The doctoral degree programme is nominally 180 credits, which corresponds to a three-year programme of study. It comprises a training component totaling 30 credits, as well as a thesis component of 150 credits. The training component comprises one obligatory and one elective part.
The candidates can choose between two different thesis formats: a combined artistic-scholarly thesis which contains both a written and a performance-based/creative part, or a scholarly thesis. The latter can be either a monograph or a compilation of several smaller pieces (an article-based thesis).
The PhD degree is awarded on the basis of:
Under the PhD programme at the Faculty of Fine Arts, the following specialisations are offered:
Spesialisation in Popular Music Performance
The aim of the PhD specialisation in popular music performance is to further develop the candidates’ qualifications within the subject area for the purposes of research – both artistic and scientific – and for other work within a field in which strict demands are made pertaining to scholarly insight and methodology. The specialisation is oriented towards expressions of popular music performance.
the term of the same name is synonymous with the internationally established research term “popular music”, and covers musical genres and styles like jazz, folk music, world music, roots, reggae, grunge, hip-hop, electronica, rockabilly, rhythm & blues, punk, country, metal, soul, house, blues, funk, dub etc.
In this way, a broad understanding of the performative aspect of popular music is situated as the basis of relevant research themes which might form a part of such a study programme. Included in this understanding are themes which touch upon studio practice and the recording industry (for example musician role, producer role, sound engineer role, recording studio as a music-cultural arena etc), popular music and multimedia (including film music and music videos), the rock festival as a cultural phenomenon, rock concerts seen from the stage and so on. In this context, the scholarly aspect is primarily based upon popular musicology as a subsidiary discipline of musicology, but also opens for interdisciplinary input from subject disciplines such as sociology, media studies, social anthropology etc. In other words, this means that even though the specialisation is focused on popular music, the specialisation allows for a broad academic approach to this research field. Our use of the term “musicology” consequently opens up the possibility of interdisciplinary methods of approach where theoretical and methodological choices can be brought in from fields such as sociology, social anthropology, media studies and so on.
Spesialisation: Arts in Context (in Norwegian, Kunst i kontekst, KiK)
Arts in Context is an interdisciplinary and inter-aesthetic PhD specialisation. It is academically founded upon the three arts subjects, music, theatre, and the visual arts. The term indicates the particular characteristic of the specialisation: contextual thinking. The objective is to train researchers who can design and implement arts projects in which the various subjects are practiced, understood and analysed in relation to complex arts subject, societal and performing/creative contexts.
The overall focus of the specialisation is the research questions directed towards the context that art plays off and forms a part of. These contexts are numerous, and the specialisation operates with an open and dynamic context term. In order to outline the breadth in the context approach, different types of context are distinguished between which will, in practice, often overlap with one another:
The PhD specialisation KiK provides the requisite qualifications for research within music, theatre and/or visual subjects, besides within the inter-aesthetic perspectives across these subjects as with interdisciplinary perspectives where one or more arts subjects are studied in relation to other fields, for example didactics, health or cultural studies. The interdisciplinary and inter-aesthetic orientation within the KiK specialisation shall provide the candidate with the opportunity to see and develop their own project in an inter-aesthetic and interdisciplinary context. With this, it is meant that the candidate will be offered theoretical and practical insight into arts, societal and creative/performing contexts which surpass their own academic basis, whilst the individual PhD project will, as a general rule, be based on one of the arts subjects, in music, theatre, or visual arts.
The training component of the doctoral degree programme at the Faculty of Fine Arts comprises one obligatory and one elective part. The obligatory part of the specialisation in popular music performance comprises 15 credits, whilst the obligatory part of Arts in Context comprises 25 credits. In total, the training component makes up 30 credits.
The obligatory part covers the following courses:
Further to this, the following courses are obligatory for the individual specialisation in question:
It is possible to take a 5 credit-course at UiA or another national or international institution.
It is possible to choose the following courses with the specialisation in popular music performance for the elective part of the training:
PhD programme in Fine Arts
Arts in Context
Popular Music Performance
Thesis work, supervisions, thesis seminars, participation in the research environment, participation in other research environments and academic dissemination.
