Approved by the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences on September 27, 2012, changed November 12, 2015, June 1, 2017, May 3, 2018, November 8, 2018 and September 26, 2019, pursuant to Act No. 15 of 1 April 2005 relating to universities and university colleges.
PART I INTRODUCTORY PROVISIONS
PART II ADMISSION
PART III IMPLEMENTATION
PART IV COMPLETION
PART V APPEALS AND ENTRY INTO FORCE
PART I INTRODUCTORY PROVISIONS
The regulations set out in this document apply to all education culminating in the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD). They establish provisions for admission to, participation in and completion of doctoral training, including joint degrees and cotutelle (joint supervision) agreements (see section 24.2).
For other provisions that regulate the terms and conditions of the PhD degree, please refer to the Norwegian Act relation to universities and university colleges (2005), the Norwegian qualifications framework for higher education, the Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow), stipendiat (research fellow), vitenskapelig assistant (research assistant) and spesialistkandidat (resident) (2006), the regulations governing degrees and protected titles (2005), the Norwegian Agency of Quality Assurance and Education’s (NOKUT) regulations governing standards and criteria for accreditation and quality enhancement in the higher education sector, NIH's strategic plan and overall activity plan, The Academic Supervision Regulations of 2017 and the European Charter for Researchers & Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (2005).
The objective of doctoral education is to qualify candidates to conduct research of international quality and to perform other types of work requiring a high level of scientific expertise and analytical thinking in accordance with sound scientific practice and established standards on research ethics. Doctoral education is to provide the candidate with knowledge, skills and expertise in keeping with the national qualifications framework.
Doctoral education normally consists of three years of full‐time study, and includes required coursework comprising a minimum of 30 credits. The way in which doctoral education is organised is to be stipulated in the institution’s regulations.
The most important component of doctoral education is an independent research project carried out under close academic supervision.
The PhD degree is conferred on the basis of:
- an approved doctoral thesis
- approved completion of the required coursework, and any other approved educational qualifications or expertise
- an approved trial lecture on an assigned topic
- an approved public defence of the doctoral thesis
The board of the institution has the overall responsibility for doctoral education offered at the institution.
The board of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (NIH) has assigned responsibility for research education at NIH to the Committee for Research Education (KFU), including the task of ensuring compliance with the Standard regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) with supplementary provisions. Proposed amendments to these regulations will be reviewed by KFU and then submitted to the board of NIH, which will take the final decision.
Doctoral education must be included under the institution’s quality assurance system.
PART II ADMISSION
Section 5.1 Conditions for admission
To be eligible for admission to the doctoral programme, applicants must normally have a five-year master’s degree, c.f. the descriptions in the second cycle of the national qualifications framework. Based on a special assessment, the institution (NIH) may approve other, comparable qualifications as the basis for admission. The institution (NIH) may set other qualification requirements based on criteria that are publicly available and in keeping with the institution’s recruitment policy and academic profile.
To be admitted to the doctoral programme at NIH, the applicant must normally have earned a two-year master’s degree (120 credits) in sport science or a cand.scient. in sport science, or have equivalent educational qualifications at this level in the area of sport science, or in another way be able to document knowledge and understanding of sport science at a comparable level. An example of the latter would be a master’s degree in a different subject area with a master’s thesis related to sport science.
Applicants to the doctoral programme must have earned a minimum grade point average of B/2.5 or better during their master’s/cand.scient. studies. In special cases and on the basis of an overall assessment, applicants may be exempted from this requirement if they can document extensive knowledge of sport science with particular emphasis on R&D activity.
Applicants with a master's degree not directly related to sports science, but within a field that can document relevance to the scientific illumination of sports issues, may in special cases be admitted into the doctoral program. This may be particularly relevant in cases where such competence is considered especially important for the project's research value and for the quality of its implementation.
The application for admission must be submitted in five (5) copies and contain the following items:
- Documentation of the educational qualifications to serve as the basis of admission. This means copies of diplomas with grades and copies of any research papers that have been published or submitted for publication.
- A project description that includes:
- o A scientific description of the project, including a formulation of objectives, research questions/hypotheses, as well as the choice of theoretical approach and methods. The complete project description must not exceed 10 pages, excluding the literature list (12-point font, 1.5 line spacing).
- o A progress plan that includes a timeline per semester. In addition to showing the progress of the doctoral thesis, it must contain a plan for completion of the course in the theory of science and ethics, the examination in in-depth academic and methodological study, and a methodology course(s).
- A funding plan:
For applicants seeking a research fellowship funded by NIH: If the cost of completing a doctoral degree exceeds the annual sum available, an explanation of how the remaining costs will be covered must be provided.
For applicants with external funding:
- A description of how the doctoral studies will be funded (salary and project costs). Verification of funding must be attached to the application.
- Documentation of special needs for academic and material resources.
- Any plans for a stay at another institution, including international research institutions.
- Plans for research dissemination, including whether the candidate plans to submit the thesis as a monograph or as a compilation of articles, as well as the candidate’s plans to present the thesis at national and international research conferences.
- Information about any restrictions on intellectual property rights intended to protect the rights of others that could prevent the doctoral thesis from being made available to the public or from being defended in a public forum.
- A recommendation for the main academic supervisor and a statement regarding the applicant’s proposed affiliation with an active research group. A statement from the proposed supervisor that he/she is willing to supervise the candidate’s doctoral project must be attached. If the proposed supervisor is external to the institution, a CV must be attached.
- A description of any legal or ethical issues raised by the project and how these can be addressed. The application must state whether the project is dependent on permission granted by committees on research ethics and other authorities or private individuals (research subjects, patients, parents, etc.).
The institution (NIH) is responsible for determining the content of its application form, and may establish additional documentation requirements.
The institution (NIH) may establish requirements related to the candidate’s obligation to be in residence at the institution.
If less than one (1) year of full‐time work on the research project remains at the time of submission of the application for admission, the application will be rejected, c.f. section 5.3.
