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Admission to the PhD Programme

Admission to the PhD Programme with or without SDU scholarship (employment)

The awarding of scholarships (employment) for enrolment occurs according to the following models:

  1. the 5 +3 programme – subsequent to completion of a master's degree
  2. the 4 +4 programme – prior to completion of master's degree

In addition, it is possible to apply for enrolment with external funding according to the following models:

  1. the 5+3 programme / 4+4 programme with full external funding and without employment at SDU
  2. the 5 +3 programme – as Industrial PhD

The rules governing admission are for the most part the same for all four models. However, certain differences prevail. A careful reading of the section below pertaining to the relevant model is therefore recommended.

Admission as a PhD Fellowship (employed PhD Student) after the completion of a master's degree (the 5+3 programme)

Vacant PhD are offered y the Faculty's departments and are posted regularly on the university website and otherwise in accordance with the Faculty's regulations on advertising. Deadlines etc. will appear in the advertisement. Applications must regard both allocation of scholarship and enrolment.

Applications must be include at least the following

  • Project description
  • Motivation and substantiated background for the application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of diplomas from both undergraduate and graduate degrees
  • Letters of recommendation

Applicants should note that letters of recommendation must be submitted before the application deadline in order to be included in the assessment of the applicant’s academic qualifications. Advertisements state that if none or some of the required material listed above are missing, the application will not be assessed. 

The project description should include an account of the applicant’s specific areas of interest under the heading of the project, which research questions are to be addressed, an indication of which methods and theories will be applied as well as a time-plan for the project that shows a realistic progression towards completion of the PhD within a period of three years.

Applications are assessed by the relevant PhD Study Committee, acting on behalf of the Faculty PhD Committee. The PhD Study Committee prepares a written recommendation to the Head of Department and the Head of the PhD School which for each applicant contains:

  • A brief characterization of the applicant's academic qualifications including if necessary supplementary courses or similar as a prerequisite to complete the PhD Programme satisfactorily 
  • The PhD project

An applicant's assessment is sent to the individual applicant for any comments.

An appointment committee comprising the Head of Department, the Chair of the PhD Study Committee and the supervisor jointly find the best qualified candidate and recommend him/her to the Dean upon approval of admission by the Head of the PhD School. The Dean makes the final decision about employing the applicant as PhD student.

The appointment committee may choose to invite qualified candidates for an interview prior to making their recommendation.

An interview is normal practice in the case of applicants who hold degrees obtained outside Denmark to ensure the applicant’s fluency in English or Danish.

Projects cannot commence until enrolment has been completed. Enrolment is possible from the 1st or 15th of the month. Enrolment with retroactive effect is not possible.

Admission as a PhD Fellow before the completion of a master's degree (the 4+4 programme)

The student can begin the PhD Programme prior to completion of his/her master's degree (4+4). Minimum requirements include completion of bachelor’s degree as well as 60 ECTS of the Master’s Programme. For the first two years of the 4+4 programme the student is enrolled in both the Master’s and the PhD Programmes. Within the first two years, the student must pass a qualifying exam in order to continue in the PhD Programme.  

It is a prerequisite for admission in the 4 +4 programme that the applicant’s previous course of study in both Bachelor and Master's Programme is completed with a satisfactory grade level and that the applicant is assessed to be capable of meeting the general requirements for enrolment after a maximum of one year's further study.

If the student comes from another university, the Science Study Board will have to approve that the student is admitted in a relevant master's programme at the Faculty of Science with 60 ECTS credit transfer. Vacant PhD positions are offered by the Faculty's departments and are posted regularly on the university website. Deadlines etc. will appear in the advertisement. Applications must apply both for the scholarship and admission.

Applications must include at least the following:

  • Project description
  • Motivation and substantiated background for the application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of diplomas from undergraduate and graduate degrees and courses
  • Letter of recommendation from applicant’s former teacher or supervisor on the applicant’s research aptitude and whether the applicant is assessed to have the necessary knowledge of theories and methods within the chosen research field
  • Other letters of recommendation

Applicants should note that letters of recommendation must be submitted before the application deadline in order to be included in the assessment of the applicant’s academic qualifications. Advertisements state that if none or some of the required material listed above is missing, the application will not be assessed. 

The project description should include an account of the applicant’s specific areas of interest under the heading of the project, which research questions are to be addressed, an indication of which methods and theories will be applied as well as a time-plan for the project that shows a realistic progression towards completion of the PhD within a period of four years.

Applications are academically assessed by the relevant PhD Study Committee, acting on behalf of the Faculty PhD Committee. The PhD Study Committee prepares a written recommendation to the Head of Department and the Head of the PhD School which for each applicant contains:

  • A brief characterization of the applicant's academic qualifications including if necessary supplementary courses or similar as aprerequisite to complete the PhD Programme satisfactorily

If the applicant comes from another university, including a foreign university, the assessment must suggest a suitable master's programme and a reasoned assessment of whether the student can get 60 ECTS credit transfer on his/her master's programme. The assessment is conditional on final approval of admission to the master's programme and credit transfer in the Study Board.

The PhD Study Committee's assessment is sent to the individual applicants for any comments.

An appointment committee comprising the Head of Department, the Chair of the PhD Study Committee and the supervisor jointly find the best qualified candidate and recommend him/her to the Dean. Before the Dean approves the employtment, the Head of the PhD School must approve of the enrolment. The Dean makes the final decision about appointing the applicant as PhD student.

