Most Icelandic PhDs are a minimum of three years long and do not often exceed four years.
The academic year in Iceland runs from September to May and is divided into an autumn and a spring term with a holiday around Christmas and the New Year.
PhD programmes in Iceland are similar to PhDs elsewhere in Europe.
To apply for a PhD in Iceland you will need to have an idea of what the topic of your research will be. This is usually agreed in advance of your application with a supervisor at the university.
The PhD process
During the first year of your PhD you'll be expected to develop a background knowledge in your chosen research field as well as acquire preliminary data. You will also need to organise any training modules that are required by your programme in this time.
Before the end of your first year you will be required to develop and present a research proposal. A research proposal must lay our the background and motivation behind your proposed project, as well as a well-defined methodology and any initial results you may have gathered.
You'll need to successfully defend your research proposal before a thesis committee, comprised of experts in your field.
Over the course of the PhD you'll need to submit regular progress reports in which you update your thesis committee on the headway you've made in your research.
Finally, you will complete a thesis detailing your work. Your thesis will demonstrate your knowledge of the subject matter, as well as present your findings on your chosen topic.
If you are applying for a PhD programme you will have at least one supervisor who is a recognised expert in the intended field of study. You will likely need to contact this supervisor to agree on the direction of your project before making your application.
Your supervisor will monitor your progress and provide advice on your project when necessary. They will also be responsible for sponsoring your research proposal as well as the submission of your final thesis.
At some point during the first year you'll also be assigned a thesis / doctoral committee of two to four members, whose role will be to guide you towards the completion of your research.
The committee members will be responsible for examining your regular progress reports and ensuring that you are making progress in your PhD. They will also be responsible for assessing your final thesis submission.
At the end of your research you will need to produce an original doctoral thesis in order to be considered for a doctoral degree.
Having completed your thesis your supervisor and thesis committee will first ensure that it's fit for presentation.
You will then be required to defend your thesis to your thesis committee and one or more external examiners. The defence will usually take the form of a short presentation of around 30 minutes, followed by an oral examination. During this session examiners will ask questions to determine whether you have the necessary breadth of knowledge, to award a doctorate.