As a PhD student, you are entitled to supervision, and we consider good supervision essential to a successful PhD.

Choice of supervisors

Main supervisor

Your main supervisor must be employed at Health and be on the level of at least an Associate Professor. The main supervisor is responsible for the entire PhD study.


You need to find at least one co-supervisor with supplementary professional/academic knowledge, which is considered necessary for the completion of the project.

There is no requirement for the co-supervisor to be employed at Health. But all co-supervisors should be on the level of a PhD or equivalent.

If you conduct a PhD project outside the university, one of the co-supervisors should be employed by the institution at which the project is conducted.

If you are an industrial PhD student, one of the co-supervisors has to be affiliated with the company where you are employed.

Number of supervisors

You can have a total of four supervisors (incl. main supervisor)

If you wish to have more than a total of four supervisors affiliated with the project, you need to submit an argumentation.

How do I find a supervisor?

Contact to potential supervisors can be established through the Head of the Graduate Programme. Alternatively, contact details of all researchers at AU can be found in the AU researcher database “Find a Researcher”.

Appointment of supervisors

It is the Head of the Graduate School who appoints PhD supervisors.

In the appointment process, emphasis is placed on the supervisors’ ability to cover all professional/academic aspects of the project.

In addition, it is emphasised that supervisors are active researchers within the given field of study.

Supervisor collaboration

The supervisors have obligations to both the PhD student and the graduate school. They define the project together with the PhD student.

As a PhD student, it is your personal responsibility to initiate collaboration and to complete the PhD programme. However, the supervisor(s) is responsible for providing support throughout this process in the form of qualified feedback.

Your supervisor(s) needs to have:

  • Relevant academic knowledge
  • Networks cutting across faculty borders
  • A history of solid research production
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to create a good environment

It is important that the parties discuss expectations and roles before agreeing to collaborate.

You should, among other things, talk about:

  • Financing
  • Teaching obligations
  • GP activities
  • The responsibilities of the parties
  • Meeting activity
  • Study periods abroad

A supervisor’s responsibility

The main supervisor is responsible for:

  • Establishing a schedule for meetings with the student, where all aspects of your work can be discussed.
  • Ensuring that the PhD student is informed about the necessary safety precautions to be taken in laboratories and/or departments, about AU’s regulations regarding IT security and the necessary legal requirements and research ethics relating to the project.
  • Discussing the work done and, if necessary, reviewing the purpose of the work in the light of progress made and external factors – e.g. financing of the project or the publication of new findings that make it necessary to reassess the project.
  • Telling the student to stop if the results achieved indicate interesting – but uncertain and time-consuming sub-projects.
  • Ensuring that the PhD student has the opportunity to present his or her own work both internally and externally and the opportunity to join a journal club and similar activity.
  • Ensuring that the PhD degree programme is completed on time.
  • Contacting the other supervisors if problems arise affecting the completion of the degree programme.
  • Submitting the required evaluations
  • Submitting proposals for assessment committees

The main supervisor and/or co-supervisor(s) are responsible for:

  • Providing day-to-day supervision including the planning of protocols, discussion of practical problems, if relevant, and discussion and compilation of results.
  • Ensuring that the PhD student acquires a general understanding of the relevant literature, and that he/she keeps up to date with the latest relevant articles.
  • Providing constructive criticism and feedback regarding submitted manuscripts/publications and the dissertation, within a time frame that ensures the dissertation is submitted on time.
  • Being informed at all times about the progress of the PhD student’s work

Changes to your supervisor group

To get changes to your supervisor group approved, you need to send an application to clearly stating the reasons behind the wish for changes.

All supervisors (incl. the new and/or old supervisors) have to either sign the application or be cc. on the application e-mail.

This is to verify that changes to the group of supervisors have been discussed and approved by all supervisors.