Getting started as a new PhD candidate

Getting started as a new PhD candidate

We are excited to have you joining us at NHH, and we hope that your time in Bergen will be both fruitful an enjoyable. We hope that our resources, programmes and opportunities will help you become an accomplished, productive and successful PhD candidate.

During your time as a PhD candidate at NHH, you will have access to a range of resources for your support. Supervisors, technical and administrative staff, fellow PhD candidates and fellow researchers in your department will be your colleagues and support. The administrative staff at NHH will help you with the important practical issues relating to your doctoral training, and will be important contacts for you in the course of your studies.

As a new PhD candidate/PhD research scholar there are several issues that we would like to bring your attention to. 

You will find a host of information about various practicalities relevant to all new employees on our on-boarding page.

Information specifically relevant for the PhD candidates/PhD research scholars lists below:

  • Contact points during your PhD

    Contact points during your PhD

    The years as a PhD candidate are exciting and professionally developing, but can also be a strenuous time with a lot of work pressure and setbacks. Most PhD candidates at NHH are also employees at the school and this duality may create confusion about who to contact for what.


    The head of department has the formal responsibility (personnel responsibility) for you as an employee. This responsibility may however be delegated to other people in the department management team e.g., PhD coordinator.

    For most issues, your supervisors and the PhD coordinator for your specialisation are your two most important contact points. The PhD coordinator will help you navigate the PhD programme and research, while your supervisors are there to guide you through your academic journey.

    The administrative staff at the department are also useful contact points and can help you with administrative issues.


    Your supervisors and the PhD coordinator at your department are the best starting point for study-related issues. The staff at the Section for Doctoral Education are also available for issues related to the PhD programme, and can forward important matters to the Vice Rector for Research who has the formal responsibility for the entire PhD programme at NHH.

    If you experience challenges related to your study situation, we advise you to first discuss the matter with your supervisors and the PhD coordinator at your department. This could for instance be related to the fulfillment of the obligations stated in your PhD contract (courses, guidance, milestones, etc.), but also more practical challenges related to cooperation with the department and/or your supervisors.

    If matters still cannot be resolved, the Section for Doctoral Education ( can be contacted and will forward the matter to the relevant instance (Vice Rector for Research, HR, etc.).

    For matters related to your student situation at NHH, the Ombud for Students can also provide advice on the rights and obligations in student matters. 

    General information about exams at NHH can be found here and you may contact the Section for exams at for matters regarding exams/assessments.

    If you experience problems with Studentweb, the platform where you register and withdraw from course(s)/exam(s), you may contact

    If you are not able to attend an exam due to illness, documentation must be sent to within the next working day of the exam date. The documentation must state the exam date and course code for the exam(s) you are unable to attend.

    Please recall that for PhD Research Scholars, the only documentation for a valid absence from an exam is a sick note/sickness certificate (“sykemelding”) from a licensed doctor (GP) or specialist. The Sick note/sickness certificate must be dated before or on the day of the examination.

    Practical employee-related

    Most PhD Research Scholars are also employees at NHH. If you have employee-related questions, it will initially be natural to have a conversation with your main supervisor, PhD coordinator, head of department or the administrative staff at your department. Note that issues related to your position as a teaching assistant count as employee-related.

    The Employee Handbook contains a lot of useful information related to your employment at NHH. Questions about your employment can also be addressed to  

    For questions related to your salary payments, the Office of Finance and Accounting can be contacted at However, it is advised to first talk to the administration at your department.

    IT support at NHH can be contacted using

    Health and sensitive issues

    Most PhD Research Scholars are also employees at NHH. In this case, you are employed at a department and the head of department has the formal personnel responsibility for you as an employee and is under the obligation of confidentiality. This responsibility may however be delegated to other people in the department management team e.g., PhD coordinator.

    If you experience health issues which require a leave of absence, the department management must be informed. Please note that you don’t have to reveal the details of the health issue (diagnosis etc.). See the Employee Handbook for further information about sick leaves (self-certified and official sick leaves). Note that an official sick leave is required for extending your employment and study period.

    Norway has a public health system, where your first and most important contact point is your general practitioner (“fastlege”), who also can refer you to a specialist (gynecologist, psychologist, etc.).

