PHD6AE PhD in Applied Ecology and biotechnology

PhD in Applied Ecology and biotechnology

    • Number of credits
    • Part-time/full-time
    • Start semester
      2023 Autumn
    • Language of instruction
    • Campus
Programme structure and content

The PhD consists of 2 specialisations: Applied Ecology and Biotechnology. Ten ECTS credits are compulsory for all PhD-candidates. An additional 10 ECTS and 10 ECTS credits are compulsory for each of the specialisations Applied Ecology and Biotechnology.

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences will provide the following courses:

Course type and specialisation


Course title

Compulsory for all


PhD introduction seminars

Compulsory for all


Bioinformatics and biostatistics

Compulsory for Applied Ecology, optional for others


Adaptive ecological monitoring

Compulsory for Applied Ecology, optional for others


Applied models for fish and wildlife management

Compulsory for Biotechnology, optional for others


Structure and function of biological macromolecules



Man and the environment



Seminars in bioprocess technology



Seminars in molecular biology



Seminars in reproduction biotechnology







The compulsory courses of the training component will be given every year, while optional courses will be offered ca. every second year, or when necessary dependent on the progress of candidates. All courses are open for external PhD-candidates.

In general, the courses are given as intensive courses with one-week long meetings separated with self-study or practical exercises.

The International Research School in Applied Ecology (IRSAE: see will provide an extensive curriculum with PhD-courses from all partner institutions, that may be chosen as optional courses. IRSAE-courses in transferrable kills, such as writing of proposals and communication skills are relevant both for those specialising in applied ecology or biotechnology. IRSAE also announces alternative PhD-courses from partner institutions that may be relevant either for candidates specialising in applied ecology or biotechnology. The PhD-candidates may also choose optional courses from other national or international universities, for instance the host university during the international stay. The selection of courses should be done in cooperation with the supervisor(s) of the research project.

PhD candidates that have the competence overlapping mandatory courses from previous education will be given the opportunity to exchange mandatory courses.

A total of maximum 3 ECTS credits may be accepted for presentation of papers at national (max 1 ECTS credit) or international (max 2 credits) conferences.

All courses are evaluated on a Pass/Fail basis.

The educational part has to be completed before the candidate submits the dissertation for evaluation.



Learning Outcome

After completing the PhD programme, the PhD-candidates should have the following learning outcomes with regard to knowledge, skills and general competence:

Learning outcome - Knowledge

The candidate:

  • is in the forefront of applied ecology or biotechnology knowledge important to solve local and global problems concerning the environment, food production and/or sustainability
  • shows intellectual independence in evaluating the appropriateness and applicability of different methods and processes in research projects
  • can contribute to the development of new knowledge, theories, methods and interpretations concerning the environment, food production and/or sustainability
Learning outcome - Skills

The candidate:

  • can formulate research questions, plan and carry out research and development work within applied ecology or biotechnology conforming to high international standards
  • can independently handle complex academic issues and challenge established knowledge and practices in applied ecology or biotechnology which are important to solve local and global problems concerning the environment, food production and/or sustainability
  • is capable of utilizing, or of obtaining the necessary skills to utilize, the most advanced and specialized methods and techniques in applied ecology or biotechnology
Learning outcome - General competence
  • can identify new relevant ethical issues and carry out research with scholarly integrity
  • can manage complex multi- or interdisciplinary scientific assignments related to the environment, food production and/or sustainability
  • can assess the need for, and initiate, innovation
  • has substantial scientific independence and authority to advice public management in problems concerning the environment, food production and/or sustainability
  • can communicate research through recognized international peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • can participate in relevant professional debates in international fora
  • can communicate scientific actions to different target audiences, such as scientists within the candidate’s field, scientists in other fields, users of the scientific results, and the general public
Teaching and working methods

The research project

The individual research project is an independent scientific work under supervision. A group of professionals collaborating on the project will provide supervision where one individual serves as the main supervisor. The team of supervisors is also responsible for introducing the candidate to the academic community. The research project culminates in a dissertation that is an independent, scientific work, which meets international standards with regard to scientific merit, methodology and ethical requirements[1]. It should contribute new scientific knowledge and achieve a level of scientific merit, which suggests that it could be published as part of the peer-reviewed scientific literature in the subject area.

