Corona/Covid-19 - FAQ for PhD students

Special circumstances at the individual graduate schools may apply. Contact your graduate school for more information. If you have any question about your PhD study and programme, please contact your graduate school:

PhD Study

Am I expected to work from home?

On 22 March, a majority of parties in Parliament reached a political agreement to gradually ease lockdown restrictions in Denmark. As a consequence, and by agreement with your immediate head of staff/section leader, PhD students, who need to have physical access to the university in connection with their research may come to work on campus from 6 April:

See the latest announcement from the university management

All in-person activities on AU’s campuses must be planned and carried out in compliance with the general conditions for physical attendance

I’m working on my PhD thesis, but I’m having problems because of the COVID-19 situation – what should I do?

Most importantly, you should contact your principal supervisor for help in adjusting your PhD plan. Your principal supervisor and you must discuss alternative solutions for e.g. cancelled or postponed courses and environmental change stays. Your amended PhD plan must still meet the requirements for a PhD programme.

If your problems are of a physical matter, you can get an overview of the guidelines that apply in relation to Corona on the following websites:

Corona page for employees (for employed PhD students)

Corona page for students (for PhD student on part A of a flexible PhD programme) 

Can I apply for an exemption for course ECTS credits for a PhD course that has been cancelled?

If a planned PhD course has been cancelled or postponed because of the COVID-19 situation, you should complete the course when it is offered again if at all possible. As many courses as possible are reorganised as online courses, and you should keep regularly check on your graduate school’s website for information about this.

The graduate schools acknowledge that it is not always possible to find relevant courses. If you have trouble finding a relevant course, please discuss alternative solutions with your principal supervisor. If you cannot find a solution, it is possible to submit a request for an exemption for ECTS credits to your graduate school.

My PhD defence is coming up. How will it be conducted?

  In the 2021 spring semester, upcoming PhD defences will be conducted online, and no receptions may be held on campus following PhD defences.  

For PhD students on a flexible programme

PhD students in flexible programmes enrolled in BSc or MSc courses

If you are in a flexible PhD programme (3+5 or 4+4) and follow bachelor or master level courses, you can find information about classes and exams at the FAQ for students.

Because of your enrolment in an MSc programme, there may be some additional, relevant rules and information related to your MSc programme. Please see the latest announcement from the university management for students

My qualifying exam/midway assessment is coming up. What are my options?

Currently, all qualifying exams/midway assessments must be conducted online. See more information on the website of your graduate school.

Teaching

Teaching: Online classes for the rest of the spring semester

Teaching will continue online for the rest of this semester to secure as much stability as possible. This decision was made in order to provide you with the greatest possible degree of consistency and predictability. Hopefully this longer timeframe will give you the best possible conditions for planning the courses you are teaching.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science has made it clear that exceptions to the online-only policy may only be made in isolated, exceptional cases, such as in connection with clinical, lab and workshop-based instruction. Any exceptions to the online-only policy will be made by agreement with your immediate head of staff/section leader.

Enrolment period

Can I get an extension of my PhD project?

AU has decided on a joint procedure for handling the challenges you as a PhD student are facing in relation to completing your PhD project as a direct consequence of COVID-19, including the physical lockdown of AU.

The joint procedure is based on the political agreements on the phased reopening of the country, in addition to the Circular on the agreement on the possibility of extending temporary employment contracts, as a consequence of delays occurring in connection with COVID-19 (in Danish)

The objective of the procedure is to ensure a common point of departure for all PhD students at AU, while at the same time granting the individual graduate school the flexibility to handle the challenges in individual students’ PhD projects in the most appropriate way.

Your application for extension will be processed on the basis of an individual, specific assessment. The assessment will be carried out by the graduate school management at your graduate school on the basis of the school's guidelines. The graduate school management will make the final decision in the case. 

