Do a PhD in Law in Aarhus - Denmark

  • Expand your career opportunities with three years of immersion

The PhD degree programme at the Department of Law is a paid, three-year research programme. It is directed towards top lawyers, i.e. lawyers who hold a LLB as well as a LLM and were among the top of their class in both degrees. As a PhD fellow, you get the opportunity to study a self-chosen topic within the department’s academic fields in close dialogue with experienced researchers.

In addition, you will possibly be teaching students and participate in courses, seminars and conferences in Denmark and abroad. A study period abroad is also part of the programme, and during the course of your PhD, you will be building up valuable professional networks - both in and outside the department.

The Department of Law is currently looking for new international PhD fellows.

See “Guide to the application process” below.

3 truths about the PhD programme

  1. You will be working in an inspiring research environment alongside some of Denmark’s leading legal experts. 
  2. It will boost your career significantly: A PhD will give you in-depth specialist knowledge and strong methodological, analytical and communicative competences that are in demand in the public and private sector.   
  3. You will get a chance to plan and structure your own work and to spend time on reflection and in-depth specialisation. 

and 3 debunkable myths

  1. You will be alone in an office for three years rarely interacting with other researchers.
  2. You will become professionally narrow-minded and lose your connection to the real world.
  3. You will have trouble finding a job afterwards, and your former colleagues/clients won’t want to know you.

Doing an industrial PhD?

There are two programmes – one fixed and one flexible:

  1. One of the industrial PhD programmes is fixed and structured by Innovation Fund Denmark - a public authority that contributes financially. Read more 
  2. The other programme is a lot more flexible. Normally, you are enrolled as a PhD student part-time or as agreed between the department and an external partner. 

The university and the external partner agree on the working hours and the distribution of costs and salary during the PhD programme. It may be possible to modify the requirements for teaching or studying abroad that have been established by the graduate school, but the requirements laid out in the PhD Order must always be met.

The department currently employs four industrial PhD students:

Examples of employment after earning the PhD degree

The students who earn a PhD degree can either continue their research career or take up employment in the private sector or in other parts of the public sector. Thus many of the students earning a PhD degree continue their careers as legal advisers or as employees in auditing firms. In a number of fields the Master´s Degree in itself is not sufficient when you are to advise on how to solve complicated legal problems, and then the specialisation and insight that you achieve with your PhD degree can be a large advantage.  

The Department of Law - in brief

  • The department employs approximately 70 academic and 15 administrative members of staff, approximately 25 PhD students and a number of part-time lecturers, who are typically lawyers from private and public organisations. Professor Torsten Iversen is the head of department.
  • The Department of Law is part of the faculty of Aarhus BSS, which is an accredited business school (AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS) at Aarhus University.
  • The department offers two Bachelor’s degree programmes and two Master’s degree programmes - and a number of legal continuing and further education programmes.
  • The Department of Law participates in a number of Nordic and international networks which also offer PhD courses. These networks will normally also provide an opportunity for the exchange of PhD students, so that the PhD students at the department can visit these foreign institutions for a period of time during their studies.  

The PhD programme

The PhD programme in Law covers all theses with law as main content. This includes all important legal disciplines in Danish law, EU law and international law. The researchers at the Department of Law is organised in 7 teaching groups:

  1. Law of property
  2. Constitutional and administrative law
  3. General jurisprudence and legal history
  4. Tax law
  5. EU law and international law
  6. Business law
  7. Criminal law

All the legal research environments in Denmark work together on offering PhD courses in Law. This cooperation is organised in JurForsk cf. for further information:

What our students say

"As a Top100 university Aarhus has world class facilities, a great supported PhD environment, a collegial and open-to-new-ideas culture, and a very high academic level, e.g. within International Law and Human Rights."

> Nikolas Feith Tan, LLM, LLB, BA, PhD Fellow

"The programme provides so many opportunities for travel, participating in conferences, organising events, and developing a fantastic international network. And as a member of staff you are part of the daily life of the department, as well as involved in the academic activities of other faculty members."

> Lauren Neumann, MA, GradDip Legal Practice, LLB (hons) / B Psych, PhD Fellow

Guide for the application process


  • About your topic and the programme
    If you have any questions about the programme or the admission requirements, or an idea that you would like to discuss, please contact those responsible for our PhD programme. See contact information below.
  • About the conditions
    If you have any questions about what it's like to be a PhD fellow at the department, you are welcome to contact our current PhD fellows on mail and phone.
  • About the department
    If you have any questions about the department or the management team, please contact Head of Department Torsten Iversen.
  • Come to the information meetings
    The department regularly hosts information meetings for people interested in doing a PhD. Keep an eye on the calendar at for the exact time and date.


  • Your motivation
    Write a personal statement (2,400 characters incl. spaces) that explains why you would like to embark on a PhD.
  • Project description
    Write a project description (12,000 characters incl. spaces) containing:
    • Description of the topic
    • Research question and hypotheses
    • Suggestions for theory and literature
    • Considerations on method and data collection
    • Proposal for a three-year project plan 
    • Note: It's a good idea to get some feedback on your project description from a potential supervisor. 
  • CV, diplomas and course certificates
    Gather all in one pdf-file
  • Upload all of the above
    The online application opens one month before the deadline. Click here to go the application page.


  • You will get a reply within three months
    Regardless of whether or not you have been admitted, you will get a reply within approx. three months after your application.
  • Start 1 February or 1 September
    If you are offered a PhD position, you will start on 1 February if you applied in the autumn of the previous year, or 1 September if you applied in the spring of the same year. 
    The starting date can be adjusted according to mutual agreement.
  • Further information
    If you are admitted, you will get much more information about your PhD process, introductory courses, etc. 

Please contact us with your questions

Head of PhD Unit

PhD Secretary

PhD/HRM Consultant