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PhD, Postdoc, and Professor Salaries in Norway

Norwegian academic salaries are determined by a salary scale set by collective agreements between academic unions and state authorities. This salary scale specifies a range for each level of academic job. The candidate’s experience will determine where their compensation falls within the range of their position. While every university uses a slightly different range for each type of position, the salary grade and corresponding range is usually specified in the job posting. The salaries statistics in this article do not account for taxes, which are around 40% in Norway.

PhD Candidate

PhD candidates in Norway are considered employees and most PhDs are fully funded. In order to apply to a doctoral program, the candidate must have a Master’s degree. A Norwegian PhD takes three years to complete.

The minimum annual salary for PhD students is 442,400 NOK, which corresponds to salary grade 50 in the Norwegian state salary scale. In 2017, the average annual salary for a PhD student (stipendiat) was 456,165 NOK.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

After earning their doctorate, most researchers go on to a postdoc. A postdoc is a continuation of the researcher’s training that allows them to further specialize in a particular field. It may require them to take on teaching responsibilities. Postdocs in Norway last between two and four years.

Postdoc salaries usually start at salary grade 59 or 515,200 NOK per year.

There are three academic career pathways in Norway: the research career pathway, the teaching career pathway, and the research and teaching career pathway. The research career pathway is used at research institutes, while the teaching career pathway is usually used at professional colleges or newer universities. The research and career teaching pathway is the career pathway used at universities and is explained below.

Universitetslektor

This position is translated as assistant professor, however unlike assistant professorships elsewhere in the world, it does not require a doctorate. Sometimes the “assistant professor” rank is conflated with a postdoc in Norway. Universitetslektor positions are not as common as the two higher ranks since it possible to apply directly to a higher position after earning a doctorate. A universitetslektor can apply for a promotion to førsteamanuensis, but it is a personal promotion that does not change the academic’s responsibilities.

Generally, the salary range for a universitetslektor is somewhere between grade 57 and 68. In 2017, the average annual salary for a universitetslektor was 565,418 NOK.

Førsteamanuensis

This rank is translated as associate professor. It is primarily a research position but some teaching is also required. It is possible to apply to førsteamanuensis positions after earning a PhD without first doing a postdoc or holding a more junior appointment. As academic are considered civil servants in Norway so consequently this position is permanent and can be held until retirement. Norway does have a tenure-track system though, making it possible for a qualified førsteamanuensis to apply to be promoted to a professorship.

At many universities, the salary range for a førsteamanuensis is somewhere between grades 65 and 76. In 2017, the average annual salary for a førsteamanuensis was 626,065 NOK.

Professor

In order to be appointed or promoted to a professorship from førsteamanuensis, the candidate must first be awarded “professor competence”. This happens through an evaluation by an independent committee following a procedure prescribed by Norwegian law. Once an applicant has professor competence, then they can apply to a vacant professor position or apply for a promotion to the position. As in most countries, Norwegian professorships are permanent positions.

The salary range for a professor falls generally between grades 79 and 85. In 2017, the average annual salary for a professor was 791,563 NOK.

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