The purpose of the onboarding programme is to ensure good social and academic integration at the PhD programmes and departments. Some elements are mandatory, while others are offers provided at the university that PhD students may decide to participate in.

Before study/semester start

Onboarding email from the programme (mandatory)

The email should at least contain the following:

  • Information and invitation to local introduction day
  • Links to relevant local PhD info (e.g. programme-specific PhD websites etc.)
  • Link to Rules and Regulations
  • Survival guide / PhD study handbook for PhD students
  • Department-specific information for new employees

Responsible: PhD programme (programme chair and PhD secretary)

Invitation to biannual Graduate School introduction day (mandatory)

The email contains an invitation to the biannual PhD introduction day.

Responsible: Graduate School

0-14 days after semester start

Local introduction day/meetings (mandatory)

The introduction day/meetings should at least contain the following:

  • Presentation of programme chair and PhD secretary
  • Introduction to the elements from the onboarding email
  • Information about AU Library
  • Introduction to the offer of a “buddy/mentor”

The supervisors of the new PhD student may participate.

Responsible: PhD programme (programme chair and PhD secretary)

Graduate School introduction day (mandatory)

The introduction day contains the following:

  • Introduction to the Graduate School set-up and PhD study
  • Introduction to HR and study services
  • Workshop on how to navigate your PhD project
  • Introduction to Aarhus BSS PhD Association and information on being a PhD student by two PhD students (an international and a Dane)
  • Introduction to AU Career PhD & Junior Researcher

Responsible: Graduate School

Follow-up email after the Graduate School introduction day (mandatory)

Email containing the following:

  • Relevant links, e.g. links to the Graduate School website, Aarhus BSS staff portal, Rules and Regulations, MyPhD login (including guide on how to write in MyPhD), forms and templates, information for international PhD students, Graduate School contact information and phdcourses.dk
  • Slides from the Graduate School introduction day

Responsible: Graduate School

Alignment of expectations between PhD student and supervisor team (mandatory)

Meeting between PhD student and supervisor team.

As a minimum, the following must be discussed or planned:

  • It is possible to base the alignment of expectations on the tools provided by CED at the Graduate School introduction day (including the sheet developed by CED and the ECON PhD programme) to help create an individualised supervisor agreement
  • The supervisor agreement should be uploaded with the initial PhD plan
  • The supervisor agreement should be evaluated regularly as the need for supervision may change often during the project

Responsible: PhD programme (programme chair and PhD secretary)

0-18 months after study start

Course on responsible conduct of research (mandatory)

The RCR course will cover issues related to research integrity (and misconduct / QRPs), but also research ethics and Open Science practices. It will also cover AU and local policies, procedures and infrastructure. Parts of the course will be programme-specific.

By default, new PhD students will be signed up for the course in the semester they begin their project.

The course runs twice a year, usually in January (week 2) and in June (week 25).

ECTS: 2 ECTS credits

Responsible: Graduate School

Mentor or “PhD buddy” programme (optional)

A programme in which all new PhD students are offered the possibility of a mentor or PhD buddy from their local academic environment, e.g. another PhD student or a postdoc.

Responsible: PhD programme (programme chair and PhD secretary)

Course: Teaching technique for PhD students (optional)

This course introduces PhD students to tools that will help them structure and carry out their teaching at the university. PhD students will also become familiar with presentation techniques that will help them give oral presentations.

Participants must teach in the semester they take the course.

Responsible: Centre for Educational Development

Courses from AU Library (optional)

Courses within the following topics:

  • Open Science
  • Data management
  • Collection and organisation of literature
  • Text and data mining
  • Publication
  • Copyright

Responsible: AU Library / PhD programme (programme chair and PhD secretary)

Course/workshop organised by AUPA and financed by the Graduate School(s) (optional)

Stay updated at PHABUSS’ Facebook Group or AUPA’s Facebook and LinkedIn page. Examples of activities:  

  • Course/workshop/seminar on how to handle stress
  • Course/workshop on work-life balance
  • Course/workshop concerning career possibilities
  • Course/workshop in project management

Responsible: AU PhD Association / Graduate School

PhD workshop: How to get published (optional)

Workshop for all PhD students at AU.

The aim of this course is to make the participants aware of how to develop effective writing strategies to target different readerships within academic publishing and to introduce strategic thinking when making a publication plan.

Responsible: Centre for Educational Development


Staff Develoment Dialogue (mandatory if employed at AU)

Annual Staff Development Dialogues (SDD/MUS) with PhD students who have AU as their primary workplace are mandatory and should therefore be held from the first year of the PhD student’s employment regardless of which PhD degree programme the PhD student is a part of.

An SDD is a mutual development dialogue which focuses on the future. It is not a replacement for an ongoing dialogue and feedback between manager/supervisor(s) and PhD student.

The SDD manager is the PhD programme chair, except on SOCSCIBUS where it depends on where the PhD student works. Please contact the PhD programme chair for questions regarding SDD.

In MitHR the dialogue guide for PhD students is the one for junior researchers. There is also another SDD guide available for PhD students and Managers that can be found here: direct link to pdf file

Responsible: PhD programme chair

Social networking events at the department (optional)

Organised by PhD students, supported by the programme, e.g.:

  • Lunch with all PhD students once a month, sometimes with the programme chair present
  • Seminars (could be in corporation with AUPA/PHABUSS), e.g. about stress/work-life balance
  • Easter lunch
  • Summer party

Responsible: PhD programme (programme chair and PhD secretary)

Career planning (mandatory)

Discussions with supervisor team about career planning and possibilities.

Responsible: PhD programme (programme chair and PhD secretary)

For more information see here: Take charge of your career

Career planning (optional)

Local career events/workshops.

Responsible: PhD programme (programme chair and PhD secretary)

AU Career PhD & Junior Researcher (optional)

AU Career PhD & Junior Researcher offers career services for PhD students and junior researchers from all five faculties and on all stages in their current position. They focus on increasing your knowledge and awareness of your employability and of all your career options, and they hope to encourage you to engage in your professional development and be a career-wise researcher during your years as a researcher at Aarhus University.

Responsible: AU Career PhD & Junior Researcher

For more information see here: AU Career PhD & Junior Researcher