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4 + 4 PhD programme

4+4 Phd programme

In the 4+4 programme the candidate is initially simultaneously enrolled as a master student and as a PhD student during the first two years (part A). Following this, the master degree is completed and the PhD enrollment carries on for another two years (part B).


Enrollment can be done through a stipend aimed exclusively at the 4+4 programme or through a stipend opened for both the 4+4 and 5+3 programme.  It is a requirement that the applicant for the 4+4 programme is enrolled  in a relevant master education. In addition to this, normal requirements for enrollment as a PhD student must always be met.

It is advised to commence the recruitment process in due time – earlier than when recruiting for a traditional PhD programme since SU scholarship payments are payed in advance and due to the fact that an individual study plan must be approved in STADS prior to the time of enrollment.


Course of study

During the first two years the candidate is enrolled 50% as a master student and 50% as a PhD student. The candicate must follow the determined “studieordning” for the education in question (unless an individual study plan is approved). The candidate must follow the standard rules and regulations at the Doctoral School. A PhD plan containing information regarding the completion of the master degree must be uploaded through PhD Manager after two months of enrollment. This timeframe applies despite the fact that 4+4 PhD students are only enrolled part time, for the first two years.

 In addition to the courses that must be completed in the master, the candidate must obtain 30 ECTS from courses. These must be courses on a PhD level and cannot overlap with courses that are a part of the master degree. It is recommended that some of the PhD courses are taken during part “A” of the programme – this will free up more time for research during part “B”. The candidate can also teach during part “A”, this requires that the department in question employs the candidate as a student teacher. The PhD student must be integrated in the research environment at the department and take an active part in a research group.


After the first two years of study the master degree must be completed by successfully completing a qualifying exam. During the exam the student must account for the results achieved so far, account for the status and present the plan for the remainder of the programme.  The exam must contain a thesis.

Assessment of the material is done by an external examiner according to the 7-step grading scale.

 Parts of the thesis written in connection with the qualification exam can be used in the PhD thesis. If this is the case, the coherence and application of the qualification thesis must be explained in the preface of the PhD thesis. It is also required that it adheres to good scientific practice.

When the exam is successfully passed the candidate must forward the master diploma or transcript as soon as possible to the Doctoral School. When this is done a two year employment contract as a PhD student is initiated. An employment as a PhD student entails that the department in question can require you to work for a certain amount of hours.  Typically, though not exclusively, this is done through teaching.

Practical information

During part “A” of the programme the Finance and Account Department handles the administration of the SU stipend. The candidate must apply the following template:  http://www.hr.aau.dk/lon/legater-stipendier/su-stipendie-4-4/ During part “A” the candidate receives 2 x SU scholarship pr month and during part “B” the candidate is fully employed as a PhD student.

Study abroad

It is recommended to plan the stays abroad during part “B” of the 4+4 programme. This is due to the fact that during this part the candidate is employed as a PhD student and thereby covered by AAUs travel insurance. If it is required to take the stay during part “A” the candidate is still eligible to receive reimbursement for the documented expenses related to the travel. It is however important to be aware of the  different rules for employed and non-employed PhD students.


During part “A” the candidate is not covered by the Holidays Act and is therefore not able to accrue holidays.  

For more information contact Helen Kjerstein Kristensen