Article 1. Studies and objectives.
Within the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (hereafter, 'the School'), it is, in accordance with Chapter VI of the Regulation for the University of Iceland, no. 569/2009, possible to take doctoral studies in those subjects specified in Chapter XIV of the Regulation for the University of Iceland, no. 569/2009.
It is possible to take doctoral studies in all faculties within the School in those academic fields for which the relevant faculty and the School deem the necessary facilities and specialist knowledge to be available.
The objective of a doctoral programme is to provide students with extensive and solid training in research, and to enable them to conduct independent academic work. Each faculty shall be responsible for their own doctoral programmes and shall set learning outcomes for doctoral programmes in those subjects pertaining to it.
This Regulation defines a common framework for doctoral study in the School; further details on various points can be found in the rules for organisation of study for individual faculties or departments.
The University of Iceland Graduate School shall oversee and follow up established standards and requirements for the quality of postgraduate studies at the University of Iceland, cf. Article 66 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland, no. 569/2009. The School Office shall supply any information requested by the Graduate School.
The School Office ensures that this Regulation, agreements on joint doctorates, when applicable, and central University of Iceland regulations are enforced.
Article 2. Admission requirements.
To enrol in doctoral studies, students must have completed a recognised Master’s degree in the field of proposed doctoral study or a related field. Faculties are permitted to stipulate prerequisite requirements, cf. Article 11. Any Master’s degree, which forms the basis for doctoral studies, shall be from a recognised university.
Transfer of a student enrolled in a Master’s programme in the natural sciences to a doctoral programme is permissible with the approval of the faculty in question, even if the student has not yet defended the Master's thesis, provided that no more than two years have passed since the student enrolled in the Master’s programme, assuming study on a full-time basis. The student shall, in consultation with their administrative supervisor, apply for such a transfer as if applying for conventional doctoral studies, cf. Article 5 of this Regulation. Further provisions on preparation and number of credits can be found in Article 9.
In the case of a joint doctoral degree conferred by the University of Iceland and another university or institution, the Division of Academic Affairs and the Graduate School must be consulted in preparing an agreement for the study programme, cf. Article 66 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland, no. 569/2009.
Article 3. Application deadline.
The School accepts applications for doctoral studies all year round, regardless of specific dates.
Article 4. Faculty postgraduate study committee and Faculty council.
The postgraduate study committee of each faculty oversees the application process for doctoral studies within said faculty. The Faculty council or postgraduate study committee, on behalf of the Faculty council and under its authority, shall approve the doctoral committee for each doctoral student, confirm their study plan, confirm that the thesis is fit for defence, and approve the doctoral committee's proposed opponents before the proposal is presented to the Graduate School for confirmation.
Any changes to the terms of a student's doctoral studies require approval from the postgraduate study committee. This includes changing administrative supervisor, academic supervisor, or members of the doctoral committee, as well as changing the topic of the doctoral thesis. If a student's request for such a change is not approved, it may result in the student not being permitted to continue their doctoral studies, e.g. if a supervisor leaves their post and no other qualified person can take over that role.
Article 5. Processing of applications.
Applications for admission to doctoral study programmes are submitted using the electronic application forms provided by the University of Iceland Student Registration or at the School Office. In addition to the standard application documents, applicants are also required to provide information regarding their administrative supervisor, academic supervisor, how their studies will be funded, and a brief statement on the applicant's field(s) of interest and expectations regarding study.
The School Office sends an assessment of original materials and copies of applications and accompanying documents to the respective faculty's postgraduate study committee.
The faculty postgraduate study committee evaluates the application (administrative supervisor and academic supervisor, basis of financial support, and whether the programme conforms to the faculty's policy and objectives), accepts or rejects the application on behalf of the faculty, and stipulates prerequisites, where applicable. The postgraduate study committee sends its conclusion to the head of faculty as well as the School Office, which notifies the Student Registration.
Registration and payment of the registration fee are necessary prerequisites for commencing or continuing study. Students are responsible for registering annually for each upcoming academic year and must pay the registration fee.
Article 6. Administrative supervisor and academic supervisor.
Each doctoral student shall from the beginning of their studies have an administrative supervisor, who advises the student regarding the organisation of the programme, choice of courses, as well as any matters and regulations related to their studies. The administrative supervisor must be a permanent member of academic staff at the respective faculty and have completed a doctorate in the field of study in question.
Should a student discontinue their studies, the administrative supervisor shall formally notify the School Office, which ensures that the student's doctoral study track is terminated.
The administrative supervisor is generally also the student's academic supervisor regarding the doctoral project. The faculty may, however, permit a student to have an external academic supervisor, provided that this individual meets the requirements for supervisors, as stipulated by the University of Iceland.
The academic supervisor must be a recognised expert with a doctorate in the field of study in question and have published papers on their own research in international peer-reviewed journals.
Each student's research project must fall under the specialisation of their academic supervisor. The academic supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the doctoral project is carried out in a professional manner.
