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Department of Culture and Learning

Admission to the PhD programme

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    Application and enrolment

    The most common procedure to follow towards a PhD degree is to enrol as a PhD student and complete a 3-year study programme supervised by a senior researcher. In practice, it is possible to distinguish between various options:

    Appointment on the basis of advertisement is by far the most frequent procedure. The university advertises a scholarship which everyone with the relevant master’s degree may apply for. The advertisement may be broad, i.e. European Studies, or more specific, i.e. Activities of European Structural Foundations in Denmark since 2000.

    Appointment without advertisement may be effected in situations where there is a wish to launch externally financed projects and where a candidate, who is considered extremely well qualified as regards the implementation of the particular project in question, is available. The name of the candidate must appear in the application and grant letter.  The candidate must be described as qualified by a specialist in the academic field.

    Enrolment as an external PhD student with self-financed admission or a tuition fee scholarship may take place if a candidate has financial means at his/her disposal, typically from an external sponsor, which may finance AAU’s expenses in connection with the PhD studies. In 2016 the tuition fee was 406,250 DKK which covers supervision (300 hours), expenses in connection with assessment of the PhD thesis, office space, computer and an annual grant covering books, travels etc. The candidate must be declared qualified for enrolment, and a collaboration agreement must be drawn up as regards the conditions for enrolment, including financial conditions.

    In rare cases, a PhD thesis may be submitted for assessment without any prior enrolment as a PhD student. The candidate must document participation in active research environments and in PhD courses and conferences corresponding to 30 ECTS points. Finally, the candidate must document teaching experience as well as experience the communication of research. An academic specialist will be appointed who will prepare a report. If this report is positive, the Academic Council will then appoint an assessment committee with a view to determining whether the thesis is acceptable for a defence, cf. Assessment procedure

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    Published: 16 June 2015 | Last revised: 28 November 2016

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    Assessment procedure

    Application for admission as a PhD student is considered by an assessment committee of three associate professors/professors, who will assess if the individual applicant is qualified for employment under the advertised scholarship. In practice this will imply that the project is deemed to fall within the scope described in the advertisement, and that its quality is at a level which must be expected of a PhD project; that it is estimated that the project will be completed within a three-year period, and that through their master programme and other educational/occupational background the applicant will have acquired the qualifications required in order to be able to complete the PhD programme. The final decision of employment under a scholarship is made by the dean of the faculty in which the position is advertised.

    In case of recommendation of a PhD student on special terms, however, a specialist assessment will be prepared by one academic staff member appointed by the programme director.

    The assessment committee at the Department of Culture and Global Studies often conducts interviews with the most promising applicants in order to have an opportunity to discuss the project in detail, and to acquire a better impression of the applicant’s personal profile and competences.

    When assessments have been made and they have been approved by the dean, each applicant will receive their assessment and will then have a deadline of eight working days (the Humanities) and two weeks (the Social Science) to submit their comments. Before the expiry of this period, the applicants may forward any comments they might wish to make to the faculty office. When comments have been considered by the assessment committee, which will decide whether these may cause any changes to be made in the expert assessment, the dean will make the final decision concerning employment. 

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    Published: 16 June 2015 | Last revised: 18 June 2016

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    Employment types, financing and academic requirements

    If you are employed as a PhD scholar (i.e. not as an external PhD student or as a PhD student on special terms), one of the following PhD schemes will apply:

    • A 3-year PhD scholarship. This type of employment corresponds to the basic model described in the Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities
    • The industrial PhD scheme has roughly the same structure and contents as an ordinary PhD scholarship but is financed by an external sponsor and supported by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education. The project therefore relates to typical issues concerning the external sponsor, and special requirements apply to reporting and communication as regards the external partner. Read more about the Industrial PhD scheme
    • Joint employment/teaching assistant professor. This is a 5-year PhD scheme with 60% employment as a PhD student, and 40% employment as an academic staff
    • External PhD student. Several different options exist for the enrolment of external PhD students. These options all involve faculty financing of some part of the PhD studies, e.g. expenses for supervision and assessment. The PhD student may for instance obtain funding from their employer or some other source to cover expenses related to their studies. A collaboration agreement must be signed between the student or the funding provider and Aalborg University

    PhD on special terms. For PhD fellows enrolled under this scheme, a “Memorandum of understanding” must be signed between the programme and the PhD student. The PhD student must finance their own salary/living expenses. The department will cover expenses for supervision and assessment, and PhD fellows may apply the department for funds towards course registration fee and travel expenses related to the collection of data, course attendance, seminars and conferences.

    It is important to bear in mind that the different enrolment and employment types may in some ways affect employment and work conditions, including teaching obligation.

    ► Funding options under the doctoral school of the Humanities.

    ► Funding options under the doctoral school of the Social Sciences.

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    Published: 16 June 2015 | Last revised: 25 January 2017

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    Requirements concerning application and project description

    The PhD application must include the following and be written in English or Danish:

    • Application form
    • Copy of diplomas/transcripts in Danish or English (translations must be certified)
    • Curriculum vitae (CV)
    • Project description (max. 10 pages)
    • List of written work (optional)
    • Sample of written work, e.g. Master's thesis (optional)
    • A certified copy of IELTS or TOEFL test result, if applicable

    Please find more information at Doctoral school of the Humanities or at the Doctoral school of the Social Sciences.

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    Published: 16 June 2015 | Last revised: 14 August 2018