Structure of the PhD programme

The PhD programme is prescribed to three years and is usually full time. As a PhD student you work on an independent research project and must take courses prescribed to approx. 30 ECTS credits. The programme culminates in the submission of a PhD thesis documenting your research output.

You are enrolled at the PhD School and attached to a department. You acquire competencies by working with highly esteemed research colleagues, and through supervision, guest stays at research institutions abroad and through participation in international conferences, seminars, master classes and other academic events.

The programme is designed to ensure that the research projects concerned are integrated into the departments and that you receive qualified feedback. That is why PhD students at the Faculty of Humanities are attached to a department – normally the principal supervisor’s department. Supervision consists of approx. 180 hours over six semesters.

For further info, see the PhD Order (pdf) and the Guidebook for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Humanities ( - login required). In brief, the PhD programme is based on the following elements:

PhD plan

No later than three months after the start of the programme, you must draw up a PhD plan along with your principal supervisor, and have it approved by the head of PhD School.
Read about the PhD plan.

Evaluation reports

As a means of ensuring that you follow your PhD plan, and that suitable progress is being made overall, you in collaboration with  your principal supervisor must submit evaluation reports to the PhD Administration at 26, 14, 6 months before the end of the PhD programme.

Courses prescribed to 30 ECTS credits. 

During the course of a PhD programme, you are expected to participate in course activities prescribed to a total of approximately 30 ECTS credits, which corresponds to six months of full-time study activity. The courses may be taken at the University of Copenhagen or at other universities in Denmark or abroad. Conference attendance may also count as course activity.
Read more about the PhD School’s courses.

Knowledge dissemination, e.g. teaching

The PhD Order specifies that, during the course of your studies, all students must gain experience of teaching or some other form of knowledge dissemination related to your PhD project. The PhD School runs annual courses in university teaching and communications. Currently available courses are advertised on the PhD School’s course page.

External studies

It is important that you spend a prolonged period in a different research environment, in Denmark or abroad, during your PhD programme. These stays should be arranged in a way that allows you to conduct research and attend courses.


The thesis must be original and of a high academic standard. The formal requirements for the thesis are outlined in the PhD Order, Part 5, sections 11–15 and the Guidebook for the PhD programme at Faculty of Humanities, Part 5, subsections 5.1–5.2 ( - login required). The thesis is also subject to the specific requirements in the department to which you are attached. These will vary depending on the subject and field of research.

Once the studies undertaken during the programme have been approved, you submit your PhD thesis for assessment.


Once a PhD thesis has been assessed, and provided the assessment committee gives it a positive recommendation, it must be defended orally.