Skip to main content

Before applying for enrolment

In order to be enrolled as a PhD student

  • you must have a Master's degree (Danish: kandidatgrad) or another relevant degree that concludes a research-based study programme of minimum five years’ duration at an institution of higher education.
    If you do not have a Master's degree, the Graduate School will make an individual assessment of your academic qualifications
  • you must have documented research experience (e.g. be the author or co-author of an article in a peer-reviewed international journal or of a published abstract from an international scientific conference, or have worked as research assistant for at least 6 months)
    The research experience of each applicant is individually assessed by the Graduate School.

  • you need to have good oral and written English language skills


All PhD students must have a main supervisor who must be a permanent member of the Faculty at associate professor or professor level, and must be an active researcher within the field in question.

Co-supervisors provide guidance for a specific part of the project in which they have a special expertise. 
Co-supervisors do not have to be employed at SDU or another university as long as they have relevant research qualifications within the research area.
Please note that the Faculty does not pay external supervisors.

The student and the supervisor(s) must not be related, e.g. family or in a relationship.

The Graduate School does not permit more than one main supervisor and three co-supervisors for a PhD project. 

A large number of co-supervisors may cause an inappropriately large number of opinions and differences that can be a cause of confusion to the PhD student. At the same time, the possibility of many co-supervisors will decrease the scientific value of having had such a function.

If further need for scientific reinforcement is needed, it is the recommendation of the Graduate School, that a project group is established which includes the student, the main supervisor, and all persons relevant for the completion of the project.
The members of the project group can then agree on responsibilities, roles, and co-authorships for all the parties involved.

An exemption can be made in the case of double/joint degrees where the collaboration agreement specifically requires more supervisors.

The research project is the core of the PhD programme. The planning, undertaking and reporting of an original research work will enable you to gain experience in the different aspects of research and will also document your ability to perform research at a high international level.

At the Faculty of Health Sciences,  a PhD project can be within any field of health sciences, including laboratory research, social studies research and clinical research.

The PhD research project must be well planned and have a sound scientific basis. The project needs to be of a quality and relevance that will give material for 2-3 articles, which can be published in international peer-reviewed scientific journals (or other type of publication of a corresponding quality and extent).

It is important to develop a clear outline for the research project, and to be able to complete the work in the time you have at your disposal.
Remember, that during the three years of the PhD enrolment, you will not just be writing the PhD thesis, but will also have to complete courses and knowledge dissemination activities. In practice, this means that the research project itself should correspond to no more than two years of full-time employment.

The application for enrolment in the PhD programme must include a project proposal. 
The project proposal is a description of the research project which will be undertaken during the 3 year study period, and should be written in close collaboration with the future main supervisor.

The project description should include:

  • an explaination the project's background
  • purpose
  • relevance
  • methods
  • feasibility in a way that is consistent with and meets scientific practice in the relevant research field
  • an impact paragraph (5-10 lines) with reflections on the practical applications of the project as well as the project’s relation to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. For more information about these goals see SDU's website and the UN's website

The project description must not exceed 6 pages (excluding references) and can be written in Danish or English.

When submitting the application for project approval, one internal reviewer and one external reviewer must be suggested.

The suggested reviewers must be contacted in advance to make sure they are willing to do the review. However, the Graduate School reserves the right to not follow your suggestions when inviting and appointing reviewers.

Please be sure that the suggested reviewers all comply with the following eligibility requirements:

Internal reviewers
  • Recognized researchers within the field of research
  • Assistant professor (or above) at the Faculty of Health Sciences, SDU
  • Not directly involved in the project that is being reviewed
  • No close personal relationship with the applicant and/or the main supervisor
External reviewers
  • Recognized researchers within the field of research
  • Not employed at SDU
  • Not involved in the project that is being reviewed
  • No close personal or working relationship with the applicant and/or the main supervisor

It is possible to apply for project approval before the project is fully financed.

However, you cannot be enrolled before you have secured funding for your salary, study fee and running costs. 

See more about financing your PhD in the section Financing


Last Updated 27.08.2021