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A Research Year gives medical and dentistry students enrolled at Aarhus University a unique opportunity to learn and become acquainted with relevant research methods, scientific literature and research in general.

A Research Year at the Graduate School of Health, Aarhus University consists of 12 months (2 semesters) of fulltime research in one of the departments at the Faculty of Health.

It is also possible to apply for enrolment for 1 semester which is the minimum enrolment period. However, the outcome must be equivalent to 2 semesters (12 months) of fulltime research, in order to complete the Research Year.

Also, the student must apply for special leave during the Research Year.

Guidelines - from 1 September 2019

These guidelines are applicable to Research Year students enrolled from 1 September 2019 onwards.


In order to become a Research Year student, the student must apply and be approved for enrolment at the Graduate School of Health.

Before applying for enrolment, the student needs to find a main supervisor, a research project and consider how to fund the project.

Open calls

Calls for application for enrolment and/or scholarship are announced twice a year; the deadlines are mid-April and mid-October.

The open call provides an online application form, which must be completed by the student, in cooperation with the main supervisor.

Before filling in the online application, please ensure to read the application guide. All relevant information and templates can be found on the webpage.

It is recommended to fill in the application form and all mandatory attachments in English.

The call opens approximately one month before deadline.

During the application process, the Graduate School of Health informs AU Study about who has applied for a Research Year, and who is accepted.


There must be one main supervisor affiliated with the Research Year project, and preferably one or two co-supervisors.

Main supervisors must be employed at Faculty of Health at Aarhus University (minimum at associate professor level). Co-supervisors must have a Master’s degree or higher, e.g. be a PhD student.

Only a limited number of applicants can be enrolled in each application round.

A maximum of two applicants from each main supervisor can be approved in each application round.

When to start?

It is required that a Research Year starts either 1 September or 1 February, and thereby follows the ordinary semesters at Aarhus University. Starting a Research Year at other dates can have consequences for the student’s education, the mandatory registration for exams and the right to receive SU.

Furthermore, it is required that the student applies for special leave during the enrolment period, to ensure that the student’s education is not influenced by the Study Progress Reform.

In order to be enrolled in the Research Year, the Research Year student must submit a copy of his or her permission to take special leave to the Graduate School of Health.

Approved projects

An approval of the project is only valid in the current application round, so it is not possible for Research Year students to postpone their starting date beyond the earliest possible starting date. Meaning, applicants offered a research year in the April application round must start on the firstcoming 1 September. And applicants in the October application round must start on the firstcoming 1 February .

Students who get their projects approved but do not, at the time of application, have funding to be enrolled as Research Year students, can start their Research Year when submitting a financial statement or obtaining a scholarship in a following application round. If applying for a scholarship in a following application round, please choose ‘scholarship’ in the application form.

However, from the application round in 2020, it will no longer be possible to apply for scholarship in a later application round, as the project approval will only be valid for the round in which it is given.

It is not possible to apply for a scholarship if the student has received funding from other sources.

If the student receives funding from other sources, a financial statement must be send to the Graduate School of Health no later than 14 days before the student wishes to start their Research Year.


When applying for enrolment and/or scholarship, the student has to choose the relevant Graduate Programme (GP); the GP that represents the department at Aarhus University where the main supervisor is employed.

Applications are assessed by the Head of GP in collaboration with a member of the Research Year/Student Research committee, based on the assessment criteria.

All applications are evaluated on the material submitted within the deadline, focusing on the applicant and the research environment.

The project is assessed on its feasibility, level, whether it is suitable to 12 months research and if all the necessary permissions are present. 

The assessment of the student counts for 50 % of the total evaluation and the research environment counts for the remaining 50 % of the total evaluation.

Only a limited number of students can be enrolled as Research Year students, and therefore applicants who are qualified may be rejected.

Applications containing a financial statement are not more likely to be approved for enrolment than applications without.

All applications will be discussed at a meeting with the Heads of GPs, the Research Year/Student Research committee and the Vice Dean. The final decision regarding both enrolment and scholarship is made by the Vice-dean of Education, Health.


The student must unregister his/her SU while on special leave. When the special leave is registered in STADS, the SU system will be notified.

It is the student’s own responsibility to make sure that the SU system has the correct dates and that the SU system has unregistered the student while on special leave.


Funding is a requirement for enrolment, and the student needs to have adequate funding (12 x 10,000 DKK) for a personal scholarship.

A Research Year can be funded by a scholarship administered by Aarhus University or by private or public funds. The Graduate School of Health administers a number of scholarships that can be applied for in the ordinary application rounds in April and October.

In order to apply for an AU scholarship, it must be documented that the student has also applied for other funds.

