PhD Candidates in Religious Studies

Trondheim, Norway
04 May 2023
End of advertisement period
15 Jun 2023
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

Two fully funded 3-year Doctoral Research Fellowships in religious studies are available at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, NTNU. The Doctoral Fellowships are part of the research project Religious and Secular Worldmaking: Narrative Cultures of Utopian Emigration and the Formation of Modern Regimes of Attention (NC-RoA), funded by the Research Council of Norway. Project leader is Professor Anja Kirsch. The proposed starting date for the positions is September 1st, 2023.

NC-RoA investigates the narrative cultures of 19th-century utopian emigrants both religious and secular by analyzing how people during periods of radical reorientation learned to interpret, narrate, experience, and even perceive the world in new and sometimes fundamentally different ways. Focusing on documents of everyday emigrant life, popular discourse and vernacular religion, our goal is to develop a methodology that connects cultural, religious, and conceptual history to a cognitive history of mentalities.

The overall project structure comprises two main work packages: WP1 centers on methodological development, while WP2 involves exploratory case studies. The PhD positions will contribute to WP2 with individual research projects on religion-related factors of 19th-century emigration from Europe to the US. Applicants are asked to develop a project outline for one of the following two case areas:

Case I may concentrate on millennial or other eschatological emigrant groups and/or individuals who sought a religious alternative in the “new world,” such as Haugean or Quaker emigration, Mormonism, and attempts to build a New Zion. For this position, we are looking for a candidate interested in the dynamics of conversion, temporal horizons, and vernacular religious practices in situations of geographic and narrative reorientation.

Case II may focus on groups and/or individuals actively seeking an alternative to religion, ranging from religious indifference to radical criticism of religion, as exemplified by socialist and anarchist or other social reform movements. For this position, we are looking for a candidate interested in studying displays and cultivations of “being secular” in situations of geographic and narrative reorientation.

Your immediate leader is Head of Department

Duties of the position

  • conducting research resulting in a doctoral thesis
  • participation in project activities

Required selection criteria

  • A master’s degree in religious studies, cultural history, or another relevant field corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education.
  • Documented competencies in historical research
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English as well as reading knowledge of the source languages relevant to the individual projects
  • An interest in theory development and a willingness to engage with cognitive theorizing
  • Good collaboration skills and an ability to join interdisciplinary academic communities
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Phd candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant 

Preferred selection criteria

  • a familiarity with the history of the nineteenth century
  • experience and/or interest in transdisciplinary research
  • ability to engage digitally

Personal characteristics

  • curious
  • cooperative
  • attention to detail
  • persistence

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Historical and Cultural Studies  within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external fundingby the Research Council of Norway (NFR).

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include: 

  • Cover letter
  • CV 
  • Project proposal (3-5 pages), which should outline an approach and methodology that align with the framework of NC-RoA. It should incorporate a reflection on how the PhD project will be executed concerning the selection of genres or source types. However, at this stage, it is not necessary to identify particular emigrant groups or provide detailed information about the source material.
  • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Name and contact information of three referees
  • Project proposal (3-5 pages), which should outline an approach and methodology that align with the framework of NC-RoA. It should incorporate a reflection on how the PhD project will be executed concerning the selection of genres or source types. However, at this stage, it is not necessary to identify particular emigrant groups or provide detailed information about the source material.

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality. (tas bort hvis ikke aktuelt)

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Anja Kirsch, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Hege Kissten, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.  

Application deadline: 15.06.2023


NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

We conduct research and teaching in philosophy and religious studies, and offer education at bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level in both subject areas. We are also responsible for the introductory course examen philosophicum for all of NTNU. The Department has an active and international research environment. The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies is one of six departments in the Faculty of Humanities.

Deadline 15th June 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime (2 positions)
Duration Project
Place of service