Are you considering a PhD at USN?

How to become a PhD student.

Application, admission and funding

Requirements for admission

In order to apply for admission to a PhD programme, you must have funding and a subject relevant education corresponding to a completed five-year master's degree.

In the majority of disciplines a five-year master's degree consists of a completed 3-year bachelor's degree (min. 180 credits) + a 2-year master's degree (min. 120 points). A good master's degree grade is required, normally a minimum of a B. If you have a foreign qualification then you can contact NOKUT for recognition of the qualification, or a similar assessment be made in connection with the application process. Each faculty or programme may place additional demands on qualifications.

A PhD programme requires good knowledge of English. It is expected that the candidate is able to communicate research results both orally and in writing in English, and can participate in seminars conducted in English.


Available scholarships at USN are announced under  vacant positions. It is possible to apply for admission with other funding, but the majority seeking admission to a PhD programme will have already secured funding through an advertised scholarship. If you apply with other funding, you will need to document the funding for the entire admission period. It is also possible to obtain funding from the Norwegian Research Council through the the industrial PhD scheme or the public sector PhD scheme.

How to apply

There is ongoing admission to PhD programmes at USN. All candidates employed at USN must apply for admission by the given deadline, within three months. Here you will find application forms, PhD admission agreements and information about preparation, admission and start date. Conditions for admission are described in chapter 2 of the PhD regulations. On USN's website you can familiarise yourself with the PhD programmes and the academics who may be relevant to your project. It is important that you as soon as possible make contact with the relevant academic community and a potential supervisor. Supervisors must normally be employed at USN. 

The application for admission must amongst other things contain:

  • Preliminary project description (for some programmes in collaboration with the supervisor)
  • Training plan that includes courses (min. 30 credits),  a schedule, preliminary publication plan and funding plan
  • At least one proposed co-supervisor in addition to the supervisor, and a description of an active research community
  • Funding plan

Further information on the PhD programme is described in the PhD handbook.


The PhD education is standardised to three years of full-time study. Some scholarships involve a fourth year of required duties (normally 25% of  duties in the form of teaching spread over the programme). The education consists of a training element of at least 30 credits, and an independent research project standardised to 2.5 years.