Guidelines for PhD students

Guidelines, regulations and practices for PhD students at the PhD programme in Social Science and Business.


In the guidelines below, you should be able to find answers to most of your questions. If not, you are very welcome to contact the chair of the PhD field committee Torsten Kolind, at

However, we encourage you to read through these guidelines first.

The PhD programme in Social Science and Business

The field committee for Social Science and Business currently consists of Niels Mejlgaard, Allan Gross, Torben Andersen and Torsten Kolind (chair). The field committee are responsible for the PhD programme in Social Science and Business and for the assessment of applicants for PhD fellowships.

The programme has two main objectives. The first is to accommodate projects that span across the entire range of fields covered at BSS. The programme thus includes interdisciplinary projects. There are several cross disciplinary research environments and centres at BSS e.g. the Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, the National Centre for Register Based Research and the Centre for Teaching and Learning where most of the PhD students on the programme are employed. The programme also accommodates cross disciplinary PhD projects outside the thematic scope of the centres. The second objective is to grant fellowships to PhD students with projects that do not fit within the graduate school’s six field programmes, i.e. projects within fields that are not included as part of the six programmes but fall within the research scope of specific environments at BSS (e.g. the above mentioned centres) and/or projects that for other reasons are relevant and important to the graduate school.

An important criterion for admission to the PhD programme in Social Science and Business is that relevant supervisors are available at BSS to supervise the project.

The assessment takes place (cf. above) with due consideration of the fact that the dissertation is not limited to one field or one academic tradition in particular. The assessment committee should be composed of members whose fields of expertise reflect the PhD dissertation’s focus and field of research.

Terms of employment

If you are enrolled in the Social Scienc e and Business programme, you will be employed at one of the six departments or at the Centre for Teaching and Learning at BSS. Thus, you may be employed as a PhD student at e.g. the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences and enrolled in the Social Science and Business Programme. In fact, your terms of employment can be even more complicated if you are employed at a research centre (e.g. the Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy), which belongs under the Department of Political Science and Government, while being enrolled in the Social Science and Business programme. It may cause some problems, e.g. regarding where your teaching obligations should be carried out or which PhD environment you belong in and so on. You should discuss this with your supervisor. Practices may differ depending on which department or which research centre you are affiliated with.

All expenses for the PhD programme are covered by the department, unless another agreement has been made (e.g. between department and centre). PhD students in the Social Science and Business programme are therefore subject to the same terms and conditions as other students employed at the department with regard to travelling abroad, paying for conferences, PhD courses, expendable income etc. The department is also responsible for covering expenses in connection with printing the dissertation and conducting the PhD defence, and the department receives reimbursement from the graduate school following the PhD student’s successful completion of the programme. If other agreements have been made (e.g. between a centre and a department), then the terms of this agreement apply.

PhD courses and conferences

Together with your supervisor, you should familiarise yourself with the PhD Order and the graduate school’s rules for course participation (guidelines section 7.1). On the Social Science and Business programme you can choose between all the courses offered at the graduate school and the six other programmes. You may apply to participate on equal terms with the other PhD students on the given programme and be accepted on the same conditions. As a general rule, you should strive to obtain the required 15 ECTS on courses offered by the graduate school, but we do acknowledge that this may not always be easy. Discuss it with your supervisor and take the courses that are relevant to you and your project, even if you are not able to obtain the full 15 ECTS. The most important thing is that the ECTS credits you do take are distributed evenly and you strike an appropriate balance between courses on methodology, analytics and more specific courses that are directly relevant to your project.

The last 15 ECTS may be obtained through courses outside the graduate school. In exceptional cases, ECTS credits may also be obtained through conference participation if the PhD student gives a presentation at the conference in question. Conference participation without a presentation or participation in academic forums or similar do not merit ECTS credits, neither do courses on university pedagogics (it is a separate requirement stipulated in the PhD Order).

Board of supervisors and project presentation

The graduate school guidelines stipulate that each year in January a meeting of the board of supervisors must be held. The goal is through constructive discussion of the PhD student’s course of study in a wider context to increase to quality of the PhD projects and help the PhD students finish their projects within the scheduled time frame. The board of supervisors may include senior researchers, members of the PhD field committee and the chair of the field committee. Together with your supervisor, you must discuss when it is most appropriate for you to participate in a meeting of the board of supervisors.

The new guidelines stipulate that throughout his or her studies, the PhD student must present his or her project and research results to a forum of senior researchers under the management of the principle supervisor and convened by the chair of the PhD programme committee. As a rule, the first presentation should take place no later than one year after enrolment. PhD student presentations may take place in connection with a meeting of the board of supervisors, which takes place once a year. Oral presentations at academic conferences also count as project presentations.


Provisions on student supervision can be found in the guidelines section 10. As a PhD student you must have one principle supervisor and at least one co-supervisor. The student’s PhD plan must contain a description of the PhD student’s and principal supervisor’s mutual requirements and expectations to the supervision process, including the form and frequency of the supervision. In the biannual progress report, the principal supervisor and the PhD student confirm that the supervision process proceeds to the satisfaction of both parties.

In case problems arise that cannot be solved through dialogue with the supervisor, these may be discussed mittee (see below). The PhD student also has the option to change supervisor (pursuant to the guidelines section 10.4 “Regular adjustments to a PhD project, such as change of supervisor on academic grounds, should be expected”).

Teaching and knowledge dissemination

Pursuant to the PhD Order, PhD students are obligated to carry out 840 hours of teaching or knowledge dissemination activities (½ full time equivalent). The university is obligated to offer courses on university pedagogics/communication.

How you fulfil this teaching obligation depends on where you are employed. You should discuss with your supervisor when it is best to place your teaching and knowledge dissemination activities in accordance with your programme and the circumstances that apply in the department where you are employed. If you work at one of the faculty’s permanent interdisciplinary centres (CRF, CFA, NCRR) or at CUL, you must discuss your teaching or knowledge dissemination activities with the centre director.

Pursuant to the guidelines, each enrolled PhD student at the graduate school must undertake at least one independent teaching activity related to the PhD project in method and/or topic. Typically this will be in the form of a seminar course. In addition to the required seminars, the PhD students should be encouraged to participate in various teaching activities, including giving lectures, correcting papers and giving feedback on exam assignments and papers etc.

PhD student environment

As a PhD student enrolled in the Social Science and Business programme you will be affiliated with a research environment, but it is not given that you will be placed in an environment with other PhD students who share your academic interests. It is recommended that you seek out a PhD environment either at the department where you are employed, at the research centre or similar. Moreover, you are also encouraged to participate in the environment based at the Dale T. Mortensen building. It is important to have other PhD students to talk to and exchange experiences with, not just about the academic aspects of your work, but also more general concerns related to life as a PhD student.

Studies and work abroad

According to the guidelines, the PhD programme should also include a long-term stay at another research institution of high international standard, preferably outside Denmark and preferably a minimum of three months.

You should discuss with your supervisor the guidelines for stays abroad that apply at the department where you are employed. For example the amount of reimbursement you can get from the department. Such terms may differ depending on the department with which you are affiliated.

SDD and TR

You are entitled to an annual staff development dialogue (SDD). Who will conduct the SDD depends on which centre or department you are affiliated with. If you are employed at one of the interdisciplinary centres, it is typically the centre director who conducts SDDs. You should consult your supervisor to learn more about the SDD structure at your centre/department.

If need be, you can always contact the chair of the field committee or another member of the committee for a confidential discussion of queries or problems.

In cases involving terms of employment and working conditions, PhD students should contact their local union representative.