A subject-specific course:
Elective course (5sp)
The training component shall include specialist and methodological schooling at a high scholarly level in order to qualify the candidate for work with their thesis and to ensure depth and breadth in the candidate’s academic competence. It shall contribute to assisting the candidate in further developing an independent and reflective relationship to his/her own research, as well as that of others, in addition to the role of the research in a wider context.
Candidates can, subject to an application, have alternative, relative courses approved at research schools and on other doctoral degree education programmes. In agreement with the supervisor, the candidate can freely choose amongst possible subjects offered by the University of Agder or at other institutions in Norway or abroad. The Faculty and the university collaborate with a number of researcher schools and other national and international partners. This provides the candidate with access to a range of courses from which to choose for the training component. This component shall normally comprise at least 15 credits from the Faculty’s own doctoral degree programme for the individual candidate in order to ensure continuity and integration. This can be deviated from in the case of longer periods of study abroad or if other pressing reasons exist. For further conditions see the Supplementary regulations for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Fine Arts.
All candidates are encouraged to apply for guest residencies at a foreign university as part of their thesis work.
The thesis is to take as its point of departure the project description that the candidate has submitted in connection with his/her application for admission to the PhD programme. The PhD candidate can choose between two thesis variants:
The combined artistic-scholarly thesis (variant 1) is to include both a written and a performing/creative component. The performing/creative part shall conclude with one (or more) public presentation(s)/performance(s), which shall be documented for later. The form and scope of the documentation must be tailored to the individual project’s character and thesis statement. All material which is presented in connection with the assessment of the thesis shall later be stored in a publicly accessible archive. The candidate must have a written agreement concerning such storage at the point of the submission of the thesis for assessment.
The scope of the written component will vary in relation to the size of the artistic part, but ought not to exceed 150 pages within the applicable template for doctoral theses at the University of Agder [link]. If the candidate chooses a written component in the form of several articles, at least one of these should be accepted for publication, either in an approved, peer-reviewed academic publishing channel, or in a recognised publishing channel for artistic development work with peer review. Publishing channel(s) are to be selected in consultation with the supervisor.
The scholarly thesis (variant 2) should either be in the form of a monograph, or a collection of several smaller works. The level and the scope should be the same regardless of whether the thesis is a monograph or is article-based. An article-based thesis shall normally comprise at least three smaller pieces of work (articles) plus a summarising component accounting for the thesis as a whole. When submitting a thesis for assessment, at least one article should be accepted for publication in an approved peer-reviewed academic publishing channel. Publishing channels are to be selected in consultation with the supervisor. In the case of co-authorship of article-based theses, the candidate must be the sole author of at least one of these, as well as of the binding text around the articles. This text shall render apparent the whole and the connection between the thesis components, and raise relevant issues which are not otherwise easy to find space for within the articles themselves. This binding text shall also render apparent and sum up the contribution of the thesis to the relevant field of research, as well as including scholarly updates should this be necessary on the basis of when the articles were finalised. The scope of the thesis should not exceed 300 pages within the applicable template for doctoral degree theses at the University of Agder
For both thesis types, there are set requirements that the PhD candidate places his/her project within a broader academic context. For both variants, the thesis statement shall be accounted for in writing, as well as the choice of theory and methodology and an assessment of the results in accordance with international standards and academic levels within the field of study. For both thesis variants, the following applies: With regard to the usage of published works, these cannot be accepted as part of the thesis if they are, at the point of admission, more than five (5) years old. The Faculty can grant exemptions from this requirement if extraordinary circumstances dictate. Otherwise, reference should be made to § 10 of the Regulations concerning the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Agder.
The PhD programme in Fine Arts shall train researchers who are able to involve themselves in strong and competitive research environments, and in environments in which research is combined with different types of practice, for example in culture institutions, educational institutions or industry and commerce. The PhD projects shall put new themes on the agenda, and they shall contribute to the arts professions as much as is the case with regard to the new interdisciplinary research fields which are developed theoretically and empirically. Furthermore, the programme shall, through its dual focus on theoretical and practicing/creative activities, contribute to increasing the academic understanding of action-oriented knowledge.