On receipt of an application for a research fellowship, KFU will appoint an expert committee on the recommendation of the head of section. Members of the expert committee must satisfy the same requirements as academic supervisors (cf. section 7.1). The committee’s recommendation will be reviewed by KFU, which will take the final decision on admission contingent upon appointment to a research fellowship position.
A pre-defined project implies that a main supervisor has been appointed and that a scientific description of the project has been prepared by the relevant academic environment. KFU will appoint an expert committee on the recommendation of the head of section. A candidate appointed to a research fellowship position must submit an application for admission to the PhD programme within one month of the appointment.
If the candidate does not receive admission to the doctoral programme within three months from appointment to a research fellowship position, the candidate must resign his/her position (cf. section 1-3 of the Regulations concerning terms and condition of employment for the posts of postdoktor (post‐doctoral research fellow), stipendiat (research fellow), vitenskapelig assistant (research assistant) and spesialistkandidat (resident)).
Section 5.2 Infrastructure
The infrastructure needed to implement the research project must be placed at the disposal of the candidate. It is the responsibility of the institution to decide what infrastructure is necessary for implementing the project. For candidates with external funding or an external workplace, an agreement must be entered into between the institution (NIH) and the external party in connection with the research project concerned. As a general rule, the agreement must be signed prior to the formal admission of the candidate or immediately thereafter.
Section 5.3 Admission decision
The decision to grant admission is based on an overall assessment of the application. The institution (NIH) may stipulate criteria for use in ranking qualified applicants when the number of applicants exceeds the admission capacity of the institution.
The formal admission letter will appoint at least one academic supervisor, assign responsibility for dealing with other needs outlined in the application, and establish the start and end dates of the agreement period. The start date will be the same as the date when the candidate’s funding begins. Any extension of the agreement period must be related to the rights of employees pursuant to Norwegian law, or be the subject of a separate agreement on the candidate’s funding base (cf. NIH’s guidelines for extension of employment).
Admission will be denied if:
- agreements with external third parties prevent the doctoral thesis from being made available to the public or from being defended in a public forum;
- the agreements on intellectual property rights that have been entered into are so unreasonable that the institution should not be involved in the project;
- the applicant cannot fulfil the requirement which states that a minimum of one year of the project must be carried out after the candidate has been granted admission to the doctoral programme, cf. section 5.1.
KFU is responsible for decisions concerning admission to the doctoral programme. In situations where KFU does not have expertise in a subject area, KFU may obtain an expert opinion from one or more persons or appoint an expert committee.
When evaluating permanent academic staff at NIH for admission to the doctoral programme, an expert committee comprised of three external members will be appointed.
Section 5.4 Agreement period
Doctoral education normally consists of three (3) years of full-time study.
The plan for completion of a doctoral programme must not set out a course of study longer than six years. The maximum time permitted to complete a doctoral programme is eight years from the start date, excluding legally established leaves and required duties.
If the candidate’s training is interrupted for legally established reasons, the agreement period will be extended correspondingly.
The institution (NIH) may, upon application, extend the agreement period (cf. guidelines for extension of employment).
If an extension of the agreement period is approved, the institution (NIH) may stipulate additional terms and conditions.
When the period of admission expires, the rights and obligations of the parties in connection with the PhD agreement terminate. This means that the PhD candidate may lose his/her right to receive academic supervision, participate in courses and have access to the institution’s infrastructure. However, the candidate may apply for permission to submit his/her doctoral thesis for evaluation for the PhD degree.
If a PhD candidate has not submitted his/her thesis for evaluation within eight (8) years after admission to the doctoral programme, the candidate will be terminated from the doctoral programme. KFU may make exemptions to this rule. The board of NIH will review and take the final decision in appeals cases.
A standard agreement for the doctoral programme at NIH has been drawn up. The agreement is to be signed by the PhD candidate, the academic supervisor(s) and the head of section as soon as possible following admission to the programme.
In situations where the PhD candidate will conduct his/her research project at another institution, NIH must enter into a written agreement with the institution.
Significant changes in study plans and/or change of supervisor must be approved by KFU on recommendation from the head of section.
Section 5.5 Voluntary termination prior to expiry of the agreement period
The candidate and institution may agree that the candidate’s participation in the doctoral
programme will be terminated prior to expiry of the agreement period. In the event of voluntary
termination, all questions regarding the terms and conditions of employment, funding, rights to the use of the research results, etc. must be settled in a termination agreement.
If voluntary termination is due to the candidate’s desire to change projects or transfer to a different doctoral programme, the candidate must reapply for admission on the basis of the new project.
Section 5.6 Involuntary termination in the event of delay or lack of progress
When one or more of the following conditions are present, the institution may decide to terminate a candidate’s participation in the doctoral programme without the candidate’s consent:
- A serious delay in completion of the required coursework.
- Repeated or serious violations of the candidate’s obligations to provide information, meet commitments, and report on the project, including a failure to submit a progress report, c.f. section 9.
- A delay in the progress of the research project that is of such a nature as to raise doubts about the candidate’s ability to complete the project within the stipulated time period.
Pursuant to these regulations, involuntary termination may be imposed only if the lack of progress or delay is due to circumstances over which the PhD candidate has control.
A decision to impose involuntary termination based on this section must be taken by that entity determined by the institution’s board. Complaints are to be handled by the institution’s appeals committee.
Section 5.7 Involuntary termination in the event of cheating on examinations or tests during the PhD programme
If it is found that a PhD candidate has cheated on examinations or tests during the PhD programme, the institution may decide to annul such examinations and tests, cf. section 4.7 of the Act relating to universities and university colleges. If the circumstance(s) are so serious as to constitute scientific misconduct, cf. section 4.13, first paragraph, of the same Act, cf. section 5 of the Act on ethics and integrity in research, second paragraph, the institution may decide to impose involuntary termination, cf. section 5.8 below.
