PhD-courses offered by NORWEL

In the compulsory training part for your PhD you must take several courses, equivalent to 30 credits.

In NORWEL, we offer five PhD courses, each credited with five ECTS in your education part. All NORWEL-PhD courses are relevant for research in various fields of social work practice.

Here you will find the information on how to apply to PhD-courses:

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Application deadline for PhD courses at UiT: December 1st for courses held in the spring semester. June 1st for courses held in the autumn semester.

If the application deadline have past, please contact the administrator

NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Application deadline for PhD courses at NTNU: February 1st for courses held in the spring semester. September 15th for courses held in the autumn semester.

If the application deadline have past, please contact

  • Our courses require physical participation, but you may, upon application, also be able to participate digitally.
  • When you are admitted you sign up for NORWEL courses via StudentWeb.
  • You do not have to be a member of NORWEL to participate in our courses, but our students have priority.
  • Remember that PhD courses are usually announced six months before they start.

Travel costs for participation in courses and symposia for NORWEL-students are covered by NORWEL.

List of courses

Making social work research relevant: Stakeholder engagement, research realities and policy influence

A detailed course description will be published six months ahead of the course. This course is offered by UiT second quarter of 2023, and 2025, first quarter of 2027 and 2029.

About the course:

Good research depends on solid project design, including precise research questions and carefully planned strategies for data gathering. But how can we enhance the impact of our research? 

In this course, students will be presented with strategies to collaborate with and actively involve different stakeholders in social work research, how challenges in collaborating with service users, practitioners and leadership in social and child welfare services can be anticipated and quickly responded, and how to use research results to influence welfare policy and social work practice. Lectures and groupwork will focus on how 

  • a collaborative relationship with relevant stakeholders can be established and maintained when building a net of respondents, and when identifying gate keepers to welfare services 
  • service users can be attracted to participate in social work research 
  • organizational cultures can affect data collection strategies 
  • the value of independent research can be balanced with maintaining a good relationship with different stakeholders in the field where the research takes place  
  • research results can be used to influence welfare policy and practice in social and child welfare services. 

Students are encouraged to evaluate critically the contribution of their own research project for the practice field and to reflect on making the results of their research relevant for policy makers. 

Participation and social inclusion in social work and child welfare

A detailed course description will be published six months ahead of the course. This course is offered by NTNU third quarters 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029.

Course content

Welfare services are challenged to improve services by making them more oriented towards participation, social inclusion and citizenship for people in marginalized positions. The complexity in individuals` situations and contexts affect welfare services. Political and scientific discussions emphasize participation and co-creation between actors such as individuals, civil society, NGOs, private and public sectors to make social just and sustainable services and welfare. The participation and co-creation take place  at   individual, service and system levels. Relationships between participative actors at all levels are decisive in the processes of co-creation of welfare.  Participation by different actors contribute to and support the knowledge axis that deals with changing marginalized positions. Participation may increase democratic processes in co-creation of welfare services and lead to social inclusion and empowerment.   The course will emphasize relevant theoretical perspectives on participation and social inclusion.  

Learning outcome

Knowledge – The PhD-candidate 

  • Has in-depth knowledge of different approaches of participation and social inclusion

Skills – The PhD-candidate

  • Can handle complex academic issues and challenge established knowledge of participation and social inclusion

Competences – The PhD-candidate

  • Can give well-structured presentations of basic qualities and knowledge related to participation and social inclusion for people in marginalized positions.

Innovation in welfare services

A detailed course description will be published six months ahead of the course. This course is offered by UiT fourth quarter of 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029.

Course contents:

This course explores innovation in social work and child welfare at a PhD level. The course covers both classic and more recent theories on innovation processes at a service, organizational and societal level. An introduction is given to welfare technology in a broad context, including various methodological approaches. The students’ own professional competence and practice is emphasized as a key factor for innovative interdisciplinary collaboration, and as an important contribution to promoting research and innovation that can contribute to solving future social challenges (locally, regionally, nationally and globally).

Learning outcomes:


The PhD candidate has

  • knowledge on how to develop and make social work and the child welfare service´s innovation potential visible in the form of new concepts, theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches.
  • knowledge about theory and methods in the field related to innovation and welfare technology and can contribute to developing new work practices.


The PhD candidate is able to

  • formulate issues, plan and carry out research, and handle professional development work in the field at a high international level.
  • participate in professional discussions and provide constructive feedback in the field.

General competence

The PhD candidate may

  • assess and identify new research questions in the field.
  • manage complex interdisciplinary work tasks, practices and projects
  • take part in debates in national and international fora.
  • assess the need for, and initiate, innovation by contributing independently to complex and innovative projects

Approaches to analysis of qualitative data in social work and child welfare research 

A detailed course description will be published six months ahead of the course. This course is offered by UiT fourth quarter of 2022, third quarter of 2024, first quarter of 2026 and 2028 and second quarter of 2030.

Course description 2024

The choice of analytical strategy for the analysis of data is an important one in any qualitative research project. The course will provide an introduction to selected approaches for analysis of qualitative data. The focus is generating of data, analysis, and interpretation. Participants will be introduced to premises of and aims for a selected variation of qualitative analyses and learn how to assess the strengths and limitations of these approaches.  

Lectures will provide practical examples for data analysis, thus enable participants to make a choice for the analytical strategy they will apply to the analysis of research data.  

In addition to the lectures, participants are expected to discuss their data, interpretation of data, and analysis. 

Learning outcomes 

The PhD candidates have the following learning outcomes:  


The PhD candidate  

  • has knowledge of selected approaches to qualitative analysis for handling empirical data 


The PhD candidate  

  • have the skills necessary for making choices among a variety of qualitative analytical strategies  
  • can handle complex challenges related to qualitative analysis and present empirical data in a scientific and thorough manner 
  • can perform qualitative analysis in studies on social work and child welfare, according to internationally recognized standards 

General competence 

The PhD candidate  

  • has in-depth knowledge about a variety of approaches to qualitative analysis, the epistemological and methodological premises they build on, and the practical analytical steps that have to be conducted in each of these approaches  

Familie, marked og stat i det nyliberale samfunn

A detailed course description will be published six months ahead of the course. This course is offered by NTNU fourth quarter of 2022, third quarter 2024, 2026 and 2028.

Course description at NTNUs website

During the 19th century, the core family of mother, father and children became the dominant family form in most societies. The transition from agricultural to industrial society can be described as a standardization of the roles within the family. Accordingly, upbringing of children was professionalized and the family became a target group for an emerging supervision and assistance system in the modern welfare states. At the same time, the “standard model” for the family came under pressure from a changing labor market, a transition from industrial society to knowledge society and from neoliberal deregulation of institutions in society.

In this complex interaction between an increasingly flexible working life and looser family structures, welfare measures aimed at families are under pressure. The tendencies of polarization between families economically, socially and culturally increase inequalities in life chances between children and families. Such inequalities have implications for how families manage parenthood and bring up their children. Practicing parenthood in the neoliberal knowledge society is demanding. Through various measures of support, regulation and control provided by services such as health care, kindergarden, school and child welfare, parenthood is constructed both internally in the family and externally in relation to other adults and to central institutions in children’s lives. In these relationships, children, parents, welfare providers, the state and society negotiate normative values and ideals associated with notions of good childhood and good parenthood.