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Upon agreement


To qualify for the program candidates should normally:

  • Have a full masters degree, including a master thesis, within a business school related field with an average grade of minimum B
  • Have minimum 300 ECTS of higher education from recognized universities
  • Be fluent in English, have strong qualifications in applied research methods and preferably have experience from studying abroad
  • Have a research proposal fitting the research interest of one of the professors.

Applicants should include a letter of motivation in which the applicant should suggest a supervisor for his/her thesis and a grounding for why the suggested professor would be a good fit for supervising the research project. In addition, the following should be included:

  • a CV
  • transcripts of grades
  • an approximately four-page research project
  • list of relevant scientific publications (if available) including a resume of the master thesis
  • academic references
  • results from tests like GMAT/GRE/TOEFL etc. if available.

Admission to the program is normally biannual in cohorts, but fully funded candidates may be accepted outside cohorts and are welcome to get in touch with the Program Director at any point to discuss possibilities for intake to the program. Funded vacancies for the program are announced here: http://www.uia.no/en/vacancies3

International orientation and cotutelle agreements
The School of Business and Law has a strong focus on Internationalization. It is expected that all candidates at the Specialization participate at international academic conferences, aim at publishing in internationally recognized journals, as well as being visiting scholars for at least 2-3 month at other international business schools in the supervisors’ networks. Moreover, an increasing number of PhD-candidates are organized in cotutelles, including joint supervision in partnership with other international Business Schools and Universities. Cotutelle-candidates are appointed supervisor, they take courses and normally spend at least one year at each institution. The candidates receive their PhD titles and diplomas from each of the institutions. You may read more about cotutelles here: https://www.uia.no/en/research/phd-programmes/cotutelle

Funding of studies
Only fully funded candidates are accepted into the Specialization. Some candidates are offered PhD-fellow positions to finance their studies, others obtain smaller scholarships from various sources or other types of external funding, including funding by cotutelle partner universities.
PhD-fellow positions at the School of Business and Law are announced here: http://www.uia.no/en/vacancies3  


Possible sources of external funding include:

  • an agreement with regular employer
  • the Research Council of Norway under the Industrial PhD scheme or the Public sector PhD scheme
  • other national or international scholarships



The programme consists of coursework and writing of a dissertation. 

The coursework consists of mandatory and elective courses making up a minimum of 30 ECTS credits. The course-package for those taking the specialization in International Business is predefined to a large extent, while it is individually tailored and approved by the PhD committee for candidates outside the specialization. Courses consist of both theory and method courses. All candidates in the program should normally take courses in both qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as a course covering philosophy of science in relation to management theories typically applied in business research. Most coursework should be finished by the end of the first year of studies. Courses can be taken at UiA as well as at other recognized institutions offering PhD education. The courses give candidates a grounding in their research area, enabling them to write the thesis and to develop strong research skills. Approvals of PhD courses are normally Pass/Fail on course papers, where Pass must be equivalent to the letter grade B or better. Some PhD courses are assessed with written exams. Throughout the coursework the emphasis is on providing the candidates with knowledge on how to publish academic research in their fields of interest.

Candidates following the specialization are required to participate in the following coursework:

Kick-start your PhD

0 ECTS credits

IN-618 Theory of Knowledge and Core Theories in Management

7,5 ECTS credits

IN-620 International Business

7,5 ECTS credits

ME-612 Survey of Statistical Methods

5 ECTS credits

ME-613 Qualitative Research Methods

5 ECTS credits

Elective course from UiA or other institution

minimum 2,5 ECTS credits

Total requirement

30 ECTS credits

In addition to courses mentioned in the table, the School of Business and Law frequently organizes other PhD courses including an elective course in writing and publishing academic research.

In some special cases, and when recommended by the supervisor(s), the PhD committee may allow candidates to replace mandatory courses with other PhD courses. Elective courses should be taken in agreement with supervisor(s) and the Director of the PhD program and should be in fields relevant for the candidates’ own research. The candidates following the specialization in International Business often do more than 30 ECTS of coursework. In most cases they will follow internationally offered method and theory courses particularly relevant for their own dissertations.

