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Upon agreement

The PhD specialisation in information systems consists of four components: core courses, methods courses, specialisation courses, and a thesis. The coursework aims to provide the candidates with

  • a thorough grounding in literature in information systems
  • a solid methodological foundation
  • an opportunity for in-depth focus in areas relevant to information systems in which a student has specific interest.

In addition to the courses offered by UiA, students will be allowed to take, subject to approval, doctoral courses offered by other national and international academic institutions


General requirement: Applicants who have at least a master´s degree or equivalent in a relevant area of study will be considered for admission. In addition, there is a requirement for at least 90 ECTS credits (one and a half years of study) in subjects related to information systems, where 30 of these credits are from the 4th and 5th year of study. Previous knowledge in social science methodology must be documented.

See also Supplementary regulations for the PhD degree at the Faculty of Social Sciences

Programme components

The PhD specialisation is organised to be completed in a three-year period. The coursework component comprises a core course in information systems, courses in research methods and one or more elective specialisation courses related to the thesis subject.

The coursework component is divided into two main areas (presented below).


Methods and Philosophy of Science
 (15 ECTS)

Core and specialisation courses
 (15 ECTS)


(150 ECTS)

ME-631 Researching Social Sciences: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations  

(10 ECTS)

Mandatory methods course

IS-607 Theoretical Foundations of Information Systems

(10 ECTS)

Mandatory core course

Elective methods courses
(5 ECTS)

Subject to the choice of the PhD candidate and the approval of the supervisors.

Elective specialisation courses
(5 ECTS)

Subject to the choice of the PhD candidate and the approval of the supervisors.


In total, the coursework component consists of a minimum of 30 ECTS credits. The coursework will normally be completed in the first 2-3 semesters of the PhD programme. The thesis project will be initiated in parallel with the coursework, guided by appointed supervisors. Thesis seminars will also support the students in developing their thesis work and will give the opportunity to present and discuss this with other PhD students and faculty.

In the following, each of the course modules of the programme are presented further.

Core course, mandatory. The course IS-607 Theoretical Foundations of Information Systems will introduce the students to the major influential theories and current streams in information systems research.

Methods courses. The purpose of these courses is to provide candidates with a solid philosophical and methodological foundation, a minimum of 15 ECTS credits are required. The course ME-631 Researching Social Sciences: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations is compulsory for all PhD candidates at the faculty. In addition, the students will be required to take one or more elective courses focusing on advanced topics related to the methodological approach used in the thesis. These method electives will be provided both internally in collaboration with other PhD programmes at UiA, and by external institutions subject to approval by the supervisors and the PhD Committee.

Specialisation courses, electives. The specialisation courses go into depth in specific topics currently on the research agenda in the information systems area. These courses are intended to give the PhD student sufficient knowledge within a subfield of information systems related to the thesis subject and to conduct research in this field.

Depending on the thesis subject, the specialisation courses will be offered internally or completed at other universities in Norway and abroad. It will also be possible to arrange reading courses tailor-made for individual students in specialised areas of interest and competence, where the completion of such courses will require writing a paper. The content of such courses is subject to approval by the PhD Committee.

The PhD thesis. The PhD thesis should be an independent piece of academic work that meets international academic standards in the subject area. It must contribute to the development of new scholarly knowledge and must achieve a level of academic quality meriting publication as part of the literature in its field.

The thesis may consist of a monograph or a compendium of several scientific articles. An article-based thesis normally consists of a collection of five articles and an integrative summary and discussion of the research contributions from the papers. The research articles should normally be accepted in international, peer-reviewed conferences or journals, but need not be published at the time of submission. At least one of the articles should be accepted for a journal. In case the candidate has more than one accepted journal paper, the total number of articles may be reduced to 4 provided these together represent sufficient research contribution for a PhD degree of international academic standards. At least one of the articles should be single-authored by the candidate. Further detail on requirements for an article-based thesis will be presented for the candidates upon admission to the program.