The objective for both thesis variants is to bring the doctoral degree candidate in to a position at the forefront of research in the relevant field. This shall, first and foremost, take place through the work with the thesis, but also through active participation in the training component. The training component and the thesis shall, together, ensure that the candidate achieves the following learning outcomes:
Working methods in the training component
The objective of the training component is that the candidates should acquire a depth dimension for their PhD study, and that the course should support the thesis work, both theoretically and methodologically. Through courses, seminars, and conferences, the candidate shall be made familiar with scholarly thought and practice, with particular emphasis upon relevant and problem-oriented research. The teaching in the training component is organised in the form of gatherings. These will comprise a combination of lectures, seminar discussions, and workshops, as well as presentation and discussion of papers and/or performing/creative work. Before each gathering, the participants shall prepare in part through a thorough reading of the curriculum, and in part through the preparation of potential oral presentations, demonstrations of their own work and so on.
The PhD candidates are expected to be included as fully-fledged participants in the environment’s research groups and activities. The candidates are encouraged to participate actively in other relevant national and/or international art and research environments.
Thesis seminars will be arranged to support the development of the PhD project.
Working methods in the thesis component
Supervision will be provided by the main and co-supervisors. The main supervisors will, as a general rule, be connected to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Fine Arts. If it is appropriate, the co-supervisor can come from another environment or another institution. The agreement entered into at the time of admission to the PhD programme regulates the rights and duties with regard to the supervision.
A concluding seminar for each candidate is held 2-3 months before he/she plans to submit his/her thesis, and should take a holistic draft of the thesis as its point of departure. Both the main supervisor and the co-supervisor shall have read and approved the presentation of the manuscript at the concluding seminar. At this point, an opponent will be appointed in order to assess and discuss the candidate’s thesis draft. The seminar will be held in the form of a modified public disputation, and will be introduced by the candidate providing a short presentation of his/her work before the opponent then discusses the proposed manuscript with the candidate.
Forms of assessment in the training component
During the examination of all obligatory and subject-specific courses, the presentation will be assessed as a pass or fail. As can be seen from the descriptions of each course, the presentations are assessed on the basis of a paper or an oral presentation which is put together by the candidate following active participation on the course. Both the paper and the oral presentation can contain a performing/creative element. The Faculty will process applications regarding the approval of academic dissemination or external courses as part of the training component.
If the candidate does not pass one of the tests in the training component, an explanation for this will be provided, together with advice for improvements and a new submission deadline. The same applies if any requirements for previous knowledge have not been satisfied, or if the extended project description cannot be approved. Examinations which are, at the point of admission, more than 5 years old, cannot normally contribute to the training component. It is assumed that courses which form a part of the training component are not also part of the admissions basis or form a part of previously completed educational units.
Forms of assessment in the thesis component
The training component must have been completed and passed in its entirety before the candidate can apply to the Faculty to have his/her thesis assessed. The assessment will be carried out by an expert committee comprising at least three members who are to assess the thesis, and any presentations and documentation of performing/creative work, and the closing doctoral degree trial (trial lecture and public disputation). For further information regarding assessment, reference can be made to part IV of the Regulations concerning the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Agder.
The applicant must have completed a master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field from a Norwegian or foreign university or university college. The degree shall comprise at least 90 credits in the subject area that the candidate has been admitted on the basis of. Alternatively, prior learning and work experience can be assessed as of equal import. The relevance of the master’s degree (or equivalent) will be assessed by the Faculty in relation to the concrete PhD project applied for.
Admission to the programme is either through one of the two doctoral degree specialisations which are offered at the Faculty, or directly in the programme, and must be in accordance with the Regulations concerning the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Agder and the Supplementary regulations for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Fine Arts. Admissions must either be funded through a three or four-year PhD position (with 25% required duties), or through a financial guarantee from an employer/organisation. Such a guarantee normally covers three years’ salary, operational costs and office premises. The University of Agder (UiA) does not accept private financial support (own savings, funding from a spouse/family etc) as a suitable basis for admission to the PhD programme.
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A PhD in Popular Music Performance or a PhD with Art in Context as its specialisation.
Faculty of Fine Arts
The programme leads to the degree of PhD in Fine Arts, specialisation in Arts in Context or specialisation in Popular Music Performance.
The PhD program usually takes up candidates on each of the specializations every other year.
More information about the faculty research and research groups.