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The principal supervisor

The supervisor function is an important element in the PhD programme. The supervision includes information about and advice on all aspects of the PhD programme with a focus on academic supervision in connection with the research activities. As the principal supervisor, you are responsible for the complete PhD programme, cf. section 8 of the PhD Executive Order.

In order to be a principal supervisor, you must be a recognised researcher in the relevant subject area and have qualifications corresponding to professor, associate professor or senior researcher level, be employed at the University of Southern Denmark and affiliated with the PhD School. As a principal supervisor, you must have qualifications to supervise PhD students and therefore all supervisors must have participated in the PhD supervisor course (or an equivalent course) offered by the PhD School.

An overall, common minimum standard of 100 hours per year per PhD student is expected of the principal and co-supervisor. It is also expected that the principal supervisor follows the PhD student’s project closely throughout the course of programme. The 100 standard hours can be distributed between the principal and co-supervisor as deemed relevant in relation to the PhD project.

The principal supervisor is responsible for:

  • Being in contact with the PhD student regularly and providing back-and-forth discussions on the research project.
  • Being familiar with the PhD Executive Order and the PhD School’s regulations.
  • Reading and commenting on the PhD project.
  • Ensuring the PhD plan is planned and submitted in a timely manner, and that a statement is prepared in connection with the PhD plan.
  • Informing the PhD student about relevant courses and conferences.
  • Advising on the integrity of research. The PhD student must participate in the compulsory course ‘Responsible Conduct of Research’ or similar courses at other institutions or faculties.
  • Assisting the PhD student in establishing contacts with relevant national and international research environments.
  • Drawing up a plan for the frequency and form of the supervision as well as division of roles between the principal supervisor and the co-supervisor.
  • Advising the PhD student on how the work obligation (teaching and knowledge dissemination) can be incorporated into the course of study. This includes planning the distribution between the dissemination of knowledge elements and environmental change.
  • Ensuring that the PhD student becomes an active member of research groups or networks at SDU or other research institutions.
  • Preparing the regular evaluations and participating in the PhD seminar. This includes taking the initiative to inform the head of the PhD School and evaluate the programme following any changes in the PhD plan.
  • Preparing the final principal supervisor’s statement, which summarises the entire PhD programme (courses, lectures and environmental change) when the PhD thesis is submitted.
  • Participating in the assessment work and the PhD defence without the right to vote.

The co-supervisor assists the principal supervisor. The co-supervisor tasks are agreed upon at the appointment, and will usually include academic discussions on selected parts of the research project.

Last Updated 15.03.2024