apply to do a PhD in digital culture at our department!

We have two PhD fellowships advertised right now, with a deadline of January 31. We’re particularly interested in candidates interested in researching electronic literature (perhaps in connection with our freshly-funded project on creativity in electronic literature), digital art, social media, gender and technology, the history of technology, computer games, blogging and related topics. While the positions are open to applicants within our whole department (including literature, art history, linguistics, classics and theatre studies in addition to digital culture), we should have a good chance of getting a PhD candidate accepted within the field of digital culture.

Here is the official advertisement, with a link to the online application system.

Norwegian PhD fellowships are renowned for paying as well as a normal job rather than exploiting graduate students: The fellowships are 100% positions with standard Norwegian health, social security and pension benefits (including, say, parental leave, a topic near to my heart these days) and they pay 355,400 kroner (US $55,000/Ä40,000) a year. You’re an employee, not a student, which gives you far better rights than a student has. You’ll have some travel/research funding assigned to you automatically – I think about 20,000 kroner ($3000/Ä2200) a year – and the opportunity to apply for more. These are three-year fellowships, where you do about one semester’s worth of coursework (attending conferences and seminars and writing a paper or two) and the rest of the time is reserved for dissertation research and writing. They’re open to applicants from anywhere in the world. You are required to have an MA in a relevant discipline, with a final grade of A (preferred) or B (acceptable if your dissertation proposal is excellent), or equivalent.

You’ll need to supply the following material with your application:

  • Dissertation proposal, maximum 5 pages
  • Bibliography for the dissertation proposal
  • Time schedule for the completion of your project
  • Maximum 3 page summary of your master thesis
  • All diplomas achieved in higher education from university/college (scanned version)
  • List of academic publications (if any)
  • a cover letter

The dissertation proposal is the most important part of your application, and the main criteria for ranking applicants will be the excellence of the proposal. The committee has a list of items they’re supposed to rank from 1-4 (4 being best):

  • Basic qualifications (i.e. your grade on your MA, and whether or not it was finished on time – make sure your cover letter either states clearly that it was or provides a good reason why it wasn’t)
  • Project quality (originality, research question, hypotheses, is it solid, what’s the status of your knowledge at this point, etc)
  • Feasibility (is there a balance between empirical material and theoretical ambitions? Are you likely to actually finish the PhD within the three years?)
  • Research environment (is there support for this research topic among researchers already in the department?)
  • Academic qualifications (published or accepted scholarly papers – this is not expected if you just finished your MA (though if you have anything that’s awesome), but if it’s been a while, the committee will be looking for evidence that you’re actually motivated to be a researcher and have been working at achieving this by participating in academic discourse.)
  • Dissemination of research results (you’re supposed to say something about this; in practice it’s very hard to differentiate candidates based on this – but do try to say something)

It’s important to remember that the committee will have just one person from digital culture – the other members of the committee will be general humanities people, especially from literature (comparative and/or Nordic) and linguistics (comparative/Nordic/computational). That means you need to write very clearly, and work hard not to use jargon or assume that everyone already knows the field.

You’ll also need to name your supervisor at the department. This means you must contact one of us before you apply. Within digital culture, your choices are me (social media, blogging, narratives online, digital art, games), Scott Rettberg (electronic literature, digital art), Hilde Corneliussen (gender and technology, gender and computer games, history of technology) and Daniel Apollon (knowledge society, sociological approaches to digital culture, semantic web).

05. January 2010 by Jill

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