Study plan

PhD in Science of Professions

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Programme description

The PhD programme's subject area is professional studies. Professions are assumed to have their own scientific knowledge base, an ethical code, an organisation that safeguards the interests of the profession, and legitimacy for a social mission. Science includes research that systematically, critically and methodically collects and analyses empirical data on the basis of hypotheses and/or research questions. The science is based on the knowledge base on which research rests, and aims to challenge existing knowledge, as well as develop new understanding and explanations.

Professional Studies is an empirical science and is understood as a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field of study that includes contributions from several different disciplines and areas of knowledge. The programme is broadly composed and accommodates supervised research into professional development, professional refinement, professional practice, professionals’ interaction with relevant participants and their experiences thereof. Practice-related research includes studies of professional practice, where knowledge is used in specific contexts and situations.

The PhD programme profiles itself by emphasising the parts of professional studies that deal with language, relationships and actions within an interpersonal and socially relevant context. These are key areas within professional practice and provide an important framework for the scientific basis of the programme of study. In addition, the courses include competence development to critically analyse, synthesise, systematise and plan research using complex and relevant methodological approaches, where technology is drawn in and applied innovatively, where appropriate.

 

The candidate's research questions are limited to one or more of the areas of language, relationships and actions. Through the programme, the candidates will acquire knowledge, skills and general competence in the field of professional studies, as well as anchor their own research contribution in a national and international context. Research related to the programme is practical, empirical, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary, and also includes different disciplines and different theoretical and methodological approaches. The research projects' design can be descriptive, normatively explanatory and critically analysing, where the purpose is to understand, explain, develop and/or challenge practice.

The PhD programme's structure and content

The PhD programme in Professional Studies consists of two parts, a training component (30 ECTS credits) and an independent research project. The training component shall, together with the work on the thesis, provide the necessary professional specialisation and breadth.

The training component

The training component is based on the scientific competence that the PhD candidate has acquired through previous studies. The training component shall provide knowledge, skills and general competence that will support the work on the thesis and further research work. The PhD programme has a training component totalling 30 ECTS credits and consists of the following:

  • Compulsory courses – 20 ECTS credits:
    • PRO9014 Professional studies with a focus on language, relationships and actions (7.5 credits)
    • PRO9015 Theory of Science and Research Ethics (5 credits)
    • PRO9013 Design and methodology – methodological approaches (7.5 credits)
  • Elective courses – 10 credits

The course PRO9014 Professional Studies with a focus on language, relations and action must be taken at Nord University, while the other compulsory courses can be admitted if they are taken at other institutions.

In addition, the following courses are offered at the PhD programme:

  • PRO9002 Professional development and innovation (5 credits)
  • PRO9016 Video observation and analysis (5 credits)
  • PRO9017 Secondary analysis (5 credits)
  • PRO9011 Mixed methods (5 credits)

All PhD courses offered under the auspices of the programme are assessed by the doctoral committee, quality assured by the central education committee and approved by the deans.

Candidates must complete a minimum of 10 ECTS credits within research methodology courses and 5 credits within philosophy of science subjects. Elective courses can amount to up to 10 credits,

where the candidate is free to choose between substance courses of relevance to the research project, or further courses in research methodology or theory of science. The courses in the training component are adapted to the PhD programme, and candidates are therefore encouraged to complete the courses offered.

An overview of the courses can be found on the programme's website. All courses can be offered in both Norwegian and English. Candidates can complete courses at another faculty or institution, and international research courses can also be included here.

In consultation with the supervisor, the candidate prepares a plan for the training component that specifies which courses are included and in which semesters the courses will be completed. The individual training plan shall be approved upon admission to a PhD in professional studies, but can be changed upon application. Candidates must have all courses in the academic training component approved in order to have their PhD thesis assessed.

Independent research work

The research part consists of the work on a scientific thesis. The thesis must be an independent scientific work that meets international standards with regard to academic level, methodology and ethical requirements. It shall contribute new academic knowledge and be at a level that indicates that it may be published as part of the scientific literature of the subject, cf. Regulations relating to the degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD) at Nord University.

The thesis shall be written either as a compilation of several scientific articles (article-based thesis) or as a monograph. The thesis shall be written in English or in a Scandinavian language. Supplementary guidelines have been drawn up for PhDs in professional science. (link)

Upon admission to the PhD programme, the candidates are linked to a research group that gives the candidates access to a research community. The research groups and the PhD programme organise inter- and monodisciplinary seminars that provide opportunities for networking. Participation in a research group and seminars will help the candidates develop the ability to critically reflect on their own and others' research and give them opportunities to present and discuss their own research work, as well as disseminate their own research.

Examinations and forms of assessment

Fulfilment of the PhD degree is assessed on the basis of:

  • the academic thesis
  • completion of the academic training component
  • a trial lecture on a given topic
  • public defence of the PhD thesis (disputation).

For courses in the academic training component, the forms of assessment are found in the individual course plan.

Assessment is regulated by §19 of the Regulations relating to the degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD) at Nord University, as well as supplementary guidelines for the PhD in professional studies. Exam provisions for PhD courses are available in the Regulations on studies and examinations for Nord University as well as the Supplementary provisions for examination candidates at Nord University (The regulations and associated guidelines apply to the extent that they are also suitable for exams in the training component of doctoral programmes.)

