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Supervision of PhD candidates

What can you as a PhD candidate expect from your supervisors? Who can you have as your supervisors? What do you have to do if you want to change your supervisors?

Principal supervisor and co-supervisor

As a PhD candidate you must have at least two supervisors: one principal supervisor and one or more co-supervisors.

The principal supervisor should as a general rule be employed at the faculty. If you want to have a principal supervisor who is not employed at the faculty, you must apply for it when you submit your application for admission. Please send us a short summary giving your reasons for choosing an external principal supervisor. At least one of your co-supervisors must be employed at the faculty if your principal supervisor is not employed at the faculty.

All supervisors must sign the application form for admission to the PhD programme before the application is submitted.

Academic progress

You and your supervisors have a duty to inform each other of conditions regarding your PhD training. In the event of conditions arising which may cause delay or interruption in your research training, you and your supervisors must attempt to find a solution to the situation.

You should:

  • make a plan for completing the PhD  project within the prescribed admission period,
  • make reports or drafts to your supervisor of the thesis or parts of the thesis,
  • comply with research ethical principles applicable to your research area,
  • meet deadlines or at least adjust your plans in consultation with your supervisor.

Your supervisor should help you to:

  • develop a plan for completing your PhD project within the prescribed admission period,
  • formulate and restrict research topics and questions,
  • discuss and assess hypotheses and research methods,
  • become familiar with the research literature and databases,
  • get in touch with relevant scientific communities,
  • follow the plan for completion of the PhD project,
  • get supervision as regards research ethical questions,
  • discuss how the supervision is working,
  • solve any challenges related to the learning environment,
  • implement the obligatory halfway evaluation.

Cooperation between you and your supervisor

At the start of your PhD period you should discuss with your supervisor the supervision process. You both should agree on your mutual expectations, and how to cooperate well with each other. It is important that you continue to discuss the supervision, and not only the academic supervison. If problems do arise, you should address them as quickly as possible. Please get in touch with your institute leader or HR-department at the faculty, who can help you to find the best possible solution.

Changing your supervisors

Sometimes situations arise when a supervisory relationship should come to an end. A supervisor’s resignation or appointment, however, must be approved by the faculty.

If you do wish to change supervisors, you must fill out the contract for the change of supervisors (doc). Both you and your supervisors must sign the contract before you submit it to the faculty.

Your supervisor cannot resign before a new supervisor has been appointed if

  • you only have two supervisors,
  • your principal supervisor is going to resign.

Are you a supervisor?

Information for supervisors about academic supervision is found on a separate website.


Contract for the change of supervisors 


Published Apr. 22, 2015 8:22 AM - Last modified Feb. 18, 2021 1:05 PM