PhD Programme in Law Studies

Duration: 3 Years


PhD Programme in Law Studies

Duration: 3 Years

Application deadline
How to apply?

Questions about the study
Liv Johanne lite 062.jpg
Martinsen, Liv Johanne


Skjervold, Christin

Senior Advisor, Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea

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The PhD in Law is conferred based on:

1. Approved completion of the instruction component

2. Approved scientific thesis

3. Approved trial lecture on a given topic

4. Satisfactory public defence of the thesis (disputation)

Structure of the instruction component

The instruction component of the PhD programme in Law consists of six courses totalling 30 credits. The purpose of the instruction component is to further develop the scientific basis the PhD student has acquired through the master’s degree in Law and to provide the PhD Student with a solid academic basis for the work on their thesis.

The instruction component is compulsory for all doctoral fellows admitted to the PhD programme and must be implemented in line with the doctoral fellow’s approved schedule for the PhD programme (cf. Section 6 of the PhD regulations), normally during the first two years of the programme.

The instruction component consists of the following compulsory courses:

JUR-8001: Rettsvitenskapens svenneprøve, rolle og etikk (instruction in Norwegian) or JUR-8008: Examination of the Role and Ethics of the Law. Introduction to the Scandinavian model. (instruction in English)

JUR-8002: Philosophy of Science of Law

JUR-8003: Methodology of Law

JUR-8004: PhD Thesis in Law – Academic Writing and Communication

JUR-8005: International perspectives of Law

JUR-8006: Searching for sources, national and international conferences and network building

JUR-8001/JUR-8008 introduces the PhD programme and is in two parts. The first part about the examination of the law deals with the quality requirements for attaining the PhD in Law, including matters related to method, supervision and practical information about the organisation of the programme. The other part of the course focuses on the role and ethics of a researcher in the field of law.

JUR-8002 addresses relevant and general topics and issues related to science and law.

JUR-8003 deals with carious traditional and relevant law and interdisciplinary models.

JUR-8004 deals with the generally accepted starting points and ideals for the design of legal texts. The course also provides guidance on how researchers can communicate their research to a larger audience, including through the media. A compulsory midway evaluation forms part of this course. The course also includes article writing, participation in an academic writing course presenting one’s project and participating in other students’ project presentations.

JUR-8005 addresses the international perspectives of law. The course deals especially with the development of European Union Law and human rights. The significance of internationalisation for Norwegian law is also addressed. Moreover, the course includes a study trip to relevant international legal institutions.

JUR-8006 addresses current and universal Norwegian, Nordic and international law topics and issues. The course also contains topics and issues of direct/indirect relevance for the individual candidate’s doctoral project. The course is divided into three parts and includes participation in the national seminar for doctoral candidates in law, participation in elective subject-specific and Nordic/international conferences and a course on searching for sources of international literature.

Course descriptions for the individual courses have been drawn up and these are published on UiT’s website

The main part of the PhD programme is the independent work on a thesis in law, as described in the course JUR-8900. The course description for the doctoral thesis is published on the UiT website.

The doctoral thesis is the main work that forms the basis of assessment for the PhD degree. The doctoral thesis should deal with a topic in the field of law and be based on knowledge acquired through other courses in the PhD programme. The doctoral thesis should produce new knowledge in the field of law be of such a scholarly level that it justifies publication as part of the law literature. Supplementary guidelines for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Law.

Through the instruction component and doctoral thesis, the PhD will enable candidates to conduct legal research of a high international standard in accordance with recognised scientific and ethical principles. During the programme, the PhD student will attain the following learning outcomes:



After successful completion of the PhD in Law, the candidate:

• is in the forefront of knowledge within his/her area of law and masters the field’s philosophy of science and methods, as well as has knowledge of interdisciplinary methods

• can evaluate the expediency and application of different methods in research and scholarly development projects and can place his/her own research within a larger academic and research context

• can contribute to the development of new knowledge, new theories, methods, interpretations and forms of documentation in the field of law




After successful completion of the PhD in Law, the candidate can:

• formulate problems, plan and carry out research and scholarly and/or artistic development work of a high international standard

• carry out a complex scholarly research project within the research front of law

• challenge established knowledge and practice in the field of law

• participate in scholarly discussions and give constructive feedback on academic work


General competence

After successful completion of the PhD in Law, the candidate can:

• identify and reflect on relevant ethical issues and carry out his/her research with a high level of scholarly integrity

• manage complex interdisciplinary assignments and projects

• communicate research and development work through recognized Norwegian and international channels

• participate in debates and discussions in the field in Norwegian and international forums

The PhD programme is designed to qualify students for research activity at a high academic level and for other types of work in which a high degree of academic expertise and analytical skill is required. The competency to formulate problems, plan and carry out a research project is relevant for legal/jurist positions at the courts, in administration, the business community, the profession of lawyers, Police and the prosecuting authority. A candidate who has attained the PhD in Law is a specialist in their field and is also qualified for numerous other professions and duties in the private and public sector in Norway and internationally.

The faculty and the PhD students cooperate to create a good academic and social learning environment. The students shall acquire knowledge through their own activities and strict demands are placed on active participation, orally and in writing. The teaching methods in the instruction component are varied and cover: reading courses, academic writing courses, a course on searching for sources, project presentation, midway evaluation, academic supervision and article writing, in addition to elective seminars/conferences, compulsory national seminars and a study trip abroad including a preparatory reading seminar.


Reading seminar

The instruction is mostly in groups and as reading seminars. Prior to the reading seminar each participant/PhD student is given responsibility for reading one or more articles from the course literature, which they then present to the group. The seminar forms the basis for debate on the topic of the course or related topics, and thus broadens the participants’ academic knowledge within the field of law. The reading seminars are also intended to provide training in critical scientific analysis and reflection.


Academic writing course

Prior to the academic writing courses, the participants submit their own texts in advance to be discussed at the course. The text may be an extract from the PhD thesis or a draft article. The texts are distributed among the participants and each participant is responsible for introducing and providing feedback on some of the other participants’ texts. Such academic writing courses are offered in both Norwegian and English.


The purpose of the academic writing courses is to provide knowledge about the formal requirements for law, and an opportunity for the participants to receive feedback from people other than their academic supervisor on aspects such as how their text works linguistically, structurally and methodically. The writing course is also intended to provide training in research dissemination, academic presentation and education through roles such as the introductory speaker/co-introductory speaker and author.

The language of instruction is in the main Norwegian, but English in certain courses. This is stipulated in the relevant course description. Courses that have Norwegian as the language of instruction may be implemented in English if the composition of and consideration to the student group require this.