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PhD in Aquatic Biosciences

PhD (ISCED 2011 level 8)


Duration 6 semesters
Cost Fully funded position

The PhD programme in Aquatic Biosciences integrates four areas of specialisation - Aquaculture, Ecology, Genomics, and Animal science, production and welfare - which correspond to the strategic research divisions at the faculty

As a doctoral candidate at our faculty you are affiliated with one of the strategic research groups. Individual PhD projects may be cross-disciplinary in nature and could encompass both farmed and wild aquatic organisms, as well as the environment they thrive in. Investigations embracing the different aquatic biospheres may either delve into the molecular mechanisms or stay at the ecosystem scale. While the overarching theme of the PhD in Aquatic Biosciences is aquatic resource utilisation and management.

The doctoral education consists of three years of full-time studies. It includes coursework (educational training component), comprising 30 ECTS, and an independent academic work in the form of a doctoral thesis (research component), comprising 150 ECTS. 

Educational training component
Courses included in the training component are natural-science-related courses, which provide depth to the candidate's research theme.

The training component consists of mandatory coursework of 10 credits: Ecological and Interspecies Ethics (5 credits) and one PhD level course (5 credits) in a subject area directly related to the student's thesis. The remaining 20 credits of the training component consist of elective coursework. A minimum of 20 credits must be secured from PhD-level courses. 

A detailed course overview of the PhD programme can be accessed in the accordion menu below "Study model". PhD students are encouraged to choose courses from the study programme, provided they are relevant for their doctoral education. 

PhD courses c​onducted at other universities in Norway or abroad may also be recognised as part of the training component, if no suitable courses are available at the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture.
Research component
The research component includes preparation of a PhD thesis based on an original piece of high quality research in at least one of the research areas of the f​aculty.

The resulting thesis is normally in the form of a series of published/publishable papers, which contribute to the development of new scientific knowledge and meet international standards in the field. An external committee will evaluate the thesis.

In addition, the candidate is also required to actively participate in national and international research environments and carry out result dissemination based on his/her project theme. 


Overall objective of a doctoral education in Aquatic Biosciences

The aim of the discipline as defined by the PhD Programme in Aquatic Biosciences is aquatic resource stewardship. Aquatic resou​rces have to be sustainably managed in the face of anthropogenic environmental changes. 

There are close reciprocal effects between aquaculture activities, harvesting of natural populations, and the environment, which include geochemical cycling, pollution, and recruitment fluctuations. 

Responsibly practised aquaculture and balanced harvesting of natural resources will ensure that mankind has access to safe high-value aquatic food.  

Structural components
International component
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Research Project



The Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture (FBA) welcomes applicants who have successfully completed their master's degree (120 ECTS) in Aquaculture or Marine Ecology or other related fields within biology, with a minimum average grade C (or its international accepted equivalence) or better. Potential candidates with master´s degree in other areas may be considered depending on the nature of the proposed research project.


In order to be admitted to the PhD programme applicants must be able to source financing for the entire period of the doctoral studies (3 years). Possible funding sources may be a PhD fellow position financed by the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, if available, and other external sources, e.g. from the home country. Private funding (e.g. ​own or family's financial resources)​​ does not normally​ qualify for admission to the PhD programme. Documented funding from research fellowship positions, scholarships or governmental/business bodies is required.


Particularly about PhD fellowship positions:

PhD research fellow positions at our faculty are generally fully funded for three years. These PhD positions are linked to a specific research project​. Successful applicants for this position will be offered employment to enter the PhD programme in Aquatic Biosciences. ​Available research fellow positions funded by the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture will be announced on the university's website.​​

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management