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3rd Cycle in the Arts

This is an international database of 3rd cycle awards in the European Higher Arts Education Area, developed within the Creator Doctus project (2018-2021), to identify possible examples of practice in developing and supporting artistic research.


Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD), University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway



Research Policy & Strategy

From the regulations for the PhD in artistic research:

The PhD education is intended to qualify for artistic research of an international standard, and for other work in society where great demands are made to artistic insight and competence, in accordance with good academic practice and ethical standards.

‘Artistic practice is the substantial core of the PhD work. This is to be accompanied by an explicit reflection to be accessible for others to inform themselves about the way of working and the insight generated by the research.’ (Ministry of Education and Research, 2018)

This policy and understanding is generated from the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme from 2003, a joint venture between 12 institutions. The platform with the strong emphasis on artistic practice has been called “The Norwegian Model”.

KMD educates artists, designers, curators, performing musicians, composers, music therapists, music scholars, music and art teachers.

Research is one of the faculty’s main missions and the staff have a considerable time dedicated for this. Those who are employed on the basis of artistic competence do artistic research. The PhD fellows are part of the daily environment at the faculty and considered to be a crucial resource and drive.

All three departments: fine art, music and design determine their own priorities within the subject area.

KMD strategic plan 2018:

The faculty’s responsibilities are for education, artistic research, scholarly research and dissemination within the arts: including art, music and design.

  • KMD shall build a strong environment for artistic and scholarly research where different approaches meet and develop;
  • KMD supports the following understanding of artistic research which is a joint formulation from all Norwegian institutions involved in this;

Artistic research:

  • generates knowledge development on an artistic basis
  • articulates and addresses academic questions through artistic practice and reflection
  • develops and challenges a broad spectrum of forms of expression and documentation
  • establishes arenas for sharing both processes and results
  • qualifies reflection in the institutions through academic contextualisation and critical discussion
  • contributes to and challenges artistic practice and the art field’s discourses
  • strengthens artistic competence in society

 There is a commitment to develop:

  • Meeting places for staff and projects with different research approaches, within the faculty
  • Collaboration with other disciplines within the university and outside
  • Participation in relevant networks
  • Administrative support to apply for external funding
  • Financial resources to be competed for, some of them with external peer review

Awards Offered

PhD in Artistic Research

The 3 year programme (as normal for a PhD in Norway) is extended to four years, at UiB. An additional mandatory part relating to teaching is spread throughout the years. Two semesters per year.



Annual reports (progress reviews) from fellow (doctoral student) and supervisors are required. There is a formalised mid-way evaluation with report and presentation from the fellow, evaluated by a specific committee who interview both the fellow and Director of Studies (main supervisor).

Final Assessment and the delivery of results:

Artistic results presented as exhibition/exposition, concert etc., + critically reflective documentation. There are two stages in the assessment process: 1) assessment made by the assessment committee which consists of three experts in the field. 2) If passed, viva voce (public defence). The committee assess the delivered results and has the role as opponents in the public defence.

The composition of the assessment committee is normally to be such that:

  • both genders are represented
  • the majority are without a main position and association to the University of Bergen
  • one of the members, if possible, is from a relevant foreign institution
  • all the members hold doctoral degrees or equivalent qualifications
  • the majority in the assessment committee are external members.
  • at least two of the members have relevant artistic qualifications at an associate professor level.

Forms of Output


The artistic PhD degree is awarded on the basis of:

  • an approved artistic result
  • an approved reflection component
  • an approved completion of the training component, any other approved academic training or competence
  • approved public defence of the artistic doctoral PhD work.

The artistic result is usually disseminated through the various channels/site of the specific art field, such as exhibition, concert, publication, website, exposition etc. There is no standard format or word count for the critical reflection component, but it must demonstrate a critical approach to:

  • process in respect of artistic choices and turning points, the use of theory and methods, dialogue with various networks and professional environments etc.;
  • establishment and description of own artistic standpoint and work in relation to the relevant subject area, nationally and internationally;
  • contribution to the professional development in the field, including any professional innovations.

Example from the past five years can be found here.

Music: ‘How can the exploration of tipping points in chaotic processes inform the development of new electronic music instruments, compositional strategies and performances to enhance sonic expression?’ This question will serve as a guiding beacon as the interdisciplinary research progresses through a range of interconnected activities, engaging in instrument design, improvisation and performance in a context where the sonic output will be inherently unpredictable.

Programme Structure

Local seminars and 5 yearly thematic seminars hosted by the national research school in artistic research.

Undergraduate & Masters Research

The curriculum of BA and MA have been deeply influenced of artistic research since 2000, in students’ project construction, presentations, discussion and writing. The research fellows’ mandatory teaching input makes them visible and influential in the environment.

Qualification Framework

National Framework

Quality Assurance & Enhancement

The faculty follows standard procedures on quality assurance at the University of Bergen. Surveys and other evaluations are also used to ensure quality and enhancement.

Evaluation of the mandatory parts 20 and 10 ECTS including:

  • Numbers of applicants
  • Numbers of research fellows fulfilling within a certain time
  • Numbers of delay and reasons for this
  • Student survey: their opinions just after fulfilling the programme


All supervisors must possess a doctoral degree or equivalent artistic qualifications and be active in their subject area. The Director of Studies (main supervisor) must have artistic qualifications at a doctoral level in a relevant subject area. At least one of the appointed supervisors should have previous experience of supervision of candidates at master’s and/or PhD level.

Supervision is stated in the contract at the beginning of the project.

One Director of Studies (main supervisor) max 60 hours per year,

One or more co-supervisors max 40 hours per year.


All teaching staff (with the exception of technicians) are expected to be engaged in research.

Staff with doctoral degrees or equivalent qualifications at the faculty: circa 60 members of staff.

Research time allocation: 40-45% for professors or associate professors. Less for university lecturers.

Staff can apply for sabbaticals, funding for projects and publications, and travel.

The research environment is supported by presentations and discussions.

Student Admissions

Open announcement, a vacant position may be dedicated to certain fields or specific projects. Application is accompanied by project proposal.

Interview by a committee in the appropriate department.

Position can also be integrated in a project application external funding.

Currently there are 21 in the PhD programme in artistic research.

Over the past 5 years there have been 11 completions across two institutions, prior to the creation of KMD.


Student Funding

The Norwegian Artistic Research Programme NARP is the main funding body for artistic research. The Research Council of Norway may fund artistic research projects.

The student is granted a salary and project budget for the 4 years of study.

Funding for a research fellow can also be included in external project funding.

Student Support

Mandatory national artistic research school with seminars and conferences, accredited at 20 ECTS. Demand for presentations included.

Additional Information

The demands for artistic result and reflection are considered crucial to serve the arts.


3rd Cycle in the Arts

This is an international database of 3rd cycle awards in the European Higher Arts Education Area, developed within the Creator Doctus project (2018-2021), to identify possible examples of practice in developing and supporting artistic research.