PDH-ØKOLOG PhD in Ecology, doktorgrad


Ecology is the scientific study of interactions between living organisms and their environment. The PhD programme in Ecology focuses on the relationships between different environmental impacts and ecological and evolutionary processes, in relation to critical load, genetic structure and selection. The staff at the Department of Environmental and Health Studies (DEHS) has a broad scientific composition and a strong interdisciplinary environment within the core areas of terrestrial and aquatic ecology. The ph.d. programme is internationally oriented and with students from different countries.

Målgruppe og opptakskrav

Candidates must have a Master’s degree in relevant natural sciences/environmental subjects, or other relevant education from a Norwegian or international University/ University College.

Average mark B from the Master's degree is required for admission. Exceptions may be made based on individual evaluation. Each applicant will be evaluated individually by the PhD committee at DEHS.

At Telemark University College (TUC), funding must be in place prior to admission to ph.d. programmes. Candidates can apply for research fellow positions at TUC, or be financed through external projects.

Mål for studieprogrammet

The aim of the PhD programme is to:

  • Give a good scientific and ethical basis that qualifies the candidates for research activities and other work that requires advanced scientific knowledge and methods.
  • Provide new insights into ecological issues and methods, with focus on environmental impacts, genetic structure, evolutionary processes and behavioural ecology, as a scientific basis for good management and conservation.


After completing this programme, the students should have the following qualifications regarding knowledge, skills, and general competence:


The candidate:

  • Is in the forefront of knowledge within his/her academic field and masters the field’s philosophy of science.
  • Can evaluate the expediency and application of different methods and processes in research and development (R&D) projects.
  • Can contribute to the development of new knowledge, theories, methods, interpretations and forms of documentation within science and research.


The candidate:

  • Can formulate problems, plan and carry out R&D work within the field at high international standard.
  • Can handle complex academic issues and challenge established knowledge and practice in the field of study.

General competence

The candidate:

  • Can identify new relevant ethical issues and carry out research with scholarly integrity.
  • Can manage complex interdisciplinary scientific assignments.
  • Can communicate research and development work through recognized national and international channels.
  • Can participate in professional debates in the field in national and international forums.

Can assess the need for and initiate innovation

Studieprogrammets innhold, oppbygging og sammensetning

PhD in Ecology
Emnekode Emnets navn S.poeng O/V *) Studiepoeng pr. semester
  S1(H) S2(V) S3(H) S4(V) S5(H) S6(V)
9000 Alpine Biodiversity and Climatic Change 10,00 V 10          
9003 Ecological Methods 10,00 V 10          
9010 Study Design and Statistics 5,00 O   5        
9002 Applied Genetics 10,00 V   10        
9001 Boundary Layer and Local Climates 10,00 V   10        
9004 Ecotoxicology 10,00 V   10        
9020 State of the Art 10,00 V 10 10        
Sum: 0 0 0 0 0 0
*) O - Obligatorisk emne, V - Valgbare emne

The programme duration is 3 years, consisting of 2.5 years work with an individual research project and a training part with 30 ECTS of post-graduate courses. For some PhD positions the duration can be 4 years with 25 % teaching duties.

A minimum of 20 ECTS of the post-graduate courses must be defined at PhD level. Mark B or better is required in all courses.

Mandatory courses:

  • Theory of Science and Ethics (5 ECTS)
  • Study Design and Statistics (5 ECTS)

Equivalent courses may be approved as a replacement for these courses.

Elective courses:

Each student chooses 20 ECTS of relevant elective courses in cooperation with the main supervisor (See table).

Please note: In order for an elective course to be offered, minimum 5 students must sign up for the course. If less than 5 students have signed up, the course may be postponed until the following academic year. Under special circumstances, an elective course may be discontinued. Such decisions will be taken up with the students so that the quality of the programme is maintained.

Relevant post-graduate courses from other institutions may also be accepted, and students are encouraged to attend courses at other institutions.

The following can also be included in the training part:

  • National and international research courses. Duration of five full work days provides 2 ECTS.
  • Individual curriculum of up to 10 ECTS.
  • Seminar/lecture on a chosen topic (max. 2 ECTS).
  • Participation, including presentation of own research results at an international conference (2 ECTS per conference. Max. one conference).
  • Popular scientific contributions within own field of research (up to 2 ECTS per contribution. Max. 2 ECTS).

Examples of research areas for PhD candidates:

  • Alpine ecology
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Ecological effects of climate change
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Limnology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular genetics
  • Population genetics
  • Vegetation ecology

Arbeids- og læringsformer

As each study plan is individually adapted, please refer to individual course descriptions for teaching and learning methods.

Compulsory seminars and ph.d. forum with student presentations are also a part of the PhD programme. Each PhD candidate must have 2 progress presentations and a midway evaluation during the programme.


PhD courses will be awarded individual grades which will be entered on the diploma. For the training part to be approved, all courses require mark B or better. Please refer to the individual course descriptions for assessment criteria. When the ph.d. thesis has been submitted, evaluated and approved by an external committee, a trial lecture on a given topic and a final oral defence related to the thesis will be held. If the thesis is not approved by the committee, the thesis cannot be re-submitted before 6 months. If the defence is not approved by the committee, a new defence can be held. The training part, thesis, trial lecture and defence, must all be approved before the candidate gets the degree Philosophiae Doctor.

Det tas forbehold om mindre justeringer i planen.

Publisert av / forfatter Helga Veronica Tinnesand <helga.v.tinnesandSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, sist oppdatert av Anette Norheim Fredly - 16.12.2014