved, the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) can give the candidate an opportunity to submit the thesis in a revised form, cf. section 4-3.

New examinations shall be evaluated by the original evaluation committee whenever possible.

Section 7-5. Conferment and diploma/certificate

When the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) has approved the training, thesis, trial lecture and public defence, the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) is conferred on the doctoral candidate. The PDU advises the school's Executive Board of the doctoral degrees conferred twice a year.

A diploma and certificate are issued by the school. The certificate must state the title of the thesis and the topic of the trial lecture, and contain information that the training programme completed by the doctoral candidate has been approved.

Chapter 8. Appeal procedure

Section 8-1. Appeals

Individual decisions by the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) can be appealed. Appeals shall be submitted to The Appeals Committee for NHH, if PDU upholds its decision. Appeals will be processed in accordance with the Public Administration Act.

If the Doctoral Programme Board (PDU) or The Appeals Committee finds that it is justified, a committee or individual persons may be appointed to undertake an evaluation of the decision made and the underlying criteria, or to make a new or supplemental expert evaluation.

Chapter 9 Entry into force

Section 9-1. Entry into force

These regulations enter into force with immediate effect and replace previous regulations.