Financing and enrolment

Admission to a PhD programme of study is contingent upon financing. Financing can come from a variety of sources such as public or private research foundations, private companies, EU programmes, etc. Some PhD students receive financing from their home country, or are employed in private companies, most often as part of the Industrial PhD programme.

GSST highly recommends that you contact a prospective supervisor before applying on a General Call, in order to inquire about possible financing. The likelihood of securing admission through a General Call depends on the available resources of the supervisor and department that you apply to. Specific Calls are made on the basis of a secured research grant, and thus have greater likelihood of resulting in the admission of a PhD student.

Regardless of the type of call, a complete financing plan must be in place for each PhD students prior to admission. The plan covers all expenses for the PhD programme: scholarship/fellowship, tuition fee, running costs, incl. expenses for mobility plans, etc.

PhD fellows and their work obligations

PhD fellows: PhD students employed on the basis of a Master’s degree.

PhD fellows are employed on the basis of academic trade union agreements, and the salary is regulated accordingly (depending on seniority). The salary amounts to approx. DKK 26,000 per month before tax, excluding pension and holiday (2017). The working and fiscal status of a recipient of a PhD fellowship is that of a university employee. The fellowship is granted for a period of up to three years (see table 1)

Work obligations for PhD fellows
One-sixth of the PhD fellowship salary is given as compensation for an obligation to work 280 hours per year as a teaching assistant, or do other academic work decided by the department and/or GSST. The PhD fellow can decline the offer (with a corresponding reduction in the amount paid). All PhD fellows are granted one semester’s exemption from this work obligation without reduction in payment. Furthermore, PhD fellows may get exemption with no reduction in payment during extended stays abroad for up to six months in addition to the general one semester’s exemption. If the stay abroad lasts more than six months (or one year, if including the general one semester’s exemption), the PhD student must compensate by additional work before or after the stay.

Scholar grant for PhD students in their first year after the Bachelor’s degree (4th study year)

PhD students admitted with less than 60 ECTS credits in addition to the Bachelor’s degree can be awarded a special (privately funded) grant (Scholar grant) until they become eligible for a PhD SU scholarship (see section on PhD SU scholarships for more details). The Scholar grant ceases when the PhD student starts receiving a PhD SU scholarship.

For PhD students eligible for SU (in Danish short for Statens uddannelsesstøtte = the Danish Students’ Grants and Loan Scheme), the Scholar grant amounts to approx. DKK 6,000 per month (before tax, 2017). For international PhD students not eligible for SU, the Scholar grant amounts to approx. DKK 12,000 per month (before tax, 2017).

The working and fiscal status of a recipient of a Scholar grant is that of a student.    

PhD SU scholarships (5th and 6th study year)

PhD SU scholarships can be awarded to PhD students without a Master’s degree who are admitted on the basis of a Bachelor’s degree and have a minimum of 60 ECTS in addition to the Bachelor’s degree (four years of full-time study in total). The PhD SU scholarship ceases by the end of the month in which the PhD student passes the qualifying examination (and thus obtains a Master’s degree). The PhD SU scholarship is typically paid out in instalments of DKK 12,000 per month (before tax, 2017). The working and fiscal status of a recipient of a PhD SU scholarship is that of a student.

Supplements to the Scholar grant and the PhD SU scholarship

In addition to the Scholar grant and the PhD SU scholarship, some PhD students are offered a supplementary income for different kinds of academic work, e.g. as teaching assistants. 

The Danish State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme (SU)

PhD students eligible for SU can receive SU in parallel to the scholarships. Contact the Danish Students’ Grants and Loans Scheme Office at Aarhus University for more information and application for SU.    

Self-financed PhD or Industrial PhD

PhD students who bring their own financing, e.g. through funding from their home country, and PhD students who are employed in private companies (most often as part of the Industrial PhD programme) should only apply for enrolment.


Learn more about the Industrial PhD programme here.