Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Joint PhD-programme in Behaviour and Health

– Program Description


The Australian National University (ANU),
College of Medicine, Biology and Environment,
Research School of Psychology, Institute for population health and Faculty of Medicine


The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU),
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Public Health and Nursing


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The programme description is based both on

The two collaborating entities will each appoint two members to a Joint Management Committee/ Academic Programme Committee (JMC/JAC) of four members to manage the collaboration. The Committee would normally be made up of the relevant Dean (or nominee) in each of the two universities and another member nominated by the Heads of the respective collaborating Schools/Departments. The appointment of Committee members from each university should be at the absolute discretion of that university.

Both universities are equally responsible for the programme, but all students admitted will have one home university (the university in which their principal/initial enrolment has taken place) and one host university (the university in which they will reside for a specified period in order to advance their PhD studies). Each student will have a supervisory panel of three; of whom the Principal Supervisor will be from the home university, the Co-Supervisor will be from the host university, and the third will be appointed from either university in order to offer special expertise in the student's area of study.

It will be mandatory over the period of candidature for the student to reside for at least one semester in the host university and to take at least one PhD (advanced level) course (typically of 26 hours of class instruction) in the host university. The course can be one which is currently offered at postgraduate level by either university or one specially designed for this PhD program (a course of specified reading, for example, designed by the relevant supervisor to meet the student's particular needs). This course should be formally assessed by examination or assignment in a manner consistent with the regulations of the relevant university.

Responsibility for all expenses associated with the program, including fees and other charges levied by the home university, rests totally with the individual student unless otherwise covered by a scholarship. The Supervisor in the home university must undertake to provide each enrolled student with the facilities and resources necessary to carry out the research component of the PhD program in a manner consistent with that university's current policies regarding the provision of resources for PhD studies. The Co-Supervisor in the host university will, however, take responsibility to ensure that the student is also provided with the necessary infrastructure for research and other work undertaken during the period of residency in the host university, again consistent with that university's current policies regarding the provision of resources for PhD studies. Given the joint nature of the program the Co-Supervisor in the host university will also work to integrate the visiting student into the existing network of relevant PhD students in the host School or Department.

At completion of the program the student will be awarded a single testamur recognizing  both universities. The testamur will state the collaborative nature of the program and the area of study (PhD in Behaviour and Health). The testamur will be in English.

Description of the programme

The individual student's study and research plan will be formulated through collaborative discussions between the candidate and prospective supervisors, depending on the area of research and the candidate's individual requirements and wishes, and formally endorsed by the Academic Program Committee.

Areas of study

The PhD Program in Behaviour and Health will cover a wide range of potential areas of study reflecting existing and developing research programs in the collaborating universities. The objectives are to:

  • Provide students with a rich research environment based on access to health research facilities and projects in contemporary areas of knowledge and practice in health research; and
  • Create synergies through collaboration which will offer students opportunities not immediately available within single research environments.

As a guide the following areas of current research activity, and of potential complementarities, will be immediately available to participating students in the joint program:


ANU Behaviour and Health


NTNU Behaviour and Health


Adolescent stress and health

Adolescent stress and health


Children's lifestyle and health

Lifestyle and health


Measurement of stress in children and adolescents

Measurement of stress in children and adolescents


Occupational stress

Health in the "new" work life


Type A behaviour and cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular health


Coping with cancer

Survivors of cervix cancer, 
Quality of life in cancer patients



Health promotion research



Public health research


Measurement of stress



Substance use and abuse



Eating disorders

Anorexia nervosa research


Adolescent attachment and health




Disability research



Self-damage and suicide


Clinical neuropsychology

Brain dysfunction and health



Epidemiology: The Nord-Trøndelag health study (HUNT)- population study.

National quality registers in Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Prevention



Exercise as treatment/prevention strategy



"Perception and communication of life and health threats"

"Long term health"

"Resilience, vulnerability, risk and protective factors"




"Healthy organizational change",



"Good health interventions for work life improvement






"Prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in the normal population ", "Treatment of anxity and depression with cbt and metacognitive therapy"



"Darwinian medicine and evolutionary psychopathology"


Objective of the PhD-Programme in Behaviour and Health

The Program provides the basis for an independent, creative and critical perception of one's own and others' research, as well as providing practice in communicating research results in academic and other forums, and applying the results of research to a wide range of both clinical and policy applications.

PhD Plan

The project plan should emphasize;

  • the importance of the topic for the broad understanding of behaviour and health;
  • the primary theoretical issues on which the research proposal is based;
  • the methodological (and statistical) issues which will need to be addressed in carrying out the research;
  • the ethical issues which might arise during the course of the research; and
  • the primary outcomes (including publications or presentations to conferences of international standing) which can be expected from the research.

This should be presented as part of the application in a covering document of between 3 and 5 pages.

Funding plan

For applicants who are not fully funded through scholarship schemes, it is normally required that they will give a detailed account of how they will complete the Program without external funding, bearing in mind that successful completion requires international travel. An assessment of this will be made for each candidate upon application and this will be taken into account in the selection process. Applicants are reminded that completion of the program requires between 3 and 4 years of full-time study.


Work on the PhD thesis constitutes active research under supervision.

Procedures for selection and conduct of supervision of students enrolled at the ANU as the home university will be governed by regulations as set out in http://www.anu.edu.au/sas/hdr/candidature.php



Procedures for selection and conduct of supervision of students enrolled at the NTNU as the home university will be governed by regulations as set out in regulations for the PhD at NTNU.

Residency requirement

A plan for how the residency requirements to the host university will be met is to be presented in the application and in the agreement on supervision.

The main intention of the residency requirement is that the candidate is to actively participate in an academic environment at the host university.

Participation in active research groups internationally

The cooperating university units in the PhD Programme in Behaviour and Health have a comprehensive network of contacts with both national and international research groups. Candidates are encouraged to partici­pate in these groups in order to establish and make use of the contacts with acknowledged researchers nationally and internationally.

Academic Dissemination

All candidates participating in the program will be actively encouraged to present the results of their work in appropriate ways, including but not limited to publication in refereed journals of international standard, presentation at both national and international conferences, and similar activities.


The candidate and supervisors will deliver separate annual reports on progress to the Academic Program Committee /Joint Management Committee and continuation of candidature may rest with the satisfactory evaluation of these reports. Candidates and supervisors are also required to adhere to the progress reporting requirements of their respective home universities.