Regulation on doctoral study at the University of Iceland School of Education, no. 440/2018
with subsequent amendments.
Article 1. Objective of doctoral studies and degrees at the University of Iceland School of Education.
The primary purpose of doctoral programmes at the University of Iceland School of Education is to strengthen research and knowledge in those academic fields studied at the School. The objective of doctoral studies is to enhance the competence of doctoral students in conducting independent research and academic work, and prepare them for specialist positions in educational science both within Iceland and abroad.
Two degrees are offered, in accordance with the postgraduate degree programmes available. For a Ph.D., emphasis is placed on traditional academic research. For an Ed.D., emphasis is primarily placed on professional development and research in the student's field of work.
A student in an Ed.D. programme shall, as a rule, have four years of work experience in the field. Furthermore, the structure of the study programmes shall differ, cf. Article 6. The degree title shall be subject to the consent of the doctoral studies committee and the governing board of the School of Education. Doctoral students may be awarded a joint degree from the University of Iceland School of Education and another university, or another school at the University of Iceland.
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. Any information requested by the Graduate School must be supplied.
Article 2. Management of doctoral studies.
Doctoral programmes at the School of Education are organised across the School's faculties. The School board shall make decisions on matters pertaining to doctoral studies on behalf of faculties. The School of Education doctoral studies committee shall manage matters pertaining to doctoral studies on behalf of the School board in accordance with item 1, Article 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009 on standing committees. The doctoral studies committee shall comprise the following seven members: a chair, appointed by the School board and also representing the School dean, representatives of all four faculties, one representative of School administration, who is also the project manager for doctoral studies, and one doctoral student representative. The doctoral studies committee is appointed for a two-year term. The chair of the committee shall also act as coordinator for doctoral studies and as the School's contact with the Graduate School.
The role of the doctoral studies committee is to formulate policy on the organisation of doctoral studies and take responsibility for its implementation. The committee promotes the study programmes on offer, discusses applications and monitors the progress and quality of teaching and learning through, e.g., evaluation of the status of research projects during the study period. The committee shall prepare matters to be dealt with by the School of Education governing board, such as recommendations concerning the admission of doctoral students and the appointment of supervisors, doctoral committees, external examiners and opponents.
Article 3. Admission to a doctoral programme.
Doctoral programmes at the School of Education are advertised on the University of Iceland website. The governing board of the School of Education shall determine – upon receiving the recommendation of the doctoral studies committee – the number of students permitted to pursue doctoral studies at any given time.
Article 4. Admission requirements and evaluation of previous study.
Those who have completed a Master's degree or equivalent qualification from a recognised university may apply for admission to a doctoral programme. Applicants shall generally have completed a 30-ECTS Master's thesis. When admitting students, applicants’ academic performance and work experience shall be taken into account.
Students wishing to commence a doctoral programme directly after completing a Master's degree may apply before they obtain their degrees, if it can be confirmed that they will complete their programmes with a satisfactory level of performance before the doctoral programme begins.
Undergraduate courses (Bachelor’s or equivalent level) may not account for part of a student’s doctoral studies. Courses at a Master’s level may, however, be approved as part of a doctoral programme, for a maximum of 20 ECTS, provided that these courses have not previously been credited towards a Master’s degree. A Master’s thesis may not be re-used as the basis for a doctoral thesis.
In accordance with item 4, Article 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009, a member of academic staff at a faculty may not be admitted to doctoral studies at that faculty. In light of the fact that organisation of doctoral studies at the School of Education spans the School's faculties, it is generally not permitted to admit a member of academic staff at the School of Education to doctoral studies at the School.
Article 5. Processing of applications.
Applications for admission to doctoral studies must be submitted to the School of Education’s Office of Academic and Student Affairs. The application process is as follows:
- An application for admission to doctoral studies shall be submitted using a specific form, cf. instructions published on the School of Education website. The application shall be accompanied by degree certificates, a draft study plan, a statement describing the applicant’s academic reasons for applying and a draft research proposal.
- Applications to doctoral studies must include the details of two impartial referees.