Decisions based on this paragraph are to be taken by the board itself or the institution’s appeals committee. Complaints are to be handled by the joint appeals committee for student cases, cf. section 5-1 of the Act relating to universities and university colleges and regulations in accordance with this.
Section 5.8 Involuntary termination in the event of scientific misconduct
If it is found that a PhD candidate is guilty of scientific misconduct, cf. Section 4.13, first paragraph, of the Act relating to universities and university colleges, cf. section 5, second paragraph, of the Act on ethics and integrity in research, the institution may decide to impose involuntary termination.
A decision to impose involuntary termination on the basis of scientific misconduct is to be taken by that entity determined by the institution’s board. Complaints regarding such decisions will be handled by the ministry or a special appeals committee appointed by the ministry.
Section 5.9 Termination and dismissal
A PhD candidate may be dismissed from his or her position when there are proper grounds related to the institution’s or PhD candidate’s circumstances, c.f. sections 9 and 10 of the Civil Servants Act or section 15 of the Act regarding summary discharge.
Admission to the institution’s (NIH) doctoral programme must be formalised in a written agreement by the PhD candidate, the academic supervisor(s) and the institution to which the candidate has received admission (Parts A and B of the PhD agreement). The agreement regulates the rights and obligations of the parties during the period of admission and is intended to ensure that the candidate participates on a regular basis in an active research group and that he/she is able to complete the training within the stipulated time period. The institution (NIH) is responsible for creating a standardised agreement form for this purpose.
For PhD candidates with funding from, employment at or other contributions from an external party, either national or international, a separate agreement must be entered into between the candidate, the institution (NIH) and the external party (Part C of the PhD agreement).
A standard agreement for the doctoral programme at NIH has been formulated. The agreement must be signed by the PhD candidate, the academic supervisor(s) and the head of section as soon as possible following admission to the programme.
Significant changes in study plans (e.g. changes in design and research questions) and/or a change of supervisor must be approved by KFU on recommendation from the head of section.
PART III IMPLEMENTATION
The work involved in the doctoral thesis must be carried out under individualised academic supervision. The institution (NIH/the academic section with which the candidate is affiliated) and the supervisors are to work together to ensure that the PhD candidate participates in an active research group.
Section 7.1 Appointment of academic supervisors
As a general rule, the PhD candidate will have two academic supervisors, of which one will be designated as the main supervisor. The main supervisor should be appointed at the time of admission. The main supervisor has the primary academic-related responsibility for the candidate. If the institution (KFU) appoints an external main supervisor, a co-supervisor from the degree-conferring institution (NIH) must also be appointed.
Co-supervisors are experts who provide supervision in their area of specialisation and complement the main supervisor’s expertise and thus share the academic-related responsibility for the candidate with the main supervisor.
Provisions on impartiality in sections 6-10 of the Public Administration Act regarding disqualification apply to the academic supervisors.
All academic supervisors must hold a doctoral degree or equivalent qualification in the relevant research field and be working actively as researchers. At least one of the appointed supervisors should have experience or training in serving as a supervisor for PhD candidates.
The PhD candidate and academic supervisor may ask the institution to appoint a new supervisor for the candidate. The supervisor may not withdraw before a new supervisor has been appointed. The parties may bring any disputes regarding the academic-related rights and obligations of the supervisor and candidate to the institution for a review and final decision.
The main academic supervisor is required at a minimum to be qualified at the associate professor level and to hold a doctoral degree. After completion of his/her doctoral degree, the supervisor must have proved production of independent scientific work in publishing channels approved by the Ministry of Education and Research for this purpose.
Scientific production following completion of a doctoral degree is defined as a minimum of four journal articles, of which one article may be replaced by two chapters in books, in full length or a minimum of one book.
Independent scientific work means that the individual has had the main responsibility for a minimum of one research study/research project.
Main responsibility for the work means that the individual is the sole author, or the first author or last author, on at least two manuscripts in disciplines where this indicates primary responsibility for the work.
Department head cannot have personnel administrative responsibilities and at the same time be a supervisor for a PhD candidate. In cases where department head is to be the supervisor of a PhD candidate, the department head must resign from the personnel administrative responsibilities for the PhD candidate, and transfer these responsibilities to another department head.
With regard to the requirement that the individual must be an active researcher, this means that some of the manuscripts must have been completed in the past five years.
Main academic supervisors are normally required to have previous experience serving as a co-supervisor for a PhD candidate.
In order to be appointed as the main- or co-supervisor, one must be able to document a passing course in research supervision. The requirement for passing a course in research supervision applies to all main- and co-supervisors. Supervisors with long-term practice for PhD candidates may be exempted from this requirement. Such an exemption may also apply to the use of co-supervisors employed by institutions other than NIH, which will contribute to a special field within the candidate's field of study in the PhD work. The requirement for a documented passing course in research supervision applies from 1 January 2020.
When appointing a co-supervisor, consideration should be given to the supervisory team’s overall expertise, which implies that the requirements for a co-supervisor need not be the same as for the main academic supervisor.
The main academic supervisor must be responsible for at least 60 percent of the supervision. A proposal for the main and co-supervisors must state how the supervisory responsibilities will be distributed between them.
The distribution of tasks between the main academic supervisor and the co-supervisor must be set out in the PhD agreement.
Section 7.2 Duties of the academic supervisors
The candidate and academic supervisors should have regular contact. The supervisor is responsible for following up the candidates academic development (pr. mail, phone or in supervision meetings). The frequency of contact between the parties should be stated in the annual progress report, c.f. section 9.
The supervisors are required to stay informed of the progress of the candidate’s work and to assess it in relation to the progress plan in the project description, c.f. section 5.1.
The supervisors are required to follow up academic‐related factors that may cause a delay in the candidate’s progress so that the candidate can complete the training within the stipulated time period.
