The Doctoral School of Social Sciences and Humanities:
The PhD programme (at the department):
The PhD programme at the Department of Politics and Society (DPS) is part of the PhD School of the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and administered by the PhD secretariat at the Department. The PhD programme follows the guidelines at the PhD School at SSH. The main implementation of the guidelines of the programme is presented below.
On-boarding of phd students
PhD students are invited to individual introduction meetings with main supervisor (focusing on the project and integration in the research group), Head of the PhD programme (focusing on PhD education) and PhD programme secretary (focusing on the practical matters, office, and finances etc.). The meetings will introduce the PhD students to the content and structure in the PhD programme. If the PhD student is part of an externally funded research project (money raised outside of the university) the PhD student will be introduced to the administrative supporter of the project.
To be integrated in the research environment the PhD student should be introduced to the group at the first possible meeting in the research group.
Upon enrolment, the Head of the PhD programme appoints a mentor among the PhD students at the department.
Principal supervisor and second superviser
The Study Director of the Doctoral School appoints a principal supervisor upon recommendation from the Head of Department/Head of PhD programme. The PhD student is allocated a total amount of 240 supervision hours (cf. part 3, item 23). The supervisors are compensated with 180 hours which will be distributed between the principal and secondary supervisor in agreement with the PhD student. The only possible exception to these rules is enrolment as industrial PhD student. The division of supervision hours between the principal and secondary supervisor must at DPS be announced upon enrolment.
PhD funding and annual grants
As a part of the PhD education, the departments cover expenses to research travels and participation in academically relevant PhD courses, conferences and workshops, the purchase of material and data if necessary for the execution of the project. PhD students at DPS will need to apply the department for funding for these purposes.
A mandatory element of the PhD training is to gain experience with teaching activities or other form of knowledge dissemination which is related to the student’s PhD project, cf. the internal rules at the Doctoral School part 3, item 18. At SSH the work obligation is 600 hours. The PhD student must prepare a preliminary teaching plan in consultation with the principal supervisor, as part of the PhD plan. The teaching plan includes teaching activities (lectures and supervision at AAU) and/or other form of knowledge dissemination. The PhD secretariat at the department must be informed if the distribution between teaching activities and other forms of knowledge dissemination changes during enrolment. It is the responsibility of the supervisor, Head of the PhD programme, Head of studies and Head of Department to ensure that the PhD student’s teaching obligations are efficiently coordinated and executed. It is therefore recommended to schedule teaching activities early in the enrolment period to have sufficient time for the final writing phase of the PhD thesis.
The PhD plan is an important tool in the process and provides an overview of the mandatory activities during the enrolment. The PhD student must prepare the PhD plan in close collaboration with the principal supervisor. No later than three months after admission, the PhD plan must be uploaded in the PhD manager and will be approved by the supervisor, the Head of the PhD programme, the Head of Department and the Study Director at the Doctoral School.
The PhD plan must, as a minimum, contain a time schedule, a budget, a plan for PhD courses and ECTS-rewarding activities and a plan for teaching activities or other types of knowledge dissemination, cf. the internal rules at the Doctoral School part 4. The PhD student must consider which form the PhD thesis may take: a monograph, an articled-based dissertation or a combination model, cf. the internal rules at the Doctoral School part 5, item 32 and 33. At DPS the form of the thesis must be decided when the PhD projects starts, please see below. If, however, it makes academic sense it is possible to change the form of the thesis during the PhD enrolment in agreement with the principal supervisor and the Head of the PhD programme.
The PhD plan can only be adjusted if there are substantial changes to the content and time schedule and must be adjusted in consultation with the supervisor and the Head of the PhD programme before being uploaded in the PhD manager.
Evaluation cycle: 6, 12, 18, 24 and 30 months
To ensure quality and progress, the PhD student must submit five progress reports during enrolment, the progress reports must be made with reference to the PhD plan. A progress report consists of the PhD student’s accumulative registration of activities and evaluation of these, i.e. a portfolio, and the principal supervisor’s evaluation of the portfolio. This is followed by approval from the Head of the PhD programme and the Study Director of Doctoral School, which among other things presupposes that all required documentation e. g. course certificates have been uploaded with the portfolio, and that the study is progressing satisfactory; that the thesis maintains the required level of research quality; that the timetable is realistic; and that the requirements of ECTS and teaching hours are fulfilled.
The PhD student prepares a portfolio documenting the progress of the PhD study programme in terms of the PhD thesis, ECTS activities, knowledge dissemination, visits to other research environments and publications. The portfolio is a continuous document which accumulates the PhD student’s activities and evaluation of these throughout the whole enrolment period.
When a progress report is due, the PhD manager system automatically sends emails to the PhD student and the supervisor. In case of illness, maternity leave or other forms of leave, the PhD students must inform the PhD programme secretariat.