Article 7. Doctoral committee.
Before the end of the first semester, the administrative supervisor shall propose doctoral committee members to the respective faculty's postgraduate study committee for approval. The administrative supervisor shall obtain the consent of the individuals proposed for the doctoral committee, before approaching the postgraduate study committee. The postgraduate study committee notifies the administrative supervisor, head of faculty as well as the School Office of their approval. The School Office then issues a letter of appointment for the doctoral committee.
The doctoral committee shall consist of at least three expert individuals. The majority of committee members must have a doctorate. The administrative supervisor shall always have a seat on the doctoral committee and acts as chair. In case the administrative supervisor is not the academic supervisor, the academic supervisor shall also sit on the doctoral committee. At least one committee member must work outside the University of Iceland faculty in question. In the case of a tie vote in the committee, the chair shall cast the deciding vote. The doctoral committee shall fulfil the academic requirements stipulated in the Standards and requirements for the quality of doctoral programmes at the University of Iceland.
The doctoral committee shall summon the doctoral student to its meetings as necessary over the duration of the programme, but at least once a year. The committee monitors study progress and provides the student with guidance, as necessary. The doctoral committee bears responsibility for assessing the student's doctoral studies in accordance with Article 12.
Article 8. Study plan.
A doctoral student shall, in consultation with the doctoral committee, submit a study plan before the end of the first semester of study. The study plan describes the selection of courses to be taken and their division between the University of Iceland and other recognised universities. The study plan shall include a research plan with timeline. If any work for the doctoral thesis is carried out at another institution or company, a separate agreement shall be made in regard to this. This agreement shall accompany the study plan.
The study plan must be approved by the doctoral committee and confirmed by the faculty postgraduate study committee. The administrative supervisor shall then deliver the approved study plan to the School Office, where it is filed.
Disagreements over the study plan may be referred to the head of faculty.
The student, in consultation with the doctoral committee, shall update their study plan annually and report on their study progress. The administrative supervisor shall confirm the updated study plan as well as reported study progress, by signing the document and delivering it to the School Office.
Article 9. Length of study and number of credits.
A doctoral programme following completion of a Master’s degree shall be equivalent to a minimum of three years of full-time study. The research project shall account for 180 credits.
Doctoral studies in engineering shall furthermore include 30 credits of coursework. The maximum number of credits for reading courses overseen by a student’s academic supervisor is 15.
For students admitted to a doctoral programme in natural sciences on the basis of the transfer provision in Article 2 of this Regulation, doctoral studies shall be equivalent to 240 credits, i.e., a minimum of four years of full-time study. The programme shall either consist of a 180-credit research project and 60 credits of coursework or a 210-credit research project and 30 credits of coursework.
Doctoral students shall spend a minimum of two semesters at the University of Iceland during their doctoral studies, or a minimum of one semester in case of a joint doctoral degree with another university.
The maximum length of study is ten semesters from the time of enrolment in a doctoral programme, or twelve semesters from the time of transfer from a Master's programme. Subject to reasoned argument, the administrative supervisor may apply to the respective faculty postgraduate study committee for an extension of the maximum length of study for up to one year.
Article 10. Course requirements.
Courses must be at the doctoral or Master’s level at the University of Iceland or other recognised research universities.
All courses must conclude with an appropriate assessment in conformity with the study plan as it has been defined. The minimum grade for courses taken at the University of Iceland that shall be assessed as part of a doctoral programme is 6.0. Courses taken at recognised universities other than the University of Iceland must be completed in conformity with the requirements of that university.
In general, undergraduate courses cannot be assessed as part of a doctoral programme (courses marked G at the University of Iceland). Interdisciplinary research may, however, lead to undergraduate courses in other departments being deemed a necessary part of the doctoral programme. A maximum of 8 credits of such necessary undergraduate coursework may count towards the doctoral programme. An exception is made for students admitted to a doctoral programme in natural sciences on the basis of the transfer provision in Article 2 of this Regulation. In this case, a maximum of 16 credits of necessary undergraduate coursework may count towards the doctoral programme.
Article 11. Prerequisites.
If a student changes their field of study with their doctoral studies, cf. Article 2 of this Regulation, important fundamentals acquired in undergraduate studies may be missing from the doctoral student's academic record. In such cases, the necessary prerequisites will be added to the coursework component of the programme. The doctoral student is required to fulfil these requirements at the beginning of the doctoral programme. These prerequisites are, however, not considered part of the doctoral programme and the student does not earn credits for them. The administrative supervisor shall submit a recommendation regarding the scope and content of these prerequisites, which must be approved by the respective faculty postgraduate study committee. Prerequisites for admission to doctoral studies must be specified in the study plan, cf. Article 8.
Article 12. Assessment.
