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 will be approximately NOK 550 000 (equivalent to approximately EUR 46 350 or USD 50 200) as of August 2024. Thereafter, annual adjustment of minimum 3%.

    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 can document external funding, from another norwegian academic institution.

    Furthermore, you must be found qualified to enter our PhD programme

    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 and public sector PhD Candidate

    Industrial and public sector PhD Candidate

    The Research Council has established the Industrial and Public Sector PhD Scheme to boost research efforts and long-term competence-building for Norwegian trade and industry through the recruitment of doctoral candidates.

    Under the Industrial and Public Sector PhD scheme may apply for support for a period for an employee seeking to peruse an ordinary doctoral degree. The Research council support is limited to maximum 50 per cent of total project costs. The rates are adjusted on an annual basis and may therefore change at the beginning of a new year.

    Firstly, you must be found qualified to enter our PhD programme, then you and the company must apply to The Research council for funding. The company/organisation and NHH sign a common agreement prior to enrolment in the PhD programme.

Steps in the programme

  • Signing the PhD contract

    Signing the PhD contract

    Admission to the PhD programme is formalised in a written PhD contract signed by the PhD candidates, the supervisor(s), NHH and any external parties.

    Within the three first months of your studies, you and your principal supervisor or mentor need to fill out the PhD contract and submit it to the department.

    The contract regulates the parties’ rights and obligations which includes e.g. the contract period, requirements relating to the training component, progress, milestones, and supervision-related matters. 

    PhD Contract (PDF 280kb)

  • Be assigned a principal supervisor

    Be assigned a principal supervisor

    During the first semester, you will be appointed a principal supervisor or a mentor from the department where you are affiliated, which is formalised in the PhD contract regulated by the PhD regulations. 

    A supervision committee consisting of at least two members will be appointed. At least one member of the committee must be a NHH employee and at least one member should be a person not employed by NHH in a full-time position. 

    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

  • Updating the PhD contract

    Updating the PhD contract

    During your PhD period you may have to update or revise your PhD contract. The most common changes are to replace/add new courses, add co-supervisor(s), and change your principal supervisor.

    Before you make any changes to your contract, please consult with and obtain the approval from your principal supervisor and PhD coordinator. Changes in part A of the PhD contract must also be approved by the Vice Rector for Research. This approval is obtained after the Vice Rector for Research has received a signed copy of the revised PhD contract.

    Any changes or additions to the contract during the period covered by the contract are to be documented by using the form “Revision to the original PhD contract”.

    Replace/add new courses in your PhD contract

    If you plan to take courses that are not stated in your current contract, these will normally be added to Part B of your contract.  

    Changes in part A of the PhD contract must be approved by the Vice Rector for Research. Note that courses in Part A can normally only be replaced by equivalent courses.

    If recommended by your supervisor/department, you may partake in PhD courses at other institutions. Should these courses not award any ECTS, then it is necessary to obtain prior approval from the Vice Rector for Research, regardless of whether these courses are in Part A or Part B of your contract. The department must estimate how many ECTS should be awarded.

    Changes to your supervision committee

    In the event that you are not appointed a co-supervisor when you first sign your PhD contract, it is required to submit the “Revision to the original PhD contract” form once a co-supervisor(s) has been appointed. Appointment of co-supervisor(s) are added to Part B of your contract.  

    If it is desirable or necessary to replace the principal supervisor, the PhD candidate and the principal supervisor may individually contact the department (PhD coordinator or Head of department) with such a request. The appointment of a new principal supervisor must be approved by the Vice Rector for Research after recommendation from the department.

    The principal supervisor may not withdraw until a new principal supervisor has been appointed. Appointment of a new principal supervisor is changed in Part A of your contract.