- The School Office of Academic and Student Affairs reviews and registers applications and ensures that the required information is enclosed.
- The doctoral studies committee discusses and evaluates applications and the results of interviews. The committee seeks the opinion of specialists at the School where appropriate. The doctoral studies committee prepares a recommendation for the governing board of the School of Education on admissions, which shall conform with the following criteria:
- The applicant is deemed competent to undertake doctoral studies and carry out demanding research work.
- Experts in the field in which proposed research is to take place are available to supervise the applicant and evaluate the research project.
- There are sufficient financial resources to attend to the doctoral student and suitable study facilities are available.
- The doctoral studies committee’s recommendation shall be accompanied by a reasoned argument covering all main points of the application, reasoned suggestions for supervisors and suggestions for additional and/or preparatory studies that an applicant may require. The recommendation is discussed by the School of Education governing board.
- After the board of the School of Education has processed the application, the Office of Academic and Student Affairs shall send a written response to the applicant on behalf of the School dean. Written responses shall be sent to applicants no later than two months after the application deadline.
Article 6. Number of credits and length of study.
A doctoral study programme at the University of Iceland School of Education is conducted on an individual basis and consists of a minimum of 180 ECTS. A maximum of 240 ECTS is permissible.
- In a Ph.D. programme, a student must complete a thesis worth 180 ECTS and 30-60 ECTS in the form of coursework.
- In a Ed.D. programme, a student must complete a thesis worth 120 ECTS and 60-120 credits in the form of coursework.
All study requirements must, as a rule, have been met within four years of commencing full-time study or eight years of commencing part-time study. Study shall be considered to commence on the date of initial enrolment. Doctoral students are presumed to be able to complete 60 credits per year.
If the programme is not completed within this time frame, a doctoral student may apply to the doctoral studies committee for an extension. Should such an extension be granted, this may be done on the condition that the doctoral student meet current requirements for doctoral study, despite having commenced the programme whilst other regulation applied.
A student may take a maximum leave of absence of one year. Students must be registered and pay the registration fee for the duration of the period of study, including any leave of absence.
Article 7. Supervision and appointment of the doctoral committee.
Upon commencing study, each doctoral student shall be assigned an administrative supervisor, with whom to discuss the organisation of study, selection of courses and other aspects of the programme. The administrative supervisor is generally also the student's main academic supervisor and chairs the doctoral committee. The administrative supervisor shall be a permanent member of academic staff at the School, but academic supervisors and other specialists on the doctoral committee may be external to the School. A recommendation concerning the appointment of supervisors shall be made to the doctoral studies committee and the appointment of supervisors shall be subject to the approval of the board of the School of Education. Each student shall generally have two supervisors, who shall agree amongst themselves on employment ratio and division of responsibilities.
The doctoral committee shall comprise the supervisors and one to three specialists in the academic field of the thesis. At least one committee member shall hold a position outside the School of Education. Should a doctoral student change the research topic, the doctoral studies committee shall review the composition of the doctoral committee.
The role of the doctoral committee is to ensure that student progression is in accordance with the study plan and that research work meets with academic standards in the field of study in question. The administrative supervisor shall chair the doctoral committee. The doctoral student may consult the committee on the writing of the study plan, the organisation of the programme, choice of courses, writing of the research proposal, implementation of the research and writing of the thesis.
It is generally assumed that the doctoral committee will be fully appointed within two years of admission for student in full-time study. The committee shall not, however, be fully appointed before the completion of an interim evaluation of the student’s research project, cf. Article 10. Supervisors and other specialists on the doctoral committee must, as a rule, hold a doctorate and have undergone a qualifications assessment for academic work, as well as having been recognised by the University of Iceland Graduate School. Care shall be taken to ensure that supervisors have demonstrated research activity and that they have, for example, published works in an outlet which makes rigorous academic demands. Generally, they must have experience of supervision, international collaboration and applying for research grants. Doctoral students' projects must fall under the specialisations of their supervisors.
The doctoral student and supervisors shall come to an agreement between themselves regarding their rights and obligations and the nature of their cooperation.
