How to become a PhD student

How to become a PhD student

This page contains all the information you need if you are considering a PhD study. You will be able to find information about everything from enrollment requirements, funding opportunities and contents of the PhD study.

Feel free to contact AAU PhD if you have any questions.

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    Admission Requirements


    Admission to the PhD programme is based on a Master’s degree or equivalent; cf. Ministerial Order on the
    PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions (PhD Order),
    No. 1039 of 27 August 2013. Additionally, the following guidelines apply for assessment of applications for enrolment as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Humanities: 

    PhD applicants are assessed by an expert committee and the recommendation of the committee forms the basis of the final decision of the director of the doctoral school. The criteria for assessment of PhD candidates are as follows:


    The project proposal must fall within the scope of one of the doctoral programmes of the doctoral school and be closely linked with a research group. The problem formulation, theoretical framework, and methodology of the project proposal must document that the candidate are qualified for the PhD programme. Moreover, the project proposal must document that the project is feasible within the available time and budget


    PhD candidates must have achieved the grade 10 or above in the Danish grading system (or the equivalent in a different grading system) for their Master’s Thesis/final exam. The PhD candidate may be exempted from the grade requirement, if he/she is able to provide other forms of documentation of his/her qualifications.


    Applicants who are planning to complete a doctoral thesis in English and who do not have English as a first language or who have not completed an English language-based Master’s programme (or an equivalent educational achievement in English) shall provide documentation that they have passed one of the following official tests with the respective minimum score:

    IELTS (band score): 7
    TOEFL (paper-based): 600
    TOEFL (internet-based): 100

    The language test must be no more than five years old at the time of the application.

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    Content of the PhD Study

    The PhD Study is compromised of fixed elements given by the Ministerial Order and local AAU regulations. During the 3 years PhD students must complete the following elements:

    • 30 ECTS from course activities on a PhD level
    • External research collaboration - primarily in the form of stays at foreign research institutions
    • Knowledge dissemination - can be in the form of teaching, conference participitation and the like
    • Conduct independent research
    • Write a thesis (monograph or collection of papers)
    • Conduct a public defense 

    You can apply for a merit prior to enrollment if you have completed one or more of the elements above. The merit given will be deducted from the 3 year timeframe.

    Please contact AAU PhD if you have any questions in relation to the above.

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    Ways into the PhD Study

    There are different ways into the PhD Study - this site present the different options and their contingencies.

    1: Apply for a PhD stipend (published on - Here you will be employed as a PhD stipend and will be paid a salary by the university - requirements are listed under the vacant position.

    2: Become part of a research project - Another way to get employment as a PhD stipend is by getting included in research project, headed by a senior researcher at the Faculty of Humanities. PhD projects can be integrated as part of a research project and funding can thus be secured through a research application to a funding organization such as e.g. Forskningsrådet for Kultur og Kommunikation, Det Strategiske Forskningsråd or to a private fond.
    In order to be included in a research project, you have to contact a senior researcher within your field of study to discuss your project and your qualifications. 

    3: Industrial PhD - This type of PhD is offered by Innovation Fund Denmark and combines enrollment in the Doctoral School with employment in a company/organization. The company in question will receive support to your salary and other elements and you will be able to participate in a project that has both a financial outlook and an academic scope. Read more about the program on Innovation Fund Denmark's website.

    4: Self-funded PhD. If you have secured the funding for a PhD study an you meet the criteria for enrollment you can apply for a self-funded PhD.

    Questions to the above can be directed to AAU PhD -

The Doctoral School of the Humanities

Niels Jernes Vej 10

9220 Aalborg East

Phone: 9940 9638