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PhD accreditation

Based on the research initiative, The Digital Society,  we have applied for accreditation with our proposed PhD programme entitled Digitalisation and Society. The application was sent to NOKUT on the 29th of October, 2021.

Frontpage of the NOKUT application for accreditation of the PhD programme

Photo: Trine Eker Christoffersen

The accreditation proposal for our PhD programme has evolved from the broad academic community and extensive research activities under the research initiative, The Digital Society, and its underlying research focus areas DigiEd, DigiHealth, DigiTech and DigiWork. The proposed PhD programme incorporates the same leadership structure as the research initiative, which consists of a steering group, a working group and a reference group. The reference group includes international experts who have provided valuable input to the scientific content and structure of the programme.

In addition to the academic support and research opportunities through The Digital Society, a network group specifically for PhD research fellows from all institutes here at Østfold University College, was established in March 2020.  The PhD Forum is a professional, academic and social group, and resource that supports PhD research fellows and postdocs. The PhD Forum is also a member of Stipendiatorganisasjonene i Norge (SiN) or Association of Doctoral Organisations in Norway (with full membership being granted upon establishment of our first PhD program). 

A description of the PhD programme, and its expected societal impact and future relevance is thoroughly described in the application for accreditation. The programme plan and learning outcomes have been developed by an interdisciplinary working group, consisting of researchers from the four research focus areas (DigiEd, DigiHealth, DigiTech and DigiWork). ØUC's proposed PhD programme is unique compared to other PhD programmes on ICT and digitalisation due to its ability and capacity to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary understandings that transgress the traditional boundaries between natural and social sciences in exploring digital technologies. By this, the programme will contribute to responsible, holistic and sustainable digitalisation processes.

The programme plan consists of three compulsory and seven elective courses. The compulsory part of the coursework is designed to provide necessary competencies concerning the philosophy of science, research ethics and research methodology. The fundamental technologies, that enable different digitalisation processes and perspectives on their interplay with society, will also be introduced as a common and general competence. 

The elective part of the course work offers a broad range of topics where PhD students can broaden their scientific horizon, as well as opportunities for in-depth studies in specialised topics.

Compulsory and elective courses in the PhD programme Digitalisation and Society
Compulsory and Elective Courses in the PhD program Digitalisation and Society

The research disciplines that comprise the research initiative, The Digital Society, its underlying research groups and projects, the academic environment and the members of the academic community contributing to the PhD programme Digitalisation and Society are defined and thoroughly described in the application. In addition, 30 PhD students, who are already associated with the research initiative, are listed along with their projects under Connect with our Researchers, PhD Candidates.  

Based on the activities of the research groups and the competencies of its members, senior researchers from the four research focus areas are involved in and responsible for the following courses in the PhD programme:  


  • Digitalisation and Society (compulsory)  
  • Philosophy of Science and Research Ethics (compulsory)  
  • Research Methods: Methodology Matters (compulsory)  
  • Education in the Digital Society (elective)  
  • Open and Credible science (elective) 
  • PhD Thesis (compulsory)  


  • Digitalisation and Society (compulsory) 
  • Health, Quality of Life and Digitalisation (elective)  
  • Person-centred Practice and Digitalisation (elective)  
  • PhD Thesis (compulsory) 


  • Digitalisation and Society (compulsory) 
  • Artificial Intelligence – Hypes and Hopes (elective)  
  • Co-designing IT for Cooperation (elective) 
  • PhD Thesis (compulsory) 


  • Digitalisation and Society (compulsory) 
  • Philosophy of Science and Research Ethics (compulsory) 
  • Work in the Digital Age (elective) 
  • PhD Thesis (compulsory) 

In relation to the accreditation application, ØUC has received numerous Letters of support from private and public organisations expressing a high level of interest in the establishment of a PhD programme within the area of Digitalisation and Society. Amongst others, these include Østfold University Trust, Viken County, Smart Innovation Norway (SIN) Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), The Norwegian Insitute for Sustainability Research (NORSUS) and Simula Research Laboratory.

In addition, Memorandums of Understandings have been signed with several institutions in order to ensure the international exchange of PhD students and staff and to facilitate collaboration on research activities in general. Examples of such exchange institutions in agreement include: University West in Sweden, Technische Hochschule Köln in Germany and Newcastle University in the UK.

Picture showing Rector Martin Hellstöm from Högskolan Väst, one of our collaboration parters, gives rector Lars-Petter Jelsness-Jørgensen a guided tour around their simulation centre. 
Rector Martin Hellstöm from Högskolan Väst, one of our collaboration parters, gives rector Lars-Petter Jelsness-Jørgensen a guided tour around their simulation centre. 


Tags: The Digital Society
Published Mar. 30, 2021 2:29 PM - Last modified Apr. 6, 2022 12:58 PM