Skip to main content

PhD Courses

PhD students must complete courses totaling 30 ECTS during the PhD programme.  1 ECTS point equals 27 hours work load.

The courses are approved individually for each student in the research and study plan.

For students admitted to the PhD School the following course structure and rules for study progression apply: 


ECTS credits


Responsible Conduct of Research for PhD students in Engineering  (Link)

2 ECTS credits

Mandatory for TEK students enrolled after 20.12.2017

A Literature report (self-study of background material and research literature that are relevant for conducting the PhD project.)

Up to 6 ECTS credits


A Presentation course

Up to 1 ECTS credit


A Teaching course

Up to 3 ECTS credits

Mandatory for PhD students employed at SDU. Not mandatory for private students or industrial PhD students


1 ECTS credit for each seminar report

Maximum 10 reports


A Writing course in English 

Minimum 2 and maximum 5 ECTS credits


International summer school

Up to 5 ECTS credits


A Patent course

Up to 5 ECTS credits


Conference participation.

2 x 3 ECTS credits

The first conference participation is mandatory and the second is elective

Core scientific courses

5–10 ECTS credits

One scientific (5-ECTS-credits) is mandatory.


The Faculty of Engineering has determined that PhD students enrolled in both the 4+4 programme and the 5+3 programme will be obliged to pass the 30 ECTS credits, one year before enrolment ends. For students enrolled under the 4+4 programme, courses worth at least 10 ECTS credits must have been passed after one year and at the latest by the time of the master's exam. For students enrolled in the 5+3 programme, courses worth at least 15 ECTS credits must have been passed after one year.

Courses are normally rated pursuant to the number of ECTS credits set by the institution offering the course, but approval and determination of some ECTS credits for courses will be decided by the PhD Committee. Summer schools and conference participation can also count as course activities.

The PhD Committee has adopted the following rates for week-long courses: 

1-week duration: 5 ECTS credits
2-week duration: 7.5 ECTS credits
3-week duration: 10.5 ECTS credits
4-week duration: 13.5 ECTS credits
5-week duration: 15 ECTS credits

Application for credit transfer regarding credit for individual study activities may not exceed 15 ECTS credits. A description of the activity as regards content, examination form, bibliography and assessment and a specification of the subject it will replace must be enclosed with the application.

Rules applying to all courses taken during the PhD programme at the PhD School under the Faculty of Engineering:

  • The PhD administration office must be notified once an ECTS yielding activity has been passed. Documentation for all passed activities in the form of an examination transcript, official statement, principal supervisor's statement or diploma must be sent to the PhD administration.
  • As a general rule, all courses taken during the PhD programme must be offered and approved as PhD courses.
  • The PhD committee processes applications for course activities not listed and approved in the research and study plan.
  • Applications for credit transfer and exemptions are processed by the PhD Committee.
  • The courses are rated in units of 0.25 ECTS credits.    
  • A maximum of 15 ECTS credits for one course may be granted.
  • Up to 10 ECTS credits can be approved for auxiliary courses as research courses. An auxiliary course is defined as a master's level course outside the student’s academic field. If a PhD student wishes to take part in courses that are not at PhD level, exemption must be applied for in order to participate in the course. Applications for exemption are to be submitted to the PhD administration office using the form designed for this purpose and must cite the reasons the course is required for the student’s PhD studies.
  • A literature report may be approved for a maximum of 6 ECTS credits once during the PhD studies. The report may not be included as part of the PhD thesis. The report is assessed using an internal examiner, but not by a supervisor alone. The ECTS given for the report must be relative to the scope of and curriculum of the report. 
  • The collective extent of writing courses in the PhD study must be at least 2 ECTS and at the most 5 ECTS. The written part of the courses must be in English and the courses must be at PhD level. The courses must focus on one or more of the following subjects:
    - Perfecting the linguistic skills in the producing of academic texts in English (Focus on language and terminology)
    - Working on the production of texts and learning the process of writing (Focus on the writing process and text production)
    - Reviewing and revising texts for academic journals and publishing in general. (Focus on writing and reviewing for publications)

Specific rules for participating in seminars :

Lectures by established scholars: the students write 1 A4 page summary, which is to be approved by the principal supervisor.
Plenary sessions in connection with conference participation: the lecture must have some general character, otherwise it will be a part of the study activity "conference participation." The students write 1 A4 page summary, which is to be approved by the principal supervisor.
Lecture by other PhD students: In this case, the PhD students write an informed written critique (to get acquainted with scientific referee work). The principal supervisor must approve the critique.

Specific rules for courses, including summer schools and conferences:

  • The activity may only be included in a student’s PhD studies if an application for this has been approved by the PhD Committee or if the activity is approved in the Research and Study Plan.
  • If the number of ECTS credits for the activity have been rated by the institution offering the activity, the PhD Committee may choose to rate it at the same number of ECTS credits, but may also approve it at a different number of ECTS credits (for instance, the number may be reduced pursuant to other rules, if it is an auxiliary course and the maximum number of ECTS credits for auxiliary courses would otherwise be exceeded).
  • In order to be part of the PhD study the activity must include active participation by the student or an evaluation (either by the course providers or the supervisor and a subsequent internal examiner).
  • For summer schools with at least 40 hours of scheduled courses per week that have not been rated in terms of ECTS credits by the provider, 5 ECTS credits are usually granted for the first week and 2.5 ECTS credits for a subsequent week. The maximum number of ECTS credits is 7.5.

For conference participation, a maximum of 3 ECTS credits are granted per conference. The conference must last at least three days. Conference participation may only be included as a course activity twice during the course of study (2x3 = 6). There are two ways that conference participation can be counted as a course activity:

  1. Active participation with paper presentation at conference documented by the submission of a copy of the conference program and a written statement from the principal supervisor.
  2. Participation without presentation, but with subsequent lecture to the student's institute/research team in which the most important conference presentations are reviewed. The lecture must be observed by the principal supervisor and an internal examiner, both of whom must formally approve the course in writing.

It is possible to obtain 2x3 ECTS for the same conference attendance, - 3 ECTS for documented presentation at the conference and 3 ECTS for documented presentation at SDU of the broad contents of the conference.

Other rules

Participation fee for courses held by the University of Southern Denmark and courses at an outside institution shall be paid by the student´s budget.

Credits for courses taken before enrolment as a PhD student may be applied for if these courses are deemed to be at PhD level and it can be documented that they are not part of another completed study program.

It is not possible to approve courses beyond the PhD study’s fixed scope. Courses for which credits are being applied for must have been "passed", "approved" or have been marked at a level of at least "02" or equivalent.

It is not possible to apply for ECTS credits for activities already honoured with knowledge dissemination hours.

The PhD student registers for the relevant PhD courses at the course provider.

The PhD School at The Faculty of Engineering University of Southern Denmark

  • Campusvej 55
  • Odense M - DK-5230
  • Phone: +45 6550 7433

Last Updated 17.01.2024