The portfolio document consists of a form/template with fixed headings in which the PhD student must account for activities and progression in the PhD project, list teaching, other form of knowledge dissemination and ECTS-rewarding activities (courses conferences etc.). It is important to submit all information in the form as well as the duration of the activities (e.g. submitted papers at conferences and title of the papers) and to upload documentation for the ECTS-rewarding activities in the form of course certificates, conference programme etc. (cf. the internal rules at the Doctoral School part 3). PhD students who are not employed at AAU (e.g. self-funded PhD student or Industrial PhD students) and who do not have a teaching obligation at AAU must document how they gain experience with teaching activities and other form of knowledge dissemination. The five progress reports during the PhD study consist of three written reports and two combined written and oral reports after 12 and 30 months respectively in which an opponent participates. The Head of the PhD programme furthermore participates in the 12 month’s evaluation. When appointing the opponent, the supervisor must come up with proposals which are approved by the Head of the PhD programme. The opponent cannot be a part of the PhD project but must be an impartial competent researcher at associate professor or professor level who has experience with PhD supervision and who is able to assess progress and quality of the project. Please note that the opponent from the 30-month evaluation cannot be part of the assessment committee for the PhD defence.
The procedure for the 12-month evaluation is that the PhD student prepares a progress report in the portfolio which must be uploaded in the PhD Manager before the oral evaluation. The report must also be sent to the opponent including draft outlines (PhD plan, draft chapters or articles, course, or conference papers etc.). The Supervisor must not approve the progress report until after the oral evaluation. After the oral evaluation the supervisor writes a summary of the discussion and assesses the overall status of the PhD project including attention points. The supervisor writes the summary etc. in the comment section in the PhD manager and approves the progress report. The progress report is now forwarded for approval in the PhD manager to the Head of the PhD programme and the Study Director at the Doctoral School. At the 12-month evaluation, special attention should be paid to the project design being in place; a clear timetable specifying writing phases, teaching activities and ECTS-rewarding activities, considerations or plans for the PhD student’s participation in international research environments; and that the PhD students has written text which will be included in the final PhD thesis.
The procedure for the 30-month evaluation follows the 12-month evaluation however with the difference that the PhD student must submit a more substantial text (min. 50 pages and max. 75 pages) before the oral evaluation, which forms the basis for the meeting/evaluation/discussion. If it is considered that the 30-month evaluation can be a beneficial activity within the relevant research group it can be requested by the PhD student to include the research group in the evaluation. Particularly attention at this evaluation, should be paid to the assessment of the scientific quality of the PhD thesis and to the timetable for completion within the remaining 6 month of the PhD enrolment.
There is no hourly compensation for the opponent at the oral evaluations.
Approximately three months prior to the expected date of submission of the PhD thesis, the supervisor must submit a proposal for an assessment committee; a chairman (typically an internal researcher) and 2 external members; to the Head of the PhD programme and the Head of Department. The proposal must include five names (of which one must be an international member and all genders must be represented). There must be a short argumentation of about 1-2 lines for each proposed member. The opponent from the 30-month evaluation cannot be a part of the assessment committee. On the basis of the proposed members, the Head of Department and the Head of the PhD programme will assess and approve the assessment committee. The supervisor will contact the members of the assessment committee accordingly (Cf the PhD school’s guidelines for appointment of the assessment committee part 6).
Head of the PhD programme
The Head of the PhD programme is responsible for the evaluation of the PhD programme concerning the progress and quality of the project. Moreover, she/he is available for informal conversations with the PhD student. The Head of the PhD programme schedules regular meetings with the PhD students and facilitates networking between the PhD students. The Head of the PhD programme participates in the PhD board meeting at the Doctoral School consisting of six scientific members and two PhD students to ensure continuous development and quality of the PhD education, furthermore the Doctoral School is academically responsible for the organization of relevant PhD courses.
When the PhD student is about to expire enrolment, it is possible to ask for an individual interview about relevant career opportunities. The PhD student can ask for a joint meeting with the Head of Department, the Head of the PhD programme, the Head of the research group and/or the supervisor. The PhD student is expected to take the initiative for the meeting, which should take place within the last six month of the enrolment.
All PhD theses must undergo a reference and plagiarism check before and after submission of the PhD thesis. The check before submission is carried out 3-4 weeks prior to the submission date at the PhD programme secretariat cf. the AAU handbook. The check after submission of the thesis is carried out at the PhD Doctoral School secretariat and follows the existing procedures at the Doctoral School. PhD theses at the SSH Doctoral School are completed within the framework of responsible research practice which is elaborated in the PhD Handbook and the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity at the website of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science (in Danish and English).
Questions about the procedure for reference and plagiarism check can be addressed to email@example.com.
Department of Politics and Society, November 2023.
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First published: 13 January, 2023 (CK) | Updated: 29 August 2023 (CK)
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