The supervisors are to give advice on formulating and delimiting the thematic area and research questions, discuss and assess hypotheses and methodology, discuss the results and the interpretation of these, discuss the structure and implementation of the thesis, including the outline, choice of language, documentation, etc., and provide guidance on the academic literature and data available in libraries, archives, etc. The supervisors must also advise the candidate on the issue of research ethics related to the thesis.
Section 8.1 Purpose, content and scope
Doctoral education must be organised such that candidates are able to complete their training within the stipulated timeframe.
The institution (NIH) is responsible for ensuring that the required coursework and the work involved in the doctoral thesis constitute an education at a high academic level in accordance with international standards. Doctoral training must include the completion of an independent piece of scientific research, training in research dissemination and an introduction to research ethics, the philosophy of science and scientific methods. The coursework, together with the research project, must be designed to achieve the anticipated learning outcome in accordance with NIH’s qualifications framework.
If the institution (NIH) does not provide all of the required courses, it must facilitate the candidate’s participation in comparable courses at other institutions.
The coursework must consist of at least 30 credits, of which 20 credits must be completed following admission to the programme. Credits approved as part of the required coursework should not have been completed more than two (2) years prior to the date of admission.
Doctoral‐level courses completed at another institution must be approved in accordance with the provisions of section 3‐4, first paragraph, of the Act relating to universities and university colleges.
The required coursework comprises a total of 40 credits. It consists of a course in the theory of science and ethics (5 credits), an in-depth study of a specific subject area and methodology (30 credits) and courses on general qualitative and quantitative methods (5 credits).
Permanent employees at NIH with a subject at second-degree level (“hovedfag”) may participate in the organised doctoral instruction and sit for examinations without being accepted into the doctoral programme.
Candidates are required to pass all of the examinations given as part of the required coursework.
NIH’s regulations for dealing with cheating or attempted cheating during examinations will also apply to examinations that are part of the doctoral programme.
Theory of science and ethics (5 credits)
The doctoral programme includes a mandatory 5-credit course on the theory of science and ethics.
At the end of the course students will submit an essay on how issues raised in the course relate to the student’s own doctoral project. Essays will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. An external examiner will carry out the assessments.
In-depth academic and methodological study (30 credits)
The PhD candidate must pass an examination on the subject matter no later than one year after the doctoral programme has begun. This examination will consist of written and oral components. The following guidelines are in effect for the examination:
KFU will appoint the examination committee and approve the curriculum. The curriculum is to be prepared in cooperation between the academic supervisor and the candidate. A proposal regarding the committee members and the curriculum must be submitted to KFU no later than eight (8) weeks prior to the examination.
The written examination consists of an essay which the candidate has 14 days to complete. The examination question must be designed to challenge the candidate both on in-depth academic knowledge of the field and on scientific methodology in the research area.
The curriculum for the examination must consist of an in-depth academic study component corresponding to 20-25 credits (minimum 1,000 pages) and an in-depth methodological study component corresponding to 5-10 credits (minimum 500 pages), for a total of 30 credits. The curriculum for the academic component must be relevant for the doctoral thesis as well as reflect current theory and research within the academic field. The curriculum in methodology must also include other types of research design and methods for data collection beyond what is directly relevant for the candidate’s own doctoral work.
Members of the examination committee are required at a minimum to be qualified at the associate professor level and to hold a doctoral degree. After completion of his/her doctoral degree, the members must have proved production of independent scientific work in publishing channels approved by the Ministry of Education and Research for this purpose.
The examination committee must consist of three members. To the extent possible, both genders must be represented. At least one member must not be affiliated with NIH. The academic supervisor is to serve as chair of the committee. The other members of the examination committee must satisfy the same requirements as the main academic supervisor (c.f. section 7.1).
The academic supervisor proposes the examination text, which must then be approved by the examination committee. The written examination must address a subject matter related to physical activity and/or sports and challenge the candidate both academically and methodologically. The oral examination must provide feedback on the written examination and test the candidate’s knowledge of the curriculum.
Both the written and oral examination will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.
Literature from doctoral-level courses taken at NIH or other institutions may be approved as part of the curriculum for the examination.
Curriculum used in courses that have been approved as part of the candidate’s required coursework cannot be included in the curriculum for this examination. The same applies to curriculum that has been part of lower level examinations.
Candidates are permitted two attempts each to pass the written and oral examinations. A new examination, either written or oral, must be taken within three months. A new written examination must contain new questions. A new oral examination must test the candidate on the original written assignment and curriculum. Candidates who receive a failing grade on the written examination are not eligible to take the oral examination. Those who receive a failing grade on the oral examination must retake it.
Candidates who are unable to take the examination within one year of the start of the doctoral programme must apply to KFU for an extension. The application must state the reasons why an extension is necessary. An application must be submitted as soon as the candidate realises that it will be impossible to take the examination within the deadline and no later than nine months after the programme has begun. The academic supervisor must provide an explanation and recommendation for the application.
NIH may terminate the candidate’s participation in the programme if the examination/application for an extension in accordance with the above guidelines is not taken/received.
Qualitative and quantitative methods (5 credits)
Candidates are required to complete doctoral-level courses in general qualitative or quantitative methods equalling 5 credits at NSSS or other academic institutions. The credits must be approved by KFU via the annual report.
The courses should be completed within the first year of study but at the latest within the first two years.
Section 8.2 The candidate’s rights in the event of leave of absence
PhD candidates on maternity/paternity leave from the doctoral programme may attend classes and sit for examinations in courses that will be included as part of the candidate’s required coursework during the leave period, pursuant to section 14‐10, fourth paragraph, of the National Insurance Act and the circular from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration regarding section 14‐10, fourth paragraph, of 18 December 2006, last amended on 30 June 2009.
The institution’s (NIH) system for the quality assurance of doctoral education must include measures to uncover insufficient progress on the doctoral thesis and coursework, inadequacies in supervision, and routines for handling any such deficiencies that might arise. This system will normally include the submission of annual reports by the PhD candidate.
