PhD coursework and research requirements

Just what can you expect from a PhD programme at NTNU? Cutting edge research, camaraderie from fellow PhD candidates, and world class instruction, to begin with. What follows is a description of the formal aspects of obtaining a PhD at NTNU.

The candidate must be admitted to a specific PhD programme in order to earn a degree from NTNU. One requirement that is common to all PhD programmes is that the research fellow must undertake both research and coursework.


The research portion of the PhD is comprised of a completed dissertation, which is defended publicly and approved by a committee appointed by NTNU. A dissertation can be written in book form, or submitted as a collection of articles.

PhD coursework

The coursework portion of the PhD requires completion of a course load equal to 30 study points (equivalent to one semester), consisting of a variety of PhD-level courses. Coursework is typically programme specific, and courses can be taken at NTNU and at other universities. A student must pass all of his or her courses before he or she can submit his or her dissertation.


PhD research fellows conduct their research under the watchful eye of a main supervisor. Typically, the candidate will apply for a PhD position on a particular project or in a research field and be assigned a supervisor by the relevant PhD program. In some cases, the candidate first finds a willing supervisor before he or she begins the application process. Contact people at the different PhD programmes can be helpful in putting the candidate in contact with potential supervisors.

PhD candidates are normally given a yearly budget which is designed to cover travel costs, equipment and other expenses associated with their education.

PhD Handbook

Wonder what kinds of expectations there are for you as a PhD candidate, or what kinds of intermediary steps and goals there are during your years of research and writing? Check out NTNU's new PhD Handbook, which has information on all these issues and more.


The Doctoral Award Ceremony is one of NTNU's academic year's two high points. The other is when new students are welcomed to the university in August.