Should a major conflict arise between supervisors or between a student and supervisors, the matter shall be referred to the doctoral studies committee, which will recommend a solution. The doctoral studies committee may set further regulations concerning the cooperation and roles of supervisors, doctoral students and doctoral committees.
Article 8. Student progression.
A revised study plan and research proposal should have been submitted within one year of commencing study, cf. Article 9. Student and supervisors shall work together to prepare the study plan. The study plan shall include a list of proposed courses and their weighting in the study programme.
Doctoral students shall take part in seminars as part of the doctoral programme and present their research at these seminars as well as at domestic and international conferences. They shall spend some time at a university outside Iceland or participate in equivalent formal collaboration with foreign academics. Supervisors shall monitor and encourage the doctoral student's active participation in the academic community within the School and international scholarly activities.
The School of Education Office of Academic and Student Affairs shall maintain an academic record for each student, in which the date of initial enrolment shall be specified and whether the student is registered in an Ed.D. or Ph.D. programme. The length of the doctoral thesis and the number of credits completed shall likewise be specified. The academic record shall also contain application materials, study and research plans, information on supervisors and experts involved in the study programme, progress reports and the findings of the study evaluation.
Article 9. Responsibilities of doctoral students.
Doctoral students are required to submit the following reports and to respond to surveys relating to their studies when requested to do so:
- Doctoral students shall submit an annual progress report by 1 February of each year. The purpose is to obtain an overview of the position of all students in their studies. In this report, the supervisors and student shall evaluate the progress of study. The student’s supervisors must approve the report and send it to the doctoral studies committee for review. If a student’s progress is unsatisfactory, the doctoral studies committee may place conditions on the student’s continuing in the study programme. The doctoral studies committee may require doctoral students who fail to submit a progress report to leave the programme.
- Students shall submit a revised study plan and research proposal to their supervisors within one year of commencing study.
- Doctoral students are expected to attend doctoral seminars regularly and discuss their project at least four times during the course of study, either in the same forum or a comparable forum.
- Students shall submit a report to the doctoral studies committee on their research project for interim evaluation around halfway through the programme (see Article 10).
- They shall spend some time at a university outside Iceland or participate in equivalent formal collaboration with foreign academics. A student’s supervisors shall approve a report on the study period abroad and/or collaboration and deliver it to the doctoral studies committee.
Doctoral students are required to acquaint themselves thoroughly with those rules and ethics pertaining to academic work, and to adopt recognised academic practice in research and the handling of sources. Among other things, staff and students shall show one another respect in their conduct, speech and writing, exchange opinions in an unbiased manner and work together with integrity. Furthermore, the provisions of Article 51 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009 and the University of Iceland Code of Ethics shall apply to the responsibilities of doctoral students.
Article 10. Interim evaluation of research project.
A formal interim evaluation of the research project shall be conducted around halfway through the programme. A report on the research project, presented by the student for evaluation, shall outline the theoretical premises underpinning the research, a summary of prior research in the field, a description of the acquisition and processing of data and a timetable for the research project. The student shall also submit any completed chapters or journal articles.
The doctoral student shall submit a request to the coordinator for doctoral studies that an interim evaluation of the research project take place, with three months’ notice.
The supervisors shall submit a reasoned verdict to the doctoral studies committee as to whether the student meets the requirements to be given the opportunity to receive such an evaluation.
The interim evaluation of the research project is carried out by an evaluation committee comprised of the supervisors and two external examiners, who are experts in the research field in question and shall generally hold a position outside the School of Education. These external examiners are expected to meet the requirements made of supervisors, cf. Article 7. The project and the doctoral student’s performance shall be evaluated, and a report submitted to the doctoral studies committee. This report shall outline whether the doctoral student’s knowledge and research competence are deemed satisfactory and what the student must do in response to the comments of the evaluation committee, cf. rules of procedure on the interim evaluation of research projects, published on the website for doctoral studies.
Article 11. Doctoral thesis requirements.
A doctoral thesis shall be a comprehensive work, either in the form of a single work or a collection of scientific articles forming a coherent whole. The doctoral thesis shall generally be 50,000-100,000 words in length. The doctoral studies committee may grant exemptions from these word limits.
