About the PhD programme

About the PhD programme

The PhD programme offers a stimulating and rewarding research environment.

As a PhD Research Scholar you will be a member of our faculty. You will be working closely with leading professors in your field, who have a significant impact on government policies, business practice and academic thought. You will be included in a thriving intellectual community, which enjoys a close collaboration with leading business schools worldwide. 

The purpose of our three or four year, fully funded programme, is to give the scholar a deepened and broadened theoretical and methodological knowledge, alongside the experience of producing a substantial piece of original scientific work.

The doctoral education includes training, including course participation combined with carrying out independent research.

The conferral of the PhD in economics and business administration signifies expertise in a major field of study.

The majority of our PhD graduates develop an academic career, but an increasing number take on leading positions in management, consultancy or in larger organisations.

Funding your PhD

  • PhD Research Scholar

    PhD Research Scholar

    To become a PhD Research Scholar you need to apply for an announced scholarship. As a PhD Research Scholar you are both a student and an employee, which means that you will receive a standard contract of employment and a personnel form before your employment period commences. “PhD Research Scholar” is the official job title.

    The annual salary for the PhD Research Scholar position is in 2022 500 800 NOK gross (equivalent to approximately €48 070 or US dollar 50 440). The salary ensures a fair standard of living in Norway, and is subject to Norwegian taxes and benefits, including health care provision and membership of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

    PhD - ill

    PhD research scholars cannot have paid employment outside NHH during the contract period, unless approval is given by the PhD programme/your department of affiliation. 

    You are expected to mainly reside in Bergen during their contract period. However, you may apply to be a visiting PhD Research Scholar at another school. In such case, you need a formal approval from your department. Note that you might be eligible for “additional scholarships”, please read below. 

    The scholarship normally lasts for a period of four years. A four-year scholarship requires the candidates to combine their studies with 25% work as a teaching and/or research assistant. This requirement averages out to less than 9 hours on a weekly basis. A three-year scholarship does not require such a commitment.

    This teaching and research experience during the four-year programme, gives our PhD Research Scholars valuable teaching/pedagogical/research experience for a further academic career. As a PhD Research Scholar you will assist faculty members to:

    • Provide research assistance for faculty members.
    • Teach selected sessions at master-level courses.
    • Grade assignments and exams of students in the masters programmes.
    • Supervise master-level students’ theses.

    If you submit your thesis before the expiring date of the contract of employment, you will be granted a bonus of 30 000 NOK. You will receive the compensation after you have received your conferment of the PhD degree. 

  • External PhD

    External PhD

    You may apply for enrolment to the PhD programme if you document external funding, e.g. from another academic institution.

    As an external PhD candidate you will be granted a PhD student/PhD candidate status and sign a PhD-contract with the PhD programme at NHH, but you do not have an employment contract with NHH.

  • Industrial PhD Candidate

    Industrial PhD Candidate

    You may apply for enrolment to the PhD programme through the industrial PhD scheme. An Industrial PhD is a doctoral education, which enables you to complete a PhD while still being employed in an enterprise.

    You will be enrolled in the NHH PhD programme, and still keep your employment status with your employer in the company/organisation. This PhD scheme gives opportunities for you and your employer to develop ideas rooted in the enterprise in close cooperation with our researchers in the specific field.   

    You will receive funding partly from your company/organisation and partly from the Norwegian Research Council (NFR). The company/organisation and NHH sign a common agreement prior to enrolment in the PhD programme.

    Please find more information about the industrial PhD programme at the Norwegian Research Council (NFR).

  • Additional Scholarships

    Additional Scholarships


    Den norske Revisorforening (DnR) - The Norwegian Institute of Public Accountants - has established a PhD scholarship fund in conjunction with the Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law to promote research activities within the fields of auditing and internal control. Scholarships of up to 1,000,000 NOK (approximately 120,000 euro or 156,000 US dollars) per candidate are awarded for a three year period.

    More information is available from the Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law


    In 2006 Norway was included as a country of destination for candidates in Pakistan’s Overseas Scholarship Scheme for PhD in Selected Fields. The scheme is financed and administrated by the Pakistani Higher Education Commission (HEC).

    HEC has made funding available for an unspecified number of scholarships per year for PhD students going to Norway. The scholarship is fully covered by HEC for a maximum of 60 months and includes funding for travel and subsistence in addition to other specified costs pertaining to the candidates’ stay at Norwegian institutions.

    In return, scholarship recipients undertake to return to Pakistan with a PhD degree at the end of the specified period, and to serve in Pakistan for a period of at least 5 years. Failure to return with a PhD degree, or to comply with any other of the requirements specified make it incumbent on the graduates to repay the scholarship.

