Doctoral School of Social Sciences

About the doctoral programme

The Doctoral programme is a researcher education which qualifies students to conduct research at international level, and teach independently in the private and/or public sector. During the Doctoral programme, the student will be working independently with a research project supported by an advisor from the University. This work will end up with a major thesis, which demonstrates a student’s abilities to deploy methods within the subject of study and carry out research which corresponds to intentional standards for a Doctoral programme within the subject area.

Preparation of an individual study programme

When enrolled in a Doctoral programme, the student must make an individual study programme (PhD plan) which elaborates the project and explicates the details of how the work will proceed. The individual PhD plan is the most important document during the programme and must state all the exact agreements related to the Doctoral Programme. The PhD plan consists of an outline on the work with the research project, a plan of the courses which the student decides to participate in both domestically and abroad, a plan of the student’s teaching and research presentation and contacts with other research environments.

The research project, which demonstrates the student’s abilities, must be structured in accordance with the PhD plan, traditions and criteria within the subject area, methodology and the allocated time frame. A research project can consist of an analysis of a social phenomenon within the subject, a theoretical analysis or a combination of both. The methods used in the project could be fieldwork and/or studying documents, books and articles. The choice of methodology is determined by the developed research questions.

Courses and teaching

Simultaneous with the planning of the Doctoral programme, the analysis and writing, the student will be attending PhD courses corresponding to a half year’s work (30 ECTS). These courses are chosen in accordance with the guidance by the main advisor. For some this will take place at Aalborg University, other Danish Universities or international universities. These courses will often be planned in such a way, that they will be conducted on one or several consecutive days.

Besides the research project, the student will teach at the university. This effort corresponds to a half year’s work (30 ECTS). The teaching will take place at the relevant Departments of the faculty between approximately in a period of 1,5 to 2 years of the total educational period. Courses and practice in presentations and teaching are integrated activities during the first six months. Teaching and presentations can in this context be lectures, planning of seminars and conferences or writing articles for scientific journals on research connected to the PhD project.

Continuous evaluation

During the Doctoral programme, the student, the main advisor and the Doctoral School of Social Sciences will continuously review the ongoing work and monitor how far the student is in the process. This will occur via the biannual evaluations and the planned evaluations after 12 and 30 months. These will include a formal academic assessment of the results. Furthermore the student will also be responsible for regular reviews and discussions with the main advisor about the process.

Finishing the PhD project

When the student has finished the research project, which will have to be approved by the main advisor, passed the attended courses and completed the teaching, presentations and disseminations, the PhD project is handed in for assessment.

Once the project is handed in, the assessment will take place during the following two months. If this preliminary assessment leads to a positive result, the student can complete the PhD programme with a defence of the research project. The defence is a public presentation at which the expert assessment committee, consisting of three persons selected from different universities, is assessing the PhD research project.