University of Iceland

Welcome to the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences

The Faculty offers a diverse variety of undergraduate and graduate programmes

Social and Human Sciences

Instructions for application

Instructions for application

Instructions Regarding Applications

The deadline for international students (other than exchange students) to apply for graduate studies is 1 February (for the next academic year). An online application form will be available here from the beginning of December  until 1 February each year. Nordic citizens are exempted and may apply for graduate studies until 15 April.

The application process

1. Electronic application form
All applicants for the doctoral studies must fill in and send an electronic application form along with the necessary supporting documents (Please follow the instructions below). 
The online application form is available on the International students' page when applications are being accepted. Further information regarding studying in Iceland can be found on the Study in Iceland - webpage .

Supporting documents 

Please read the instructions carefully.  
Supporting documents (except no 2 ) must be sent to the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences by email ( on or before 1 February. The Faculty does not accept supporting documents sent after the deadline. If an application is seen as being unsatisfactory in any way, it will automatically be rejected. 


2. Officially confirmed copies of graduation certificates must be submitted (in hard copy) to the University, no later than 15 February.  

Scanned or photocopied diplomas are not accepted.

The application must also be accompanied by officially confirmed copies of diplomas and transcripts from the latest educational institution. Such transcripts and copies of certificates are issued by all universities. Please note transcripts and diplomas must be issued in Icelandic, English, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish – or be accompanied by a certified translation in one of these languages.

It is also possible to send photocopies of originals (not scanned copies) by post (prior to the deadline) as long as they have been confirmed as genuine copies with an official stamp in color and signature from the institution in question. It is also possible to bring original documents to the Student Registration office, and obtain officially confirmed copies. (Graduation certificates from the University of Iceland are not necessary).

The application is not valid until a certified copy of transcript of records and previous degree diploma has been submitted (in hard copy) to the University of IcelandI, no later than 15 February.

University of Iceland
Student Registration - Foreign Applications
Háskólatorg, Saemundargata 4
IS-101 Reykjavík, Iceland.

3. Curriculum vitae.

The application should be accompanied by a detailed review of the applicant’s education, courses they have taken, and the date of their graduation along with details of anything else that might be relevant to the application – in the correct time order. 

4. Details of work experience and a list of publications.
If the applicant has experience of research in the same or a related field as that applied for, it is important for this to be also outlined. In the review of work experience, information should be provided about places of work (e.g. institutions), along with details of when the work experience took place, and any other experience that may be relevant to the application. A detailed list of published and unpublished works (books, articles, reports, lectures etc.) should also accompany the application, along with details of any academic lectures that the applicant may have given publically. Please send photocopies or pdfs of those published works that best illustrate the experience, knowledge and skill of the applicant with regard to the proposed field of study.

5. A description of the proposed research field of the doctoral study and a preliminary research proposal (3 - 5 pages). In the description, it is important that applicants:

  • introduce the research project to be undertaken, and explain its overall framework and focus
  • give a review of the present state of knowledge and research in the field in question
  • give a short account of the main aims of the research project, and the main research questions that will be focused on, along with information about the overall academic value of the proposed project
  • give an account of the theoretical approaches that will be employed, along with explanations of any key relevant concepts that will be used
  • give an outline of the methodology which will be applied, and information about how source material will be gathered, along with a brief discussion of how any ethical concerns might need to be dealt with.

6. An outline of the proposed line of study and information with regard to the academic capability of the applicant with regard to undertaking such a course of study (2  - 3 pages), including some reference to previous study and other relevant experience. It is also important that the applicant give some explanation of how she/he intends to gain any additional academic or methodological knowledge that might be needed to undertake such research (for example by listing any courses the applicant intends to take).

7. Study plan.
The application should also be accompanied by a detailed outline of how the applicant plans to carry out the proposed line of study/ research (1 - 2 pages). A study plan is a description of any courses the applicant intends to take and any other work they mean to take on during the course of their study as a whole. The applicant should include a detailed time plan for their academic research project, among other things outlining when they intend to complete it. They should also state immediately whether they plan to undertake full - or part - time study. They should furthermore indicate whether they will need a place to work and give an account of how they intend to meet the costs of the proposed field of study. Finally, the applicant should give details of any time they mean to spend in universities abroad (cf.  rule number 500/ 2011 regarding PhD study at the University of Iceland). The final form of the research proposal will be worked out in cooperation with the supervisor after the applicant has been accepted into the PhD programme. 

8. Supervision. The applicant can request a specific supervisor. A lecturer may also encourage students to apply for doctoral studies. There is, however, no guarantee that the applicant will be able to have a particular supervisor; nor can an applicant be given a firm guarantee of supervision by a lecturer beforehand.

9. Reference/ Testimonial.
In addition to the electronic application form and supporting documents which have to be submitted by the applicant, two testimonials must be submitted to the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences. These should be sent to the Faculty directly by the referees. Please include the names of the two referees (along with contact information) in the relevant section of the electronic application form.

The form for testimonals can be found here: English or Icelandic.

Referees must complete the forms and return them directly to the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (postmarked or handed in before 1 February).

Doctoral programme 
The Faculty of Social and Human Sciences
Gimli v/Saemundargata
101 Reykjavík

If an application is viewed as being unsatisfactory in any way, it will automatically be rejected.

Interviews: The Office of the Faculty will call applicants in for interviews if they feel there is any need for further explanation regarding the application or any of the accompanying documents. The applicant can also request an meeting with the project manager at any point during the application process.

The handling of applications: The Office of the Faculty reviews the applications and accompanying documents and passes them on to the Research Committee of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences. The Research Committee sends their assessment to the relevant department which then undertakes its own discussion of the application. The conclusion of the department is then sent back to the Research Committee for further discussion. The final decision about whether the application will be accepted is made by the Faculty Council in June each year. When a decision has been reached, the Office of the Faculty will send a letter to the applicant. The Office of the Faculty will keep all applications and any other accompanying documents.  

For further information contact Jóhanna Vernharðsdóttir, project manager, tel. + 354 525 5498, e-mail:
The office is open 10:00-12:00 and 13:00-15:30, all working days.
See also the web site of Faculty of Social and Human Sciences.


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