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The PhD specialisation in Health and Nursing Science focuses on research projects and initiatives aiming at the development and evaluation of integrated evidence-based health promotion and health care services.

The specialisation has a particular focus on producing high-quality research related to promoting health and quality of life and understanding the health and disease processes among all age groups and populations. In addition, it is expected that the outputs of the specialisation may contribute to improving and supporting health care services, health policies, decision-making and work processes, and educational research.

There are three research groups and two research centers included in the Department of health and nursing science: HEalth promotion In a Family Perspective (HEIFA), Health care services – Ethics and quality (HEQ), Q-Safe: Patient safety and quality in hospitals (Q-safe), Centre for e-health and Centre for Caring Research – Southern Norway. The PhD specialisation welcomes applications from external partners and collaborators from other clinical fields (i. e. hospitals), universities, research centers, municipalities, and social organisations.

Admission requirements

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 of at least 90 ECTS credits (one and a half years of study on a master level) in subjects related to health and / or nursing subjects. Previous knowledge in health and nursing science methodology must be documented.

See also Supplementary regulations for the PhD degree at the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences.


The PhD specialisation in Health and Nursing Science consists of four components: The faculty PhD programme’s mandatory core courses, elective methods course(s) and specialisation courses, and a thesis.

The coursework aims at providing the candidate with

  1. a thorough rooting in literature in health and nursing science
  2. a thorough philosophical and methodological foundation
  3. an opportunity for in-depth focus in areas relevant to health and nursing in which the PhD candidate has specific interest

In addition to the courses offered by UiA, the candidate may take doctoral courses offered by other national and international academic institutions, i.e. PROFRES courses.

Specialisation components

The PhD specialisation is normally organised so as to be completed in a three-year period. The coursework component comprises the faulty PhD programme’s two mandatory core courses:

  • Researching Health and Sport Sciences: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations (7,5 ECTS)
  • Research Dissemination in Health and Sport Sciences: Scientific presenting and practice (7,5 ECTS)

The faculty PhD programme comprises elective methods course(s) (at least 5 ECTS) and elective specialisation courses (10 ECTS). These must be approved by the supervisors.

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

Below, each of the coursework components of the specialisation is presented further.

The coursework component is divided into these main areas:

PhD programme in Health and Sport Sciences 

Specialisation in Health and Nursing Science

Methods and Philosophy of Science (15 ECTS)

Specialisation courses (15 ECTS)

Thesis (150 ECTS) 

Mandatory courses (7,5 +7,5 ECTS)

Elective methods courses (5 ECTS)

Elective specialisation courses in Health and Nursing Science (5 + 5 ECTS)


Researching Health and Sport Sciences: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations,         7,5 ECTS

Research Dissemination in Health and Sport Sciences: Scientific presenting and practice, 7,5 ECTS

ME-617 Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis, 2,5 ECTS

ME-618 Qualitative Research Methods, 5 ECTS

ME-634 Phenomenological Lifeworld Perspective, Methodology and Analysis,5 ECTS

ME-636 Epidemiology: Concepts and Methodological Approaches,5 ECTS

ME-626 General Quantitative Research Methods, 5 ECTS

ME-627 Logistic Regression Analysis, 2,5 ECTS

ME-628 Regression Models Illustrated through Linear Regression, 2,5 ECTS

ME-629 Analysis and Design of Studies with Repeated Measures, 2,5 ECTS

ME-630 Survival Analysis, 2,5 ECTS  

HEL600 Critical Perspectives on Health Challenges and Health Promotion, 5 ECTS

HEL603 Health Behavior Change and Evaluation of Health Promotion Programmes, 5 ECTS

HEL607 Innovation and Improvement in Community Health Care Services’Research Possibilities and Challenges, 5 ECTS

HEL609 Research in eHealth and Health Information Systems, 5 ECTS

HEL616 Quality of Life Research, 5 ECTS

HEL618 Clinical Studies: Planning and Implementation of Clinical Research, 5 ECTS  


Mandatory core courses

The course Researching Health and Sport Sciences: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations (7,5 ECTS) will introduce the candidate to the different philosophical and methodological approaches within health and sport sciences in general. The philosophical underpinnings of method and methodologies, both in general to health and sport sciences and specifically in the relation to the specialisations will be emphasised in the course.
The course Research Dissemination in Health and Sport Sciences: Scientific presenting and practice (7,5 ECTS) runs throughout the full PhD period, and it is also a social meeting point for the PhD candidates. The overall aim of the course is to supply the participants with relevant practical skills as researchers. The candidate will be given an introduction to how to write and publish a scientific article, how to present research findings in a scientific manner, and how these findings may be popularised for presentation to the public. In addition, the course will prepare the candidate for designing and defending the thesis. The course is a continuing course throughout the candidate’s whole PhD period and the candidates are automatically registered in this course.

The purpose of these courses is to provide the candidate with a thorough philosophical and methodological foundation that should be followed up in supervision and reflected in the PhD thesis.

Elective methods courses

The purpose of these courses is to provide the candidates with a thorough foundation in relevant scientific method(s). A minimum of 5 ECTS credits is required and should be approved by the supervisors. 

Elective specialisation courses

The specialisation courses go into depth in specific topics currently on the research agenda in health and nursing areas. These courses are intended to give the PhD candidates sufficient knowledge in a subfield of health and nursing related to the thesis subject, thus enabling them 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 or abroad.

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 set of at least three peer-reviewed articles in general with a comprehensive thesis summary and discussion of the research contributions from the papers. In general, when the thesis consists of articles, at least two of the articles must have been accepted for publication. The candidate must be the primary author of the majority of the articles in the thesis, according to the supplementary regulations for the PhD programme in Health and Sport Sciences.