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Information for PhD-students – how does the corona situation affect you PhD?

The current Corona situation is also influencing your work as a PhD-student. At the PhD school we are well aware of this! We are in uncharted territory, and it is not possible to find all possible answers here and now. Most issues will need to be decided on when we reach the other side of the lock-down. How everyday working life will look like at that time, will influence possible decisions and solutions.

It is important to note the following:

First of all, every PhD student is as always very welcome to contact the PhD School and the Head of the PhD school directly with questions and concerns.

Second, the PhD school cannot decide on extensions of employment or changes in employment (part-time or leave). This is solely a department level decision. The Dean emphasizes that extensions will only be decided after the Corona-crisis and the termination of the current lock-down of the Faculty. When decisions are made, this will be based on an individual case-by-case assessment, taking into consideration also the financial situation of the departments.

Based on an individual, concrete assessment of the application from the PhD student stating the causal relation with the COVID-19 situation and the delay the PhD School can approve an extension of the enrolment.

Thirdly, the Faculty management and SDU Executive Board are continuously discussing the situation - also from a PhD perspective. Moreover, the PhD school is in constant contact with the other PhD schools at SDU and at other Danish universities. We share ideas, opportunities and experiences - both in everyday life and during the Corona-situation.

Please find further information concerning the Corona situation for PhD students at the Faculty of Social Sciences below. Please also note, that the information may be updated, due to developments in the current situation.

NB. SDU opens for PhD students

The PhD school is open.

Please contact

During the COVID-19 situation the PhD School recommends that PhD defences are held digitally or partly digitally. From 8 August 2020 PhD defences can be held with up to 50 participants as long as the applicable guidelines are followed. The deadline for handing in the thesis for the evaluation and defense is unchanged.

The PhD school will have direct communication with PhD students, whose evaluation and defense are scheduled to take place during the lock-down.

As stipulated in the PhD order, the PhD student or author must be given the opportunity to present the PhD thesis to the members of the assessment committee and the general public. The faculty rules and procedure for the evaluation and defense apply

The defense is advertised by the PhD school via e-mail to the members of the assessment committee, principal supervisor, PhD student and all Faculty members with information on how the general public can gain access to the digital defense. The department advertises the defense via the usual distribution channels  and include information on how to gain access to the digital defense.

A digital defense must be held  the following way:

  • The defence must be live-streamed and be accessible via a secure IT platform.
  • The assessment committee must be given the opportunity to put questions directly to the PhD student/author via the video meeting.
  • The audience must also be given the opportunity to participate actively in the defence, i.e. put questions to the author, e.g. via a chat function.
  • The chair of the defence is to ensure that the digital defence  adhere to the faculty rules and procedure. If not, the defence must be paused or suspended.

These stipulations will apply until the end of the lock-down. The department is responsible for assigning one person (e.g. the chair of the defence) to be in charge of moderating the defense on the chosen platform, e.g. switch on/off of the microphone and camera and tend to the comments/questions in the chat feed. For questions regarding technical issues please contact SDU IT service.

Please consult the various online guides for using Zoom or Skype  for the purpose. 

Please note: If an arrangement is conducted physically, the organizers must be aware of the current guidelines, requirements for distance and good hygiene, etc. The current ban of loitering must be followed as an indication of the size of physical arrangements at SDU. 

Status seminar and Mid-term evaluation will be digitally or with physical presence.

Please contact the PhD School if you would like to discuss the possibility to postpone your mid-term evaluation to be able to meet physically with the appointed assessors.

All PhD Schools at SDU experience that many PhD students are extremely challenged in terms of scheduling a research stay at another research institution. The change of research enviroment is a requirement of the Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (PhD Order) in order to complete the PhD study. Thus, the PhD School cannot in general grant exemptions from this requirement. However, this calls for flexibilty from the PhD School in the interpretation of the fulfillment of this requirement in terms of considering alternative options and duration of the research stay.

For your inspiration we have listed examples of alternatives for changing your research stay outside SDU during the COVID-19 situation:

  • Changing your planned research stay abroad to a research stay at another Danish university when it is allowed to visit other universities
  • The actual stay can e.g. be a combination of physical attendance and virtual meetings (e.g. participating in research meetings, presentation of your PhD project, etc.)
  • Proceed with plans as before COVID-19 to visit a research institution abroad – but fully online. This means participating in all online activities at the host institution and having meetings with the host-professor, discussing the PhD project, research and potential joint writings, etc.
  • Engaging in international online research communities engaging actively in joint seminars, webinars and online conferences
  • Postponing your planned stay in the spring 2021 into the autumn 2021

At the Faculty of Social Science every department has the discussion making authority concerning funding for travelling, data collection etc. Please contact your supervisor and head of department, if you prepaid e.g. flight tickets or a stay abroad that cannot be reimbursed.

As always, approval of course activities is granted based on individual application to the PhD committee.

Due to the current situation, the PhD committee will be flexibility in course approval (within the limits of applicable law and regulations). We encourage you to find constructive solutions as an alternative to courses canceled or postponed: self-study, small study groups, online workshops or the like.

The PhD school encourages PhD students to submit application for completed course approval on an ongoing basis.

The PhD school's interpretation of the requirements of the PhD Order (section 7 (2), no. 2) on completion of courses is that a total course portfolio corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS may be considered approved under special circumstances.

If your data collection is delayed or postponed, please contact your supervisor to discuss alternatives and possible adjustments in your research design and project.

Converting classroom to online teaching may take up extra hours. Please contact your supervisor and potentially also your head of department, if you need assistance e.g. for adjusting your workload.

The decision-making power to extend employment as a result of the Corona situation lies solely with the departments.

The extension of enrollment is based on an individual assessment following a reasoned application.

The decision-making power on leave or part-time employment as a result of the Corona situation lies solely with the departments. The PhD school will look favorably at applications for changed enrollment.

Please read this document about PhD course activities during the Covid-19 lockdown.



Last Updated 14.01.2022