    The disciplines covered by the programme include:

    • Accounting
    • Finance
    • Business Administration & Management
    • Economics


    The Fulbright programme is the largest U.S. international exchange programme offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. Applications are considered from well-qualified U.S. students who wish to study at NHH.

    Read more about the Fulbright programme


    U.S. citizens can apply for funding under the Stafford loans programme. Several previous NHH students have funded their studies this way.

    Read more about Stafford loans (The Federal School Code for NHH is G30298)


  • Signing the PhD contract

    Signing the PhD contract

    After admission to the programme you and your principal supervisor or mentor need to fill out the PhD-contract. The contract regulates the relationship between the doctoral student, the principal supervisor, the department of affiliation and any external financing institutions. The involved parties must sign the contract within the first three months of your studies.   

    The contract regulates the subject of the thesis, the contract period, the financing plan, the training component, supervision-related matters, place of work, the parties` mutual obligations in addition to those listed above.

    PhD Contract (PDF 280kb)

  • Be assigned a principal supervisor

    Be assigned a principal supervisor

    During the first semester, you will be assigned a main supervisor or a mentor from the department of admission, formalised through the PhD contract and regulated though the PhD regulations. 

    You will also be appointed at least one co-supervisor, and at least one associated with another institution. Supervision is one of the doctoral programme's leading educational tools. A long lasting, continuous contact with a qualified scientist is valuable for promoting the development of the PhD project

  • Completing the course work

    Completing the course work

    The course load must be equivalent to a minimum of 45 credits (ECTS), and it must include training in the philosophy of science and/or ethics. The PhD candidate must normally pass the training component within the second year of the programme.

    At the start of your study, your supervisor and you will select the most relevant courses for your research profile, and list them in the PhD agreement. Grades are either given on an A-F scale or Pass/Fail. All the mandatory and elective courses must normally be passed with a C (3,0) or better.

    Courses can be retaken once. If you make any changes to the plan of your course selections, you need to adjust and revise your PhD-agreement. The course work-load adds up to 1.5 semester of full time. If recommended by your supervisor/department, you may enrol at PhD courses at other institutions.

  • Submitting progress reports

    Submitting progress reports

    Why do I have to report on my progress?

    The feedback you give through the progress reports is used to consider steps towards to better follow you up, as well as to improveme the PhD programme in general. Running out of funds before submitting the thesis typically presents a major challenge for the completion of the degree, and once behind, it can be difficult to catch up. We therefore take delays very seriously and want to detect delays early in order to better support our PhD students to get on track. We want to ensure that PhD students have the necessary support and assistance every step along the way. 
    According to the Regulations for the PhD degree at NHH cf. § 3-2, the PhD student is obliged to submit an annual progress report by the deadline provided by the Section for Doctoral Education each year. If you started this fall, you are not expected to submit a progress report. 
    In your PhD agreement there is a list of milestones that are obligatory for all PhD students, in addition you might have additional individual milestones that are mandatory for you. 
    Mandatory milestones for all PhD students stated in the PhD agreement and the PhD regulations:
    • The PhD candidate must normally complete the training component within two years.
    • The PhD candidate must pass a mid-term evaluation (proposal defence). The proposal defence should normally be held in the third or the fourth semester.
    • The PhD candidate must complete a course in pedagogy (the course gives no credits) prior to submission of the thesis. 
    • Vice rector for research may add additional obligatory milestones in case of delayed progress. 
    Additional milestones are specified in Part B of the PhD agreement. Failure to reach the milestones constitute a breach of the candidate’s obligations. 

    How is my information used and who handles it?

    Along with other registered information (grades, sick leaves, etc.), progress reports are the basis for annual dialogue meetings between the Vice Rector for Research (as dean of the PhD programme) and the department you belong to (as your educator and employer) focusing on each individual PhD student’s progression, and when necessary, on measures for remedying delays.
    Please note that the report will be available to your main supervisor, the Department (employees working with administrative support for PhD or who have leadership responsibility towards PhD education e.g. PhD coordinator) and the Office of Research Administration /Vice Rector for Research. In case of special or sensitive circumstances you do not wish to disclose in the progress report, please contact the Office of Research Administration or the PhD coordinator/Head of Department directly.
    Remember that you may contact us at any time, should you have questions, suggestions or concerns!

    Details of the progress report process

    Step 1. Each year the PhD student, the main supervisor of the student submit individual progress reports to the Department. 