In the case of a thesis based on a collection of academic articles, the student must compose a special overview explaining the academic premise of the work, theories, methodology and ethical considerations, summarising the main content of the individual articles, providing academic links between them and presenting overall conclusions. A Ph.D. thesis composed of articles must include a total of 3-5 articles. At the time of the doctoral defence, all articles must have been submitted for publication and a minimum of two must have been accepted for publication in a recognised, peer-reviewed outlet. A minimum of two articles should be published in an international outlet and the doctoral student must be the primary author of at least three. An Ed.D. thesis composed of articles must include a total of 2-3 articles, of which the doctoral student must be the primary author of at least two. At the time of the doctoral defence, a minimum of two articles must have been accepted for publication in a recognised, peer-reviewed outlet.
In accordance with the University of Iceland language policy (approved by the University Forum 10 May and by the University Council 19 May 2016), the main language used for doctoral theses is English. Theses may, however, be written in Icelandic. In this case steps must be taken to ensure that Icelandic-speaking specialists with sufficient knowledge are available such that it will definitely be possible to appoint a doctoral committee and find eligible opponents. The doctoral thesis may, however, be written in a language other than English or Icelandic with the consent of the doctoral studies committee.
All theses (written in Icelandic) must include a detailed abstract in English.
Article 12. Submission and format of doctoral thesis.
When the doctoral committee deems a doctoral thesis to be ready for defence, the doctoral student shall submit a final draft to the doctoral studies committee, along with the reasoned verdict of the doctoral committee, cf. Article 7. Upon receiving the approval of the doctoral studies committee, the main academic supervisor shall send the thesis to opponents.
A transcript of the student’s academic record shall be submitted at the same time as the doctoral thesis is presented for defence. The Office of Academic and Student Affairs shall prepare and certify the transcript.
The thesis must be available at the School of Education office, in the School of Education library and in the National and University Library for four weeks prior to the defence. The doctoral candidate must submit at least 15 copies to the School of Education. The introductory chapter must clearly indicate that the project was completed at the University of Iceland, specifying the names of the supervisors, school and research institute, if applicable, any University of Iceland funds or other parties which have sponsored the project, and those institutes or companies outside of the University with which the doctoral student has had relations concerning work on the project. The logo of the University of Iceland must appear on the front page of the thesis. In the case of joint doctorates awarded with another university or universities in accordance with an agreement thereon, the logos of both or all universities involved must appear on the front page of the thesis.
Article 13. Opponents.
Opponents for the doctoral defence must be two independent parties who are not members of the doctoral committee. They are appointed by the board of the School of Education upon receiving the recommendations of the doctoral committee and with the approval of the doctoral studies committee and Graduate School. Opponents shall, as a rule, hold doctorates. Care must be taken to ensure that they are recognised academics in the relevant field and have published works in an outlet which makes rigorous academic demands. At least one of them must work outside of the School.
Opponents shall receive a copy of the thesis at least four months before the defence is planned to take place. Six weeks later, they must have sent a reasoned statement on whether they consider the thesis acceptable for defence, along with suggestions for necessary changes, should there be any. The doctoral student shall take a position on these comments, along with the supervisors, and explain this position in a report sent to the opponents within one month. In order for a doctoral defence to be held, the doctoral student must have made satisfactory amendments, as determined by the opponents and supervisors.
Article 14. Doctoral defence.
The doctoral candidate shall publicly defend the thesis at the University of Iceland. The thesis shall be assessed and defended in accordance with the University regulations on doctoral studies. Grades are not awarded for doctoral theses. The School of Education governing board shall establish further rules of procedure regarding the holding of doctoral defences. [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. 1533/2021.
Article 15. Entry into force.
The Regulation on doctoral study at the University of Iceland School of Education 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 Education and confirmed by the University Council, having received a statement from the Graduate School, cf. Articles 66 and 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009. This Regulation enters into force immediately. At the same time Regulation no. 641/2011 on doctoral studies at the University of Iceland School of Education is repealed.
University of Iceland, 17 April 2018.