The director of the doctoral school appoints a principal supervisor, who is responsible for the PhD program of the PhD student (cf. Ministerial Order on the Ph.D. programme, §8, 1). As a main rule, the principal supervisor must be a researcher within the field of the PhD project, possessing qualifications corresponding to professor, associate professor or senior researcher level and employed on a permanent basis at Aalborg University. One or more secondary supervisors with expertise within the relevant field are appointed at the time of enrolment, unless special circumstances apply. Industrial PhD students must have a secondary supervisor affiliated with the partner organization/company. Secondary supervisors must be approved by the director of the doctoral school.
All principal supervisors must be familiar with the Rules and Curriculum. All supervisors employed at Aalborg University are expected to attend the doctoral school’s courses and programme specific seminars for supervisors at a regular basis. Both courses for new and experienced supervisor are available.
The principal supervisor is responsible for supervising the student with regard to all aspects of the PhD study. For PhD students employed by Aalborg University it is, however, the Head of Department that is the employer and hence responsible for the working conditions of the PhD student. In case of conflict between the PhD student and the supervisor, it is the responsibility of the Head of Department to resolve issues arising.
Overview of roles and requirements
The principal supervisor is responsible for the student’s PhD programme, and this involves
The principal supervisor acts as a professional sparring partner throughout the PhD period in discussions of research questions, including (but not restricted to) research design, theory, literature review, methods and analysis, as well as conference participation and publication strategies. The principal supervisor must also ensure that the student follows good scientific conduct, including ethic considerations.
The principal supervisor initiates a discussion of mutual expectations between the student and the supervisor, as clarification of mutual expectations is crucial for a successful PhD education. Supervision takes place throughout the study period, and although the intensity of supervision can vary, it is generally expected that supervision takes place at least once a month outside the main holiday season. Supervision can take many forms, including dialogues, comments on draft papers, or presentation at research group workshops.
The head of the research group together with the principal supervisor is responsible for introducing and integrating the Phd student to the research group, the department and its PhD programme, including PhD students in adjacent research areas.
The principal supervisor supports the student until the thesis is handed in. If the thesis is handed in after the stipulated three years of study (excluding formal periods of leave), the supervisor is required to read and comment on the final draft of the thesis.
It is the responsibility of the principal supervisor to guide the PhD student regarding course activities and conference participation. This includes ensuring that the required balance between different types of courses is adhered to within the required 30 ECTS. Please see the internal rules re. requirements for PhD curses.
Participation in external research environment
The principal supervisor provides guidance in relation to stays abroad and participation in other active research environments and networks. This includes helping to identify places which can provide an inspirational environment and finding a format that suits the PhD project and the student.
The principal supervisor ensures that the PhD student gains experience of teaching and helps to plan teaching activity so that different formats are covered (project supervision, seminars, lectures, etc.) and that non-teaching semesters are available for e.g. studying abroad and the final write-up of the thesis. The supervisor must also oversee that both the overall teaching duties and the agreed balance between teaching and other forms of research dissemination are adhered to.
Knowledge collaboration and dissemination
The principal supervisor ensures that the PhD student gains experience of other kinds of knowledge collaboration and dissemination and related to the PhD project.
The PhD student is responsible for producing a PhD plan in collaboration with the principal supervisor. The plan is submitted by the student with the approval of the principal supervisor, and it must subsequently be approved by both the Head of PhD programme within the department and the Head of the department.
After the plan has been approved, it is the responsibility of the principal supervisor to follow the PhD student’s academic progress. Hence, the principal supervisor oversees that the PhD student is following the PhD plan in terms of the stipulated academic contents and time frame.
The regular assessment of whether the PhD student is following the PhD plan is carried out on the background of biannual assessments, termed progress reports, submitted by the PhD student.
By means of the progress reports the principal supervisor confirms, in writing, five times within the enrolment period of the PhD student whether the student is following the PhD plan and to justify in writing why, if any, adjustments to the PhD plan are required.
The progress reports must be approved by the principal supervisor, and subsequently by the Head of PhD programme and the Director of the SSH PhD School.
In case of application for extension of enrolment (a maximum 2 x 6 months), the principal supervisor provides a statement confirming the necessity of the extension and the likelihood of completion within a 6 months period.