  • Completing the training component

    Completing the training component

    The PhD candidate must normally complete and pass the training component by the fourth semester of the programme. PhD candidates are normally required to achieve no less than grade “C” (on an AF scale or equivalent) or “Pass” in any course. Courses can be retaken once. 
    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 including mandatory courses for your specialisation, and list them in the PhD contract. 
    Any changes or additions to the contract during the period covered by the contract are to be documented by using the form “Revision to the original PhD contract”. The course work-load adds up to 1.5 semester of full time. If recommended by your supervisor/department, you may enroll 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 improve 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

    According to the PhD regulations section 3-3-, all PhD students must pass a midway evaluation (also known as “proposal defence”, “paper defence” or “summer paper defence”) by the fourth semester. The department is responsible for organizing the midway evaluation. 
    At the midway evaluation the PhD student presents a research proposal or research paper. This should include descriptions of research topics, research questions, theories and methods for the proposal/paper. The department may decide that a written draft should be submitted in advance. 

    In regards to the specialisation in finance, please find more information at the department's web site.

  • Research stay abroad

    Research stay abroad

    A stay abroad during your PhD period can be enriching in many ways. Such a stay usually lasts between 3 months and one year and is decided in dialogue with your supervisor(s) and the PhD coordinator at your department.

    Start discussing the issue with your supervisor(s) and PhD coordinator early to determine when an appropriate time is for such a stay, where you should go and what you want to achieve with the research stay. Often the research stay abroad takes place during the later stages of your PhD period.  

    The research stay should include participation in some form of academic activities. This could be co-writing of papers and work with a co-supervisor, as well as formal activities organized by the host institution.

    Normally funding is provided through NHH funds.

    The hosting institution may also have formal requirements for visiting scholars. Don’t forget that formal processes, for instance related to visas, may take a lot of time, so start your planning early.  

  • Submitting your thesis

    Submitting your thesis

    For extended information about the process of submission of your thesis and public defence, please consult the Procedures for Doctoral Examination (pdf)
    When the supervisor indicates that the candidate is ready to submit his/her thesis, the candidate is requested to notify the department and the PhD Office that he/she shortly will be submitting his/her thesis. Once the thesis is submitted, it cannot be withdrawn until a final decision has been made as to whether it is worthy of a public defence for a PhD degree.
    The thesis is submitted as one pdf file to phd@nhh.no, in addition to an application for evaluation and co-authorship declarations.  
    There is no requirement of using any particular format.
    If your PhD thesis is a collection of papers, your thesis 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 thesis is a monography, you select one format given by a journal or publisher which is related to your field of research.
    NHH will appoint an evaluation committee to evaluate your thesis. The evaluation committee normally have aa maximum of three months to write and submit an evaluation report of the thesis. The report states whether they find the thesis worthy of a public defense or not.
    If you submit your thesis before the end 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. 
  • 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 within two weeks upon receiving the recommendation.

    The vice rector for research 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 the committees recomends minor revisions and this is granted, the candidate is normally given three months to revice the thesis. 

    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.
    Trial lecture
    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.
    Public defence
    The public defence takes the form of a discussion of the thesis between the members of the evaluation committee and the candidate. There is no formal time limit for this discussion and it will be concluded when the committee is done.
    The chair of the public defence starts the public defence with a brief account of the submission and evaluation of the thesis, and the approval of the trial lecture. Thereafter, the candidate give a maximum of twenty-minute uninterrupted presentation of her/his thesis, mainly presenting a brief account of the purpose, methods and results of the scientific study. Following this, the evaluation committee starts their discussion with the PhD candidate.
  • Conferment and receiving your diploma

    Conferment and receiving your diploma

    As soon as possible and no later than two weeks after the public defence, the evaluation committee will submit a report to the Vice Rector for Research in which it describes its evaluation of the thesis, the trial lecture and the public defence of the thesis.
    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 PhD graduates of the academic year will receive their diploma at NHHs annual graduation ceremony which is held in June together with students from the Bachelor and Master programme. There will be a reception in connection with the graduation ceremony for the PhD graduates. An invitation to the event will be sent by email to the new PhD graduates in the spring.
    The new PhD graduates 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