- Duration: 3 years
- Credits: 180
Doctoral Degree Programme
MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society offers Doctoral Programmes (PhD) in Theology and Religious Education / Religious Studies.
A PhD qualifies you for teaching at the college/university level, for research activities, and for other work where there are high standards of scholarly insight, skill, and well developed analytical thinking.
Our PhD programme aims to train researchers with expertise in scholarly analysis as well as the formation of hypotheses and theories.
Fields of Research at MF
MF’s research is centred around the fields of Theology, Religion and Society, including disciplines such as:
- The Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (OT/HB)
- The New Testament (NT)
- Church History and Cultural History
- Systematic Theology
- Practical Theology
- Religious Education
- Religious Studies
- Sociology of Religion
- Psychology of Religion
- Social Sciences
MF's programme is open to applicants from other universities and colleges in Norway and abroad.
A good project description is required for a scientific thesis and an indication of how this can be completed within 3 years, as well as a plan for financing this.
Read more about the requirements below.
Admission to the PhD program requires a cand.theol./master's degree in a relevant subject area. A good project description is also required for a scientific thesis and an indication of how this can be completed within 3 years, as well as a plan for financing this
The application for admission to the doctoral program shall contain:
- A project proposal for the thesis;
- A detailed plan for completion of the project, including interim deadlines, etc.
- An account of project funding, and documentation of it from one or more institutions;
- An account of the need for academic supervision and the name(s) of proposed supervisor(s);
- Any relevant plans for extended stays at other research institutions;
- A plan for publication/dissemination of results;
- Documentation of educational background that qualifies for admission;
Application will open February 1st./September 1st.
Application deadline: March 1st./October 1st.
Start: September 1st./January 1st.
The programme structure is under revision.
Method of instruction
The PhD programme is to a large extent based on individual and specialized studies, and it also aims at providing the means for academic socialization. The programme is structured around four areas:
- Philosophy of science (10 ECTS)
- Methodology (10 ECTS)
- The Status of the discipline (10 ECTS)
- Thesis (150 ECTS)
The total programme consists of different parts which together allow for a hermeneutical interplay. The Candidate’s research and the resulting PhD thesis constitute the major part of the education (150ECTS). The course components support, inform, guide and inspire the individual PhD research.
1 ECTS (= European Credit Transfer System, ’studiepoeng’) requires 25-30 hours work from the Candidate.
Philosophy of science (10 ECTS)
Two courses are required on this topic. The fundamental perspectives in these courses place the PhD specialization and the PhD thesis within the context of scholarly work, and the students can develop their understanding and be enabled to document the larger horizon within which the research takes part.
PHD900 (5 ECTS) is mandatory for all students. This course focuses on basic questions in the study of and research in the areas of Religion and Values.
The second course within this area is an elective. PHD901A (5 ECTS) relates to the humanities, while PHD901B (5 ECTS) relates to the social sciences. The student chooses the course relevant for one’s own area of research. The electives focus on general theory, philosophy of science, and academic research ethics.
Methodology (10 ECTS)
Two courses are required on this topic: MET910 (5 ECTS) and MET920 (5 ECTS). The courses focus on methodological issues and train the student to discern, choose and employ proper scientific / scholarly methods. Two courses are offered from each of the following fields:
A. History and exegesis
B. Systematic Theology
C. Social Sciences
The student normally takes both courses from either A, B or C, but combinations may be granted by application.
The Status of the discipline (10 ECTS)
This course (PHD930, 10 ECTS) is an open course. The aim of this course is to give a thorough understanding of the present stand and status of the discipline. In order to achieve this, the
student participates in different activities relevant to one’s own thesis topic. For instance, the course requires participation in two international conferences or an academic stay abroad. In addition, seminars or full courses from Research Schools may be part of this course.
Thesis (150 ECTS)
The main part of the program is the writing of the thesis. The thesis may consist of a single work or several shorter works. In order to improve the quality and progress of the Candidate’s research, research seminars are offered, and the student is required to attend these regularly.
By application, equivalent courses may be fitted in either fully or partially.
The PhD program has integrated and implemented the European Qualifications Framework (EQF)/ the National Qualifications Framework (NKR) in the research education. i.e. 3rd cycle/ level 8.
The aims of the PhD programme can be described as follows:
Knowledge. The program shall enable the PhD Candidate
1) to be at the forefront of knowledge about his/her academic field, and that he / she masters the field’s philosophy of science and relevant methods.
2) to evaluate the usefulness and relevant application of different methods and processes in research and scholarly development projects.
3) to contribute to the development of new knowledge, new theories, methods, interpretations, and forms of documentation in the field.
Skills. The programme shall enable the PhD Candidate
1) to formulate research problems and plan research and scholarly work.
2) to carry out scholarly research at a high international level.
3) to handle complex academic issues and challenge established knowledge and practice in the field.
General competence. The PhD Candidate shall develop sufficient competence to
1) identify new relevant ethical issues and carry out his/her research with scholarly integrity.
2) manage and / or understand complex interdisciplinary assignments and processes.
3) communicate research and development work through organized Norwegian and international channels.
4) participate in the international academic field to which he / she belongs
5) assess the needs for, to initiate and practice innovation.
These qualifications are to be developed in and by the individual PhD student in cooperation with supervisors and relevant research groups. It is the task of the supervisors and the research groups to specify and apply the general competencies to their own field and the corresponding area of research within the PhD education. The qualification process is a process of socialization into research. The primary arena for learning is the actual practice of research and the work with the PhD thesis, which includes:
- the design of the project, including formulation of a research question
- providing research material (texts, interviews of informants, statistics, or other data to be chosen and collected)
- assessment and evaluation of the material
- application, testing, and development of relevant methods and relevant theory in the research project
- academic and methodological maturation and development, academic discussions, co-working, co-operation
- presentation and dissemination both in writing and orally
The totality of the qualifications acquired is assessed at the end of the PhD programme. When the coursework is completed, it is the successful defence of the PhD thesis and the trial lecture which indicates that the qualifications are achieved (passed). The PhD Candidate can be regarded then as an “early stage researcher.”
All courses are taught by professors. The format consists of lectures, panels of responses and discussion, seminars, and work groups. Some seminars are offered in cooperation with other (national or international) institutions. The literature for each course should normally be read before the seminar starts.
MF’s PhD seminars are normally three continuing full days, where the student is expected to write and submit a preliminary short paper and subsequently a course paper. The initial short paper is a descriptive and critical discussion of literature and/or questions related to the course theme. Its point of departure may be a book, an article or several articles, a direction or position in research, an authorship, a concept, or questions posed by the course leaders. Preferably, it may relate connected to the student’s PhD thesis. The PhD student may also formulate at least four questions resulting from the work with the essay.
The short paper and the student’s questions must be sent by e-mail one week before the course to the responsible course convener, who circulates it to the participants for discussion in the course. In some courses, students may be asked to respond to the presentation of a fellow PhD student or to present their own paper.
After reworking, the final version of the course paper should be sent to the responsible course convener for final approval, usually within three weeks after the course. It will be subject to the exam that term.
Papers are approved by the course convener(s) or by the supervisor(s). The courses are graded passed/failed on the basis of fulfilled course requirements