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Before starting a PhD

Before embarking on a PhD program, it is a good idea to consider your career opportunities. What will you use your PhD degree for? Does your PhD degree limit you in terms of your future job op-portunities, or does it enhance your chances of landing your dream job?


Universities regularly publish a number of scholarships that you may apply for. You may also find PhDs advertised in the professional magazine Magisterbladet and online at magisterjob.dk, where you can create a job agent. When you apply for a PhD, we provide you with sparring on your application and your CV and help you along the process.


Before preparing your application/project description, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the formal and material requirements for your application. These will typically appear in the universities’ listings and on the universities' websites.

You can also contact one or more potential supervisors and present your ideas on your upcoming research project. On the website of Innovationsfonden, you can find a guide to applications for research funding for your project.



Most commonly a PhD programme is completed in an employment relationship where you are employed as a PhD fellow and enrolled at a university. If the university has published vacant scholarships, it will be the university that funds your salary as a PhD student.

External funding

If you have been promised external funding for your PhD project, you can apply for enrolment at the university. This requires that you can document that you have an external grant, which covers study costs and salary/support at a reasonable level for three years. This typically means that the external grant must cover at least certain fixed expenses. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the requirements for external funding at the individual universities.

There are a number of Danish and international programmes that support and provide grants for research. On the website of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, you can read more about these programmes.

Funding programmes for research and innovation
Guide to funding

Occupational PhD

As an Occupational PhD, you are enrolled at a university while being employed with a private or public company. The Occupational PhD scheme has a special business-oriented scope and the company may receive a subsidy for your salary while you complete the project. A special employment contract must be entered into with the company which is to pay your salary. DM may review the contract with you to ensure that you are guaranteed the terms agreed for Occupational PhD fellows. The Occupational PhD scheme is part of the Danish innovation fund, Innovationsfonden. 

Learn about the Occupational PhD scheme

Privately-funded PhD fellow

The privately-funded PhD fellow is a rarity. You may choose to be a privately-funded PhD fellow if you have other employment which is unrelated to your PhD or because you fund your PhD scholarship yourself. However, as a privately-funded PhD fellow, you must fulfil the requirements in the Executive Order on PhD before you can obtain a PhD degree.