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Requirements for the PhD thesis at the Department of Psychology

The guidelines are governed on several levels:

Regulations § 10

The programme description pt. 4

See also Guidelines on evaluation of Norwegian PhD degrees (in Norwegian) ,especially pt. 3.2 on what should be emphasized in the evaluation.

General requirements
The thesis shall be an independent scientific work which meets international standards with regard to ethical requirements, academic level and method. The thesis shall contribute to the development of new academic knowledge and be of an academic level which enables it to be published as part of the scientific literature in the field. The thesis must be written in either Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish. If the candidate wishes to use another language, he or she must apply for a special permission when admitted to the program. The thesis should be either a monograph or a compilation of articles.

Collection of smaller works and co-authors?
Compilations of several smaller works are approved as a thesis if there is an association between the different parts and this association is described in an introductory section of the thesis (see paragraph on introductory section below), which gives an introduction to the research field as well as a holistic discussion of the articles. The articles should be of a standard required for publishing in renowned peer-reviewed academic journals. The articles can either be published, accepted for publishing, or submitted for publishing.


If written work has been created in collaboration with other authors, the candidate must follow the norms and guidelines for co-authorship common in the academic field, and/or the University of Oslo's guidelines for co-authorship. In theses incorporating works with multiple authors, a written declaration on co-authorship detailing the individual contributions of the candidate and each of the co-authors MUST accompany the thesis upon submission.

The candidate fills out the Co-author declaration and confirmation, detailing each of the authors' contribution to each article. This form is subsequently sent to each of the co-authors for review and signing. The candidate is him/herself responsible for obtaining all necessary signatures from co-authors. The form is customizable and can be adjusted depending on the number of co-authors. A signed form for each article should be submitted along with the thesis, and we reserve the right not to evaluate a thesis before all necessary forms are submitted.

Scope of the articles

While there are no definite guidelines on the number of articles required in a thesis, a starting point is that the thesis should reflect 2,5 years worth of work by the candidate. The Faculty of social sciences recommend that the thesis, excluding the introductory section, should be equivalent of 3 journal articles of normal size, where the PhD candidate is the sole author. If there are co-authors for one or more articles, this might require an increase of the number of articles, so that the independent contribution of the PhD candidate is evident. To be considered for evaluation, it is assumed that the PhD candidate is the main author with a comprehensive academic responsibility for the majority of articles included in the thesis.

Since the introduction of the PhD degree, the convention at the Department of psychology has been that 3 articles with the PhD candidate as main author is sufficient in terms of scope. The Department stresses that the number 3 is no definite rule, and the supervisor should counsel the candidate on whether the thesis have the necessary qualities required for submission. Nonetheless, the content of the thesis, and whether it is ready for submission, is ultimately the candidate's own responsibility. Regardless of the number of articles or when it is submitted, it is the evaluation committee that makes the final assessment on whether the thesis satisfies the requirements of the PhD degree.

Introductory section

"The introductory section of the thesis shall not only summarize but also compare the research questions and conclusions that are presented in the articles in a holistic perspective, and through this demonstrate the connection between the articles in the thesis. This also includes a summary of the thesis' contribution to the research field. If the thesis includes previously published articles, the introductory section should also include eventual new information so that the thesis as a whole is academically up to date. In the opposite case these updates are made to each article. The PhD candidate must be the sole author of the introductory part." (Translated from the Faculty guidelines for article-based theses)

In the introductory section, the researcher must demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of the forefront of the academic field

  • The ability to critically evaluate other's research - and to justify own research

  • How the articles combined answers one or more of the overarching research questions

  • Knowledge of methodological weaknesses in own or other's research

  • The ability to critically evaluate own work

  • The ability to explain implications of the combined results - both practically and theoretically

The introductory section should normally be between 40 and 60 pages (including references).

The introductory section should be written in English if all the articles are written in English, and may be written in Norwegian if one or more of the articles are also written and published in Norwegian.

In addition to the introductory section all candidates must submit a scientific summary written in English for publication online and acting as an abstract in the submitted thesis.


Times New Roman font, font size 12, standard margins, spacing: 1 1/2.

Remember, except for errata corrections, the format of the submitted thesis must be identical to that of the final print of the thesis. 

Not accepted

Published works cannot be accepted as a part of a thesis if they were published more than 5 years before the candidate was admitted to the PhD program. Works or parts of works accepted as parts of previous exams or degrees cannot be submitted for evaluation. Data, analysis, or research methods used in previous degrees can nevertheless used as a foundation for the thesis.

If the thesis is submitted to another educational institution after it is submitted to the University of Oslo, the evaluation process will be suspended.

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Published June 15, 2015 11:39 AM - Last modified Sep. 28, 2018 1:28 PM