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Transfer of course credits

PhD courses taken before enrolment can be transferred on condition that they are accepted as PhD courses for the student in question and that they are not part of another degree. The latter condition means that there is a maximum credit transfer of courses taken during a Danish 5-year education for that number of ECTS credits that exceeds 300 ECTS credits for the 5+3 programme or exceeds 240 ECTS credits for the 4+4 programme. For applications for credit transfer of courses from foreign programmes it must be demonstrated that the requested amount is beyond the requirement of the degree (i.e. that the degree could have been achieved without this course), for example by a certificate from the university in question.

Evaluation of PhD courses

All PhD courses to be approved in a PhD Programme must be evaluated in one form or another and be documented in order for it to have been passed successfully.

The PhD student is required to complete PhD courses totalling approximately 30 ECTS credits.

The research courses (PhD courses) must either be pre-approved by the Faculty PhD Committee, or apporved as an individual study activity.

A PhD student when participating in courses cannot be assessed by the supervisor alone. In these cases there should be the assistance of an internal or external examiner.

Specifically with regard to the 5+3 programme

One year before the end of the PhD programme 30 ECTS credits should be passed. For students on the 5+3 programme at least 15 ECTS credits should be passed after one year.

Specifically with regard to the 4+4 programme

For students on the 4+4 programme at least 10 ECTS should be passed within one year and at least 22.5 ECTS credits must be passed by the time of the qualifying exam. A year before handing in the PhD thesis the PhD student must have completed approximately 30 ECTS courses.

Composition of the course programme

PhD courses are designed to provide students with academic breadth, and to form a reasonable basis for their doctoral project. The academic breadth is designed to improve the student's job opportunities after obtaining the PhD degree.

Research courses should therefore generally be at a higher academic level than the qualifying Master's degree. However courses at Master's level can be included, if they fit into the PhD student's PhD plan.

Mandatory 2.5 ECTS introductory course

New PhD students must enroll in a mandatory introductory course comprising of the following:

  • An introductory meeting with the Head of the PhD School
  • Course in good scientific practice (more information about time, location and enrolment will be sent out via e-mail to the PhD students)

When the PhD secretariat has received course certificates (attendance registration for the introductory course) for both elements, the PhD student will receive 2.5 ECTS.

Other courses

PhD courses may include:

  • Actual PhD courses offered by the Faculty of Science
  • Courses offered by the research education programmes that the Faculty of Science participates in or cooperates with, either in other Danish institutions or in foreign institutions, provided that the application is approved by the Faculty PhD Committee
  • The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation's Business Course for Industrial PhD students
  • Other courses particularly relevant for the PhD project, e.g. courses in IT or statistical methods
  • "Summer / Winter Schools" must include active participation by the student or an evaluation (either by the course providers or subsequently by the supervisor and an internal external examiner) in order to be approved
  • Participation in conferences may count as a course activity twice during a PhD programme with 3 ECTS for each conference if the PhD student afterwards holds a lecture about the congress with an internal censor present. If the PhD student holds a poster presentation at the conference knowledge dissemination may be given. See the section regarding knowledge dissemination for more information. 
  • SDU's course in communication for PhD students, which is offered once a year
  • Individual study activities under the guidance of a lecture (max. 10 ECTS). It is required that some form of evaluation or examination with internal censor must be included in connection with such a programme

The programme of courses is tailored to each student's project and research interests. The principal supervisor must ensure that there is sufficient academic diversity in the composition of the courses, and that the planned courses are relevant and of a high academic level.

Upon approval of the PhD courses, as a starting point 1 ECTS credit is awarded per 10 contact hours, taking into account the specific course load. Courses are assigned points in units of 0.5 ECTS credits. If a course has been given ECTS point with a decimal other than 0.5 the ECTS point is rounded. A maximum of 15 ECTS credits can be given for a course, as the study programme otherwise would become too narrow.

Up to approx. 15 ECTS credits of supplementary courses can be approved as research courses. A supplementary course is a course outside the student's discipline which is not at PhD level. Of the 15 ECTS, 5 ECTS may be relevant courses at Bachelor level. There must be strong academic reasons for choosing a Bachelor level course and the PhD student must make sure there are no alternate courses at Master or PhD level.

Usually the Faculty PhD Committee approves the course's recommended ECTS.

