autumn 2024
HEL-8900 PhD Thesis, Health Sciences - 150 ECTS

Type of course

The course is reserved for candidates who are/have been admitted to the PhD program in Health Sciences

Course content

The PhD-thesis shall deal with a topic in the field of Health Sciences and is the main work that forms the basis of assessment for the PhD degree in Health Sciences.

The dissertation is an individual scientific work done by the candidate under supervision. The dissertation may consist of several smaller works or a monograph. If the dissertation consists of a collection of articles, there should normally be 3 works, in addition to the introductory chapter in which the relationship between the published works and how the candidate views the whole of the dissertation is explained. In the summary, the candidate places their research work into a broader scientific theoretical and research methodological framework. The thesis usually consists of an introduction, theoretical framework for the study and the work involved, presentation of the issues for each of the publications/articles, presentation and discussion of design and research method, presentation of main results, and a discussion of the main knowledge contributions of the work.

In cases where the written work was created in collaboration with other authors, the PhD candidate must follow the norms of co-authorship that are widely accepted in the academic environment and in accordance with international standards. If the thesis consists mainly of articles, the candidate should normally be the first author of at least half of the articles. If a dissertation includes work with several authors, a signed statement describing the candidate’s contribution to each work must be enclosed.

The dissertation must be an independent scientific work that meets international standards with regards to professional and research ethical level within the subject area. The dissertation must contribute to the development of new professional knowledge and be at a level that indicates that it can be published as part of the scientific literature in the subject.

The dissertation (introductory chapter included) must have a uniformed language. This must be English, unless otherwise agreed upon at admission to the PhD program in Health Sciences.

The PhD degree is conferred on the basis of:

  • An approved midway assessment and educational component
  • An approved doctoral thesis
  • An approved trial lecture on an assigned topic
  • An approved public defense of the doctoral thesis

Objectives of the course

Knowledge - the candidate should

• Possess a comprehensive understanding of the international research landscape within their field

• Demonstrate the ability to critically assess the methodological and academic quality of existing knowledge within their field

• Contribute to the advancement of new knowledge, theories, methodologies, and modes of disseminanation within their academic discipline

• Evaluate the appropriateness and application on of diverse perspectives, methodologies and modes within their academic domain

• Undertake a critical assessment of the scientific methods and research designs suitable for addressing various issues within their field

• Assess the necessity for research and innovation within in their field

• Recognize and analyze ethical dilemmas in research

• Evaluate the utility and appropriateness of different communication channels and dissemination methods

Skills - the candidate can

• Critically assess and formulate research questions, plan, and execute research and academic development work in their own research project.

• Propose and justify new research questions within their field of expertise

• Critically evaluate and justify the conclusion drawn from their own research project

• Explain and critically reflect on value and interest conflicts related to their own field

• Evaluate and apply various communication channels for their own research project and field of study

• Develop and implement a health sciences research project in accordance with research ethics requirements and guidelines, including the Health Research Act

General competence - the candidate can:

• Assess the need for renewal and innovation in their field of study

• Identify, analyze, and critically reflect on research and scientific theoretical issues

• Plan and conduct research at a high international standard, encompassing activities that generate new knowledge, new theories, new methodologies, new interpretation, and/or new forms of documentation

• Reflect on the social impact of research within their own field and potential conflicts of interest.

• Engage in debates within the field of study in national and international forums.

• Disseminate research and development work through recognized national and international channels.

Language of instruction and examination

Norwegian or English

Teaching methods

The work on the dissertation is the most important contribution to the PhD candidate to acquire research expertise and achieve expected learning outcomes. The dissertation forms largely consist of independent work and research activities under supervision, as well as participation in a research group. The work includes planning and conduction own research and processing of data material, as well as designing the dissertation.

The PhD candidate must actively participate in a research group, which constitutes a central learning arena for the candidate’s independent research work. Active participation from the PhD candidate will give him/her experience within interdisciplinary research collaboration, insight into research management, the opportunity to discuss issues and designs, challenge established knowledge and practice, and present his/her own project.

Work forms will normally include literature search, assessment and/ or development of systematic reviews, data collection /production, analyses of own data or registry data, individual and colleague-based writing, and other scientific production, participation and presentations at internal and external seminars and conferences, other dissemination activities and possible research stay at a foreign institution.


Examination: Weighting: Duration: Grade scale:
Oral exam 1/5 45 Minutes Passed / Not Passed
Oral exam 1/5 3 Hours Passed / Not Passed
Assignment 3/5 Passed / Not Passed

Coursework requirements:

To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:

Mid-term evaluation Approved – not approved
UiT Exams homepage

More info about the coursework requirements

  • Midway assessment:

Midway in the program, the candidate’s progression shall be evaluated. The evaluation is an educational tool that contributes to the candidate achieving the learning outcomes and to assure the quality of the PhD work. The midway assessment will be arranged as a seminar where the candidate and supervisor meet with an evaluation committee consisting of two scientific employees with a doctorate or equivalent. The midway evaluation is a professional assessment in which the candidate and the committee discuss progress and quality in the PhD work.

  • Approved educational component:

The educational component must be passed and approved before the PhD thesis can be submitted for assessment.

More info about the assignment

PhD-thesis: The dissertation can consist of a compilation of several smaller works or a monograph.

More info about the oral exam

The candidate’s oral exams are parted in to two independent parts:

  • Trial lecture: - 45 minutes: The candidates shall hold a trial lecture on an assigned topic. The trial lecture must be approved before the candidate can public defended the dissertation.
  • Public defense of the dissertation -2-3 hours: The candidate shall present an overview of their doctoral work (30 minutes). Subsequent discussion will be initiated by the first opponent and concluded by the second opponent, possibly followed by questions or comments from the audience (ex. Auditorio)

Re-sit examination

The PhD thesis must be approved before the candidate can proceed with the trial lecture and the public defense of the thesis.

If the PhD thesis is not deemed satisfactory, it can be resubmitted for re-evaluation once.

If the trial lecture is not passed, the candidate may conduct a new trial lecture once.

If the defense of the thesis is not passed, the candidate may be presented for a new defense of the thesis once.

Info about the weighting of parts of the examination

To complete the course and be rewarded with the title of philosophiae doctor, all three of the exams must be approved.

The PhD thesis must be approved before the candidate can proceed with the trial lecture and the public defense of the thesis.

The trial lecture must be approved before the candidate can proceed with the public defense of the thesis.

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 150
  • Course code: HEL-8900
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet