These guidelines are specific to AGRO and does not apply to PhD students outside AGRO.
Overall formal structure
Recurring formal support
The PhD plan is jointly prepared by you and your supervisors, and a complete PhD plan must be submitted no later than 2.5 months after starting your PhD study. Later amendments to the plan can be submitted in connection with the half-year evaluations. In fact, you are encouraged to update your PhD plan every 6 months. Ask your PhD buddy or supervisor for an example as inspiration.
Some parts of the plan should be put directly into the PhD planner:
You can find a template for a PhD plan in the box to the right.
Addressing any mismatches in mutual expectations early increases the chances of a good student-supervisor relationship and a successful completion of the PhD. Therefore, the Graduate School recommends simple tools to make the alignment of expectations between student and supervisor effective.
The Graduate School suggests that the supervisor formulates a supervision letter, and the student and supervisor fill-in their view on different statements on supervision (‘Vote and compare’) as starting point for discussion expectations for the supervision. In order to summarize the key points from the discussion of expectations AGRO suggest to formulate a Memorandum of Understanding, where an example can be found here.
Please note, that returning and adjusting the initial alignments of expectation is an important aspect of a good student-supervisor relationship.
Good collaboration between supervisor, PhD and TAP is very important.
Before working in the lab or the field, the supervisor needs to arrange a meeting between the supervisor, student and TAP supervisor to discuss the collaboration and health and safety.
To help with this work we have created some documents to describe and plan the work:
The documents can be found in the Forms box to the right.
As part of our onboarding, the Department of Agroecology has an AGRO buddy programme in order to help all new employees adapt to our work culture and be acquainted with our workplace systems and processes. It is important for a new employee to have someone to talk to during the first weeks, to help ease the transition into her/his new job successfully.
An AGRO buddy partners with the new employee during her/his first few months of employment. Your work as a buddy is very important. As a buddy, you are expected to help new PhD students adapt to the new environment and to make sure that they become an integrated part of the research environment in the section and in the department. You should be available for assistance and act as a go-to person.
As a buddy, you are expected to help the new student with the following.
Be observant – is your new colleague happy?
Other relevant webpages:
Twice a year (before half-year evaluations in March and September), a member of the PhD program committee in AGRO will invite you to a “Wellbeing conversation”.
The purpose of the conversation is to offer you an opportunity to address issues which might not be easy to discuss with your supervisor, but which can have a profound impact on your wellbeing. This can be topics such as the progress of your PhD (at an overall level) and how the cooperation with your supervisor and other staff is going. An important subject is also to take stock on your social wellbeing, both regarding work, work-life balance, or any other issues.
Examples on topics to discuss could be:
The talks are mandatory and confidential, and no minutes are made. If needed, a plan for improvement of your wellbeing will be made by you and the PhD committee member. No action is taken unless agreed with you.
The conversations typically last between ½-1 hour.
You are welcome to contact your wellbeing person at any time.
The PhD seminar takes place during the first half-year after you start your PhD studies. The seminar will be held physically with the possibility for online streaming.
The actual date is agreed between you and the PhD secretary.
The seminar lasts a total of 30 minutes, including questions and feedback. The presentation itself should take between 15 and 20 minutes.
The purpose of the presentation is to introduce your project to your colleagues and give an overview of the planned activities. You can use your initial PhD plan as a guide when structuring your seminar.
The presentation should have two parts. In the first part, you should focus on the scientific background and hypotheses you will address in your PhD studies. The second part should focus on your plans such as publications, change of work environment, courses taken, etc., to fulfil the PhD requirements.
Your main Supervisor will briefly introduce you at the beginning of the seminar. In case your main Supervisor is not available, then the task is transferred to a member of the PhD Committee.
After your presentation, there will be a short feedback session, where the audience offers comments and poses questions on the proposed PhD plan and structure and advise you if certain aspects seem irregular or even unfeasible. Fellow PhD students are encouraged to give you relevant feedback, both in connection to your topic, but also more general feedback on your presentation technique, etc.
Every half-year, you should write an evaluation of your progress during the last half-year and your plans for the next half-year. In AGRO, the half-year evaluations should be made by 1 March and 1 September.
For the PhD student:
You do NOT need to make an evaluation if:
If your PhD plan has just been approved, you need to make a small evaluation anyway. It should contain a short description of your progress so far and your current plans.
Remember to re-visit your PhD Plan (pdf file with scientific content) and make sure that it is updated. In case of changes, upload a new document.
Your evaluation (corresponding to ½-1 page) should be made directly in the dialogue boxes in MyPhD after discussing with your supervisor. What you write in the dialogue box will be saved in MyPhD as a record of your progress. Ask your supervisor or PhD buddy if you are in doubt.
The evaluation should contain information regarding your progress on:
Please also update specific details on courses, change of environment, etc. directly in MyPhD.
This is also a good time to update/revisit your Alignment of expectations. If changed, note it in the dialogue box.
It is important to state whether things are moving on as planned and if not, state the reason(s) why.
When the half-year evaluation is completed, you should click “Send to supervisor”. Please be aware that you do not get an email announcement of changes made by your supervisor, Head of Programme, etc. You need to enter the system and check.
If you are in doubt on which option to choose, please contact your supervisor or Head of Programme.
If you update in your PhD plan outside of the half-year evaluation rolls, the plan should only be saved and not sent for evaluation.
For the Supervisor:
It is important that you make the evaluation thoroughly (i.e., approximately ½ A4 page of text). Once you have gone over your student’s PhD Plan and evaluation, there are two options. If the evaluation is ready to be passed on in the workflow, click the “Complete assessment. Send to student” button at the bottom of the page. This sends the evaluation back to the student for comments before it is passed on to the Head of Programme. If, the student needs to do further work, before it is ready to be passed on in the workflow, you should click the “Return to student for plan adjustments” button. The evaluation is returned to the student for further work, before it is once again passed on to the supervisor for assessment and final acceptance, to the Head of Programme and finally, to the Head of School
When the evaluation has been approved by the Head of Programme and the Head of School, the MyPhD status will change to “awaits student planning”.
The evaluation and previous evaluations can be found in “Plan history”.
Supervisors have the option to define an ad hoc course designed specifically for a PhD student. Such a course may include a journal club or a short internship with a company or other things. A course description (see template in the Forms box to the right) must be prepared and the supervisor is, as a rule, the person responsible for the ‘course’. The ad hoc course must be pre-approved by the Head of Programme. When the course is completed, the student/supervisor sends an E-mail to the Head of Programme (email@example.com) with the following attachments: course description; statement from the person responsible for the course with an assessment of the effectiveness of the course in relation to the student’s development.
Name of course:
No. of contact hours and hours in total:
Capacity limits: ad hoc course, no capacity limit.
Objectives of the course:
The objectives of the course are to:
Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:
The students must deliver:
See form in the box to the right
The qualifying exam is held halfway through your study. It consists of a written report and an oral presentation of your progress and plans. It is evaluated by your supervisor(s), one internal and one external opponent. The purposes of the qualifying exam are:
The qualifying exam takes the form of a seminar and then a discussion where you, your supervisor(s) and the opponents evaluate what has been done so far and priorities for the remaining part of your study. It should therefore be seen as an opportunity to plan the rest of your scientific programme and time schedule, as well as the formalities for finalizing your PhD thesis and conducting the defence.
The exam usually takes place 18 months before submission of the thesis (or after 24 months if you are a 4+4 student). More information can be found here: https://phd.tech.au.dk/for-phd-students/progress-report-qualifying-exam
Overview of the process:
AGRO recommends that, as a rule, the PhD thesis is based on three full-length peer-reviewed papers that have either already been published or are publishable in internationally recognized journals. This means that the PhD thesis will normally include three or more papers or manuscripts at different stages of completion, relating to the topic of the PhD project. All parts should have a scientific quality that aligns with the expectations for peer-reviewed publications. Further, the PhD thesis must include sections encompassing the following elements:
If published articles or submitted manuscripts are included in the thesis, you must ensure that you have permission from the publisher to reproduce these in the thesis. The procedure for obtaining permission depends on the publisher and can be found via the journal’s webpage.
In order to have the thesis printed, the following should be sent to Charlotte Hamann Knudsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 1 month before the defence:
No later than 14 days before the defence, the following should be sent to Charlotte:
If you do not observe this deadline, the thesis will NOT be printed.
The official font at AU is AU Passata or Georgia and the size should be 11, with 1.5 line-spacing. Headers should be size 12 and bold.
The first page of the contents should be on a right-side page when the thesis is opened.
The page numbers are centered, 10 mm from the bottom of the page.
Margins: top = 25 mm; sides = 25 mm; bottom = 20 mm.
The department will pay for 25 printed copies. Of these, two copies must be sent to the library and two copies must be kept in the department. These four copies should be delivered by the student to Karina Rysholt Christensen in Foulum or to Charlotte Hamann Knudsen in Flakkebjerg. The student will have the rest of the copies.
All contact to the printing company will go through Charlotte Hamann Knudsen (email@example.com).
Online publishing through E-books platform
If you are interested in publishing your PhD thesis or other material, the Royal Danish Library in Aarhus offers an online publication service through their E-books platform. This service will enable you to provide Open Access to your research and still maintain author’s rights for your PhD thesis.
The content is visible in catalogues worldwide, including library.au.dk. The service is free. Backup of the material is provided, and online help is available.
For more information, please have a look here: http://ebooks.au.dk/index.php/aul/index
Chair of assessment committee
PhD secretary Karina Rysholt Christensen
Charlotte Hamann Knudsen
(If in doubt ask your (PhD) buddy or (PhD) secretary)
Stays of up to 10 days
In AGRO, it has been decided that the PhD students receive the standard daily allowance in connection with trips of up to 10 days (both in Denmark and abroad). The daily allowance covers additional expenses for meals, small items, local transport at the destination, etc., paid by the student during the travel. This means that the company Eurocard should not be used during the travel. If free meals are received, they should be deducted when making the travel statement in RejsUd.
