The organisation of doctoral-level studies

DenmarkUniversities, research bodies and private enterprises offer doctoral-level programmes. Doctoral candidates are affiliated to research units, laboratories, research teams, doctoral departments, faculties / institutes and graduate schools.

The components of a doctoral programme are:

  • An independent research project under guidance (the PhD project)
  • Participation in research courses and seminars corresponding to six months full-time study (30 ECTS)
  • Teaching and other communication activities corresponding to three months full-time work
  • Mobility to ensure integration in two or more active research groups and networks
  • A PhD thesis (based on the PhD project) and a public defence of the thesis

The average length of a doctoral programme is three years.

Doctoral candidates are systematically assigned a supervisor. The precise role of the supervisor is defined by the individual university. However national regulations state that the supervisor is responsible for devising a mandatory PhD plan together with the student (no later than three months after the PhD studies have commenced). The plan must include a timeline for the PhD, an agreement on the form the supervision will take, a plan for the PhD research project, a plan regarding the PhD courses the student will attend, a plan for the student's active involvement in research groups, an agreement on teaching obligations or other form of communication activities the student must carry out, an agreement on potential immaterial rights and a budget.

Doctoral candidates do not have to follow compulsory courses but courses must be approved by the supervisor and the PhD board and should be doctoral-level courses dispensed by a Danish or foreign university.

The mandatory components that constitute a doctoral programme aim to prepare doctoral candidates for future careers in research (private / public) and teaching.

Practical placements and cooperation with industry depend on the nature of the PhD project and the contacts that the individual university has within the given field.

Industrial PhD candidates are prepared for their future careers by being formally employed by a company / industry / organisation and having a supervisor from the workplace appointed to them in addition to their main supervisor from the university.

For further information visit the Study in Denmark website.


Implemented by:
CampusFrance DAAD European Community
Nuffic British Council Eurodoc IIE