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St Andrews and Oslo joint PhD in Philosophy

The University of St Andrews and the University of Oslo (UiO) have established an agreement to allow PhD candidates to undertake research leading to the award of a Joint Doctoral Degree in Philosophy.

Key information

Course type

Joint Doctoral Degree (PhD) in Philosophy

Course dates

We strongly encourage students to begin their studies in September, but the start date for research study can be flexible. Start dates are 27 August, September, October, January or May.

International students

Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to study in the UK and Norway. 

Course duration

The PhD consists of three years of full-time study, with the possibility of a continuation period of 12 months. A further extension will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.

Entry requirements

Applicants for direct entry to the PhD must have a good Masters degree in Philosophy.

To be eligible for a research fellowship and admission to the doctoral programmes at the University of Oslo, applicants must, as a minimum, have completed a five-year graduation course (Masters degree or equivalent). In special cases, the Faculty may grant admission on the basis of a one-year Masters course following an assessment of the study programme’s scope and quality.

A Masters degree (or equivalent) must have been completed and the final evaluation must be available at the time of application.

How to apply

Tuition fees

UiO does not charge tuition fees. While studying at UiO, students will be exempted from fees at St Andrews.

While studying at St Andrews, students will pay local fees unless otherwise outlined in the individual candidate agreement.

Funding and sponsorship arrangements must be agreed with St Andrews and UiO in advance of commencing this programme. St Andrews will assess funding and sponsorship agreements on a case-by-case basis. Duplication of funding will not be permitted. Students who have accepted a place and an offer of full funding at St Andrews are not eligible to be considered for the joint programme.

Application deadline

Applications can be sent in any time throughout the academic year. However, it is important to remember that if you are applying for any scholarships or funding, then the deadline for this may be early in the year.

Application requirements

Students should apply to both St Andrews and UiO. 

If you wish to have the University of Oslo as the lead institution you should first apply for a research fellowship or for admission to the PhD programme with external funding.

If you wish to apply with St Andrews as the lead institution you can apply to St Andrews.

You should contact the PhD coordinator at the UiO Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas for further instruction regarding admission. 

Admission to the PhD must commence prior to matriculation at St Andrews and UiO; students cannot transfer part way through their studies.

Course information

The University of St Andrews and the University of Oslo (UiO) are pleased to offer a joint programme leading to the award of a Joint Doctoral Degree in Philosophy. 

Philosophy at St Andrews

St Andrews is one of the leading international centres for philosophy in Britain. Philosophy at St Andrews was ranked top in Scotland and fifth in the UK in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014. The department runs a busy programme of conferences, workshops and visiting speakers from universities in the UK and from abroad. The Philosophy Club, which is open to everyone, is the regular visiting speakers' seminar. Several specialized research seminars meet weekly or fortnightly. There is also a Friday Seminar for doctoral students. 

There are two philosophical research centres in St Andrews: The Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs (CEPPA), and the Arché Philosophical Research Centre for the Philosophy of Logic, Language, Metaphysics and Epistemology. The Philosophical Quarterly, one of the most respected international philosophy journals, is edited from St Andrews.

Philosophy at Oslo

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Oslo offers high-quality instruction and supervision across a broad range of the philosophical disciplines and traditions. The University is particularly proud of the academic strength in Ancient Philosophy, Ethics, the Philosophies of Languages and Logic, as well as the Philosophy of Mind and Epistemology. The Department is host to a Centre of Excellence, which means that a large number of international philosophers lecture and teach in Oslo on a regular basis.

Programme structure

Candidates can elect to start the programme at either St Andrews or Oslo. One institution will be identified as the lead, normally the one at which you will spend the most amount of time.

If you wish to have the University of Oslo as the lead institution you must first apply for a vacant position as doctoral research fellowship or apply with external funding.

You will have to spend at least a year (12 months) in total as a resident student at both St Andrews and the University of Oslo in order for the Universities to recognise the degree. Students will divide their time into study blocks in order to facilitate access to the resources, human and otherwise, that will maximise their research opportunities. Each study block should be at least six months in length where possible.

