PhD Programme in Natural Science

Duration: 3 years

Photo: Jørn Berger-Nyvoll
Photo: Jørn Berger-Nyvoll

PhD Programme in Natural Science

Duration: 3 År

Application deadline
How to apply?

The PhD programme in natural sciences embraces diciplines like marine and terrestric biology, ecology, biotechnology, genetics, physiology, immunology, food science, and resource biology and management, as well as fishery and aqua culture technology.

In order to become a PhD candidate you have to apply for a research fellow position that is advertised and get employed, or be employed at an external institution that will fund the PhD study.

The doctoral fellow positions are advertised on and euraxess.

Questions about the study

Ingjerd - Branno.png
Ingjerd Gauslaa Nilsen


The PhD programme in natural sciense is 180 ECTS and consists of an instruction component (30 ECTS) and a research project that shall result in a thesis (150 ECTS).

The research project constitutes the main part of the study and is conducted under supervision of two or more supervisors. Often the PhD project is part of a larger research project and you will gain support from other research colleagues as well.

The instruction component consists of courses and the composition is individually adjusted. It is manadatory with a course in philosophy of science and ethics, and we recommend that you take SVF-8600 Philosophy of Science and Ethics (6 ECTS) to meet this requirement.

At the end of the study the candidate shal give a trial lecture on an assigned topic and defend the thesis in a public defense.

PhD candidates employed at the university have 25% duty work in addition. The duty work is mainly teaching, but it can be other tasks as outreach, recruitment or administrative work.

Candidates who have completed the PhD programme in natural science at BFE-fak shall have the following learning outcome defined in knowledge, skills and general competence:

Knowledge – the candidate

  • is at the forefront of knowledge within his or her discipline
  • has insight into relevant topics concerning research ethics
  • has general knowledge of science philosophy, how to approach problems and research methods
  • is capable of evaluating the suitability and use of subject-specific methods and processes, both in research and in development projects
  • can contribute to the development of new knowledge, new theories, methods and interpretations within the discipline

Skills – the candidate

  • is capable of preparing scientific publications and disseminate research in acknowledged national and international publication channels
  • is able to disseminate knowledge and research results to a general audience
  • is capable of formulating research questions, plan and carry out, research and development projects at a high international level
  • is able to analyze complex scientific questions and challenge established knowledge and practices within his or her research field

General competence - the candidate

  • is able to make decisions on scientific and complex foundations
  • can carry out his or her research with professional integrity
  • has the skills to manage projects and processes in line with ethical requirements and guidelines
  • is able to work interdisciplinary and view his or her research in a wider and holistic context
  • is able to work in international research groups and can take part in debates within his or her discipline in international forums
  • has competence in the management and administration of projects, networking and public outreach

A doctoral degree qualifies for high positions in business life, management, higher education and research

10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
1. sem. (autumn) MNF-8900 Ph.d.-avhandling i naturvitenskap - 150 stp. SVF-8600 Philosophy and Ethics of Science - 6 stp.
2. sem. (spring)
3. sem. (autumn)
4. sem. (spring)
5. sem. (autumn)
6. sem. (spring) MNF-8890 Ph.d. prøveforelesning i naturvitenskap - 0 stp.
7. sem. (autumn)
8. sem. (spring)
9. sem. (autumn)
10. sem. (spring)
11. sem. (autumn)
12. sem. (spring)
13. sem. (autumn)
14. sem. (spring)
15. sem. (autumn)
16. sem. (spring)

Admission to the PhD programmes requires that the candidate has at least 5 years of university education, comparable to 300 ECTS.

  • 3-year bachelor degree (180 ECTS) and 2-year master degree (120 ECTS)
  • 5-year integrated master’s degree (300 ECTS)
  • Other educations that are evaluated to be of equal extent and length

Experience-based master's degree

Experience based master's degree of 120ECTS may be the basis for admission, but this presupposes that the master's thesis is of sufficiently high quality.

Applicants who have completed a Norwegian experience-based master's degree of 90 credits can qualify for admission at 30 credits extension of the master's degree as follow:

  • Written thesis (individual work) with a scope of 30 credits with a final exam.
  • A scientific article/manuscript that has either been published, accepted or submitted to a scientifically recognized journal. The work will be assessed by the DC.
  • Ordinary subjects at master's degree level.

Evaluation and approval of foreign educations

Candidates with a foreign education will be subjected to an evaluation of whether the educational background is equivalent to higher Norwegian education. The faculty uses national guidelines according to Nokut's country datavase and the GSU-list. Applicants from certain countries will have to document additional higher education in order to be admitted. Depending on which country, one or two additional years of university education may be required, e.g. 4 years bachelor degree and 2 years master’s degree.

Applicants who have completed higher education abroad shall be considered in line with Section 3-5 (3) of the University and University Colleges Act. For an abroad master's degree to be approved:

  • The extent of the master's degree must correspond to at least 75 credits.
  • It must include independent work of at least 20 credits. If the independent work is less than this, a separate assessment must be made.


Grade requirements applies both to the master thesis as well as courses part of the master’s degree. The minimum requirements are:

  • Grade C or better on the master’s thesis
  • Grade C or better on courses that are part of the master’s degree, or the last two years in an integrated master's.

A grade lower than C in one course may be compensated by a higher grade than C in another course. If the applicant has two subjects with the grade D or lower, the person concerned is not qualified for admission.

For students with foreign education where the grading system differ from the Norwegian, an approximate assessment will be carried out.

English language proficiency

Documentation of sufficient English Language proficiency is required in order to be admitted to PhD studies. Requirements are either fulfilled by formal education or by obtaining a high enough score on an international recognized test.

Applicants from Nordic countries, English speaking countries and some other countries are exempted from providing a test. The GSU-list informs of which countries are exempted from English tests. In addition, if the master’s thesis has been written in English and English has been used as the language of instruction in the master’s programme, English tests are not generally required.

A detailed list of various criteria to qualify for English language proficiency can be found on Nokut's web pages.

Funding of PhD

Admission to organized PhD programmes at UiT requires sufficient funding. For PhD candidates employed at UiT all financial aspects are usually taken care of. UiT funded PhDs are either funded by UiT or externally funded by projects (NFR, EU and other funding institutions). A budget must be included in the application for final admission in order to show the use of the funding.

External PhDs, i.e. fellows with a different employer than UiT, are asked to provide documentation that the PhD is adequately funded. The PhD regulations states that the funding should be similar to costs of UiT funded PhDs. Funding shall cover salary costs, operating costs and overhead to the faculty.

The PhD work is carried out under the supervision and shall result in a thesis

Forms of instruction in the PhD courses varies between diciplines, but the most common are lectures, seminars, and teamwork, but some courses also include laboratory work, cruices and field work.

About halfway into the study, a midway evaluation shall take place.

The instruction component needs to be completed and approved before the thesis can be submitted for evaluation. If the thesis is found worthy of a public denfense, the candidate shall give a trial lecture on an assigned topic. When the candidate has given the trial lecture and got it approved, he / she is going to defend the thesis in a public defense.

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