Political Science

The Ph.D. Program in Political Science

Objective of the Ph.D. Program
The Department of Political Science offers a Ph.D. program of the highest international standard. Ph.D. students are integrated in the daily life at the department and are seen as junior faculty members. The dissertation is the most important single element of the program, but students are also required to teach courses either on the BA or MA level, to do course work, and to spend a semester at a foreign university.

The Department admits Ph.D. students within all sub-fields of political science, including comparative politics/government, policy analysis, international relations, and public administration and management.

Admission and Grants
Participation in the Ph.D. program requires that the student is registered as a Ph.D. student, which, in most cases, also means receiving a three-year Ph.D. scholarship or a 2½-year research fellow scholarship. Research fellow scholarships are for graduates who have at least two years of occupational experience outside of the Department. To be considered for the Ph.D. program applicants must have acquired a relevant Master’s degree in political science (Danish: cand.scient.pol.) or in a closely related field before applying, or expect to finish their degree in the immediate future.

Vacant Ph.D. scholarships funded by the University of Southern Denmark appear at the The Ph.D. scholarship entitles the recipient to receive the salary set by an agreement between AC (The Danish Federation of Professional Associations) and the Ministry of Finance. The annual salary amounts to roughly DKK 260,000 plus pension savings. In addition, tuition expenses at a foreign university for one semester are covered by the scholarship (more details are available from the department).

The Ph.D. program
The dissertation is the most important single element in the Ph.D. program. Each Ph.D. student is assigned a main advisor who is either professor or associate professor at the Department. A secondary advisor may also be appointed. The main advisor gives the Ph.D. student thorough advice about the dissertation and the research process as well as about how to meet the requirements of the rest of the Ph.D. program.

All Ph.D. students must take course work equivalent to one semester’s duration (30 ECTS). The course work program for each student is determined in collaboration with the main advisor and approved by the academic board. Together with the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University, the Department offers a number of courses in research design and methods some of which are mandatory. Some of the course work can be completed in connection with the student’s stay at a foreign university, participation in international professional conferences, or related activities.

Teaching and other work experience is an integral part of the Ph.D. program. Each student must work an equivalent of 840 hours (1 semester full time). Teaching obligations, which may involve teaching seminars at the MA level or working as a teaching assistant for undergraduate seminars, is determined by the Head of Department upon consultation with the Ph.D. student and his or her main advisor.

International experience is also an important aspect of the Ph.D. program. Ph.D. students are expected to spend a semester at a foreign university where they take part in the research environment of the faculty. The Ph.D. student plans the stay at the foreign university together with his/her main advisor.

The dissertation must be of a high international standard, usually a monograph between 200 to 300 pages, but it is also possible to submit a dissertation consisting of a number of interrelated articles, papers, and book chapters.

A Ph.D. degree is given after completion of a dissertation and the full Ph.D. program. The dissertation has to be approved by an assessment committee of leading experts and successfully defended at a public exam. To be awarded the Ph.D. degree the Ph.D. student must demonstrate that he/she has been able to define and answer a relevant research question using state of the art political science methods to further the knowledge within a field of political science research. The standards must be at a high international level.

Applying for the program
An application form should be sent to the faculty. A 6-8 pages outline of the proposed research project should be included, along with a list of scientific publications, professional experience, and teaching experience. A certified transcript of passed exams and awarded degrees must also be included. Furthermore, a list of enclosures must be included, and the enclosures should be numbered, marked with the applicant’s name and assembled in sets.

Applications will be considered by an assessment committee appointed among senior faculty members at the department. The assessment committee will look at the applicant’s record of study, the relevance of the proposed research project, the rigor and creativeness of the proposed research design, and the prospects for the applicant to successfully finish the program. It is expected that applicants have achieved a high level of academic distinction during their previous studies.

For further information please contact Ph.D. coordinator Professor Asbjørn Sonne Nørgaard at the Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark.


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