The agreement provides students with access to two supervisors throughout the duration of their degree. Students are expected to engage with both institutions from start to finish, and to meet regularly with all parties, either in person or using virtual methods such as Skype.

Students with St Andrews as the lead institution are encouraged to partake in the educational components, like thesis seminars, while at UiO. For students with UiO as the lead institution, the educational components are mandatory.  

A student with UiO as the lead institution will have the opportunity to apply for a one-year completion grant if they hand in their dissertation within the three years.

Supervision and examinations


Both institutions will ensure that the supervisors for students carry out the duties normally expected of them in their own institution. The supervisors for both institutions will hold an in-person or virtual meeting with you at least once per year. The progression of research candidates will follow normal procedures as per the local rules of the institution in which the student is registered at the time.

Thesis and examinations

If UiO is the lead institution, the final examination is a public disputation in Oslo. The thesis must be made publicly available no later than two weeks before the public disputation.

If St Andrews is the lead institution, there will be two doctoral examinations conducted according to the regulations of both institutions. These will take the form of a viva voce (viva) and a public disputation. The viva must precede the public disputation and can take place at either St Andrews or Oslo.

The thesis will be written in English and, where appropriate, will contain a substantial synopsis written in another language. Summaries of the thesis will be written and distributed according to the regulations of each institution.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

The next virtual visiting day will be in November 2021.

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events


The Philosophy graduate study centre in St Andrews is housed in a separate building in Edgecliffe’s grounds, facing the sea and immediately adjacent to the main building. It has a common room, study rooms and computer facilities. The Department endeavours to provide desk space to many, not all, research students, most within this building. Edgecliffe itself has computing facilities, as well as its own philosophy library which has over 3,500 volumes.

You will also have access to the postgraduate study room located in the basement of Edgecliffe. This room provides access to a small PC lab and to network printing and photocopying facilities. The Staff and Graduate Common Room is located on the first floor and is available for use by staff and postgraduate students during the week.

University accommodation at St Andrews is also available for postgraduate students, provided all necessary application deadlines are met.

At UiO you will be provided with work space at the Department with a stationary PC and have access to the same facilities as their employees, such as printing and scanning facilities, postal services, common room with kitchen and access to the University library.

Graduate prospects

The PhD programme at St Andrews has an outstanding record of placing graduate students in academic positions at leading universities. In the REF2014 assessment, the programme was commended for its research environment with particular reference to its ability to place students in academic positions. Students who graduated from the programme between 2011 and 2017 obtained academic positions at a wide range of institutions, including:

  • Paris Descartes University (France)
  • Rutgers University (United States)
  • Tongji University (China)
  • University of Campinas (Brazil)
  • University of Edinburgh (UK)
  • University of Köln (Germany)
  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • University of St Gallen (Switzerland)

With a PhD degree from the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Oslo, you can pursue a career as a researcher or a career in other professions that require a high level of knowledge and competence. Doctoral work allows you to develop skills that can be applied in many industries:

  • The ability to formulate issues and plan research and development work
  • Written and verbal dissemination
  • Analytical thinking and result and solution-oriented thinking
  • Project planning and the ability to work under pressure
  • The ability to see new possibilities and perspectives
  • Work with complex academic questions.


St Andrews and UiO will award a joint degree with the title of Doctor of Philosophy if the appropriate standards are met in the thesis presented and in the examination.

Students can choose to graduate at one ceremony at either St Andrews or Oslo and will be awarded a single joint certificate.

The certificate will clearly state that the degree was jointly supervised and will carry the crest of both institutions. 


Students shall be entitled to the same rights and privileges as other students enrolled at the host institution. 

At St Andrews these include:

At UiO these include:

University policies

The student will be registered at both institutions according to the terms and regulations specific to each of them. Registration will be administered by Registry at St Andrews and by the relevant PhD Programme at UiO. Personal details of the student will be shared between both institutions to facilitate registration but shall otherwise be maintained confidential in accordance with Data Protection laws. 

For day-to-day functions, the local rules of the institution in which the student is resident at the time will apply. 

Contact information

Department of Philosophy
University of St Andrews
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AR

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2487

Philosophy website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).