Division of Research and Innovation
PhD education

Take a PhD at UiB!

PhD education gives you the possibility of working in academia and doing in-depth research on the field of your interest. A need for challenging research in climate change combined with the prospects of a good work-life balance brought Ina Nagler from Austria and the Netherlands to a PhD programme in Bergen. 

Ina Nagler
Dag Hellesund

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Originally from Austria, Ina considered several options before she ended up on the west coast of Norway. She has always had a fascination for the country, but the research environment was more decisive. 
- I also knew that the salary was good, and that work-life balance was valued. I believe that you should enjoy what you’re doing, without working yourself to death, says Ina. 

Super-nice work environment

In Austria PhDs are paid little and used as cheap labour, Ina explains. In Norway, PhDs are paid an ordinary salary. 
Her work is on climate change, which is a big, cross-disciplinary topic at the University of Bergen. 
- I am working on how climate change will affect our ocean currents. And I am specifically looking at the North Atlantic subpolar gyre. 
This gyre is a cold, circulating ocean current south of Iceland, Greenland and the coast of Canada. 
- I am looking for changes in the ocean circulation in models, and then I will look for similar processes in paleo reconstructions. 
She will specifically look at how the subpolar gyre interacts with the rest of the system during changes. There will be signs of these processes in paleo archives found in sediments on the sea bottom. This can confirm both if the climate models are working well, and if the interpretation of paleo-data is correct. 

People are all very friendly and welcoming. When I accepted the job offer, I felt like it could provide me with this challenge that I need to thrive, but also a general feeling of belonging and contentment, in a way

- A direct comparison of the physical processes within models and paleo data has not been done yet and may lead to surprises. 

Ina has only positive things to say about her colleagues:
- It’s a super-nice work environment. I’m part of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, so I came quickly in contact with different scientist working on the big issues of climate change. People know each other, and you can just go and talk with them. People are all very friendly and welcoming.  When I got the job, the deciding factor was the feeling that I got during the interview. It was a committee of five people, and I felt like they could provide me with this challenge that I need to thrive, but also a general feeling of belonging and contentment, in a way. Happiness!

Would you like to read more about Ina's experience? Click here to continue

- And I love being by the sea and in the craziest nature at the same time! Bergen is still big enough that you don’t feel that there is nothing to do. I was a bit scared about the night life and a lack of cultural experiences, but I have found that there are nice places to go to, and the cultural life is surprisingly good. 

Although working hard on her project she doesn’t work excessively long hours. 
- I am surprised how much you are encouraged to take time off. I normally start at 8 am every day, and go home at 4 pm, she says. 
There are many other PhDs at the university, and Ina normally has lunch with the others on her floor. 
- We’re like 8 people, and we go on weekend trips and hikes together, and we drink together. There’s a huge international culture here. So even if you’re an international student here you don’t have to be afraid to be alone. Some people say it’s difficult to get in touch with Norwegians, but personally, I haven’t experienced this.

Ina recommends a PhD in Bergen for other students: 
- Given that you’re confident about working independently, and that you feel at ease with your supervisor: Sure! And the most important thing is that you like to dive into a topic and enjoy finding out new things so much that you will endure setbacks that might come. 
The mix of staff was a positive experience for her: 
- I am surprised by how many female staff there are here in Bergen. There is still room for improvement, but the university is clear on wanting to improve the still existing gender imbalance.

She has meetings with her supervisor once a week. 
- I was afraid of not knowing how to do a PhD. But my supervisor told me from the beginning that we’re together on this, and he helps me. 

Ina also tries to communicate with as many of her colleagues as possible, both PhDs and post-docs, and she gets tips from them on what they would have done differently in their PhDs. 
- But I haven’t started teaching yet. But there is a PhD forum where you meet once a month and learn skills. We had one seminar on mental well-being, but also one on how to write a CV. Last month they went to a mountain and made a fire, so it’s diverse! If you want, you can go to a seminar every day. 

Now, she has a good feeling about her whole PhD. 
- I feel confident about the work on my project. To be a PhD you need to be sure that you can work independently. And if you have a good supervisor by your side, there is nothing that can go wrong!

Why become a doctoral candidate at UiB?

Do you have a master’s degree, and want to pursue your research interest even further? Do you like varied work with the chance of doing research, dissemination and teaching?

PhD education gives you the possibility of working in academia and doing in-depth research on the field of your interest. You will be paid during the three or four years of your doctoral education.

How is the workday?

As a PhD candidate, you will work in an environment of committed research colleagues. You will be able to decide on your work schedule, as long as you are not engaged in PhD courses, teaching, conferences or deadlines in the project.

You will be trained to become a highly skilled analytic. At the same time, you will meet students through teaching duties and solve research questions with others in your research group – answers to questions that will provide an impact on society.  

You will be able to travel abroad for research stays, join national and international conferences where you meet passionate researchers within your own field.

At UiB you will work in an egalitarian structure, where you will be given responsibility and shown confidence from the head of research.

Motivated? Skills to make you prosper

In order to succeed as a PhD candidate, you need to be structured and take initiatives. You need to see the value of teamwork. It is definitely an asset if you enjoy teaching and dissemination. In return, PhD education gives you a lot of opportunities!  

Your rights as an employee

As a PhD research fellow, you receive a salary and obtain temporary staff employee rights. If you become a parent or become ill, you have the right to take paid leave from your research. Thus, the end-date of your fellowship will become extended.

How to apply for admission to the PhD programme?

Admission requires that you have completed a Master’s education, normally of at least five years. Full funding is also required, in addition to a PhD project description. The remaining requirements differ between faculties, academic fields and the specific PhD research fellow vacancy. For more information on faculty-specific requirements, please see faculty-list out to the right on this page.

Broadly speaking there are two ways to fund your PhD education. Firstly, you can apply for and receive a PhD research fellowship at UiB. The research fellowships are announced at Vacant positions at UiB. If you have obtained a PhD position at UiB, some faculties will admit you to the PhD programme in the same process. At other faculties the fellowship recruitment and admission to the PhD programme will be somewhat separated. The faculty relevant for your academic field can inform you on the applicable arrangement.

A second way to obtain funding, is through a research fellowship or other kinds of funding through a private firm or public institution outside of UiB.

If you have funding and employer external to UiB you will in all instances need to apply for admission to the PhD programme in a separate process. If this applies to you, please contact relevant faculty.

If you have both funding and employer from outside of Norway, here is information on some practical and formal matters: International PhD students with external financing