Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences

PhD programme in Geography

The Department of Geography at NTNU is an internationally oriented research environment that welcomes PhD projects in both human and physical geography.

The department offers PhD-supervision on a broad set of themes and perspectives located within our four strategic areas:

Climate, vulnerability, adaption and mitigation

  • Landscapes of risk: apprehension and experience
  • Local vulnerability and adaption
  • Consequences for health and welfare
  • Renewable energy and sustainability
  • Changes in steep catchments and the cryosphere

Our research considers the effects of climate change on nature and society, and adaptation/mitigation strategies. Within physical geography we focus on mountain areas and artic environments, especially changing conditions of the cryosphere (snow, permafrost and glaciers) and the relationship between debris transport and flash floods in steep catchments. Within human geography our research is on social vulnerability, risk perception and adaptation in relation to natural hazards. We also work on climate change effects on global health/welfare, and studies relating to the development of renewable and sustainable energy.

Environment, resources, management

  • Landscape: protection, use and participation
  • Nature as ecosystem services: production and distribution
  • Water as resource and challenge
  • Biodiversity: discourses and practices
  • Valuable natural resources: conflict, peace building and development

Within this field we conduct research on use, management and protection of a range of renewable natural resources such as land and water. We focus on how resources are conceptualized within different contexts – for example as ecosystem services, landscape or biodiversity – and how these different conceptualizations often create competing and conflicting discourses and practices. Another key topic within this field is stakeholder roles and participation related to use and distribution of resources. Our research also includes valuable natural resources, such as diamonds and oil, with a focus on revenue management and how these types of resources are linked to armed conflict. 

Mobility, transnationalism and inequality

  • Translocality
  • Transgressing local/ global divides
  • Flows of ideas, goods and people
  • Conflict and mobilities
  • Geographies of inequality and exclusion

In this strategic area we are concerned with understanding how mobilities and translocal connections change relations between people and places. We emphasise how ideas, goods and people move and how translocality (nationally and internationally) reconfigure connectivity between places. A central theme is how and why people move and we analyse causes to migration that include conflict, environment, economy and lifestyle. Colleagues involved in this strategic area study how globalisation, transnationalism and mobility lead to new or strengthen old divides of inequality and exclusion. Related research includes changes in transport and communication technology as a principal premise for mobility and the changing relations between people and places.

Innovation in industry and society

  • Entrepreneurship, including cultural, social and green
  • Local and regional restructuring and innovation
  • Urban and rural development and place marketing
  • Culture, experiences and tourism
  • Clusters and innovation systems

This research field, covering regional and local processes of restructuring and innovation, includes social, economic, cultural and political aspects. We also focus on various planning and development strategies in urban, rural, regional and global contexts. We ask how firms, places and regions are coupled with international value chains and networks. Entrepreneurship in industry as well as cultural, social and green entrepreneurship is research subjects. Related research explores how clusters and innovation systems emerge and develops. We also investigate the significance of culture, experiences and tourism in creating entrepreneurial rural districts and cities. From this angle we pay particular attention to strategic development of places and place marketing.

The main objective of the PhD programme is to qualify the candidate for a career in academia and other occupations that require a high level of analytical skills. The PhD project should be equivalent to a work load of three years, including one semester of coursework, and is concluded by the submission of a PhD thesis and the subsequent PhD defence. Candidates may, in some cases, be offered a four-year programme including 25% duty work for the Department. The research training programme (coursework) qualifies the candidate for carrying out sound professional research and investigative work, teaching at university and college level, and performing analytical work which demands special competency in areas of geographical study.

As a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography you will be a member of the Norwegian Researcher School in Geography that offers a number of courses. 

Admission to the PhD programme requires that the candidate can document funding for a three year period.


Department of Geography
Telephone:  +47 73 55 89 07
E- mail:  kontakt@ige.ntnu.no

Postal address:
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Department of Geography
NO-7491 Trondheim

Delivery address:
Dragvoll, Building 7, level 4

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