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PhD programme

All Danish universities offer a PhD programme within their research areas.

The individual universities may award the PhD degree within the disciplines in which the universities conduct research and for which they have established a PhD school. A university may establish a PhD school on its own or in collaboration with one or more other universities. The PhD degree is normally awarded after three years of higher education and research (180 ECTS credits) following a Master’s degree.

In March 2017 the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science published a comprehensive analysis of the quality and effects of an increased intake of PhD students in the period 2003-2010.

Read a full English version of the main findings below.

The individual university is responsible for organising its PhD programme within the framework of the PhD Order.

Objective of the PhD programme:

The PhD programme trains PhD students at an international level to undertake research, development and teaching assignments in the private and public sectors, for which a broad knowledge of research is required.

Each PhD student is appointed a principal supervisor who is responsible for the student’s PhD programme. The principal supervisor must be a recognised researcher within the relevant field, be employed by the university and affiliated with the PhD school. The student may have additional supervisors appointed.

Contents of the PhD programme:

The PhD programme comprises the following elements:

  • Conducting an independent PhD project under supervision
  • Completing a PhD thesis on the basis of the PhD project
  • Completing PhD courses corresponding to approx. six months
  • Participating in active research environments, including long-term stays at other, for example foreign, research institutions
  • Gaining experience of teaching or other form of knowledge dissemination

The PhD student is required to publicly defend his or her PhD thesis at the university.

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last modified August 14, 2019