Faculty of Humanities
PhD education

Coursework (training component)

The coursework amounts to 30 credits, and must be completed and approved before the dissertation can be submitted.

Mann les bok
Emil W. Breistein

Main content

The coursework shall ensure the breadth of the candidate's scientific education and provide competence in the presentation and assessment of own and others' research. Through the training part, the candidate must also be given the opportunity to contact international research and researcher education environments.

The coursework amounts to 30 credits and consists of two main parts. 15 credits are compulsory and must be divided between scientific theory and ethics, and transferable skills. The remaining 15 are optional as long as they meet certain specifications.

1. Theory of Science and Ethics

PhD candidates submitted to the programme after 11.04.2019 must have 5-10 ECTS credits in theory of sciense and athics in their training component. This can be obtained from taking VITHF900 (10 sp) or VITHF905 (5 sp). For those who choose to take VITHF905 there is also the possibility to add the supplementary course VITHF910 (5 sp) at a later stage. The academic responsibillity for these courses lies with the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT).

It is possible to apply for other courses with a corresponding learning outcome to be recognized as a course in transferable skills. Such courses must be preapproved by the faculty.  

2. Transferable skills

It is also compulsory for  PhD candidates at the Faculty of Humanities to take 5-10 ECTS credits in transferable skills. These credits must have a general transferable value to working life,  It is desired that the candidates should use the courses offered at HF, as this has an impact on which courses they will be able to offer, but it is also possible to apply for preapproval of external course(s) to replace the faculty's own cours.

PHDOF903 - Literature review and publishing for PhD candidates

Access to the course unit: The course is open to PhD candidates at the Faculty of Humanities and is best suited for candidates at an early stage of their PhD. Candidates lacking 5 compulsory ECTS points in generic skills will be given priority if the number of applicants surpasses the capacity.

Teaching semester: fall 2022

Credit: 5 ECTS points

Language of instruction: Norwegian or English according to demand

Course co-ordinator: Faculty of Humanities

Course leader: Michael Grote

Deadline for registration: August 15

Objectives and content: The starting point of this course is the «overview of research in the field», the literature review. Through this course the PhD candidate will write a draft of this literature review for her/his dissertation. The goal of the course is that each candidate, early on in the research process, gains a confident overview of existing research fields, of crucial literature and of different information resources. The course will offer a review of basic reference management functionality and show how this can be used as efficiently as possible in the work. The candidates are required to use a reference management system in the written assignment for this course. Furthermore, the course aims to enable the candidate to keep an active dialogue with relevant literature throughout the research process and to introduce him/her to problems of communication of research results such as publishing procedures and channels, research networks, copyright issues and evaluation of research.

Learning outcomes: On completion of the course the student has expertise in searching literature for aims of research, in relating his/her own work to actual fields of research and in communicating own results by publishing in different channels. In detail, the student

  • is acquainted with standard tools and methods of literature search
  • is able to develop a search strategy for his project and is familiar with the use of the most important specialist databases for his/her subject
  • has a confident overview of existing fields of research related to his/her own project and of different information resources and research networks
  • knows how to cite, how to evaluate sources and how to relate to research discourse in an ethically proper way
  • is able to write a literature review for his/her own research project and to keep an active dialogue with relevant literature through the research process
  • is able to use a reference management system when referencing in a text and to generate literature lists in different referencing styles
  • is acquainted with different formal and informal channels of publication on his field of research, and with different procedures of peer review, criteria for ranking and other forms of research evaluation
  • is able to identify publishers for his/her articles or monographs, and online venues for networking
  • is aware of copyright issues and has gained basic knowledge about different sources of research funding

Required Previous Knowledge: Basic knowledge of a reference management tool

Teaching methods and extent of organized Teaching: The course consists of introductory lectures, seminar discussions, tutorials and exercises. Joint sessions: 4 days of full-time seminar (3+1 days with approx. 2 weeks in-between). The organized teaching in the course has an extent of approximately 20 hours.  

  • September 13 (9.00-15.00): Introduction to the library; literature search and reviewing literature. On the first day of the course every student present aims and challenges concerning the literature review of his/her PhD project
  • September 14 (9.00-15.00): Writing process, types of reviews, the dissertation genre
  • September 15 (9.00-15.00): Research workflow and reference management Writing process, types of reviews, the dissertation genre

2 weeks of workshop: Individual work on literature review, peer-to-peer reviewing on Mitt UiB, individual tutorials with the academic librarians at the University of Bergen Library.

  • October 5 (9.00-15.00): Publishing and networking, open science and copyright issues

Compulsory assignements and attendance: Attendance at the seminar is mandatory. In preparation of the course, every student should find and read a dissertation, identify strengths and weaknesses regarding literature review and structure of thesis. Furthermore, every student should prepare a brief presentation of her/his PhD-project. The presentation should be concise (about 2-3 minutes) and give an account of the thesis topic and of the aims and challenges concerning the literature review of the project

Forms of assessment: A written assignment of 2000 words must be submitted approximately 4 weeks after the course is finished. The assignment should be a draft of the literature review for the individual dissertation, including a reflection of the writing process (literature search, reference management, reviewing), The assignment must be written in a Scandinavian language, English or German. At least 500 pages of research literature from at least 10 different sources must be reviewed. A reference management system must be used in the assignment.

