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Upon agreement

The Faculty of Humanities and Education already offers three specialisations in the doctorate programme, in addition to the already existing specialisation in mathematics education (mathematics pedagogical content knowledge) at the University of Agder (UiA). It will be possible to cooperate with these other specialisation programmes.

Part of the training may be taken at NAFOL (the Norwegian National Graduate School in Teacher Education) or other institutions which have a cooperation agreement with UiA. NAFOL courses are not described in the current studies plan.

The project description should help to ensure a carefully planned dissertation. It must be written and approved according to the rules in force. Guidance and supervision of the doctoral dissertation work will be given in part individually and in part through regularly scheduled dissertation seminars.

The coursework section of the researcher education aims to give broad competence and the opportunity to undertake in-depth studies, and also to support the candidate's work on the dissertation. Importance is attached to the following principles for the coursework section: The coursework should assist the candidate in completing the research education in the stipulated time, the courses must be as relevant as possible for the candidate's project, active participation is required to obtain credits, and training in peer responsibility is also part of the researcher education.

The coursework consists of a compulsory and an optional section.

The compulsory section of the education will comprise various types of courses and seminars which will also have various purposes and where the candidate will also have  the opportunity to present his/her own work. The content of the coursework will vary, but over a two-year period the candidate will learn about key scientific theory, ethics and research methodology. A syllabus will be established for all the courses.

The compulsory section comprises a minimum of 20 credits, consisting of scientific theory, ethics, research methodologies, statistics, research presentation, and imparting knowledge and information in  the popular science field. It will also include a seminar giving a cohesive overview of education as a research discipline. The candidate will normally study courses at UiA and institutions UiA has cooperation agreements with. When the candidate studies or takes courses at other institutions, the course must be assessed while bearing in mind that approval will be given on an individual basis.

For the compulsory section to be approved, the candidate must write a paper or similar in each course.

The following courses are offered to candidates in the compulsory section at UiA:

  • Research presentation and presentation in the popular science field (5 credits)
  • Overview seminar: Education as a research discipline (5 credits)

In addition to the compulsory coursework, the candidate must study and pass elective courses with a scope of a minimum of 10 credits. These courses may be subject theory or research methodology and must be relevant for the candidate's research project.

The specialisation in education science offers five-credit courses connected to the four core areas the programme is built on, and which will be offered in a rota schedule according to the subject requirements of the candidates (cf. the specialisation programme):

  • Educational professionalism and educational relationships
  • Teaching
  • Assessment competence in education
  • Special education

The following system is suggested for calculating credits:

One day (9 am – 4 pm) = six teaching hours, exclusive breaks. Courses without documentation give zero credits. Submitted documentation includes work with the listed literature for the course, which may be reference literature for the paper, cf. the table below. 


The following serves as guidelines in the specialisation:

Days coursework

Guidelines literature scope

Courses with documentation: Number of pages paper

Weeks of work in total

(basis: 75 % research + 25 % compulsory work)

Number of credits

1 day coursework

100-150 pages

2-3 pages

25-30 working hours = one week of work

1 credit

2 days coursework

200-300 pages

3-5 pages


2 weeks

2 credits

3 days coursework

300-400 pages

5-7 pages


3 weeks

3 credits

4 days coursework

400-500 pages

7-10 pages


4 weeks

4 credits



Admission requirements

To be admitted to the studies programme the applicant must satisfy one of the following requirements:

  • Completed Master’s degree in education science or similar subject at a Norwegian or foreign university
  • Completed five-year teacher training
  • There may be additional requirements for applicants with another subject field than education, and the applicant may be conditionally admitted

About the studies programme

The doctoral degree for specialisation in education gives 180 credits, corresponding to three years of study. The coursework section gives 30 credits.

The goal of the specialisation studies programme is to develop the qualifications of the candidates for work in education in contexts demanding special requirements for scientific insight and work methods. The coursework section aims to give insight into key scientific theory, methodology and research ethics for research practice. An introduction will also be given in course areas relating to the education-science field and which may shed light on different practical teaching contexts. The dissertation part of the programme aims to give theoretical and methodological in-depth studies through independent research work.

Learning outcome

After completing the studies programme the candidate shall have learning outcome relating to knowledge, skills and general competence:


The candidate shall

  • be in the forefront of knowledge in his or her field and master critical perspectives and methods that may contribute to a wide understanding of individual, social and cultural matters that impact education and early development
  • be able to assess the appropriateness and application of scientific thinking and educational activities
  • through his or her own research contribute to the development of new knowledge in the education field and remain broadly oriented about opportunities in research methodology, and their requirements, which will help him/her to give grounds for choices made in connection with the doctoral degree project


The candidate shall

  • be able to formulate research questions, plan and carry out research and development activities in education
  • be able to deal with complex academic issues and challenge established knowledge in the field

General competence

The candidate shall

  • be able to identify relevant ethical issues in education and practice his/her research with academic integrity
  • be able to present results from education research and development activities to his peer group and in popular science forums
  • be able to assess the need for, take initiatives and be a prime mover for innovation in the field

Work and assessment forms

Work form

All coursework that yields credits has work requirements (terms for sitting for the examination) which will include a defined number of days of coursework (also defined in the number of hours) and requires documentation. The written documentation must be related to (parts of) the given literature list for the course or learning activity when such lists are given. Participation alone is not sufficient for obtaining credits.

According to the nature of the course, the coursework will be organized in the form of lectures and discussions of issues that are relevant for the course. When appropriate, practical exercises will be given with a focus on the analysis of various types of data. Under supervision the candidate must write a paper and present this to the course coordinator and other candidates. Feedback will be given on the paper.

When participating in courses/seminars it is expected that the candidate will read the recommended literature. Granting of credits assumes a form of measureable activity, for example that the candidate uses the literature actively in a paper on the course/seminar. A guideline for the scope of the literature for the researcher education is approximately 3000 pages for 30 credits. This gives approximately 100 pages per credit.

The basic literature is generally chosen by the course coordinator. In addition to the basic literature, part of the literature for some courses may be decided by the candidate and supervisor together. This literature must be part of the total number of pages and must be approved by the course coordinator. The candidate will be assessed according to how he or she manages to use the literature in relation to the work demands for each course.


The quality of an assessed activity is defined according to the expected learning outcome together with a defined academic level. For the assessment of the completed doctoral degree course the grade used will be passed/failed. To achieve the grade passed in a course, the candidate must achieve the grade B on the university grade scale.

The requirements for documentation in a course that has been passed may differ, but will be given in the respective course descriptions. Papers are the main form of documentation. The paper must comply with the regular standards for scientific presentation and must deal with knowledge in the relevant field in substance and science theory/methodology. When relevant, other documentation forms that can be used are subject report (for example after a study trip), presentation of one’s own research activity and prepared verbal input, such as posters or PowerPoint presentations.

In addition to publication of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate is required to present results of the doctoral degree project to fellow students and in a popular science forum. As examples of the former, a paper or poster could be presented at a national or international conference. An example of the latter may be a feature article in a newspaper. A written version of the contribution will then serve as documentation and the basis for approval.

When it comes to other forms of documentation, as defined above, the following applies: Presentation of a paper relating to one’s own research activity or prepared verbal presentation (for example by presenting a poster) cannot yield more than one (1) credit once on passing. This form of documentation may not amount to more than two credits in the coursework section.

Job opportunities

A PhD with specialisation in education opens for a number of job opportunities in education for those who work in day-care-teacher or teacher training, or as a researcher in institutions undertaking educational research or in school development and school leadership.


The specialisation leads to the academic degree Philosophiae doctor (PhD) in education.

Questions about this programme?

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