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01/12/2021 - 14:48

Celebrating eighty candidates who completed a PhD at the University in the past year

Celebrating eighty candidates who completed a PhD at the University in the past year - Available at University of Iceland

The University of Iceland has graduated 80 doctoral candidates in the past 12 months, and they were celebrated at the annual Ceremony for Doctoral Graduates today on 1 December, the Day of Icelandic Sovereignty. This is the second largest group of doctoral candidates to complete a PhD in one year. The president of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson attended the ceremony. 

This is the tenth time the ceremony is held, but it was cancelled last year due to restrictions on gatherings because of the corona pandemic. The epidemic also puts it marks on today's ceremony as the only once present were the doctoral candidates who completed their PhD in the last 12 months, Deans of Schools, the Rector and Pro-rector and the President of Iceland. There was, however, a live stream from the ceremony.

The doctoral candidates, who received the University's gold medal at the ceremony today, all graduated from the University of Iceland from 1 December 2020 to 1 December 2021.  They graduated from all of the University’s five schools; 39 men and 41 women, 80 in total; the annual goal of the University is to graduate 70 doctoral candidates. Joint degrees with international universities are nine in total, and almost 60 percent of the candidates have a foreign nationality. This reflects the increasingly strong international standing of the University in diverse academic fields.

By tradition the president of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson addressed the ceremony, both congratulating and encouraging the doctoral graduates.   Furthermore, one of the doctoral candidates, Áróra Árnadóttir, Doctor in environmental science, addressed the ceremony on behalf of the post docs.


The University of Iceland has graduated 80 doctoral candidates in the past 12 months.

Approaching the 1,000 doctor from the University

The University of Iceland celebrates it 110 anniversary this year, and 102 have passed since the first doctoral defence. A lot has changed since then and there are currently 600 PhD students enrolled at the University, in all of the five university schools. Statistics from recent years show that 970 individuals have completed their PhD from the University of Iceland, most of them in the last decade. The thousandth doctoral defence is thus fast approaching, only six years from when the 500th doctoral candidate defended their thesis. This shows clearly how doctoral studies have been strengthened considerably in a short period of time.

The pandemic has certainly had its impact on all University of Iceland operations, including doctoral studies and doctoral defences. "We are tremendously impressed by the University’s PhD students, who have thrown themselves into their work and research in spite of the challenges caused by the pandemic over the last two years.," say Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, and Guðbjörg Linda Rafnsdóttir, Pro-Rector of Science, in their address in the booklet published on this occasion with a list of all graduated doctors from 1 December 2020 to 1 December 2021

"Dynamic doctoral studies at the University of Iceland have strengthened our position as an internationally recognised research university. PhD programmes at UI are in high demand, from both domestic and international students, and thesis projects are often completed in collaboration with international partners. Doctoral studies also enable the University to fulfil its role as the largest and most comprehensive university in Iceland, an institution that graduates students at all levels of study from five schools and 26 faculties," say both rector and pro-rector.

The University is particularly proud of this accomplished group; who have already found their places in a broad range of roles throughout society, and indeed throughout the world. The University of Iceland offers its warmest congratulations on their PhD degree and all the best in their future endeavours. 

Guests at the ceremony