PhD Programme in Natural Science

Duration: 3 År

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 student you have to apply for a research fellow position that is advertised and get employed, or be employed at an external institution that wil 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 defence.

PhD students 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 and 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 of science and ethics - 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)

Accomplishment of a 3-year Bachelor's degree (180 ECTS) and a 2-year Master's degree (120 ECTS) or a 5-year integrated Master's degree (300 ECTS), or equivalent educations in terms of volume and duration. For applicants with education from other countries than Norway, NOKUT’s GSU-list and land database will be used to evaluate if the education can be equalised to Norwegian higher education.

Candidates who have completed a 90 ECTS Master's degree, may qualify for admission by

  • Writing a thesis of 30 credits subjected to oral examination
  • Writing an article that is published, accepted or submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The scientific work shall be presented in a relevant forum and an external examiner shall evaluate the quality of the work. The work load shall be equal to 3-4 months.
  • Completing additional relevant master courses (3000-level)
  • Special syllabus is credited according to § 15 of these supplementary provisions.


  • The applicant must have a C or better on the master thesis as well as subjects included in the degree (a total of 120 ECTS), or a C or better from the last two years of an integrated master's programme (120 ECTS). A grade lower than C in one subject can be compensated with a grade better than C in any other subject. If the applicant has two subjects with the grade D or lower, the person concerned is not qualified for admission.
  • For applicants with a foreign education where the assessment of grades differs from the Norwegian grading system, the grades will be subject to individual assessment.

English Proficieny

Applicants from many countries must document sufficient English language proficiency equivalent to university admission certification. This can be documented by:

  • Applicants who have accomplished a Master degree with English as the instruction language and have written the Master degree thesis in English are exempted from the English test.
  • Licenced English tests with a high enough score; TOEFL test with a score above 580, IELTS test with a score above 6,5 or other approved English tests 3
  • Other exceptions which appear in NOKUTS language requirement guidelines. Applicants who cannot document exceptions from UiT’s or NOKUT’s guidelines have to document their English qualifications skills with an approved English test.

Funding requirements

Admission is contingent on the availability of adequate funding, which as a general rule covers personnel and running costs, and overhead for a doctoral fellow position. For part-time students, it is required that a minimum of 50 % of the student’s working time may be spent on the doctoral degree programme.

When you apply for a research fellow position at the university, you are evaluated for admission to the PhD programme simultaneously and given a temporarly admission at the time of employment. The applicant has to apply for a final admission within 6 weeks after being employed.

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 teaamwork, but some courses also include laboratory work, cruices and field work.

About halfway into the study, a mid-term 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 denfence, 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 defence.

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