If the course description does not include a recommendation for ECTS points then the Faculty PhD Committee determines the course's ECTS points through an individual assessment.

When the Faculty PhD Committee pre-approves an individual PhD course the Faculty PhD Committee makes a preliminary decision regarding ECTS-points. Should the course description change after the application was submitted and until the course was completed then the Faculty PhD Committee may decide to change the number of ECTS points awarded for the course.

Approval of the academic programme and courses

The individual PhD students course programme is part of the PhD plan approved by the Head of the PhD School. PhD courses that have not been pre-approved must also be approved by the Faculty PhD Committee. Often it is not possible to give a fully detailed course programme as research courses are often offered with relatively short notice, and it is then up to the principal supervisor and the PhD student regularly to identify relevant courses so that the PhD plan can be carried out.

The department provide a range of courses pre-approved by the Faculty PhD Committee as PhD courses for all PhD students at the Faculty of Science. 

If the department wishes to offer new courses, these should also be approved in advance by the Faculty PhD Committee. Application for approval must contain the following information about the course:

  • Course title
  • Extent (number of hours and ECTS credits)
  • Aims
  • Synopsis
  • Evaluation method
  • Teaching method
  • Responsible lecturer(s)
  • Literature
  • A statement from the Department’s PhD Study Committee should also be included regarding the course's suitability as a PhD course

It is not necessary to seek approval for pre-approved research courses offered by one's own institution. The PhD School Secretariat must, however, be notified when the course is passed. Pre-approved research courses are shown on the PhD School website.

Approval of individual courses

PhD students can seek approval for summer/winter schools, external courses and similar to be recognized as PhD courses before or after the course takes place. Final approval requires that the course is assessed with a satisfactory result. On the form it must be indicated who is the provider of the activity and what number of ECTS credits is being proposed. The form is signed by the student and the principal supervisor. An academic description or similar should be included as well as any documentation demonstrating that the activity has been completed/passed.

When the activity is completed, documentation showing that the activity has been completed/passed should be forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat, which will record the activity in the PhD system.

Self-study activities supervised by the students' main supervisor must be clearly distinguishable from the background reading that is expected as part of any research project. If a formal course exsits at any Danish university with content comparable to that of the proposed activity, the student should follow that formal course in preference to the self-study activity. 

When giving approval the Faculty PhD Committee will decide how many ECTS credits each activity can be awarded in accordance with the following principles:

The Committee has adopted the following rates for week courses:

  • 1 week is awarded 4.5 ECTS credits
  • 2 weeks are awarded 7.5 ECTS credits
  • 3 weeks are awarded 10.5 ECTS credits
  • 4 weeks are awarded 13.5 ECTS credits
  • 5 weeks are awarded 15 ECTS credits
  • "Summer Schools" with at least 40 hours scheduled per week, which have not been assigned credits by the provider, are normally awarded 4.5 ECTS credits for the first week and 3 ECTS credits for any subsequent week up to a maximum of 15 ECTS credits. If the duration is less than 40 contact hours, the number of credits is reduced proportionately in line with the number of hours.
  • For "conference participation" the conference must have a minimum duration of 3 days and be followed by an oral presentation, where the PhD student gives an account to the Department (the group) of the most important presentations (5-10) at the conference he or she participated in. The presentation must be witnessed (at least) by the student's supervisor and an internal examiner, both of whom must formally approve the course. Conference participation with subsequent evaluation may be approved with 3 ECTS credits.
  • The report on journal literature as background for the PhD project can be approved with a maximum of 6 ECTS credits. The literature review task should not be part of the PhD thesis, and because of the nature of the task it cannot be approved in advance. The assignment is evaluated by an internal examination, but not by the supervisor alone. The Department for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has set the size of the literature review at around written 20 pages and a theoretical requirement of 30-50 articles. Students from other institutions should contact their local PhD Study Committee for guidance.
  • Foreigners can receive 3 approved ECTS credits for a Danish language course taken as a secondary course.
  • For courses offered by the research education programmes which the Faculty takes part in, the ECTS credits set by the research programme should be used.

In individual subject areas there may be specific requirements for the composition of the course programme, including requirements that certain courses are included.

Faculty of Science University of Southern Denmark

  • Campusvej 55
  • Odense M - DK-5230
  • Phone: +45 6550 2099

Last Updated 24.04.2020