4 year PhD programme

The 4-year PhD programme is offered by the following PhD programmes at Aarhus BSS:

General description

The 4-year PhD programme (4+4) consists of a part A (1½-two years), where the student is a Master's student as well as a PhD student, and a part B (two years). During part A, the student completes the Master's Degree and is subsequently enrolled full-time on the programme's part B. This means that during part A, the candidate is a part-time Master's student and part-time PhD student. The following two years, the candidate is a full-time PhD student. Admission to part B is conditional upon a satisfactory result of the final master examination in combination with positive biannual progress reports.  


Applicants for the four-year scheme at the Graduate School must – over the course of the PhD degree programme – pursue completion of a Master’s degree at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University. Admission requirements to the four-year scheme therefore reflect the admission requirements on the Master’s programme in question, and applicants must – at the time of enrolment – provide documentation demonstrating an educational background corresponding to a relevant Bachelor’s programme (obtained by completion of three years of full-time studies) and Master’s studies of at least 60 ECTS and below 90 ECTS credits, which must form part of or be eligible for credit transfer into one of the Master’s programmes offered at the school (or, alternatively, must have completed relevant course work corresponding to 240 ECTS credits within the field in question, or course work corresponding to 240 ECTS credits of relevance to the PhD project in question). In addition, certain combinations of completed courses may be required, depending on the current academic regulations governing the Master’s programme in question.

The 4+4 programme requires the candidates to complete their Master’s degree within the first part (part A; 1½-2 years depending on amount of ECTS at study start) of the 4+4 PhD degree programme. Hence, during part A the candidates are enrolled concurrently as part-time students in a Master's and a PhD programme. On condition that all requirements of the Master's programme are fulfilled satisfactory, candidates will achieve the Master’s degree after part A. The transition from part A to part B of the PhD programme also requires that part A has been satisfactorily completed. In the transition from part A to part B, a Danish Master’s degree is obtained, and for the remaining two years, students are enrolled as full-time PhD students only.  


Enrolment in the PhD programme requires documented funding for the entire PhD programme. You can either apply for scholarships/fellowships in connection with your application to the PhD programme, or you can apply as a self-financed student. In the latter case, you must document your external funding sources.
Candidates who are granted a scholarship will for part A get a monthly scholarship from the Graduate School (pre-PhD SU). This scholarship corresponds to two SU vouchers per month (maximum 48 points). Remaining SU vouchers from the candidate's Master's degree programme can also be paid. This depends on the Master students' possibility to get a Danish Student Grant (SU). For
further information, see
Danish Students' Grants and Loans Scheme office. After obtaining a Master's Degree, the candidate is employed as a PhD research fellow for the last two years (part B) and thus receives a monthly salary. The salary will be paid in arrears. If you have any questions about employment and salary, please contact HR & PhD.

Study programme

All 4+4 PhD students enrolled in one of the 6 PhD programmes must during part A complete up to 60 ECTS Master’s activities and PhD activities corresponding to approximately 1/3 of the total activities of the PhD programme. The 4+4 part A consists of 30 ECTS course work (on Master’s or PhD level, see the guidelines of the individual programmes below) and a Master’s thesis that will be taken to an oral defence at the 24th month of enrolment (see also the guidelines of Aarhus BSS Graduate School, p. 13-14). The thesis and the oral defence correspond to a total of 30 ECTS. The 4+4 student must consult the individual 4+4 guidelines of the PhD programme in which he/she is enrolled (see links below). 

PhD Plan for 4+4 students

In dialog with the main supervisor, the PhD student draws up a PhD Plan no later than 3 months after enrolment. The plan must include at least:

  • Time table (for all activities at both the Master's programme and the PhD programme)
  • Description of PhD project (including type of dissertation)
  • Method and scope of supervision
  • PhD courses (30 ECTS)
  • Candidate programme courses (30 ECTS)
  • Stay at other research institution
  • Budget

The information must be registered in "PhD Planner" and it must be explicitly noted which courses are part of the Master's programme and which are part of the PhD programme.  

Important information regarding the final MSc examination

The final examination on the Master study of a 4+4 candidate must take place in the 24 month after enrolment (the last month of part A). This is due to the legislation of the Danish Student Grant office and The Agency for the Modernisation and in order to ensure the correct payment of the PhD candidate.
The examination is part of the master study programme and follows the guidelines set by the of the Boards of Study of the individual MSc programmes. To be signed up for the examination, the rules set for MSc students should be followed. In case of any doubt about the examination form, the programme chair of the individual PhD programmes can be contacted.

Maternity/paternity leave

PhD students enrolled in the four-year scheme must, for the first two years of study, comply with the
rules and regulations set out in the Danish State Education Grant and Loan Scheme (SU) in regard to childbirth and pregnancy.
For the possibility of receiving SU during your maternity/paternity leave, please visit the website of the Danish State Education Grant and Loan Scheme.
The PhD student enrolled in part A at the four-year scheme can apply at the graduate school for extensions of the pre-PhD SU scholarship and the enrolment period during maternity/paternity leave. The graduate school can extend the enrolment period and the pre-PhD SU scholarship for a period of up to 12 months because of childbirth (24 vouchers). The mother can apply for 12 months and the father can apply for six months of additional pre-PhD SU scholarship.
PhD students enrolled in part A of the 4-year scheme must submit an application form if they wish to take leave due to childbirth:  

Illness leave

PhD students enrolled in the 4- or 5-year scheme must comply with the rules and regulations set out in the Danish State Education Grant and Loan Scheme (SU) in regard to illness while they are on part A. After the first two years, the PhD student will be transferred to employment as a PhD student for the remaining years of the PhD degree programme, and the PhD student will then have the same rights as other employees for taking leave in connection with illness, in accordance to the collective agreement of the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) and Danish labour law, see above.

For the possibility of receiving SU during your illness leave, please visit the website of the Danish State Education Grant and Loan Scheme.

The Graduate School is not legally obliged to extend the PhD education due to sickness leave. The  Graduate School is, however, authorized to extend the PhD education after a concrete individual assessment in connection with long-term sickness absence. After application, the Graduate School can grant a maximum of four months of pre-PhD SU scholarship (corresponding to 8 vouchers) because of long term illness within a period of 12 months, cf the rules and regulations set out in the Danish State Education Grant and Loan Scheme (SU). After four months, the pre-PhD SU scholarship will stop until the PhD study is resumed.