Information for supervisors

Information for supervisors on the PhD programme in Social Science and Business


Below is a brief introduction to what is required of supervisors supervising PhD students on the PhD programme in Social Science and Business. Any questions should be submitted to the chairman of the field committeeTorsten Kolind ( or special consultant Stine Birk Kristensen (

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.


Prior to enrolment, all PhD students must have appointed one principal supervisor and (at least) one co-supervisor. The principal supervisor must be employed at a department at BSS at the level of associate professor/senior researcher or professor. Co-supervisors may be employees at BSS or another institution at the level of (at least) assistant professor.

The supervisors offer academic supervision and guidance on the PhD project as well as supervision in connection with the student’s course participation, conference participation, stays abroad and teaching activities.

The prescribed amount of supervision offered is laid down by the supervisor’s department. Supervisors will however often spend more time than prescribed if the supervisor and PhD student enter into a research collaboration or joint authorship on scientific articles. To qualify for co-authorship, the PhD student must contribute substantially to the publication. It is not enough to just be affiliated with the supervisor.

Provisions on student supervision can be found in the guidelines section 10. Pursuant to the guidelines, the student’s PhD plan must include a description of mutual demands and expectations to the supervision process, including details of the method and frequency of supervision sessions. It may be a good idea to have frequent contact meetings, even though there are no specific assignments that require supervision. In the biannual progress reports, the principal supervisor and the PhD student confirm that the supervision process proceeds to the satisfaction of both parties (see below).

Pursuant to the PhD Order, the university must offer supervision to the PhD student to support the PhD student’s teaching activities. If the student’s teaching activities include examination, the supervision should also address matters related to examination. The principal supervisor is responsible for the PhD student’s overall course of studies, and therefore it is his/her duty to make sure that proper supervision and guidance is provided. Pursuant to the guidelines, the supervisor should duly consider the PhD student’s need for advice and counselling, and should show interest and offer encouragement especially regarding the PhD student’s teaching obligations.

Assessment throughout the programme

Pursuant to the PhD Order, the university must evaluate the PhD student’s progress continuously throughout the programme to assess whether he/she follows the PhD plan and to ensure that the student revises the PhD plan if necessary. At the graduate school, biannual progress reports are conducted in January and August, and the progress report in January is supplemented with a meeting of the board of supervisors. The goal of this board of supervisors is through constructive discussion of the PhD student’s course of study in a wider context to increase the quality of the PhD projects and help the PhD students finish their projects within the scheduled time frame. The board of supervisors should also consider the quality of the supervision offered throughout the programme.

PhD students enrolled in the Social Science and Business programme may belong under the board of supervisors at the department where they are employed. If the PhD student is employed at one of BSS’ research centres (CRF, CFA, NCRR, CUL), a board of supervisors may need to be established. The chairman of the PhD programme committee or another member of the committee participates together with the principal supervisor and a number of senior researchers.

The biannual progress reports are conducted electronically through the PhD Planner. Both the principle supervisor and the chairman of the PhD field committee must approve the biannual progress reports and boards of supervisors. The same applies to the PhD student’s list of activities –course participation, conference participation, stays abroad, teaching activities etc. –which must be submitted along with the dissertation. Submission of the dissertation should be reported to the principle supervisor and the department secretary one month in advance of the date of submission.

Assessment of the dissertation

The rules for the appointment of the assessment committee are addressed in section 12.1 of the guidelines. It is the responsibility of the principle supervisor to appoint a chairman and two members of the assessment committee and to obtain consent from the committee members that they have agreed to take on the task. You may use a letter template for submitting an enquiry to a potential member of the assessment committee. The assessment committee proposal should then be submitted to the chairman of the PhD programme/graduate school secretary. The proposal must be completed before the dissertation is submitted.

The assessment process is addressed in section 12 of the guidelines and in a special set of guidelines for assessment committees, which is available here.


Pursuant to section 11 of the PhD Order, the PhD dissertation should document the author’s ability to apply relevant scholarly methodology and to carry out research work meeting the international standards for PhD degrees within the field in question.

The PhD dissertation requirements are addressed in the guidelines section 11.1.