The PhD programme – University of Copenhagen

Faculty of Theology > Research > The PhD programme

The PhD programme at the Faculty of Theology

The Research School at the Faculty of Theology supervises PhDs in the main theological subjects (Bible exegesis, church history and systematic theology) and their disciplines, as well as in areas where theological issues and considerations play a significant role. The PhD programme at the Faculty of Theology is thus open to a broad range of theological, religious/science and historical subject areas, and is not bound by particular theoretical directions or methodologies.

The objective of the research and training programme is to develop the students' competencies in academic work at an international level, and in interaction with international research environments. During their studies, the PhD students work on an original academic project. By the end of the course of study, they will present either one complete major thesis or a collection of small published or publishable works, in the framework of an introductory preface and an overall conclusion. The PhD student has the right to demand, and the duty to receive, supervision from one or more recognised researchers during their period of study; The principal supervisor must be an associate or full professor employed at the faculty during the PhD programme.

The PhD study programme is run as per the overarching and local sets of rules. In connection with the application for matriculation, as fees are charged for PhD study, the applicant must substantiate that their studies are fully funded.
The PhD programme is normally a three years' full-time programme (3 x 60 ECTS points); only limited options are granted for leave and reduced study activity (part-time study).

FAQ about application

Do I need to find a supervisor before submitting my application?

No, you do not need to find a supervisor before you submit an application. If you receive a scholarship, the Faculty will help you determine who should be your supervisor. However, if you have already identified a suitable supervisor and/or been in contact and made an agreement in principle to be supervised be him or her, this should be indicated in your application.

What do I need to include in my application?

The application should include at least a brief letter of motivation, a short Curriculum Vitae (CV), and a description of your PhD project. The project description is of immense importance. Although preliminary, it should provide a clear outline of the research topic and focus of the project, as well as the intended study plan. It is important to provide a time-plan that demonstrates convincingly that the proposed project can be completed within the framework of the PhD programme. The project outline may be drafted in discussion with a member of academic staff at the Faculty of Theology (perhaps a possible future supervisor), or with the assistance of an external expert.

What should the project description include?

The project description should be no more than 12,000 keystrokes, not counting the bibliography and study plan. Within these limits, it is recommended to provide at least the following:

  • A description of the overall focus of the proposed research project – the topic area, the overall problem to be addressed, and its relevance and importance
  • As far as possible, a working research question (this will more than likely change in the initial phase of a project)
  • An indication of the theoretical-analytical approach to be taken
  • An indication of the research method or methods to be applied
  • An indication of some of the relevant literature/scholarship and primary sources to be used
  • An indication, where relevant, of key institutional links, both academic and practical, that are to be developed or deepened through the course of the project and that will enhance it
The topic must be delimited so that the project can be completed realistically within the assigned study period. The project description should be of no more than 12,000 keystrokes, not counting the bibliography and study plan. 

What must I include in the study plan?

The preliminary and indicative study plan is a brief outline of the anticipated study/research activities usually over a three-year period. In the study plan, you need to indicate, for each semester, the key activities you expect to undertake (although many things are likely to be adjusted in practice at a later stage). The plan may include: a preliminary literature review, mapping and/or preliminary fieldwork, taking required and preferred PhD courses, planned fieldwork or work in archives, going abroad for a research stay at a foreign institution, participating in key (anticipated) conferences, writing up the thesis, and so on.

What does the scholarship include?

The scholarship covers salary and normal study expenses. This means you will receive your salary plus you will have DKK 7,000 each year to cover normal expenses for fieldwork, studies abroad, conferences and equipment (called your annum). If you have expenses exceeding this, you would have to find external funding to cover them. Therefore, what you should indicate in the budget are extra/particular expenses for fieldwork/equipment. The exact amount of the salary is based on an agreement between the university and Danish Association of Masters and PhDs (DM) and also on relevant experience and seniority.

If I get a scholarship, does that mean my budget estimate is approved, and that this is the money I will have at my disposal?

No. We ask you to submit an estimated budget so as to give the Faculty an idea of the anticipated costs involved and whether your project is financially feasible. A revised budget will have to be prepared at the start of the PhD.

What do I need to include in the budget?

If the studies you plan include extensive travel and fieldwork, a comprehensive fieldwork budget and study travel, where relevant, ought to be included in the application. You should NOT include living expenses, accommodation, food, office equipment or books.

Do I need to include documentation of language skills?

You are always welcome to include documentation you believe supports your application, but it is only mandatory to include documentation of language skills if it says so in the advertisement.

Do I have to enclose references/letters of recommendation?

Reference letters are only required if asked for in the advertisement. Make sure to contact your potential referees well before submitting your application, to ensure that they will be available and willing to provide such letters when needed.