The candidate and the supervisor are equally responsible for submitting the required reports. A lack of, or inadequate, progress reports from the candidate may result in involuntary termination of the candidate’s participation in the doctoral programme prior to expiry of the period of admission, c.f. section 5.5. Supervisors who fail to comply with the reporting requirements may be relieved of his/her supervisory duties.
The institution (NIH) may establish special reporting requirements, if needed.
Each candidate must prepare an annual report in accordance with established guidelines that accounts for the progress of the doctoral work. The report must be submitted to and discussed with the academic supervisor, who approves the report. The report must then be signed by the head of section. The reports are reviewed and approved by KFU.
KFU is responsible for uncovering insufficient progress in the doctoral work and inadequacies in academic supervision and for implementing measures to correct this. KFU submits the reviewed reports to the academic sections for informational purposes. It is the responsibility of KFU to ensure that the quality assurance system functions as intended. In cases of inadequate reporting, KFU may decide to interrupt or terminate the student’s participation in the doctoral programme.
Section 10.1 Thesis requirements
A doctoral thesis must be an independent piece of scientific research that meets international standards with regard to ethical requirements, academic level and methodology used in the research field.
The thesis must contribute to the development of new knowledge and achieve a level meriting publication in the literature in the field. The thesis may consist of a monograph or a compendium of several shorter manuscripts. If the thesis consists of several shorter manuscripts, an explanation of how these are interrelated must be included.
It is the responsibility of the institution to decide whether a doctoral thesis produced by more than one person may be submitted for evaluation. In this case, it must be possible to identify the contributions of the individuals involved.
If a research article has been produced in cooperation with other authors, the PhD candidate must follow the norms for co-authorship that are generally accepted within the academic community and in accordance with international standards. If the thesis consists mainly of articles, the candidate must normally be listed as the lead author on at least three of the articles.
A thesis containing articles written by more than one author must include a signed declaration that describes the candidate’s contribution to each of the articles.
The thesis must be written in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. If the candidate wishes to use a different language, he/she must apply for special permission to do so at the time of admission. If the thesis consists of more than one language, the summary must be written in Norwegian or English. If the articles are written in English, the summary must be in English.
KFU recommends the following guidelines for the summary of an article-based doctoral thesis:
The doctoral thesis must consist of a summary and a minimum of four publishable articles. The candidate must be the lead author of at least three (3) of the articles. The summary should be finalised at the end of the doctoral project. The summary must serve as a framework for the thesis so that a cohesive perspective can be clarified early in the process. Beginning the summary early may bring awareness to the cohesive perspective that the thesis is required to present. By the same token, it will be natural to modify the summary throughout the process with respect to how the form and content of the articles develop.
- The summary should normally comprise 40-60 pages, excluding attachments and bibliography. As a general rule, the summary should contain the following components: introduction, theoretical framework, methodology, a brief summary of each article with an explanation of the choice of research questions and/or hypotheses, a general discussion and conclusion, and a bibliography.
- The scientific content of the summary must be updated if necessary, depending on when the articles were published/completed.
- The summary must consolidate the issues and conclusions presented in the articles so that the thesis appears as a unified whole. The summary must present the results of the individual articles in a way that brings to light the connection among them.
- The complexity and nuances in the findings must be discussed in light of the factors related to methodology, theory of science and theory.
- The summary must explain and summarise the contribution of the thesis to the relevant research field.
- The thesis must highlight and discuss ethical perspectives related to the thesis.
- The summary must be written by the PhD candidate only.
- The bibliography for the summary must follow the conclusion of the summary. The appendix must be placed at the end of thesis, i.e. after the full version of the articles. Instruments (e.g. questionnaires, interview guidelines, etc.) used in connection with the doctoral project and procedures for approval of the project (Data Protection Official for Research, biobanks, etc.) must be included in the appendix.
Section 10.2 Manuscripts that may not be submitted
Manuscripts or parts of manuscripts that have been approved as the basis for previous examinations or degrees may not be submitted for evaluation as part of the doctoral thesis unless they comprise a minor part of a thesis consisting of several related manuscripts. However, data, analyses and methods from previous degrees may be used as the basis for the doctoral research project.
Published articles will not be approved for use in the doctoral thesis if more than five (5) years has passed from the date of publication to the date of admission. The institution may allow an exception to this rule in extraordinary cases.
The doctoral thesis may be submitted for evaluation to only one educational institution, c.f. section 13.1
The rights between cooperating institutions must be regulated in a written agreement.
When a PhD candidate is employed at the institution, the institution’s regulations relevant at the time must form the basis of the PhD candidate’s obligation to report on the research results with commercial potential that he/she produced during the employment relationship. When a PhD candidate has an external employer, the corresponding obligation to report must be stipulated in a written agreement between the institution, the PhD candidate and the external employer.
For PhD candidates with an employer, the corresponding obligation to report must be stipulated in the admission agreement between the institution and the PhD candidate.
PART IV COMPLETION
Section 12.1 Basis for evaluation
The PhD degree is conferred on the basis of:
- an approved doctoral thesis
- approved completion of the required coursework
- an approved trial lecture on an assigned topic
- an approved public defence of the doctoral thesis
Section 12.2 Time from submission to public defence
The institution (NIH) must make an effort to ensure that the time between submission of the doctoral thesis for evaluation and the public defence of the thesis is as short as possible. Normally this period should not exceed five (5) months.
It is the responsibility of the main academic supervisor to notify the responsible unit at the institution (KFU) that the doctoral thesis will be submitted soon so that the necessary preparations can begin.
Section 13.1 Submission of the doctoral thesis
The application for evaluation of the doctoral thesis may only be submitted after the required coursework has been approved.
The following documents must be attached to the application:
- the doctoral thesis prepared in the approved format and in accordance with the institution’s rules regarding the form and number of copies;
- required written permissions, c.f. section 5.1.;
- declarations from co‐authors when this is required pursuant to section 10.1;
- statement regarding whether the doctoral thesis is being submitted for evaluation for the first or second time;
- statement that the doctoral thesis has not been submitted for evaluation at another institution;
- verification that the required coursework has been completed.