If the student obtains funding from other sources, the application for a scholarship is withdrawn. The student is obliged to inform the Graduate School of Health of any other funds.

It is furthermore not possible to apply for a scholarship once the student is enrolled.

If the student does not obtain a scholarship, a financial statement, signed by the main supervisor and the department, must be submitted, in order for the student to be enrolled.

Payment of scholarship

Research Year students who are granted a scholarship from the Graduate School of Health will receive a letter confirming the scholarship and the money will be paid directly to the student’s “NEM-konto”.

If the Research Year student will be paid via other funds from an account at Aarhus University, a recommendation for payment of scholarship has to be submitted to the Graduate School of Health in order for the scholarship to be paid directly to the student’s “NEM-konto”.

Sickness, maternity/paternity leave

The Graduate School of Health must be informed about all long-term absence during a Research Year. 

Leave due to long-term sickness or maternity/paternity does not automatically extend the enrolment as a Research Year student.

But it is possible to apply for splitting the Research Year in two parts and taking a break from it for a period. Approval of such an application is based on an individual assessment and is dependent on all the following conditions being met:

  • The break must be due to special circumstances that independently of the student’s own free will prevents him/her from completing the Research Year as planned, e.g. sickness, maternity/paternity leave, disability, child’s serious illness or death in the closest family. It can also be externally imposed  conditions that render work on the project impossible for a while, e.g. dead mice, but it cannot be things like new or changed plans, busyness or study fatigue.
  • There must be a timeline for the break, including a return date, that takes into account that the break cannot last more than 12 months, that the research year cannot last more than 12 months in total, and that the two parts still have to coincide with the regular semesters so that the student’s education is not unnecessarily delayed (both beginning and completing special leave in the middle of a semester will cause the semester to be 'locked' and the student cannot enrol for courses or take an exam in this period).
  • The break must be approved by the main supervisor and co-supervisor(s), if any.
  • There must be documentation for funding of the research year after the break.
  • It is the Research Year student’s own responsibility to find out what the consequences will be with regard to active enrolment requirement, registration for courses, SU, etc.

If the Research Year is delayed due to long-term illness or maternity/paternity leave, and the abovementioned conditions cannot be fulfilled, the student has the following options:

  • Resume the education as planned, completing the Research Year concurrently and thereby being both fulltime student and a fulltime Research Year student at the same time. During this, the student cannot receive scholarship, but can get SU while actively studying.
  • Abort the Research Year and resume the education.
  • Complete the Research Year based upon the results obtained.

In the event of sickness or maternity/paternity leave, the student may have to cancel the special leave in order to obtain the right to receive SU during the absence.

Please notice that giving birth while on special leave may lead to the annulment of the extra SU grants. For more information, please contact the SU Office at AU.

In case of long-term absence, please contact the Graduate School of Health and AU Study in order to find the best possible solution.

Completion of the Research Year

After the student has completed the 12 months of research, the main supervisor must submit a notification of completion to the Graduate School of Health in which he or she states whether or not the Research Year has been completed satisfactorily. The student and the main supervisor decide how the Research Year will be completed, e.g. with an article, presentation, etc. The outcome should be agreed upon at the time of application.

Master's thesis and Research Year

In connection with completion of their Research Year, students have the option to write their Master’s thesis based on their research. However, students must be aware that the Master’s thesis is an exam assignment and therefore must fulfil the requirement for individualisation. Therefore, data and other material published during the Research Year can only be included in the Master’s thesis with proper use of references – as is also the case with all other published material included by the students. Furthermore, (elements from) discussions  of method and data that are drawn up in collaboration with the research group cannot be used as they are not drawn up independently by the student. The Master’s thesis can be used as a draft for publication after it has been submitted for assessment – also before the assessment is received.

For further information, please consult your study portal or contact HE Studies Administration.

Other information

A maximum of 15 ECTS for PhD courses completed during the research year and within the last 5 years before enrolment in the PhD programme can be transferred and approved as part of a future PhD degree. However, please notice that if you have had PhD courses transferred to your Master's degree programme, you cannot also get them transferred to your PhD degree programme.

Students, who after a Research Year becomes a PhD student, can also apply for up to 6 months credit transfer, and thereby shorten the enrolment for the PhD study to 2½ years.

In the case of insurance, Research Year students are compared to actively enrolled students at AU. It is therefore recommended that you as a Research Year student take out a full-time accident and liability insurance (heltidsdækkende ulykkes- og ansvarsforsikring).

Please consult AU’s staff pages for information about insurance.

A Research Year is a fulltime activity, and it is therefore strongly recommended that the student does not have other work at the same time.