What does employment as a PhD scholar entail – University of Copenhagen

What does employment as a PhD scholar entail

Danish PhD programmes are subject to fees and PhD students are not entitled to state grants. Students are therefore responsible for finding ways to finance their studies. A PhD scholarship is a fixed-term appointment lasting 36 months. PhD scholars may be employed in the following ways:

  • By the Faculty of Humanities, following a vacancy announcement or a grant from a funding body
  • Externally, as an employee of a private- or public-sector company.

The PhD scholar’s position is terminated the moment that they submit a PhD thesis for assessment – or, at the latest, after 36 months of employment. This time limit may be extended on request for PhD scholars who avail themselves of the legal right to leave – maternity/paternity and adoption leave – during the course of their studies. Extensions may also be granted in cases of long-term illness and national service. Please note, however, that enrolment as a PhD student does not necessarily entail employment.

Employment by the Faculty of Humanities

PhD scholars at the Faculty of Humanities are appointed under the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations [(in Danish). According to the agreement, PhD scholars are obliged – without any additional remuneration – to perform tasks assigned to them corresponding to 840 working hours over the three years.

PhD scholars are paid according to seniority and the basic pay scale. As of March 2016, wage grade 4 (i.e. the earliest stage of the PhD) amounted to DKK 24,287 per month under the most recent agreement. The non-pensionable allowance for all PhD scholars is DKK 1,269 per month. Local agreements on allowances are also permitted under the terms of the AC agreement. The appointing authority pays a total pension contribution of 17.1%, of which 1/3 is categorised as the employee contribution. For more details, please refer to the protocol concerning PhD scholars (in Danish).

External employment

The terms and conditions for PhD scholars employed externally are determined by their employer. For example, they may be subject to collective bargaining agreements for academics employed by the government, the regions or local authorities. They may also be employed on an individual contract in a private company or organisation. Between them, the PhD School, the department and the workplace draw up an agreement that lays down clear parameters for the PhD scholar’s programme.