Other mandatory activities

In order to submit his/her thesis for assessment, the candidate must have completed the following compulsory activities: Annual reporting, start-up seminars, mid-term seminars and final seminars, as well as internationalisation measures in accordance with separate guidelines.

 

Relevant regulations and key provisions

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Learning outcomes

After an approved PhD in professional studies, the candidate must have the following overall learning outcomes, defined in knowledge, skills and general competence in professional studies, limited to one or more of the focus areas language, relationships and actions:

Knowledge:

The candidate:

  • will be at the forefront of professional studies at a high international level within one or more of the following focus areas: language, relationships and actions
  • can contribute independently and innovatively to the development of new knowledge and theory in professional science
  • has extensive knowledge of relevant dissemination arenas for professional science
  • have a mastery of and can critically and independently reflect upon relevant theory, issues, scientific theory and methods
  • have extensive knowledge of research ethics, including laws and regulations

Skills:

The candidate:

  • can critically and independently manage complex academic issues and challenge established knowledge and practice within professional studies
  • will be able to critically and independently assess and justify the appropriateness and application of various methods and processes in research projects, as well as taking account of the limitations of methodological choices
  • will be able to conduct research at a high international level through independent research projects
  • will be able to formulate issues and plan and implement research projects and innovation at a high academic level using relevant technology
  • can initiate, conduct, evaluate and disseminate research in a critical and independent manner and discuss the implications of research for professions and society

General competence:

The candidate:

  • will be able to identify, critically assess and discuss relevant academic and ethical issues in their own and others’ research and conduct independent research with academic integrity
  • can lead complex interdisciplinary tasks and projects independently and as part of a team
  • will be able to disseminate research through recognised and preferably open national and international channels
  • will be able to critically assess the need for and take the initiative to develop innovation and research with societal relevance
  • will be able to actively participate in debates in national and international forums and contribute academic input to public discourse

Admission requirements

For admission to the PhD programme, the applicant must normally have a master's degree of 120 ECTS credits. The programme is a natural extension of master's programmes (such as nursing, teacher education, sports) at Nord University, but is also an options for candidates who have a master's degree in other fields, and for studies of other professions.

For admission to a PhD in professional studies, a grade B or better weighted average of a higher degree is normally required.

See the supplementary description in §6(1) and §6(2) of the Regulations for the degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD) at Nord University , as well as supplementary guidelines for the PhD in Professional Studies for a more detailed description of the provisions for admission. After individual assessment, Nord University may approve another equivalent education as a basis for admission. Exceptions may also be granted from the requirement for a B average for applicants who, through documentation, e.g. publication of scientific articles or participation in research projects, can show basic scientific understanding and insight, reflection, independence and analytical thinking at a higher degree level.

When applying for admission, a description of the research project and documentation of full funding of the study period must be presented. Private financing such as own or family funds or the like is not normally accepted as financing. The final project description, developed in collaboration with the supervisor, including the plan for the implementation of the PhD programme (training component and independent research work) is approved by the dean of the candidate's faculty, at the recommendation of the working committee.

Study abroad

The faculties provide administrative support and the opportunity to apply for financial support, so that the individual candidate can complete study stays abroad. The stay shall be at a recognised educational or research institution, or any other relevant academic environment, where it is possible to work with research issues related to the research work/thesis. If this is not possible, the stay can be at another Norwegian educational institution. Other schemes that ensure that the candidate gains insight into alternative academic and research traditions related to the thesis issues can also be assessed by the working committee for the PhD programme. In addition to allowing the candidates to leave, the faculties also bring in guest researchers, and facilitate the candidate to be included in international networks.

Costs

The programme has no costs beyond the literature and costs associated with the production and publication of the PhD research project as presented in the thesis. When a candidate applies for admission, documentation must be submitted showing full financial coverage for the period of study.

Examination regulations, assessment and grading

Regulations pertaining to the doctoral degree examination are found in the Regulations for the degree of Philosophiae doctor (PhD) at Nord University and in the additional rules specifying these.

 

Exam provisions for PhD courses are available in the Regulations on studies and examinations for Nord University as well as Guidelines for examination candidates at Nord University.

 

There must be at least 1 external examiner during the assessment of PhD-level course examinations.

Assessment methods

Fulfilment of the PhD degree is assessed on the basis of:

  • the academic thesis
  • completion of the academic training component
  • a trial lecture on a given topic
  • public defence of the PhD thesis (disputation).

For courses in the academic training component, the forms of assessment are found in the individual course plan.

Assessment is regulated by §19 of the Regulations relating to the degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD) at Nord University, as well as supplementary guidelines for the PhD in professional studies. Exam provisions for PhD courses are available in the Regulations on studies and examinations for Nord University as well as the Supplementary provisions for examination candidates at Nord University (The regulations and associated guidelines apply to the extent that they are also suitable for exams in the training component of doctoral programmes.)

Graduation requirements

The final assessment consists of the actual dissertation and public defence, as well as a trial lecture on an assigned topic.

Programme evaluation

The courses are evaluated annually by the students through course surveys. These evaluations are part of the University’s quality assurance system. The entire programme is evaluated every four years as part of the quality assurance of the PhD programmes at Nord University.
ECTS Credits 180 Study level Doctoral degree with nom length of study Teaching language
English and Norwegian
Faculty
The Faculty of Education and Arts
Course location Bodø