Employee pages for the Faculty of Social Sciences

Instructions for evaluation of fellowship applications

The Faculty of Social Sciences has prepared these instructions for evaluations for fellowship applicants.

Main content

Positions as research fellows are fixed-term appointments, and their goal is the completion of  doctoral education through a PhD-degree. The normal fixed-term appointment is for 4 years with 25% mandatory duties. The term of the employment will encompass 3 years purely of  doctoral education. A shorter period of appointment may be made if the research fellow has already completed parts of their doctoral programme, or when the appointment builds upon prior employment in educational positions such that the total time for the doctoral programme comprises 3 years.

Admittance to the doctoral programme is a condition for holding a position as a research fellow. See also Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of postdoctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident.


The head of department appoints a nominating committee. The committee shall consist of at least two academic staff who are, at a minimum, at associate professor level, as well as a personnel officer who contributes administrative support. In special cases, a postdoctoral fellow with expertise within key areas of the discipline may be used. Postdoctoral fellows with no mandatory duties and employed by UiB may not be used. Both genders must be represented in the committee, unless such representation is justifiably impossible. One of the members must be appointed as leader.

In addition to these instructions, the following documents comprise a basis for the work of the evaluation committee:


The committee is responsible for assessing the applicants' academic qualifications, project description and personal attributes. The committee will invite the candidates it considers to be most professionally qualified to an interview. The interview and any references will be used to determine the candidates' motivation, personal attributes and skills that are relevant for the position. The nominating authority or the immediate supervisor for the position should be present at the interviews.

The committee will prepare a report with information about the recruitment process, the reasons for selecting candidates for interviews, an overview of the relevant candidates' qualifications and practical experience and impressions from interviews and references. The committee shall provide an overall, comparative assessment of the most qualified applicants, and rank them. Normally, a minimum of three people should be ranked.

The report must be available within one month after the committee has received all the documents.


In assessing the applicants, emphasis will be placed on:

  1. Basic qualifications
  2. Academic qualifications
  3. Project quality
  4. Personal suitability

1. Basic qualifications

The scope of the educational background must normally correspond to

an educational background including a master’s degree with a scope of 120 ECTS credits, which builds on a bachelor’s degree with a scope of 180 ECTS credits (normally 2 + 3 years), or an integrated master’s degree with a scope of 300 ECTS credits (5 years). Master’s degrees must normally include an independent work of a minimum of 30 ECTS credits. 

It is a requirement that the master’s degree has a theoretical-empirical focus. A practice-focused or “experience-based” master’s degree that does not meet the requirements regarding preparation for research that form the basis for admission cannot be approved. The

Faculty adheres to NOKUT’s guidelines in the GSU list for the approval of foreign education. 

The Faculty of Social Sciences also approves one-year master’s degrees as a basis for admission to the PhD programme if the relevant degree

  1. is part of an overall higher education that is equivalent to a total of at least four years of university education in Norway,  
  2. has a level equivalent to the requirements for Norwegian master’s degrees
  3. includes adequate and relevant training in methods, and 
  4. includes an independent work that has a scope of at least 30 credits.

If the applicant can document relevant supplementary courses at the master’s level and/or other clearly research-relevant activities (scientific work or output), this may be included in the assessment of items 2, 3 and 4 above. 

 The master’s degree should usually be in the subject area being applied for. If the academic group finds that the applicant lacks the necessary knowledge in the field of study, the Faculty can, on the recommendation of the academic group, impose additional requirements in addition to the compulsory training component in the PhD programme.

The minimum requirement for applicants is usually a ‘B’, both for the independent work and the master’s degree as a whole. Particular importance is attached to the grade for the independent work.

Applicants who have a master's degree from a foreign educational institution, or do not have a master's degree in the field they are applying for, must attach an overview of the syllabus of their master’s degree. Applicants from non-European universities will not usually have their first year of higher education counted.

In assessing the applicants, regard must be paid to whether the candidate has supplemental education that is relevant to the research project concerned. Relevant practical experience in the form of research work and/or work as an assistant during periods of study and/or after the end of such studies must be given credit in the assessment of relevant applicants.

2. Academic qualifications

The committee will place particular emphasis on academic qualifications being documented through written works in addition to the master’s thesis, with priority given to internationally oriented publications for which the applicant is the sole author or co-author. In “Instructions for applicants” the applicants themselves are asked to state what their contributions to any possible joint works have been.

Applicants are asked to clearly indicate those scholarly works that are deemed to be the most significant.

3. Project quality

In assessing project quality, the committee will place an emphasis on the degree to which the work will be able to culminate in a dissertation of international quality and of a high academic level as regards problem formulations, conceptual delineation, methodological, theoretical, research ethical and empirical bases, documentation and form of presentation. The committee will furthermore place emphasis on the extent to which the research work represents an independent contribution to existing knowledge. Such contributions may be concept analyses, theory and methodology development or empirical contributions.

A substantial emphasis must be placed on the realism of the research project. The committee will carefully evaluate whether the content and framework conditions for the project are of such a nature that it is highly probable that it can be completed within the framework of the stipend period, i.e. three years. In this assessment, the committee must take note that a deduction will be made for any possible earlier appointments to the recruitment position, where the individual concerned has worked with (parts of) the project.

4. Personal suitability

The committee shall conduct an assessment of the personal suitability of the candidates the committee considers to have the best academic qualifications. This shall be done through interviews and possibly by obtaining references. The nominating authority or the immediate supervisor for the position should be present at the interviews.

The intention of the interview is to provide the applicants with detailed information about the position, obtain information about the applicants in addition to their written applications to ensure the best possible basis for assessment and to determine suitability based on the requirements for the position.

This suitability assessment will necessarily be based largely on subjective discretion. If personal suitability as a criterion is to be attributed decisive weight in the ranking of otherwise qualified applicants, the committee must ensure that this has a justifiable, factual basis for the assessment made. In addition, the report should clearly state as to why an otherwise well qualified applicant's personal suitability is deemed to be inferior to that of other applicants. In such a case, this criterion must be sufficiently elucidated. Personal qualities that are given weight must be relevant to the work that is to be performed.


When ranking the applicants, the committee will assess basic qualifications, academic qualifications, project quality and personal suitability. Academic qualifications are an unconditional requirement.

The committee shall provide a clear assessment of the academic qualifications of applicants evaluated against the text of the job advertisement and the formal requirements posed, in addition to ranking those applicants who are the best qualified.

If any of the ranked applicants have previously had a recruitment or employment period where the individual concerned has worked on (parts of) the project, this must be made clear in the recommendation.

Nominating authority

The report from the committee will provide the starting point for further processing by the faculty's nominating and appointment bodies.

The head of the department in question is the nominating authority. The head of department must identify the applicants who are most qualified for the position, based on an overall assessment, rank relevant candidates and present proposals for decisions to the appointment body.

If there are three or more qualified applicants for a position, at least three qualified applicants shall be recommended in the order they ought to be considered. If there are two qualified applicants, both must be recommended.

When choosing between applicants who are almost equally well qualified, emphasis shall be placed on gender equality in the recommendation if one gender is clearly under-represented in the job category of the discipline concerned.

The recommendation must be a written statement of the applicants’ education, academic and other formal qualifications, work experience and personal suitability for the position based on the requirements in the job advertisement, the applications, and statement from the committee.