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PhD in Nautical Operations – Joint Degree

Tankskip. Foto.

The doctoral programme trains qualified candidates for research, teaching, dissemination and innovation work, and other activities where there is a requirement for scientific insight and an operational maritime focus.


Implementation of complex nautical operations today requires interdisciplinary and varied expertise, including research expertise, for safe and efficient planning, implementation and evaluation of nautical operations.

Academic content

Nautical operations is comprised of two disciplines:

  • Nautical, which covers the navigation, manoeuvring and transport of floating vessels, and operations, which indicates that the PhD programme will focus on applied research to support, improve and develop the activities that are being implemented.
  • The operational perspective includes both strategic, tactical and operational aspects. Strategic levels including choosing the type and size of a fleet of vessels. Tactical aspects concerning the design of individual ships, choice of equipment and personnel. The operational aspects include the planning, implementation and evaluation of nautical operations.

It will be a common subject that is offered at all four institutions. Further academic content will be linked to individual focus areas at the four institutions:

  • Maritime Organizational Safety Management and Fire Safety and Evacuation Research at HSH
  • Maritime Operations and Sensor Technology at UiT
  • Maritime Human Factors together with Maritime Logistics and port operations at HSN
  • Maritime Design and Product Development at NTNU

The PhD programme consists of:

  • The academic training component (30 credits). This is made up of topics at PhD level divided into compulsory (15 credits) and elective (15 credits) components. The core areas of the academic training have two compulsory and eight elective topics based on the programme's overall profile. The core areas ensure the continuation of the central themes in the maritime-related undergraduate and graduate programmes at the four institutions.
  • The research component thesis is an independent research or research and development project, that must meet international standards with regard to ethical requirements, academic standards and methodology within the field of nautical operations. The thesis should contribute to the development of new specialist knowledge and be at a level that suggests it could be published internationally or issued in an appropriate format, as part of the field's research-based knowledge development. 

What kind of job can you get?

Candidates will be qualified for positions within the national and international maritime sector. Jobs and sectors can be, for example:

  • Supplier industry to the maritime sector
  • Shipping companies
  • State companies and public institutions with maritime activities
  • Consultancy firms
  • The HE sector with training for the maritime professions
  • Offshore and energy companies
  • Ports and land-based services for the maritime industry
  • Training and education centres for maritime personnel.

About the programme

The doctoral programme in Nautical Operations is a joint degree between

  • University College of Southeast Norway (HSN)
  • Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL)
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Ålesund (NTNU)
  • Arctic University of Norway (UiT)

Contact information at HSN

Academic: Professor Kjell Ivar Øvergård

Administrative: Kristin S. Granerød