The application to have the doctoral thesis evaluated must be submitted to the Department for Research Management and Documentation (AFB) at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences together with six (6) copies of the thesis.
The institution (KFU) may make an independent decision to deny an application for evaluation of the doctoral thesis if it is evident that the thesis does not meet sufficiently high standards of scientific quality and would therefore be rejected by an evaluation committee.
The doctoral thesis must be made available to the public no later than two weeks prior to the public defence, c.f. section 18.1.
Section 13.2 Assessment of the application
The institution (KFU) will assess the application for evaluation of a doctoral thesis. Applications that do not fulfil the requirements stated in section 13.1 will be denied.
When the institution (KFU) has approved an application for evaluation of a doctoral thesis, it must appoint an expert committee comprised of at least three members who will evaluate the thesis and the public defence. Committee members are subject to the provisions in section 6 of the Public Administration Act regarding impartiality.
The composition of the committee should normally be decided at the time of submission of the doctoral thesis.
The evaluation committee will normally be comprised so that:
- both genders are represented;
- at least one of the members is not affiliated with the institution;
- at least one of the members is not employed in his/her main position at a Norwegian institution;
- all the members hold a doctoral degree or equivalent expertise;
- the majority of the committee members are external.
If these criteria are not met, an explanation must be provided.
The institution is responsible for establishing procedures for the appointment of evaluation committees. The proposal for the composition of the committee must explain the reasoning behind the selection of the members and how the committee as a whole covers the field(s) addressed in the doctoral thesis. The institution must appoint either one of the committee members or another person to serve as the committee’s chairperson.
The appointed supervisor and others who have contributed to the doctoral thesis may not be a member of the evaluation committee or administer its activities.
When required, the institution (KFU) may appoint an alternate to sit on the evaluation committee.
The candidate will be notified of the proposal for the composition of the committee, and he/she may submit written comments no later than one week after the proposal has been made known to the candidate.
The academic supervisor must submit a list of proposed members of the evaluation committee to the head of the candidate’s academic section. Members of the evaluation committee must satisfy the same requirements as those for the main academic supervisor (c.f. section 7.1). The ability of the members to serve in an impartial manner must be assessed. The evaluation committee is appointed by KFU on the basis of a recommendation from the head of section.
The evaluation committee is to be chaired by one internal member who is considered to be a fully participating member of the committee. The committee’s external members write their own independent evaluations and submit these to the committee’s chair. It is the chair’s responsibility to administer the committee’s work and to compile the external members’ evaluations into a single evaluation report. If the chair has additional comments, these may be incorporated into the report. The evaluation must conclude whether the doctoral thesis is worthy of a public defence and be approved by the committee members.
To ensure that the period from submission to public defence is not protracted, the chair should contact the other committee members as soon as the thesis is received and set a tentative date for the public defence. The chair should also decide in conjunction with the other committee members who will act as the first and second discussant.
Section 15.1 Gathering of supplementary information
The evaluation committee may ask to review the PhD candidate’s basic data and any additional or clarifying information.
The evaluation committee may ask the academic supervisor to provide information about the supervision carried out and the work involved in the doctoral thesis.
Section 15.2 Reworking of a submitted doctoral thesis
The evaluation committee may, on the basis of the submitted doctoral thesis and any additional material, c.f. section 14.1, recommend that the institution permit the candidate to make minor revisions to the thesis before the committee submits its final report. The committee must provide a written list of the specific items that the candidate must rework.
If the institution allows minor revisions to the thesis, a deadline normally not exceeding three (3) months will be set for completing such revisions. A new deadline for submission of the committee’s final report will also be set. The institution’s decision pursuant to this paragraph may not be appealed by the PhD candidate.
If the committee finds that extensive changes related to the theory, hypothesis, material or methods used in the thesis are needed in order deem the thesis worthy of a public defence, the committee must reject the thesis (c.f. section 17).
Section 15.3 Report of the evaluation committee
The evaluation committee determines whether the thesis is worthy of being defended for the PhD degree. The decision presented in the report and any dissenting views must be explained. The committee’s report must be submitted no later than three (3) months from the date when the committee received the thesis. If the committee allows reworking of the thesis, a new period of up to three (3) months commences upon resubmission of the thesis.
The committee’s report is submitted to the institution, which forwards the report to the PhD candidate. The candidate is given ten (10) working days in which to submit written comments to the report. If the candidate does not wish to submit comments, he/she must notify the institution of this in writing as soon as possible.
Any written comments by the PhD candidate must be sent to the institution. The institution is responsible for taking the final decision on the matter in accordance with section 16.
Section 15.4 Correction of formal errors in the doctoral thesis
A thesis which has been submitted may not be withdrawn before the evaluation committee has determined whether it is worthy of being defended for the PhD degree.
After the PhD candidate submits the doctoral thesis for evaluation, he/she will be allowed to correct formal errors in the thesis. A list of the errors that the candidate wishes to correct (an errata list) must be attached to the application. The application to correct formal errors may be submitted only once, and no later than four (4) weeks prior to the committee’s deadline for submission of its final report.
On the basis of the report by the committee report, the institution determines whether the doctoral thesis is worthy of a public defence.
Unanimous committee decision: If the committee’s decision is unanimous and the institution (KFU) finds that the committee’s report should be used as the basis for its final decision, the institution (KFU) will take the final decision in accordance with the committee’s report.
If the institution (KFU) finds that there are grounds to doubt whether the committee’s unanimous decision should be used as the basis for its final decision, the institution (KFU) must request further clarification from the evaluation committee and/or appoint two new reviewers who will submit individual evaluations of the thesis. Such additional clarification or individual evaluations will be presented to the PhD candidate, who will be given the opportunity to make comments. The candidate will be given a deadline of ten (10) days in which to submit written comments to the individual evaluations.