If the applicant comes from another university, the appointment committee must apply the Study Board for admission to a relevant master's programme and credit transfer on the basis if the assessment committee's recommendation. In practice the application is sent to the local education commitee who sents a recommendation to the Study Board. The Study Board's decision is sent to the applicant.

The appointment committee can only request the Head of the PhD School and the Dean of admission/employment if the Study Board has approved the admission to a master's programme and has awarded 60 ECTS credit transfer to the master's programme.

The enrolment committee may choose to invite qualified candidates for an interview prior to making their recommendation.

Projects cannot commence until enrolment has been completed. Enrolment is possible from the 1st or 15th of the month. Enrolment with retroactive effect is not possible.

Enrolment with external funding without employment at SDU (5+3 and 4+4 programmes)

Enrolment without employment at SDU requires that the PhD Programme is fully financed bu other means. Enrolment is only possible if the Head og The PhD School finds the applicant qualified and the Head of the Department's recommendation is positive.

The Faculty charges a tax on the enrolment of PhD projects with external funding. This tax can maximally total 154,800 DKK per year (2014 number) + an overhead of 44% for covering utilities. The tax is negotiated by the Head og the Department to which the project is affiliated. The tax covers costs that are directly related to the PhD Programme, such as supervision, office expenses and wotk station. 

Applications for enrolment with external funding can be submitted continuously. A specific application form must be used. Applications must be submitted to the Dean's Office, Faculty of Science, University of Southern Denamrk, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark.

Applications must be include the following

  • Copy of diplomas from undergraduate and graduate degrees (and courses, if application is for the 4+4 programme
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Project description
  • List of publications, if applicable
  • Motivation and substantiated background for the application
  • Letter of recommendation from academic contact person from the research milieu at the department to which the project will be affiliated
  • Advance commitment to the funding of the programme from the provider of the grant as well as information about the contact person from the grant provider (financing voucher)

Applications will normally first be processed when documentation for full financing of the PhD Programme is presented. This includes the salary of the PhD student, the tax, costs in relation to studies abroad and courses as well as costs in relation to the research project, such as the collection of data and administrative and laboratory assistance. 

Applications are assessed by an assessment committee comprising by the relevant PhD Study Committee. The PhD Study Committee prepares a written recommendation to the Head of the Department and the Head of the PhD School contains:

  • A brief characterization of the applicant's academic qualifications including if necessary supplementary courses or similar as a prerequisite to completing the PhD Programme satisfactorilly
  • The PhD project

This assessment committee's assessment is sent to the applicant for any comments.

On the basis of the assessment committee's recommendation, the Head of the PhD School decides whether the applicant is qualified for admission in the PhD Programme.

The Head of Department decides whether the project lies within the research strategy of the department and whether there is sufficient supervisional capacity is available. The Heads of the PhD School/Department may each choose to invite qualified applicants for an interview prior to making a decision concerning enrolment.

An interview is normal practice in the case of applicants who hold degrees obtained outside of Denmark to ensure the applicant’s fluency in English or Danish.

For enrolment as a PhD student with external funding it must be determined whether to enter into a contract between the relevant parities. The contract is drawn up by the PhD School Secretariat and is signed by the Dean, the Head of the PhD School, the Head of Department, the external grant provider, and the PhD student. The objective of the contract is to determine the general conditions of the collaboration prior to the start of the project, including the financial conditions. The contract must also state how the various costs of the project are covered and where the PhD student will carry out his/her daily work. In addition, the contract must refer to the PhD order and the Faculty's guidelines in relation to the PhD Programme, which the student is subjected to.

Projects cannot commence until enrolment has been completed. Enrolment is possible from the 1st or 15th of the month. Enrolment with retroactive effect is not possible.

Enrolment according to the 4+4 programme with external funding may entail deviations from the above.

Enrolment as Industrial PhD

An Industrial PhD project is a specifically industrially oriented PhD Programme. The project is conducted as a collaborative effort between a private or public organization, the PhD student and a university. In addition to the academic affiliation – either at the university or within the organization – a public knowledge institution may also be affiliated: the so-called Third Party. As an Industrial PhD student, employment takes place in the organization with enrolment at the university.

Further information concerning the Indstrial PhD Programme may be obtained here: http://en.fi.dk/research/industrial-phd-programme.

Applications for an Industrial PhD scholarship must be submitted to the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation using a specific application form, which can be found on the website of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Applicants are advised to submit an application for enrolment as PhD student with external funding without employment at SDU parallel to submitting an application to the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.

An Industrial PhD project must be approved by both the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation and the Faculty of Science before enrolment can take place and the project can be initiated.

Applications to the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation must, therefore, be prepared in collaboration with the potential academic supervisor from the university who must have obtained the consent from the Head of Department that he/she may act as supervisor and that the project is relevant to the research strategy of the Department, as well as a recommendation from the Chairman and the local PhD Study Committee and the Head of the PhD School that the applicant is eligible for enrolment.

Contact information to a relevant department and potential supervisor may be obtained from the Head of the PhD School.

Upon approval of the Industrial PhD project by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, a copy of the application along with the written approval from The Agency must be submitted to the PhD School Secretariat for final approval of enrolment. When the PhD School Secretariat has received The Agency’s confirmation and the Head of the PhD School has approved the enrolment on the basis of the recommendation by the PhD Study Committee, a letter of enrolment is issued to the Industrial PhD Student.

Projects cannot commence until enrolment has been completed. Enrolment is possible from the 1st or 15th of the month. Enrolment with retroactive effect is not possible.

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