The dissertation
Candidates start working on their dissertations immediately after admission. Collaboration between the candidate and the supervisor(s) is close and normally a substantial part of the research is co-authored with the supervisor(s) or other researchers. Nevertheless, the main criteria for a completed dissertation is the candidate's own efforts and dedication. The dissertation is primarily the project of the candidate himself/herself and ability to work independently is required.
A dissertation normally consists of three to four papers whereof at least one is authored by the candidate alone. The importance of publishing in high ranked International peer-reviewed journals is stressed and candidates are encouraged to submit their papers even though the journal review processes can be time consuming. All papers need to be of publishable quality to be included in the thesis. In addition to the papers, a thesis should include an introduction (kappa), binding together the papers making up the thesis. The introduction is often relatively short, but the length and content depend on the overall content of the thesis and the research tradition of the subject.
During the dissertation process candidates are encouraged to build their own research networks, to have longer stays with other academic institutions and to participate at international research conferences. To enable this, and to learn about accessing research funding, candidates are expected to participate in applications for funding from external and internal parties.

In addition to writing the thesis candidates are expected to participate in various activities at the faculty including supervision of master candidates, teaching, administrative duties etc.

The aim is to finish the dissertation and submit it for evaluation within three years. Progression is closely monitored according to an established system of milestones and progress reports. Candidates who do not make sufficient and steady progress may at any time be screened out from the program by the PhD committee. In case the dissertation cannot be finished within three years the candidate can apply for an extension of up to 12 months from the Program Director. Additional extensions can only be granted by the PhD committee. The maximum time to finish a dissertation is normally five years. Time for maternity leaves, sick leaves or other pre-agreed leaves come in addition to the mentioned time limits.

After submitting the thesis to the faculty, the Dean will appoint an evaluation committee consisting of two external and one internal member. If approved by the evaluation committee, the public defense of the dissertation will normally take place approximately 6 months after the submission of the thesis. At the day of the public defense, the candidate is also obliged to give a public lecture on a topic decided by the evaluation committee.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the PhD program candidates should have the knowledge, skills and the general competence needed to be at the research frontier of their field. Some of these elements are described below.

General competences:

  • being able to evaluate how new ideas, concepts or products emerge within relevant fields and being able to contribute to innovation processes and research
  • being able to contribute to ethical reasoning in research processes and identify how organizations can act responsibly
  • being able to think independently and critically
  • being able to communicate research in written texts and oral presentations
  • being able to solve research problems


  • having the knowledge needed to be at the research frontier of his/her field and should master the theories and methods of the field
  • being able to contribute to developing new knowledge, theory, methods, interpretations and forms of documentation within his/her research field
  • being able to evaluate the expediency and application of different research methods
  • being able to list relevant outlets to publish his/her research


  • being able to formulate research questions, plan and conduct research
  • being able to write academically according to the norms in their field of research, and reflect on the research and writing process
  • being able to critically evaluate and pass constructive judgment on scholarly work within their field of research

Teaching methods

The courses will be a combination of lectures and seminars, student discussions and presentations by the students.


Paper approvals and exams. Pass/Fail - where Pass must be equivalent to the letter grade B or better.


Our candidates find relevant jobs, most of them in academia but some also in the private or public sector. 


The programme leads to a PhD degree from the School of Business and Law, specialization in International Business.

Why take a PhD at the School of Business and Law?

High quality education

  • Norwegian education is of high quality and controlled by Norwegian authorities
  • School of Business and Law is AACSB accredited
  • PhD program is member of EDAMBA and generally recognized for its high quality
  • Supervisors are motivated and internationally recognized scholars

Generous funding

  • Free education and supervision
  • Full salaries (Norwegian level) or scholarships to selected candidates
  • Fully covered travels to international conferences, courses etc.
  • Additional scholarships for research stays abroud

Our candidates find relevant jobs

  • Nearly all graduated candidates find relevant jobs, most in academia but also in the private or public sector
  • Several candidates become recognized international academic researchers

Excellent study environment

  • Candidates work closely with their supervisors and are integrated in research groups
  • All candidates belong to cohorts of students
  • Most candidates finish their PhD within 3 or 4 years 
  • Candidates publish their research in high quality international journals

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