About the PhD programme

Entering the PhD programme requires an academically relevant Danish master's degree or equivalent qualifications, such as a master's degree from a foreign university.

The PhD programme is a three-year full-time course. The candidates individually plan their study, which involves:

  • A supervised scientific research project
  • Courses corresponding to six months studies (totaling 30 ECTS points)
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination 
  • Networking with active research groups - preferably international groups
  • A thesis and public defense of the thesis

The stages of the PhD programme

The PhD programme at the Department of Psychology is described in detail in the Regulations for the PhD programme in Psychology. A short summery with the main parts of the programme can be read below:


Supervision is essential in the PhD programme. Every PhD student has a principal supervisor employed at the Department of Psychology. The principal supervisor is often also the project supervisor. But if two different supervisors are appointed, the principal supervisor will ensure that the formal requirements are met regarding assessments, duties, and applications. The project supervisor is responsible for the supervision of the project content. Additional supervisors may be appointed and receive payment for their consultation in defined areas of the PhD programme.

The supervisor is responsible for supervising the PhD students work on the thesis and to ensure that the PhD student carries out the PhD programme according to the regulations. In cooperation with the supervisor, the PhD student is responsible for compiling an individual study plan and half-year assessment reports. See Evaluations.


Completion of courses equivalent to 30 ECTS is an essential part of the research programme. Courses include conferences, participation either with or without posters or presentation.

There are three distinct types of courses - conferences, the general or generic courses and project specific PhD courses. Students can obtain a maximum number of points for each type of course.

Departmental Seminars and similar

Research arrangements at the departmental level: There can be research arrangements for the whole department or for specific Departmental groups or focus areas. ECTS credit points can be allotted after application to the PhD study board. Each PhD student can be allotted a maximum of 5 ECTS points for participation in these.


PhD students are encouraged to participate in relevant national and international conferences. Participation in international conferences with posters or presentations is assessed higher than just attending, and it is a good idea that the PhD student, together with the supervisor, is open to this form of qualifying activity.

Each PhD student can be allotted a maximum of 6 ECTS points for participation in conferences. One half ECTS point is given per day for participation in a conference without paper presentation. One ECTS point is given per day for the presentation of papers or posters. There is no distinction made between Danish and international conferences.

Generic Courses

Generic or general courses are those typically arranged at the faculty level in topics shared by all PhD students and which provide for a general competence. There are, for example, courses in instructional education, communication and academic writing (in English).

Each PhD student can be allotted a maximum of 5 ECTS points for participation in generic courses. One half ECTS point per day is given for participation in a generic course.

PhD Courses (Courses Substance)

Research courses which are not generic and which provide subject-specific competences are offered both nationally and internationally.

One point per course day is given, regardless of whether or not a paper is presented.

There is a specification for the maximum number of points which can be obtained for a particular type of course. It must be underscored that there are no courses which are obligatory. Moreover, in connection with courses which are extraordinarily labour-intensive, there is a good chance of being credited a larger number of ECTS points than previously mentioned. However, this requires application to the faculty's PhD committee before the course is held.

It is also possible to have ECTS points approved for arranging courses. If this should occur, those extra ECTS points are (in addition for course participation) considered as generic ECTS points.

Courses are offered at many different institutes. The Danish University's Department of Psychology has organised their courses in a coordinated fashion - see the section below on the national research school (Research Degree Programme) - but relevant courses can also be offered by other professions and institutions both nationally and internationally.

The head of the PhD programme shall approve ECTS-awarding courses and seminars - according to those guidelines marked out by the faculty's PhD committee.

Research stay abroad

According to Ministerial Order, the PhD programme stipulates that PhD students must participate in research projects other than those of their primary department. This can be ensured in different ways, but long term appointments abroad are preferred.


The PhD student is obligated to fulfil duties at the department, such as, one or more teaching modules which might include supervision and examinations. More information is described in the Regulations for the PhD programme in Psychology.


A research project consists typically of data collection, data analysis and the writing of the thesis. Instead of submitting a monograph thesis PhD students tend to submit an article thesis. An article thesis is a series of articles, including a resume explaining how the articles are linked together and their contribution to the PhD project in its entirety. The submitted thesis is subjected to assessment and its subsequent defence.