Additionally, the following will be covered (often via Eurocard before the travel is made):
These rules also apply for PhD students without salary from AU.
Change of environment*
In relation to the PhD change of environment, the following will be covered:
Please note the following:
All costs related to change of environment should be sent to Karina Rysholt Christensen who will take care of the reimbursement.
All costs in connection with the travels are paid from the PhD project and should therefore be made in agreement with your supervisor.
1Information about flights can be found here.
2Information about hotels can be found here.
*PhD students can apply for a GSTS travel grant if the planned stay is for 90 days or more. The application must be approved by the main supervisor.
*It is important to contact SKAT in good time before going abroad (at least 1 month before) as it may be possible to get a tax deduction in connection with the stay abroad. It can be very individual, so it is best to contact SKAT directly on 72 22 28 28. More information can be found on SKAT’s homepage (in Danish).
*It is also possible to book an advisory meeting with the travel group at AU.
As a PhD student your employment include tasks other than the PhD project amounting to a maximum of 280 hours per year, a total of 840 hours during the PhD, cf. “Cirkulære om overenskomst for Akademikere i staten (link)” and GSTS Rules and Regulations (link).
The department is entitled to assign these tasks, often it is handled by your main supervisor and/or the programme chair.
You must report the extent of duty work the PhD planner and it should be updated at each half year evaluation (specified according to the type of work, e.g. name of course, types of communication/presentation). It should also be discussed with your main supervisor. We urge you to keep score of your work.
All dissemination activities (including lectures) are listed in the PhD Planner under “Dissemination”. Any other kind of duty work must be reported under “Other Activity” or a bullet created by you called “Duty work”.
Examples of duty work can be:
Discussion of duty work ought to be on the agenda at your supervisor meetings. Coordinate the expectations to duty work – especially at the first supervisor meeting and in connection with preparation of the curriculum.
As a PhD student, your employment includes tasks other than the PhD project. These can amount to a maximum of 280 hours per year or 840 hours over the course of your PhD, as set out in the “Cirkulære om overenskomst for Akademikere i staten (link)” and GSTS Rules and Regulations (link).
AGRO does not count these hours, but the department is entitled to assign tasks to a student; often it is handled by your main supervisor and/or the programme chair.
You may report the extent of duty work in MyPhD and it should be updated at each half-year evaluation (specified according to the type of work, e.g., name of course, type(s) of communication/presentation). It should also be discussed with your main supervisor. We urge you to keep a record of your work.
All dissemination activities (including lectures) are listed in MyPhD under “Dissemination”. Any other kind of duty work must be reported under “Other Activity” or a bullet created by you called “Duty work”.
Examples of duty work can be:
Discussion of duty work ought to be on the agenda for your supervisor meetings. Coordinate the expectations of duty work, especially at the first supervisor meeting and in connection with preparation of the PhD plan.
Students are expected to:
What do students get out of it?
Students are a member of the PhD committee for one year. Around October, the current student members will call a meeting with all PhD students in AGRO and inform everyone about the possibility to become a committee member for the following year. One student from Flakkebjerg should be appointed and three students in AU Viborg/Foulum (from different sections). If possible, students in their second year of study should be appointed. Diversity is taken into consideration when appointing the representatives.
One of the appointed students should sign up for election to the GSTS PhD committee.
Data management refers to how you manage your produced research data before, during, and after your PhD project has finished. Managing your research data is an important task but can be daunting if it is not something that has be done before. It is important that you handle data responsibly,whether it is research, technical, legal, and ethical data. This means that you should:
While formulating your PhD plan, think what type of data your project might produce. Maintaining and making your data available will be primarily your task. It is a sign of good research ethics and will be a mark of a good PhD outcome. This should always be according to FAIR principles and ensuring the reuse of research data.
Your first source on how to do this should be your main supervisor and additionally and complementary the Data Management Committee members of the Agroecology Department. There are data management specialists that can help answer your questions at each facility.
You can find more about RDM here.
The Danish rules on PhD studies allow PhD students to obtain ECTS points for conference participation. According to GSTS guidelines a maximum of 10 ECTS can be obtained for activities which are not ordinary formal PhD courses. Some activities can be handled as ad hoc courses where the student must describe the activity in a PhD course template with clear learning goals, and the local PhD programme chair must approve it.
As for obtaining ECTS in connection with conference participation; the requirements and procedure for approval of ECTS for conference participation are as follows:
The student must describe the activity in the template below, and PhD programme chair must approve it.
The requirements and procedure for approval of ECTS for conference participation are as follows:
Template for ECTS approval can be found in the Forms Box to the right.