At least three months before submission, the principal supervisor identifies potential members for the academic assessment committee according to the stipulated criteria. Three names must be submitted to the Head of Department and the Head of programme. The proposed names must include more than one gender and at least one member from abroad (unless this is not practicable considering the subject). The proposal must include suggestion for a chair of the committee (normally a member from AAU). Each suggested name must be accompanied by a short (1-2 lines) reasoning. The discussant from the 30 month pre-defense cannot be a member of the assessment committee. The Head of Department and the Head of Programme assesses and approves the suggestions after which the supervisor initiates contact to the proposed members. The final proposal of three members is sent from the Department to AAU PhD for final approval by the PhD Committee and Doctoral School Director.
Upon submission of the thesis, the principal supervisor, aided by the PhD student, prepares an opinion (supervisor’s statement) on the completion of the PhD study program as a whole, including the completion of the individual elements of the PhD plan. The statement shall be forwarded to the Doctoral School. The statement is to be filled out in English or Danish and is to be signed as it forms an integral part of the PhD diploma.
The principal supervisor acts as an observer during the assessment process and assists the assessment committee without voting rights (cf. Ministerial Order, §16, 2). This means that the principal supervisor, as an observer, is called to the meetings in the assessment committee and is informed of e-mail correspondence etc. The principal supervisor therefore is to be kept informed, but is only expected to intervene with the purpose of explaining any uncertainties that may arise regarding the PhD study and the progress of the research project in question.
The principal supervisor is expected to be present during the oral defence.
Organization of PhD Courses
In relation to repeat courses, course organizers are expected to reflect upon previous evaluations of the PhD course in order to ensure continuous development of the course portfolio. In special cases, additional hours for development of new courses may be applied for. The Doctoral School does not finance employees’ teaching. Remuneration of teaching activities in relation to PhD courses must be cleared with the Head of Department or similar.
Per hour of lecturing: 5 hours
Per hour of attendance: 1 hour
Commentation of Papers
3 hours per paper (minimum 5 pages)
Guest lecturers: 5000 kr. per day. In special cases, higher honoraria may be approved.
Daily meal package for participants (coffee/tea/lunch) per course day (prize range approx. 150 DKK per day)
Dinners must be covered by the course participant
Lunches, dinners etc. for course organizers and lecturers may be covered in accordance with the AAU standards for representation.
If accommodation is needed in connection with course participation, it must be covered by the PhD student’s PhD annuum.
Guest lecturers’ accommodation and travel are covered by the course funds.
1 ECTS is equivalent to 27,5 student effort hours.
The total amount of the application to the course funds must appear clearly from the budget.
If the PhD course is part of a conference, please note that the PhD board expects the conference budget to cover parts of the travel costs etc.
As part of the agreement on PhD course cooperation between the Danish Universities, PhD students enrolled at other Danish Universities may attend subject-specific PhD courses at AAU for free. For generic PhD courses, participant fees may apply for PhD students enrolled at other institutions.
Generic PhD courses are PhD courses that are typically organized by the doctoral school and are relevant to a broad segment of PhD students across doctoral programmes. Examples of generic PhD courses are pedagogical courses, academic writing, research ethics etc.
Subject-specific PhD courses are typically relevant to PhD students within the doctoral programme organizing the PhD course. Examples of subject-specific PhD courses are methodological courses relevant to a given research group and presentations of specific research traditions.
For further information on participant fees and course collaboration, please see the agreement (in Danish): https://dkuni.dk/publikationer-og-notater/revision-aabne-marked-ph-d-kurser/
The PhD study board wishes to strengthen the PhD education by offering a broad range of relevant courses for PhD students. The proposals will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:
For one-day courses, there must be a minimum of six course participants. If there are less than six participants registered for the course, the course should be cancelled.
If the course is two days or more, there must be a minimum of 10 participants. If there are less than 10 participants registered for the course, the course should be cancelled.
The ‘PhD course application form’ must be used when applying for course funds. Please submit the application to the director and the secretary of the relevant doctoral programme for approval of internal hours.
The doctoral programme collects and forwards applications to the secretary of the PhD board for their final approval. The course organizer and the doctoral programme will be informed of the approval immediately after the PhD board meeting.
It is the responsibility of the doctoral programme to collect the evaluations and forward a summary together with a short Survey Xact report to the secretary of the PhD board. In the evaluation report, the course organizer must reflect upon the following:
1. Number of participants in relation to maximum number of participants and share of internal/external participants?
2. Main conclusions from the evaluation and suggestions for improvements of the course?
3. Will the course be repeated and why?
4. Did the course participants come up with suggestions for new relevant PhD courses?
Course evaluations are mandatory and the evaluation report will be discussed in the PhD board.
The course funds granted by the PhD board are transferred to the department every half year for courses held the previous half year. If a PhD course has been cancelled, please notify the doctoral school, as soon as possible.