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Enrolled Master's student

PHD Model

General Requirements

In Denmark, the total time of university studies for a PhD degree is eight years (480 ECTS) following the Bologna Framework.

The GSNS provides a research education primarily consisting of research under supervision. As a PhD student at GSNS, you are always admitted to a graduate school programme and affiliated to one of the departments.

All PhD students will be appointed a main supervisor and, if relevant, any co-supervisors, and it is required that the PhD programme includes courses, international mobility, and experience in communication.

Degree structure

An example of an alternative flexible model with 60 ECTS credits (one year of Master’s programme study) in addition to the Bachelor’s degree (4+4) is shown above.

In this case you will be admitted to the PhD programme based on your Bachelor’s degree and one year of Master’s study. You will be enrolled for four years before you hand in your PhD thesis. During the first two years of your PhD studies, you will be enrolled as a Master’s student in parallel to your PhD study enrolment (i.e. a combined Master’s and PhD study). When you have been enrolled as a PhD student for two years, you will have to write a progress report and pass a qualifying exam based on the report. When you have passed the qualifying exam, you will also obtain your Master's degree.

In the flexible model, the qualifying exam will always be held two years before your enrolment end date regardless of the number of credits you have been enrolled with.

Credit transfer

When you apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the GSNS, you have the option to apply for credit transfer if you have completed education components that are equivalent to (parts of) the content of a PhD programme.

As a minimum, you can apply for one month credit (5 ECTS credits), and a maximum of 18 months of credit (90 ECTS credits). Under special circumstances, additional credit may be granted.

Credit can be granted for Master’s courses for maximum 60 ECTS, and you can also be granted credit for time spent on working on the Master’s project, if the research can be directly used in the PhD project. If the research cannot directly be used in the PhD project, there cannot be granted credit for this. If you wish to apply for credit transfer, the completed activities for which you are applying for credit must clearly be stated in your PhD application. Your enrolment period will be reduced corresponding to the credit you have been granted.



Model 4+4: Income on Part A and B

Part APart B
5th+6th study year 7th+8th study year
StatusCombined Master's and PhD student
PhD student
(enrolled and employed)

PhD SU scholarship

Corresponds to 2 monthly SU grants

(+ student teacher employment)*
(+ SU grant from the Danish state)**

Monthly salary***
incl. pension and holiday pay

*Optional for PhD students on the 4+4 model (see below)

**Only for eligible students (see more below)

***Determined in accordance with the circular of 10 November 2015 regarding the collective agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC), including appendix 5: the protocol on PhD fellows (only available in Danish).

PhD SU scholarships (5th and 6th study year)

PhD SU scholarships can be awarded to PhD students without a Master’s degree who are admitted on the basis of a Bachelor’s degree and have a minimum of 60 ECTS in addition to the Bachelor’s degree (four years of full-time study in total). The PhD SU scholarship is typically paid out in instalments of DKK 12,000 per month (before tax, 2017). The PhD SU scholarship ceases at the end of the month in which the PhD student passes the qualifying examination (and thus obtains a Master’s degree). The working and fiscal status of a recipient of a PhD SU scholarship is that of a student.

Employment as student teacher

In addition to the PhD SU scholarship, 4+4 PhD students are offered employment as student teachers to work as teaching assistants or to perform other kinds of academic work.

Supplements to the Scholar grant and the PhD SU scholarship

In addition to the Scholar grant and the PhD SU scholarship, some PhD students are offered supplementary income for different kinds of academic work, e.g. as teaching assistants. 

SU - Danish State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme

PhD students eligible for SU can receive SU in parallel with the scholarships. Contact the Danish Students’ Grants and Loans Scheme Office at Aarhus University for more information and application for SU.  

Employment and work obligations (7th and 8th study year)

PhD fellows: PhD students employed on the basis of a Master’s degree.

PhD fellows are employed on the basis of academic trade union agreements, and the salary is regulated accordingly (depending on seniority). The salary amounts to approx. DKK 26,000 per month before tax, excluding pension and holiday (2017). The working and fiscal status of a recipient of a PhD fellowship is that of a university employee.

Work obligations for PhD fellows
One-sixth of the PhD fellowship salary is given as compensation for an obligation to work 280 hours per year as a teaching assistant, or doing other academic work decided by the department and/or the GSTS. The PhD fellow can decline the offer (with a corresponding reduction in the amount paid). All PhD fellows are granted one semester’s exemption from this work obligation without reduction in payment. Furthermore, PhD fellows may get exemption with no reduction in payment during extended stays abroad for up to six months in addition to the general one semester’s exemption. If the stay abroad lasts more than six months (or one year, if including the general one semester’s exemption), the PhD student must compensate by additional work before or after the stay.

Read more about employment in the Danish State Sector (in Danish only)

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