The institution (KFU) takes the final decision on the matter on the basis of the committee’s report and subsequent reviews.
Non‐unanimous committee decision: If the committee’s decision is not unanimous and the institution (KFU) finds that there are grounds to use the majority’s opinion as the basis for its final decision, the institution (KFU) will take the final decision in accordance with the majority’s view. If the committee’s decision is not unanimous and the institution (KFU) finds there are grounds to consider using the minority’s opinion as the basis for its final decision, the institution (KFU) may request further clarification from the evaluation committee and/or appoint two new reviewers who will submit individual evaluations of the thesis. Such additional clarification or individual evaluations must be presented to the PhD candidate, who will be given ten (10) days in which to make comments. If both of the new reviewers agree with the majority’s opinion in the original report by the committee, the majority’s opinion must be followed.
The candidate will be informed of the outcome after procedures related to the statements by the new reviewers have been completed.
If at least two-thirds of KFU’s members in attendance find that – despite a unanimous decision from committee evaluation – there is doubt as to whether the doctoral thesis should be approved, KFU will appoint two experts to independently submit their statements. KFU cannot set aside a unanimous decision from the evaluation committee without the support of additional expert statements. If both the expert statements support the conclusion of the first committee evaluation, then this conclusion must be allowed to stand. If the committee’s evaluation is supported by only one expert statement, the final decision will be made by KFU, and KFU will support the original decision if one-third of KFU’s members in attendance support this conclusion.
NIH has formulated practical guidelines for the process of evaluating the doctoral thesis and the public defence of the thesis.
A doctoral thesis that is not found to be worthy of a public defence may be resubmitted in revised form no sooner than six (6) months after the institution (KFU) made its initial rejection. The doctoral thesis may be re-evaluated only once.
In the event of resubmission, the PhD candidate must clearly state that the doctoral thesis was evaluated previously and was not found to be worthy of a public defence.
The committee that originally evaluated the doctoral thesis should normally also evaluate the thesis when it is resubmitted.
Section 18.1 Requirements related to the printed doctoral thesis
When the doctoral thesis is found worthy of a public defence, the PhD candidate must submit the thesis to the institution in the approved format (A-4) and in accordance with the rules of the institution, c.f. section 13.1.
The PhD candidate must submit a brief summary of the doctoral thesis in English and Norwegian. If the thesis is not written in English or Norwegian, the candidate must also submit a summary in the language in which the thesis is written. Like the thesis itself, the summary must be made available to the public.
Section18.2 Public availability
The doctoral thesis must be made available to the public no later than two (2) weeks prior to the date of the public defence. The thesis should be made available in the form in which it was submitted for evaluation, or following revisions made on the basis of the committee’s preliminary comments, c.f. section 15.2. Versions of articles that were revised after the thesis was submitted for evaluation may not be used.
There can be no restrictions placed on a doctoral thesis being made publicly available, except in the event that a prior agreement has been reached concerning a delay in public access at an agreed upon date. Such a delay may be allowed so that the institution and any external parties which have partially or wholly funded the candidate’s PhD studies can determine their interests in potential patents. An external party may not require that all or part of a doctoral thesis be withheld from the public domain, c.f. section 5.3.
In the event of publication of the doctoral thesis, the candidate must follow the applicable guidelines on the crediting of institutions. As a general rule, the institution must be listed as the author’s address in the publication if the institution has made a necessary and substantial contribution or laid a foundation so that the author could produce the published manuscript. The same author must also list other institutions if these in each case fulfil the requirement related to the institution’s contribution.
When a doctoral thesis is published, PhD candidates employed at NIH must give NIH as the address. PhD candidates employed at external institutions must give the address of NIH and the main employer’s address on publications. This also applies to manuscript that were wholly or primarily completed during the doctoral programme but published at a later time.
Section 19.1 Trial lecture
After the doctoral thesis has been submitted for evaluation and it has been found worthy of a public defence (c.f. section 15), the PhD candidate must hold a trial lecture. The trial lecture is an independent part of the examination for the PhD degree and is held on an assigned topic. The purpose is to test the candidate’s ability to acquire knowledge beyond the topic of the doctoral thesis and to convey this knowledge in a lecture situation.
The title of the trial lecture must be announced to the PhD candidate ten (10) days prior to the lecture. The topic of the lecture must not have a direct connection to the topic of the thesis.
If the institution decides to hold a trial lecture in connection with the public defence, the evaluation committee will assign the topic of the lecture and conduct the evaluation. If two examinations are evaluated separately, the institution will appoint a separate committee to evaluate the lecture and assign the topic. In this case, at least one of the members of the evaluation committee must be appointed to the trial lecture committee.
The trial lecture must be held in the language in which the doctoral thesis is written, unless the institution (KFU) approves the use of another language.
If the candidate wants to hold the trial lecture in a language other than the language used in the doctoral thesis, the candidate must seek permission for this when submitting the doctoral thesis for evaluation.
The evaluation committee is responsible for determining whether the trial lecture is approved or not approved. If the trial lecture is not approved, the reason for this must be explained.
To pass the trial lecture, the candidate must receive a mark of “laud”/B.
The trial lecture must be approved before the public defence can be held.
The trial lecture at NIH should address “an imagined, enlightened, educated public”, in this setting to be understood as “an audience of sport scientists and physical education/sports students from higher level studies”.
Section 19.2 Public defence of the doctoral thesis
The public defence of the doctoral thesis must take place after the trial lecture has been held and approved, and no later than two (2) months after the institution has found the thesis to be worthy of a public defence.
The time and location of the public defence must be announced at least ten (10) working days prior to the scheduled date.
The committee that originally evaluated the doctoral thesis must also evaluate the public defence. The public defence must be held in the language used in the thesis, unless the institution, on the recommendation of the evaluation committee, approves the use of a different language.
If the evaluation committee wants the defence to be held in a language other than the language used in the thesis, this must be proposed to KFU at the same time that the evaluation is forwarded to KFU.
