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Types of PhD

The PhD programme prepares you for work with research, development and education in jobs that require a particularly high level of academic qualifications.

At the Graduate School of Health we offer the following PhD study programmes:

  • The ordinary PhD programme (based on a Master’s degree)
  • The integrated PhD programme (based on a Bachelor’s degree)
  • The business-oriented industrial PhD programme
  • The joint PhD programme in Molecular Medicine at Natural Sciences and Health, Aarhus University 

The graduate school is able to incorporate leave periods and/or periods of part-time study in your PhD programme. This makes it possible to combine a PhD programme with clinical work or a specialist training position.

We offer PhD students enrolled at a university abroad to obtain a supplementary PhD degree from Health – a so called joint/double PhD degree (see section below).

Ordinary PhD study programme

To apply for a 3-year PhD study programme you must have completed a relevant Master’s degree. The Master’s study has to be equivalent to a Danish Master’s degree of 120 ECTS.

If you are preparing an application for enrolment together with a main supervisor and would like to have your degree assessed (equivalence assessment), you can send us your examination papers at graduateschoolhealth@au.dk, and we will have them assessed.

Integrated PhD study programme

At the Graduate School of Health you can begin a PhD study while studying for your Master’s degree. It is required that you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and have been accepted for/begun a Master’s degree before enrolment as an integrated PhD student. Also you need to have at least one semester left of you Master’s degree at the time of enrolment as an integrated PhD student.

An integrated PhD study programme will always postpone the completion of your Master’s degree with one year. If you have Master's courses of 30 ECTS in one semester, it is not possible to work on the PhD at the same time.

As an integrated PhD student your study will consist of two parts: part A and part B.

Part A

Part A includes one year (12 months) of PhD study as well as the remaining part of your Master’s study. Part A is completed when you obtain your Master’s degree and part B will begin immediately thereafter (1st of the month following the last exam of the Master’s degree).

It is the Integrated PhD student’s own responsibility to make sure to follow and complete the Master’s degree programme and follow the guidelines for the Master’s degree study programme.    

Part B

Part B is two years of full time PhD study. If any credit transfer has been granted, part B will be reduced accordingly. It is possible to do part B as a part time study or to combine it with periods of leave, e.g. to do clinical basic education (‘KBU’).


Integrated PhD studies can be financed by means of a faculty fellowship and/or external financing, such as a grant from a research council or private foundation, or by employment at a hospital.

  • Part A is generally financed by means of an SU PhD scholarship of up to 48 SU PhD grant units
  • Part B is financed by external means or a faculty fellowship. Salary and employment are in accordance with the relevant collective agreement
Part A Masters Degree Part B
12 months

PhD Study + remaining Master’s degree study (at least one semester)

Two years

Less if credit transfer is granted, e.g. six months for a completed Research Year.

Starting on the 1st of the month after graduating from the master programme

Industrial PhD Programme

An Industrial PhD is a 3-year PhD that is carried out in collaboration between a private or public company, an industrial PhD student and a university. The Industrial PhD programme is a part of Innovation Fund Denmark, and it is a prerequisite that there is funding from Innovation Fund Denmark to be an Industrial PhD student. Learn more about the Industrial PhD programme.

Joint PhD Programme in Molecular Medicine

The graduate schools at Science and Technology and Health have established a mutual PhD degree programme in Molecular Medicine. As a PhD student, you can be enrolled at either Natural Sciences or Health, and follow the same course and assessment procedure, leading to the award of a PhD degree in Molecular Medicine.

Admission to the PhD programme in Molecular Medicine

A number of criteria must be complied with before you can be enrolled as a PhD student and complete a PhD degree in Molecular Medicine. Find a description in the guidelines for the PhD degree programme in Molecular Medicine - see right sidebar.

Important criteria are:

  • As a PhD student, you must have an educational background in health science or natural science and either a Master’s degree or equivalent (5+3 model/ordinary three-year PhD degree programme), Bachelor’s degree (3+5 model/integrated PhD programme) or Bachelor’s degree and the first year of a two-year Master’s degree or equivalent (4+4 model/integrated PhD programme). Reference is also made to the formal level of education.
  • The project must be linked to Molecular Biology and Health Science.
  • Your main supervisor must be employed at the faculty where you are enrolled as a PhD student. In addition, at least one co-supervisor must be employed at the other faculty. Great emphasis is placed on the existence of actual collaboration between the faculties, PhD student, the main supervisor and the co-supervisor(s).

Calls for enrolment in the PhD degree programme in Molecular Medicine are posted separately in the Graduate School of Health’s application rounds four times a year. See the page Open calls.

Qualifying examination

If you are enrolled as a PhD student in the integrated PhD programme, you must attend a qualifying examination in connection with the completion of part A. This examination also acts as a halfway evaluation and is graded passed/failed. 

Steering committee

The steering committee evaluates your application to see whether your proejct falls within molecular medicin and you thereby qualify to be enrolled in the PhD programme.

From Natural Sciences:     

Ernst-Martin Füchtbauer (emf@mbg.au.dk)
Claus Oxvig (co@mbg.au.dk)

From Health:                

Helle Prætorius  (hp@biomed.au.dk)
Rikke Katrine Jentoft Olsen (rikke.olsen@clin.au.dk)

PhD double/joint degree

What is a double/joint PhD degree?

A joint PhD includes a PhD degree collaboration between two or more universities and is concluded with the award of a joint or a double PhD degree. It must always be rooted in research collaboration.

  • For a double PhD degree the PhD student receives two diplomas – one from each collaborating university.
  • For a joint PhD degree the student receives one joint PhD diploma – signed by both collaborating universities.

Certain conditions must be met before a double/joint PhD degree can be awarded. They are described in detail in the "Agreement on a joint or double PhD degree" (see right sidebar).

Some central conditions are:

  • The home university is the enrolment institution and overall responsible for the study programme including admission, employment and administration of the PhD study.
  • A mobility period is included at the partner university. This must be of at least 6 months with PhD research under supervision by a co-supervisor at the partner university.
  • The study fee is usually paid at the home university.
  • An Agreement on a PhD double/joint degree must be signed by all parties and approved by the Head of Graduate School at Health. The agreement sets down the conditions concerning the study visit, the PhD programme, supervisor roles, financial matters, assessment, defence, awarding of PhD degree etc.
  • The dissertation is handed in at the home university and is assessed by a committee approved by both universities.

Learn about our existing framework agreements.

If Aarhus University or Health already has a framework agreement with the collaborating university, then the individual student agreement ("Agreement on a joint or double PhD degree") will be in reference to the framework agreement.

If you are a supervisor and want to make an agreement on a joint PhD without an existing agreement between Aarhus University and the collaborating university, then please use the form “Preliminary statement from AU-supervisor” (right sidebar) to get a preliminary approval of the joint PhD, before sending in the actual application with the agreement form. 

Health, AU aims to use international agreements strategically and hence a certain volume is desirable when entering into an agreement (more than one student). Therefore, the AU-supervisor is expected to explore the possibilities of finding more than one PhD student enrolled at the collaborating university who may be interested in a joint PhD.

If you are a PhD student from abroad considering doing a joint PhD at Health, Aarhus University, please read our checklist (PDF) of points to pay attention to and see our "Agreement on a joint or double PhD degree" (right sidebar).

If you are a PhD student enrolled at Health considering a double/joint PhD degree from a university abroad, you should observe the rules and guidelines at the university in question.