The student's general knowledge in the main academic field connected to the speciality of the research project shall be assessed at least once during the length of study. At the same time, a written assessment of their ability to analyse and communicate scientific knowledge shall be conducted. The student's doctoral committee is responsible for implementing such an assessment, which shall be held during the first half of the study programme. The administrative supervisor sends a copy of the assessment documents to the School Office, as well as the conclusion of the doctoral committee as to whether the student passed the assessment.
Students, who fail the assessment, are not permitted to continue their doctoral studies. This decision must be supported, in writing, by a reasoned argument. Before a final decision is made, the student shall be given the opportunity to dispute the decision. The doctoral committee may permit the student to resit the assessment. The reassessment shall be done before the end of the next semester. The decision must be supported, in writing, by a reasoned argument. The administrative supervisor sends all documents related to the matter to the School Office, where they are filed.
To demonstrate their ability to communicate scientific knowledge orally, students shall present their research project in a public lecture at the University of Iceland around the midpoint of the programme, e.g. by participating in an advertised seminar or symposium. The presentation shall not be held during the same semester as the doctoral defence. The administrative supervisor sends a confirmation notification that the presentation has been held to the School Office.
Faculties may set more detailed rules on the implementation and mode of assessment.
When the student and academic supervisor consider the research project to be complete, the student submits a final draft of the thesis to the doctoral committee.
The doctoral committee evaluates the thesis and the project. Should the doctoral committee not deem the thesis ready for defence, it is sent back to the student with comments regarding necessary improvements. If the thesis is deemed ready for defence, the doctoral committee shall deliver its verdict to the faculty postgraduate study committee, recommending that the doctoral candidate be given the opportunity to submit the thesis for defence. The faculty postgraduate study committee, in consultation with the head of faculty, approves the thesis as acceptable for defence.
A doctoral research project shall conclude with the submission of a thesis and the delivery of a public lecture on the project by the student: the doctoral defence. The thesis shall be assessed by opponents, or as further determined by an agreement on a joint doctorate with another university (cf. Chapter VI of the Regulation for the University of Iceland, no. 569/2009). [If there is disagreement among the members of the evaluation committee on whether a Doctoral degree should be awarded, it shall be resolved according to rules of procedure set by the University Council, cf. Article 70 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009.]1
1Amended by Article 1 of Regulation no. 1536/2021.
Article 13. Opponents.
The opponents must be independent parties who are not members of the doctoral committee and experts in the field of study in question. At least one of the opponents must be from a recognised research institute other than the University of Iceland. Generally, efforts shall be made to arrange that an individual from a recognised research institute outside Iceland will serve as an opponent. The nominated opponents shall fulfil the requirements stipulated in the Standards and requirements for the quality of doctoral programmes at the University of Iceland.
The doctoral committee nominates two opponents and, subject to their consent, presents the proposal to the postgraduate study committee. If the postgraduate study committee approves the nominated opponents, a request for confirmation is sent to the Graduate School. Once the approval has been received, the School Office, on behalf of the head of faculty, sends letters of appointment as well as a finished draft of the thesis to the opponents, and retains copies of the letters of appointment.
Opponents must submit a statement to the head of faculty as to whether they consider the thesis ready for defence no later than four weeks prior to the planned defence date.
Article 14. Submission and format of the doctoral thesis.
A doctoral thesis, which is to be defended at the University of Iceland and which has been approved by the doctoral committee as ready for defence and obtained the confirmation of the faculty postgraduate study committee, shall be submitted to opponents no later than two months prior to the planned defence.
A final project for a doctoral degree may either be in the form of a monograph or a collection of scientific articles that have been published or submitted for publication in international peer-reviewed journals. A thesis composed of a collection of articles must always contain a detailed overview and summary of the work.
A doctoral thesis shall conform to the School’s template for doctoral theses. A doctoral thesis may follow the template of another university, in accordance with an agreement on a joint doctorate. Nonetheless, the University of Iceland logo shall always appear on the cover and cover page of the thesis. Moreover, the respective faculty at the University of Iceland shall appear in the same location as the faculty of the other university and in a comparable manner.
No other symbol or logo, other than those of the University of Iceland and the collaborating university, in accordance with an agreement on a joint doctorate, may appear on the cover or cover page of a doctoral thesis.
The doctoral candidate is responsible for printing and publishing the thesis, as well as submitting it, in accordance with the law, to the National and University Library, once the opponents have deemed it fit for defence. An electronic copy must be saved in a database operated by the library.
Article 15. Academic title.
A doctoral degree confers the right to the academic title philosophiae doctor, and use of the abbreviation Ph.D.
Article 16. Entry into force.
This Regulation is established in accordance with Articles 47 and 68-69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland, no. 569/2009, and the authority of the Act on Public Higher Education Institutions, no. 85/2008. This Regulation has been approved by the faculties and governing board of the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences and by the Graduate School, cf. Articles 66 and 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland. This Regulation enters into force immediately. At the same time, Regulation no. 642/2011, on doctoral study at the University of Iceland School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, is repealed.
University of Iceland, 7 November 2017.