The dissertation is normally a compilation of 3-5 interrelated, scientific publications or manuscripts for publication in internationally recognised scientific journals. It is required that at least one publication in the dissertation has been published or is accepted for publication. An introductory synthesis should generalize the topic and results into a broader academic context, and show the interrelation between the papers.

The individual papers may be written by several participants of a joint project, as long as it is possible to identify the individual contributions made by each author. Co-authorship must adhere to the norm commonly accepted in the international research community such as the Vancouver Convention.

The training component

The training component will give broad and in-depth insight into academic, methodological and ethical aspects in the field of applied ecology and biotechnology necessary to complete the dissertation. The training component will also give practice in written and oral communication of scientific results to both professional audiences and the general public.

The training component will be taught in ways that require prepared participation of the PhDcandidates, such as seminars, workshops, group work and laboratory exercises. The methods used vary between courses and will contribute to fulfil the learning outcomes of the PhD programme. The e-learning system will constitute an integrated part of the instruction.

Target group

Our aim is to target students and professionals who have a dedicated interest in the interaction between man and the environment, and the sustainability of green restructuring. Primarily we target students with a master’s degree in biology, ecology, biotechnology, evolution, environmental sciences or similar subjects, and who are interested in developing their research expertise within applied ecology or biotechnology. However, we encourage applicants with other bachelor’s degrees, or who have earned an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree, as long as they fulfil the entrance requirements (see below). We also target professionals within conservation or public management of biological resources who want to extend their competence above the level of a master.

Admission requirements

To enter the program, students are required to document their having achieved:

  1. At least a Master’s degree based on a 5-year cumulative period of study (including the Bachelor’s degree) at a university, university of applied sciences or university college in biology, ecology, biotechnology, evolution, environmental sciences or similar subjects
  2. An average weighted (ECTS credits) mark for the Master’s degree programme of at least a B. In cases where all or part of the program is approved with the use of a Pass / Fail mark, the applicants may be admitted following individual assessment

Applicants with a Master's degree from another subject area (e.g. social sciences, economy) than is approved as basis for admission to the programme, or with lower average mark, may be admitted after special review. These applicants must be able to document that it is very likely that they will be able to complete the PhD study. If necessary, additional documentation or a preliminary examination will be required to evaluate the professional level. Such applicants may also, if necessary, be required to complete coursework in certain disciplines within a deadline to qualify for admission. Such coursework cannot count towards the training requirements for a doctoral degree.

English language requirements:

All non-native English speakers must provide official documentation of English language proficiency at a sufficiently high level.

We require one of the following English language tests with a minimum of the following scores:

  • Toefl internet based: 80
  • Toefl paper based: 550
  • IELTS: 6No exceptions are made for this requirement. Scores lower than 550/80 (TOEFL) or 6.0 (IELTS) will not be accepted. The TOIC test will not be accepted.

A combination of national and international candidates creates a student environment that improves the quality of the study through discussions of various ‘schools’ in biology and human attitudes. We 

will encourage and make allowances for candidates to study abroad for 2-6 months of their degree. Such an international experience is recommended to take place in the second half of the study.

All scientific literature in course syllabi will be in English. The PhD-candidate will also have to put his/her work in a broader academic context by presenting some of his/her results at international conferences. Candidates will also gain international experience through the international forum of the International Research School in Applied Ecology (IRSAE) with several partner institutions from the European countries.


Information- and source competence

Candidates will develop skills in finding, assessing and exploiting academic information resources of high quality within their fields, both in education and professional practice. Information literacy is the ability to locate, evaluate and utilise information and technical material for one’s own needs. This is key to professional competence and the basis for lifelong learning. The library at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences offers instruction in information literacy both on campus and online, and it will be included as part of the seminar courses in the PhD programme. Instruction emphasises reference material, citation of references, critical assessment of information sources, plagiarism and subject-specific searching. It is expected that all candidates have a critical attitude to information sources and use these sources correctly in all written work throughout the programme

Assessment methods

The PhD degree is conferred on the basis of satisfactory completion of the training component, an approved scientific dissertation, a trial lecture, and a successful PhD examination/defence.Assessment of the various courses of the training component varies. At minimum mark of B is required to pass all courses.

Faculty of Applied Ecology, Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology
Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management