    Dentists and opticians can be contacted directly. This is also the case for Bergen Legevakt (Telephone: 116 117) or the Accident and Emergency Department at the hospital, should you need immediate emergency health care.

    In case of an emergency life crisis, Bergen Kommune also has a service for that (Telephone 55 56 87 54)

    As an employee, you also have access to the occupational health service (“Bedriftshelsetjeneste”) at your workplace if certain conditions are met. Access to these services goes through the department who then coordinates with HR. One of the services is immediate access to a psychologist upon referral from your general practitioner (“fastlege”). You will find information about the occupational health service in the HSE Manual.

    If you experience extraordinary challenges in your work situation, for sensitive issues you are advised to contact the person at the department with the formal personnel responsibility for you. Note that information that you share with this person is subject to confidentiality. You may also contact the HR department directly.

    The safety representatives (“verneombud”) or your union representative (“tillitsvalgt”) may also be useful contact points.

    If you experience or observe any unethical conduct (“varsling”), you should not hesitate to report this. The procedures for that can be foundn the employee Handbook.


    The PhD student association at NHH, NHHdoc, is a good support network both for PhD advocacy and social events. Other colleagues and peers are also part of your support network during your PhD. 

  • Introductory events

    Introductory events

    • Local onboarding at your department
    • Information meeting and welcome reception by the Vice Rector and the section for doctoral education
    • General onboarding of new staff by HR
  • PhD pre-courses

    PhD pre-courses

    Preparatory courses in mathematics and statistics are taught early or mid-August, in prior to the start of the fall semester. The courses are in particular recommended for PhD candidates enrolled at the Departments of Business and Management Science, Economics, and Finance.

    The aim of the pre-courses is to review fundamental concepts of mathematics and statistics applied at PhD level courses. Details for these courses will become available at the end of the spring semester.  

  • Title and affiliation

    Title and affiliation

    • NHH PhD Research Scholar: NHH uses the title Research Scholars for PhD candidates, who are employed by the school. As long as you receive a salary from the school, you should present yourself in formal contexts, internally and externally, as a NHH PhD Research Scholar.
    • NHH PhD candidate: When a PhD candidate is not/ no longer employed by NHH.
    • Affiliation: for both PhD research scholars and PhD candidates, NHH should be stated as the affiliation on publications, conference participation, in media appearances etc. Please note that the affiliation does not change even if you are staying at other institutions for shorter or longer periods.
  • Work requirements at the department

    Work requirements at the department

    If you are titled a PhD Research Scholar, your employment contract includes a 25% work requirements as a teaching and/or research assistant. The department will coordinate this work, and at the start of each semester you will receive information about the work you will perform, and whom you will be assisting.

    Normally, this work requirement is concentrated to specific semesters during your contract, meaning that you will not be a teaching and/or research assistant every semester. The 25% requirement amounts to a total of 1 733 hours during your whole contract period.

  • Attendance at seminars and workshops

    Attendance at seminars and workshops

    The PhD programme recommends the PhD research scholars/candidates to attend departmental seminars and workshops. The departments invite internal and external national and international guest speakers to present in the departmental seminar series.

    The departments arrange for faculty members, including PhD research scholars/candidates, to meet with the guest speakers.

    The PhD research scholars/candidates are expected to attend and present their research at a variety of more or less regular seminars and workshops. These occasions will enable the PhD research scholars/candidates to gain valuable feedback from peers.

    Your supervisor may also suggest that you submit papers for presentation at national and international workshops and conferences. Please note that conference attendance should be agreed upon with your supervisor in advance. 

The PhD Association 

NHHdoc is the association for PhD research scholars/candidates at NHH, aimed at fostering professional, social, and cultural exchange across departments and research centers. Our mission includes helping new PhD candidates settle into their new environment through an onboarding process organized by fellow PhD research scholars.

In addition to onboarding support, we represent the interests of PhD candidates and organize monthly social events to facilitate opportunities for socializing and connecting with other PhDs. NHHdoc is also part of the national umbrella organization SiN, which broadens our advocacy and support scope.

If you have more questions about NHHdoc and our activities, feel free to reach out to