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Procedures for the evaluation of doctoral dissertations

The following three main components are included in the doctoral degrees in the Faculty, a dissertation, a trial lecture (two for the Degree of Dr. Philos.) and a public disputation. For a candidate to be able to be awarded the doctoral degree the committee must find all the components satisfactory.


The committee that evaluates the dissertation shall produce a report on the dissertation.

It is desirable that the committee should reach a unanimous conclusion, but in the event of dissenting opinions separate reports may be necessary. The committee should as far as possible give the report a general and concise form. Positive reports should be 1-2 pages in length, negative reports 2-3 pages.

Even if the committee concludes that the work should not be approved, the committee may recommend a reworking of the dissertation. In such cases information to this effect shall be given explicitly. However, where the committee is of the opinion that fundamental changes are necessary with respect to theory, hypothesis, material and/or method for the work to be worthy of approval, the committee should not recommend submission of the same dissertation in a reworked version for new evaluation.

The report should make clear how the committee has evaluated the following questions:

  • Are the research questions and the hypotheses clear and have they been formulated precisely enough?
  • Are the research questions and the hypotheses fruitful in terms of the research situation?
  • To what extent are the materials referred to and the methods used suited to the purpose?
  • Have the conclusions that the material allows been drawn, and are they tenable?
  • Is the handling of relevant literature satisfactory?
  • Are the form of presentation, the layout and the scientific apparatus satisfactory?

The statement should give an overall impression of the work. In the presentation the positive aspects of the dissertation should also be mentioned so that one also gains an impression of them. The conclusion, either positive og negative, should be formulated clearly and placed in the end of the document. The conclusion must be in compliance with the prior premises in the report.

Trial lecture(s)

All candidates shall give a trial lecture on a topic laid down by the committee. The topic is announced to the doctoral candidate 10 working days before the lecture. The theme should be taken from the subject area from which the candidate's doctoral degree work originates, but not from the most central problematic issues. Candidates for the Degree of Dr. Philos. shall in addition give a lecture on a topic they have chosen themselves.

The purpose of the trial lecture(s) is that the candidate shall provide evidence of an ability to convey research-based knowledge. In the evaluation of the trial lecture both the academic content and the ability to communicate shall be emphasised. The level of this lecture shall be such that it is suited to the students at the Faculty.

The trial lecture must be passed before the public defence may take place (see Regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor §18.1).


The disputation is presided over by the Head of department or by any such person as is appointed by the Head of department. Who are to be the first and second opponents is decided in the committee. The first opponent introduces the discussion and the second concludes the disputation. The opponents should have agreed in advance which problem areas each of them is to take up.

The disputation shall be an academic discussion between opponents and doctoral candidate concerning formulations of problems, methodological and theoretical basis, documentation and form of presentation. Special weight should be attached to testing to what extent important conclusions that the doctoral candidate has drawn in his or her work are in fact tenable. The problematic issues that the opponents choose to pursue need not be limited to those that are mentioned in the committee report. It is important that the opponents should also bring out the positive aspects of the dissertation in their opposition. The form of the discussion should, in so far as this is possible, be of such a nature that those who have not read the dissertation and do not know the subject field intimately are able to follow the discussion.

The candidate must pass both the trial lecture and the public defence before the degree and diploma can be conferred. 

Guidelines and regulations

Guidelines for the evaluation of Norwegian doctoral degrees

Regulations for the degree of PhD

Regulations for the degree of Dr. Philos.

Published Dec. 21, 2020 10:23 AM - Last modified Jan. 29, 2021 1:53 PM