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Delays during the PhD period

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It is not uncommon for PhD-candidates to be delayed in their doctoral process and there can be different reasons for such delays. As you can see from the pages on supervision, you have a duty to keep your supervisor informed of any matters of significance for your progress. Here you will find more information on the other things you should do in cases of delay.

Illness and leaves of absence during your funding period #

If you’re delayed due to illness and leaves of absence during your employment period, you will generally get equal extension to the PhD-programme as to your employment. If you’re not employed at NTNU, you must send the Faculty documentation of any prolonged illness or leaves of absence.

If your delay exceeds the extension granted, you should alert the Faculty, either through the HR-section if you are employed at NTNU or through the annual progress report.

Other delays during your funding period #

Delays in your academic work may have different causes:

  •  Problems in the supervisory relationship
  • Problems related to field studies, data collection or laboratory work
  • Conflicts in the work place
  • Publication
  • Writing taking longer than expected
  • Etc.

You can notify of any delays through the yearly progress report or through other local reporting procedures. It is important that you notify of any delays along the way so that measures can be implemented to help improve your progress. What can and should be done will depend on the cause and length of the delay.  

Some times you can make up for the delay along the way, but other times the delay will result in your thesis not being completed by the time your funding runs out.

Delays after your funding period #

If your funding has run out and you still have not handed in your thesis, you are officially behind schedule. Whether or not you will get to continue your affiliation to the PhD-programme, will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Section 5.6 in the PhD-regulations states that the parties' rights and obligations in accordance with the PhD agreement ends at the end of the agreement period. The end of the agreement period is identical to the end of your funding period.  It is up to the Faculty to decide if you may continue your affiliation to the PhD-programme and be allowed to hand in your thesis. The Faculty can set conditions for your continued affiliation, e.g. through a specified application or other documentation of continued progress.

It is important that you clarify with the department any need for access cards, email accounts, library services etc. The departments may have different practices and procedures in this area. If you have been employed at NTNU and wish to keep an office space for a while, you may apply to the department. Access to any remaining working capital (driftsmidler) will usually be detailed in your resignation letter.

Once your funding and agreement period is over, you’re not necessarily entitled to continued supervision. This is something you and your supervisor should agree on together.

Generally, in Norway, you are not entitled to unemployment benefits while working on your doctoral thesis. However, NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration) should make an individual assessment of any application. If you have to put aside your thesis because of unemployment, you should consider applying for leave from the PhD-programme as well until you are able to continue working on your thesis.

Faculty-specific guidelines #

Faculty of Humanities #

As a general rule, you will be able to continue in the PhD-programme after the end of the agreement period as long as you can document continued progress. This is usually done through the yearly progress reports. The Faculty can, and will, request further documentation if needed.

Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management #

Once the agreement/funding period is over, you should send a reasoned application to the department/programme board. The application should contain:

  • a progress plan with a preliminary date for submitting your thesis
  • an account of the percentage of full time that you’re working on the thesis 

If you do not apply, or if your application is rejected, you will be terminated from the programme.

Maximum period of study #

The maximum period of study is six years from the start of funding to submitting your thesis. Any approved leaves of absence, lengthy illness, required duties and approved part-time studies are not included in the six-year period.

The Faculty makes the final decision concerning maximum period of study. If you are wondering if you may be approaching the maximum period of study, you can contact your Faculty.

If you have exceeded the maximum period of study or for other reasons have terminated your admittance to the PhD-programme, you may still apply to have your thesis assessed for the degree of dr.philos.  

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