Place of instruction: Bergen University Library

Open sign up form here

Course program 2022 (pdf)

3. Candidate-spesific courses

The candidate-specific part of the coursework amounts to a total of 15 ECTS credits. These courses shpuld support the dissertation work, have methodological relevance and be put together according to the following criteria:

  • up to 10 credits for organised PhD courses under the direction of research schools or others
  • up to 8 credits for participation with contributions to national and/or international conferences and seminars with direct relevance to the work on the thesis
  • up to 8 credits for completed elective courses at all levels within other subject areas, including special language courses
  • up to 3 credits for popular science lectures and articles, including feature articles

Elective courses must be particularly relevant to the candidate's project and must be approved by the supervisor and research coordinator; general professional studies do not pay off. Popular science lectures and articles must have a clear science-communicating content and be of a certain scope in order to pay off. A balance shall be sought between different types of activities in the training part.

The following activities do NOT pay off in the training part:

  • presentation of thesis chapters at internal seminars
    exception: larger seminars over 1-2 days where the candidate also comments on others' dissertation chapters
  • stay abroad
  • duty work
  • midway evaluation

Approval of the training component

The training part must be completed and approved before the dissertation is submitted. All activity must be adequately documented. Requirements for documentation can be found under a separate tab on this page. The training part must be approved in its entirety before the candidate can apply for submission. Inadequate documentation can lead to delays in submission.

Approval of the individual parts 

Some PhD courses organized at UiB will be pre-approved, and the result is automatically registered on the candidate when the course is completed.

In order to have other activities approved and registered with ECTS credits (also applies to courses at UiB that are not pre-approved to be included in the coursework), the form «Confirmation of part of the training part» is used. The form must be signed by the supervisor and research coordinator at the department. Signed form and documentation is delivered to the local PhD coordinator for control of documentation. After checking, the contact person registers the credits in FS, before the protocol is sent to the faculty for archiving. There is a separate administrative routine for this work.

For courses / activities where there are no pre-calculated credits, the calculation must be made by the supervisor and approved by the department's research coordinator. 1 credit (1 ECTS) corresponds to 26 ⅔ working hours. This applies to all three cycles (bachelor, master and PhD). In addition, the nature of the subject must be taken into account, as well as the level and requirements for previous knowledge, when calculating the scope of work.

Final approval of total courseworkt

When the candidate has obtained 30 ECTS credits and these have been registered and visible in Studentweb, the training part must be approved in its entirety. The supervisor and research coordinator carry out this approval on a separate form: "Final approval of completed training part". The signed form is delivered to the contact person for research education in the department administration, who sends it to the faculty together with a transcript showing how the training part is registered in the administratvie database (FS report 727.001).

Awarding of ECTS credits for conference participation

The main principle for awarding credits for participation in conferences is also based on the rule that 1 credit (1 ECTS) corresponds to 26 ⅔ working hours. On the basis of this, a practice has been established where up to 3 credits can be given for participation in a larger, preferably international, conference with speeches. There is also room to give up to 1 credit for participation in the equivalent without submission, if the program is of particular relevance to the candidate's own project.

Researcher Grand Prix

Participation in the Researcher Grand Prix can be credited with 2 ECTS credits. This was decided by the faculty's program board on 2020-06-10.

Requirement for documentation

In order to have an activity approved as part of the training part, you must first document production and / or presence during an event. Thereafter, the supervisor and the department must approve that the event / production can be included in the training part and how many credits should be awarded.

The training part of the doctoral education is a total of 30 credits, and 15 of these are compulsory. The compulsory credits must be divided between science theory / ethics and transferable skills with a minimum of 5 credits within each category. The 15 remaining credits are determined by the candidate himself in collaboration with the supervisor, but within the framework determined by the faculty's PhD program. Normally, no more than 30 credits shall be included in the training part, and the department shall not approve more credits than is necessary. Under certain conditions, it is possible to allow the training part to exceed this limit by 1-2 credits.

From other educational institutions: Credits taken at other educational institutions in Norway or abroad must be documented with a transcript of records from the relevant educational institution. The transcript must be in English or Norwegian.

Courses, conferences and seminars: In order to document courses, conferences, seminars and the like where the organizer does not give credits, you must present proof of participation. This must be a course, conference or seminar certificate which must include the following information:

  1. organizer's letterhead
  2. name of participant
  3. event name, date and duration
  4. title of any presentation etc.
  5. organizer's signature
  6. stamp of the institution (if current)

It is emphasized that the program alone is not considered sufficient documentation

Lectures, articles, and other popular science: Written material must be documented in such a way that it is clear when and how it was published, such as a newspaper page, an entire magazine, etc. If it concerns posts on television or radio, supervisor confirm that this took place. Lectures must be documented by the organizer.