The joint procedure applies to PhD students whose progress has been directly affected by COVID-19:

  • AU must ensure that enrolled PhD students are able to finish their PhDs, and that the quality of the PhD project lives up to applicable academic requirements for a PhD. 
  • A delay in progress towards the PhD degree must be a direct consequence of COVID-19, including the periods of physical lockdown of AU. 
  • All PhD projects that are or may be delayed because of the COVID-19-situation must be considered individually and through individual dialogue with the principal supervisor. Furthermore, the PhD programme directors and head of departments/employer must make a statement. 
  • In the evaluation of the extension, every effort must be made to adjust the individual PhD project so as to allow the PhD student to complete their project as planned. 
  • If the PhD project cannot be completed without an extension of the deadline, the amount of additional time to be granted must be calculated on an individual basis. 
  • The nature of the delay in the PhD project must be described in the application for extension.

On what grounds can I apply for an extension of my PhD project?

You can apply for an extension if your PhD project has been delayed as a direct consequence of COVID-19, including the periods when AU’s campuses have been shut down.

Can I apply for an extension more than one time?

It is possible to apply for an extension of your PhD project more than one time if the situation on the background of which you applied last time has changed.

Can I apply for an extension without having funding for the extension?

Funding is not a prerequisite for applying for an extension. Your application will be assessed on an individual basis, and the head of the graduate school will make a decision in the case.

How can I apply for an extension of my PhD project?

  • The application must be sent to your graduate school. The head of the graduate school will make a decision in each case. Please do not send applications directly to the head of your graduate school.
  • The nature of the delay in the PhD project must be described in short and precise terms.
  • The effort made to adjust the PhD project must be described in short and precise terms. 
  • The application must be discussed with your principal supervisor. Furthermore, the PhD programme directors and/or head of departments/employer must make a statement. 

To apply for an extension of your PhD programme, see the websites of the individual graduate schools:

Employment conditions

Where can I find more information about my employment situation at Aarhus University?

If you are employed as a PhD student at Aarhus University, you can find answers to a number of questions about your employment and the COVID-19 situation on the Corona page for staff members.   

Can I get unpaid leave from my PhD programme?

In general, the COVID-19 situation does not constitute a basis for granting leave, unless this is considered appropriate in relation to the PhD programme.

Contact your principal supervisor for a discussion of what is best for your PhD study. An assessment of the leave application will be based on an individual, specific assessment. The assessment is carried out by the graduate school management at your graduate school, who will also make a decision in the case.

Change of research environment/study period abroad

I was planning a stay abroad, but now I cannot go. What are my options?

The COVID-19 situation and the closing of the Danish borders twice within a year have made going abroad complicated. You may have to reschedule or rethink your research environment change. The graduate schools have worked on various alternative solutions concerning both duration and in-person participation. Contact your principal supervisor to discuss your options.

You can also contact your programme chair or local PhD administration to learn more about alternative solutions at your graduate school.

Can I apply for exemption from the requirement for a change of research environment if the stay has been cancelled or interrupted?

If your change of research environment/study period abroad has been cancelled or interrupted due to the COVID-19 situation, you should first contact your principal supervisor. Together, you can discuss your PhD plan and assess the possibilities for a new change of research environment.

The graduate schools acknowledge that under the given circumstances, it can be difficult to plan a research environment change. If this applies to you, please discuss alternative solutions with your principal supervisor. If you cannot find a solutions, it is possible to submit a request for an exemption to your graduate school.

I am doing research/studying abroad. Am I insured during the COVID-19 situation?

If you were given an insurance card from Aarhus University before the start of your stay abroad, you can find information on the current rules on the Staff website about Trips and stays abroad.   

If you are enrolled on a flexible PhD scheme (4+4 or 3+5) and you are on part A (and you did not receive an insurance card from Aarhus University before the date of departure), the same insurance rules apply as for Master's students. Read more on the Study Portal

Entry requirements to Denmark for international PhD students

I am an international PhD student at AU with a work and residence permit in Denmark. What are the consequences of the COVID-19 situation for me?

The corona page for international academic staff (IAS) has answers to a number of questions about entry into and residence in Denmark in relation to the corona situation. See Coronavirus/covid-19 information for international staff at AU

Crisis response

I want to participate in the crisis response at the hospital. What do I do?

If you want to participate in the crisis response full time or part time, you can apply for leave from your PhD programme, and your enrolment and scholarship can be extended accordingly. To apply for leave, please contact your graduate school. Any applications for extension will be processed on the basis of an individual, specific assessment. 

Please find more information at the Graduate School of Health website.  

For further information about applying for leave, contact your graduate school.