The doctoral thesis - dissertation

An independent piece of scientific research that meets international standards with regard to ethical requirements, academic level and methodology used in the research field.

General information

Scope of the dissertation

Overall summary - "kappa"

Guidelines for the overall summary


Manuscripts that will not be accepted

Public availability


General information regarding the thesis/dissertation

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. 

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.  A thesis containing articles written by more than one author must, at submission for evaluation, include signed declarations describing the candidate's and co-author's contribution to each of the articles. See templates for co-author declarations.

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.

Scope of the dissertation

For candidates enrolled in the Ph.D program before 1st. August 2020:

The doctoral thesis must consist of a summary and a minimum of four (4) publishable articles. The candidate must be the lead author of at least three (3) of the articles.

For candidates enrolled in the Ph.D program after 1st. August 2020:

The doctoral thesis must consist of a summary and a minimum of three (3) publishable research articles in relevant scientific journals with the candidate as first author. At least two (2) of the articles must be submitted for publication and at least one (1) must be accepted for publication. When submitting a dissertation based on more than three (3) research articles, there is no requirement for first authorship of works beyond three (3) articles.

Overall summary of an article-based doctoral thesis - "kappa":

An article-based doctoral thesis must, in addition to the articles, comprise an overall summary ("kappe") that includes an introduction leading up to the thesis main issues; a method part, summary of the research results, an overarching discussion; conclusions and suggestions to further research.

The overall summary should serve as a framework for the thesis so that a cohesive perspective can be clarified early in the process. 

It will be natural to modifay the overall summary throughout the process with respect to how the form and content of the articles develop. The overall summary should be finalised at the end of the doctoral project.

Guidelines for the overall summary:

  • The overall summary should normally comprise 40-60 pages, excluding attachments and bibliography.
  • As a general rule, the overall 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 conclusions, list of references.
  • The scientific content of the overall 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 whole. The overall 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 other theories.
  • The overall 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 research project.
  • The summary must be written by the PhD candidate alone.
  • The bibliography for the summary must follow the conclusion of the overall 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.


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.He/she must also apply to KFU for permission to defend the thesis in another language than the language of the thesis.

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.

Manuscripts that will not be accepted

The doctoral thesis may be submitted for evaluation to only one educational institution.

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.

Public availability of the doctoral thesis

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. Versions of articles that were revised after the thesis was submitted for evaluation may not be used.

See also submission of thesis