    Step 2. The PhD Coordinator of the different departments usually have individual meetings with the PhD students to discuss the individual progression and other matters. The department also submit individual reports on progress of each of their PhD students and any issues or measures required to the Vice Rector for Research. 

    Step 3.The  together with the Vice Rector for Research evaluates the information from the student, main supervisor and the department and prepare overviews to be discussed with the departments. At the dialogue meeting, the progression of the first year PhD students will also be discussed even though a progress report was not submitted. At the time of the meeting, results from the courses taken the previous fall will be available, therefore the progression of the first year students will also be discussed in the dialogue meeting that usually take place in February/March. 

    Step 4. The Vice Rector for Research, the Office of Research Administration and the Office of Human Resources hold dialogue meetings with the six departments. At these meetings, each student’s progress is assessed, and, if necessary, individual measures are implemented as needed. There is a strong focus on early detection of delays in progression and to quickly provide assistance to PhD students to get them back on track. 

  • Holding your proposal defence

    Holding your proposal defence

    You should normally submit your work for a proposal defence (also called paper defence or summer paper) during the third or fourth semester of your study.  In regards to the specialisation in finance, please find more information at the department's web site.

  • Submitting your thesis

    Submitting your thesis

    NHH will appoint an evaluation committee, which will finalise their recommendation within three months. The report states whether they find the thesis worthy of a public defense or not.

    Please submit your thesis in one pdf file to the section for doctoral education. 

    There is no requirement of using any particular format.

    If your PhD dissertation is a collection of papers, your dissertation should be written in the format given by the journal in which you have submitted/ planning to submit your papers. You select any of the journal formats used for your papers in the introductory part of your thesis.

    If your dissertation is a monography, you select one format given by a journal or publisher which is related to your field of research.

    Please use this application form when you submit your thesis (docx 87 kb)

    Submit the form and the thesis to phd@nhh.no.

    Procedures Doctoral Examination (pdf)

    For those emplyeed at NHH you will be granted a bonus of 30. 000 NOK if you submit your thesis before the expiring date of the contract of employment. You will receive the compensation after you have received your conferment of the PhD degree. 

  • Receiving the recommendation by the evaluation committee

    Receiving the recommendation by the evaluation committee

    The evaluation committee gives their recommendation on whether the thesis is worthy of being defended for a doctoral degree within three months. You may submit comments to their report to the vice rector for research/ dean of the doctoral programme within two weeks upon receiving the recommendation.

    The vice rector for research/ dean of the doctoral programme will, based upon the committee’s recommendation, decide whether the thesis is worthy of being defended. If the thesis is rejected, the candidate may resubmit the thesis for a new evaluation after six months, and within two years.   

    If your thesis is accepted for public defense, you will be asked to write an abstract in English (and Norwegian), and send it to the department of communications for use in press releases.

  • Defending your PhD in public

    Defending your PhD in public

    The public defence is normally organised within six months after submission of your thesis. The public defense consists of two parts; a trial lecture and a defense of your PhD thesis. Normally, they both take place on the same day.

    You will receive the topic of your trial lecture on email two weeks before the public defense. The trial lecture is a 45-minutes presentation on a given topic. The evaluation committee must approve the trial lecture before the public defence can take place.

  • Conferment and receiving your diploma

    Conferment and receiving your diploma

    After the public defence the evaluation committee submits a report to the Vice Rector for Research with their final recommendation of the doctoral dissertation and public defense. Based on the Vice Rector for Research’s report that the training component, the thesis and the doctoral degree examinations have been approved, the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PH.D.) will be conferred on the candidate. You will receive a conferment of your degree of Ph.D.

    The new doctors of the academic year will receive their diploma at the annual diploma ceremony together with students from the Bachelor and Master programme at NHH held in June. There will be a reception after the ceremony for the new doctors. An invitation to the event will be sent by email to the new doctors in the spring.

    The new doctors have the permission to wear the NHH doctoral ring and tie/jacket pin. For further information about the ring and the pin, please contact the Service Centre at NHH.

Learning outcomes

  • Knowledge


    • is in the forefront of knowledge within his/her academic field, and can challenge established knowledge and practice in the field
    • masters the field´s philosophy of science and methods
    • can evaluate the expediency and application of different methods and processes in research
  • Skills


    • can formulate and analyse problems
    • can plan and carry out research in accordance with international standards
  • General competence

    General competence

    • can identify relevant ethical issues and carry out his/her research with integrity
    • can present and discuss own research in relevant academic forums
    • can lecture in his/her own academic field at the university level