Newsletter from the PhD Council - November 2014

We were so happy to see that the general meeting on the 29th of October was a success. Thanks to all of you for coming out and discussing with us, and special thanks to those elected to serve on the next year's PhD Council.

Read on for information about the composition of the PhD Council in 2015, the topics that were discussed at the general meeting of PhD Fellows, and the Working Party that has been established to consider the requirements for admission to the PhD program.

A new PhD Council has been elected
The PhD Council for 2015 was elected at our general meeting on Wednesday the 29th of October. The members of the PhD Council for next year are:

  • Daniel Arnesson (NIFS)
  • Anders Narvestad (IOR)
  • Olaf Halvorsen Rønning (IKRS)
  • Johann Ruben Leiss (IFP)
  • Sofie Høgestøl (SMR)

The new PhD Council has been elected for a period of one year, and will take up their duties in January. We thank the new members for volunteering to sit in this important council, to the benefit of all PhD fellows.

Issues discussed at the general meeting
The discussions at the general meetings of PhD fellows guide the work of the PhD Council. Quite a few issues were discussed at the general meeting on the 29th of October, including the following:

  • A-seminars
    • What should be the purpose of these seminars? How should they be structured - as deep dives into advanced literature, or more like an overview over unfamiliar terrain? These questions should be discussed between PhD Fellows and the leadership/course leaders.
    • There was a general interest in being able to take methodology seminars (etc.) at other faculties. There seems to be a wish for being able to subsitite some of the A-seminars for such external seminars from other faculties.
    • There was also a wish that PhD courses should include focus on generic skills, such as presentationt echnique, writing skills, use of reference managers and software to organize research, and so forth.
  • Welcome information for new PhD Fellows
    • There was general agreement that the routines for receiving new PhD Fellows should be improved.
    • It would be preferable to distribute a booklet to new PhD Fellows with the most central information that is of relevance - both with regard to the PhD program itself, but also more general information about the employment relationship and the Faculty of Law itself. This would be especially useful for those that have no previous relationship with the UiO Faculty of Law.

The PhD Council has taken note of your feedback, and we will continue to work on these issues going foward. Thanks to all who contributed to the discussions.

Working Party to consider requirements for admission to the PhD program
A Working Party has now been established under the PFF, tasked with considering the admissions criteria for the PhD program in law. In particular, it is expected that the Working Party will discuss whether the grade requirement for admission to the PhD program should be lowered, since statistics show that there has been a marked average grade deflation at the Faculty of Law over the past 15-20 years.

At present the rules concerning admission to the PhD program states that the candidate should have excellent grades. "Normally, the majority of the grades earned at the basic level should be A grades. The master’s thesis should also be in the top segment". See:

In closing...
... we would like to remind you that we want to hear your opinions on the topics we are working on, and tips as to issues we should put on our agenda. We are open for feedback at any time! Just grab a hold of one of us, or send us an e-mail on

For more information concerning our work, please see the minutes of our meetings, which are available on our website:

Publisert 4. des. 2014 11:19 - Sist endret 4. des. 2014 11:19