There will normally be two opposing speakers, or discussants, at the defence. These two speakers must be members of the evaluation committee and will be appointed by the institution (KFU).
The public defence will be chaired by a person authorised by the institution. The chair of the defence will give a brief explanation of the procedures relating to the submission and evaluation of the doctoral thesis. Then the PhD candidate will explain the purpose and findings of the doctoral research project. This explanation should not exceed 30 minutes.
The first opposing speaker begins the questioning of the PhD candidate and the second opposing speaker concludes the questioning. The institution may decide to distribute the tasks normally assigned to the opposing speakers and the candidate in a different way. After both opposing speakers have concluded their questioning, members of the audience will have the opportunity to comment. One of the opposing speakers concludes the questioning, and the chair of the defence concludes the defence proceedings (c.f. the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions’ Guidelines for the Evaluation of Candidates for Norwegian Doctoral Degrees).
The evaluation committee submits its report to the institution in which it explains how it has assessed the public defence of the thesis. The report must conclude whether the defence was approved or not approved. If the defence is not approved, the report must provide an explanation for this.
After the public defence, the evaluation committee sends a report to board of NIH to determine whether the candidate should receive the doctoral degree. The report must explain how the committee has evaluated the doctoral thesis and the candidate’s public defence of the thesis. In its conclusion, the report must state whether the examinations (the doctoral thesis, trial lecture and defence) as a whole are deemed satisfactory.
The institution takes a decision on approval of the doctoral examination on the basis of the evaluation committee’s report.
If the institution does not approve the trial lecture, a new trial lecture must be held on a new topic no later than six (6) weeks following the first lecture. A new trial lecture may only be held once. The lecture must be evaluated to the extent possible by the same committee that evaluated the first lecture, unless the institution has stipulated otherwise.
If the institution does not approve the public defence, the PhD candidate may defend the doctoral thesis once more only. A new defence can be held after six (6) months and must be evaluated to the extent possible by the same committee that evaluated the first defence.
Based on a statement by the institution that the required coursework, doctoral thesis and doctoral examination have been approved, the Doctor of Philosophy degree will be conferred on the candidate. The diploma is issued by the institution and provides information about the academic training in which the candidate has participated. The institution determines what additional information is to appear on the diploma.
The institution will issue a Diploma Supplement, i.e. an attachment to the PhD diploma, in keeping with the applicable guidelines.
PART V APPEALS AND ENTRY INTO FORCE
Section 23.1 Appeal of a rejection of an application for admission, appeal for a decision to terminate a student’s admission rights, and appeal of rejection of an application for recognition of parts of the required coursework
Rejection of an application for admission, a decision to terminate a student’s admission rights, and rejection of an application for recognition of parts of the required coursework may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of sections 28 and following of the Public Administration Act. The institution is responsible for establishing procedures for this.
An appeal of a rejection of an application for admission, appeal of a decision to terminate a student’s admission rights, and appeal of rejection of an application for recognition of parts of the required coursework are to be submitted to the Committee for Research Education (KFU).
If KFU upholds the previous decision, the appeal may be brought to the central complaints committee.
Section 23.2 Appeal of an examination as part of the required coursework
Examinations taken as part of the required coursework may be appealed pursuant to section 5-2 “Complaints against procedural errors in connection with examinations” and section 5-3 “Complaints regarding marks awarded – right to explanation” of the Act relating to universities and university colleges.
A suspicion of cheating or an attempt to cheat must be handled in accordance with the institution’s established routines for this.
An appeal of an examination as part of the required coursework will be handled in accordance with the Act relating to universities and university colleges and NIH’s regulations regarding admission, studies and examinations.
Section 23.3 Appeal of a rejection of an application for evaluation, and rejection of a doctoral thesis, trial lecture or public defence
Rejection of an application for evaluation of a doctoral thesis and a decision of non-approval of a doctoral thesis, trial lecture or public defence may be appealed pursuant to section 28 and following of the Public Administration Act.
The institution is responsible for establishing the appeal procedures.
If the institution (KFU) finds grounds for this, individual experts or a committee may be appointed to conduct an assessment of the evaluation that was carried out and the criteria on which the evaluation was based, or to conduct a new or supplementary expert evaluation.
Section 24.1 Joint degrees and cotutelle (joint supervision) agreements
The institution may enter into an agreement with one or more Norwegian or foreign institutions to cooperate on joint degrees or cotutelle agreements.
With regard to cooperation on joint degrees and cotutelle agreements, an exception may be made to the other provisions in these regulations if it is necessary due to the regulations of the cooperating institution. Such exceptions, both individually and as a whole, must be clearly justifiable.
Section 24.2 Joint degree*
The term “joint degree” is defined as a collaboration between two or more institutions in which the cooperating institutions as a group are responsible for admission, academic supervision, the conferral of the degree and other elements as described in these regulations. The collaboration is normally organised in the form of a consortium and is regulated by a contract between consortium members. For a completed joint degree, a joint diploma is issued in the form of: a) a diploma issued by the consortium members as a group, b) a diploma issued by each of the consortium members, or a combination of a) and b).
An agreement to issue a joint degree is normally only entered into if there already exists an established, stable academic collaboration between the institution and at least one of the
other consortium members. The board is responsible for establishing detailed guidelines for cooperation on a joint degree, including templates for cooperation agreements, c.f. first paragraph.
Section 24.2. Cotutelle agreements
The term “cotutelle agreement” is defined as the joint academic supervision of PhD candidates and cooperation on doctoral training for PhD candidates. A cotutelle agreement must be entered into for each candidate and should be based on stable, academic institutional cooperation.
Section 24.3 Requirements related to joint degrees and cotutelle agreements
Admission requirements, the requirement that the doctoral thesis must be made available to the public, and the requirement that the public defence must be evaluated by an impartial committee cannot be waived.
These regulations replace the standard regulations for the PhD degree adopted by the board of the Norwegian School of Sport Science in December 2003