Admission to the PhD programme – University of Copenhagen

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Admission to the PhD programme

The University of Copenhagen offers PhD programmes in the disciplines within which the University is currently conducting research, but the University of Copenhagen alone decides who is to be admitted.

The decision regarding admission and enrolment is made by the head of the relevant faculty's graduate school upon recommendation from the academic staff on the PhD Study Board. Enrolment is subject to written application. The decision regarding enrolment is based on the applicant's documented academic qualifications, whether the research project is suitable as a PhD project, how the project fits into the faculty's academic profile and whether the necessary academic and financial resources can be made available for an academically sound completion of the programme. This does not necessarily include the pay for the PhD student as the terms and conditions of employment as such fall outside the scope of these rules. Each faculty can establish more detailed criteria. The PhD student is enrolled at the graduate school of the faculty in question and is affiliated with the department where the principal supervisor is employed. If the faculty is not organised in departments, the PhD student is affiliated within the same section or research unit as the principal supervisor.

The 5+3 programme

Usually at the time of enrolment, the candidate must hold an academically relevant Danish master's degree or be able to document equivalent qualifications, e.g. a master's degree from a university abroad. Each faculty is free to decide whether it will grant enrolment in a PhD programme in connection with the completion of a master's programme (integrated master's and PhD programme). The paragraph '4+4 programme' below describes the special rules that apply thereto.

The candidate is enrolled at one of the five departments (Anthropology, Economics, Political SciencePsychology or Sociology). Each department has specific criteria for admission to the 5+3 programme which are stated in the respective PhD curricula.

Unfortunately the rules regulating the employment of PhD students are only available in Danish on Link to Danish legal text "Overenskomst for akademikere i staten" (bilag 5b).

The 4+4 programme 

Some of the faculties at the University of Copenhagen offer students the option of starting their PhD research in connection with their master's degree programme by enrolling in a 4+4 programme. In accordance with the Danish PhD order, such an integrated master's and PhD programme must have the same scope and level as other PhD programmes (cf. Section 5(2) of the Danish PhD order).

A PhD student commencing the PhD programme in connection with his/her master's degree programme is simultanously enrolled as PhD and master's student. If the PhD programme is commenced in connection with the master's programme, the master's programme must generally be completed no later than two years before the expiry of the prescribed period of study for the entire PhD programme.

If a PhD student withdraws from the PhD programme before completing his or her master's degree programme, the student will be given the opportunity to complete his or her master's degree programme.

To be eligible for enrolment in the 4+4 PhD programme, the candidate must have completed a bachelor degree programme and have passed courses worth a total of 60 ECTS on a master's degree programme within one of the scientific disciplines offered at the Faculty. In other word, when enrolling, the candidate must possess a fundamental knowledge of the principal theories and methods of the relevant academic discipline.

A candidate may apply for pre-approved enrolment prior to meeting above requirements, the prerequisite for actual enrolment being that above requirements are met on the (subsequent) date of enrolment.

The candidate is enrolled at one of the five departments (Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Psychology or Sociology). Each department has specific criteria for admission to the 4+4 programme which are stated in the respective PhD curricula.

When applying for enrolment, it is possible to apply for approval of well-documented, previously acquired competencies (credit transfer) in order that these are considered part of the candidate's PhD studies.
Each faculty's PhD study board considers applications for credit transfer, and the board may lay down detailed rules on such credit transfers.

Unfortunately the rules regulating the employment of PhD students are only available in Danish on Link to Danish legal text "Overenskomst for akademikere i staten" (bilag 5b). PhD students in the 4+4 programme should consult the rules and regulations applying to students receiving the Danish state educational grant (SU) Link to Danish legal text "SU-loven", Afsnit II, Kapitel 12.

Part-time study programme

The PhD study programme is usually a full-time study programme with a prescribed period of study of three years. However, following a motivated request it may, in special cases, be completed as a part-time programme. In connection with a request for enrolment as a part-time student, the PhD study boards will consider the academic and study-related issues. Each faculty can lay down its own detailed rules on part-time studies, including the transfer from a full-time to a part-time programme during the study, but the PhD study programme must always account for at least 50 per cent of the time spent, i.e. the prescribed period of part-time study cannot exceed six years (excluding any leave of absence). A request for enrolment as a part-time student may be motivated by the nature of the research project as well as by personal reasons.

Requests from PhD students employed at the University of Copenhagen must be approved by the Dean. Decisions on enrolment as part-time students must be coordinated with an external employer.

In connection with the transfer to a part-time programme, the PhD plan must be adjusted accordingly and approved.