For PhD Supervisors

Information for PhD Supervisors

Proper supervision is pivotal in relation to creating a successful PhD Study. This entails a close collaboration between the supervisor, the PhD students and the Doctoral School.

This site contains information relevant for all current and future PhD supervisors. If you find the site is lacking specific information feel free to contact us.

Fold out the different topics below to read more.

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    Who can be a PhD supervisor


    The main supervisors has to be employed at Aalborg University. Furthermore the main supervisor needs to associate professor as a minimum.
    20% Professors can also be appointed as main supervisors.

    The main supervisor is responsibe for a  sucessfull completion of the PhD project.


    It is a requirement from the Doctoral School that the PhD project is assigned at least one co-supervisor that can provide academic/professionel feedback in fields where the main-supervisor may not be an expert.

    It is not required that co-supervisors are employed at AAU or at Aalborg University hospital. 

    There are specific requirements in relation to the Industrial PhD program. Here the company/organization needs to appoint two supervisors. 


    Changes to the supervisor setup must be approved by the PhD Study Director and accepted by all the involved parties (department, supervisors, PhD student).

    Forward the requested changes to

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    Initial Phases of the PhD Study

    When a PhD student is accepted for enrollment  at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science it is crucial to the PhD study that the supervisor and PhD student allign their expectations towards eachother and the PhD study at hand. A missallignment here may lead to issues later on, issues that could have been avoided.

    As a supervisor you must actively assist the student in completing the PhD plan that is due for submission no later than 2 months after the study is commenced. The paradigme found here must be applied. Once the plan is ready for submission it is uploaded by the PhD student through PhD manager where the supervisor, followed by the head of program must approve the PhD plan. The same procedure is to be followed when the updated version is submitted, no later than 11 months after enrollment. Only the PhD study director can provide an extemption in relation to these timeframes.

    Key elements to remember when initiating a PhD study:


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    During the PhD Study

     During the course of each individual study the supervisor must attend to the following:

    • Ensure that the PhD student in question develops into an independent researcher and obtains the skills stipulated in the ministerial order.
    • Conduct the status seminar prior to the submission of the updated PhD plan - opponent must be approved by the Head of Program 
    • No later than 11 months after enrollment an updated PhD plan is uploaded through PhD manager. The template found here is to be applied.
    • Complete progress reports for each PhD student through PhD manager, an email is sent to the supervisor once a progress report is due. For information regarding evaluation, click here.
    • Cooperate with the head of the assigned doctoral program on the PhD study in question.
    • Conduct staff appraisal interviews (MUS) the first two years of the PhD study.
    • Sign applications for leave of absence and applications for financial support.
    • Assess and approve outcome of conference participitation. (6 ECTS maximum during a PhD study). If you are planning to obtain more than 6 ECTS via conference participitation, please contact the doctoral school.

    In some cases a PhD study may encounter unforseen issues during the three years of study. It is important that the supervisor and/or the student adresses these issues sooner rather than later. Unresolved and seemingly irrelevant issues may lead to serious problems later on in the study.

    Should you encounter issues that you cannot resolve amongst yourselves please contact the Doctoral School who will initiate contact to the PhD Study Director. 

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    Finishing the PhD Study

    As the PHD study near completion there are a several elements that is to be handled by the PhD student and the supervisor. To assist in relation to this process the doctoral school recommends that the supervisor and PhD student makes themselves familiar with these elements as soon as possible.

    The following elements must be taken care of:

    • An assessment committee must be forwarded to the doctoral scool for approval - the thesis cannot be uploaded before the committee is approved. Guidelines (including checklist) in relation to the appointment of an assessment committee are found here.
    • The thesis is formatted according to the VBN guidelines.
    • Dissertations with affiliated papers (this can also account for monographs)  co-author statements is to be sent to the doctoral school for assessment. Once these are approved by the PhD study director the student is notified. 
    • A supervisor statement is to be sent to the doctoral school. Once this is done the student must be notified. By submitting this statement the supervisor acknowledges that the PhD study is completed satisfactory. All elements in the template must be filled out. An incomplete supervisor statement is subject to rejection.
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    Re-establishment period

    If a student fails to follow the PhD plan the supervisor has the possibility to initiate a reestablishment period. This is done by indicating the problems on a progress report or by contacting Helen Kjerstein Kristensen at the Doctoral School directly.

    When requesting a reestablishment period directly to the doctoral school, the following must be enclosed:

    • A detailed argumentation as to why the student is underperforming and which changes that have been made to the PhD plan.
    • A detailed plan for the three month re-establishment period. This should contain information regarding the changes and improvements that the PhD student should achieve in the three month period.

    Once the Doctoral School has received the request for re-establishment the PhD student is given a 14 day period to comment on the request by the supervisor. Following the 14 day period the PhD Study Director will decide whether or not a re-establishment period is initiated. 

    Once the re-establishment period is over the PhD supervisor must assess whether or not the goals set out for the period are acheived. The student is again given a 14 day period to comment on the assessment made by the supervisor. On the basis of the supervisor's assessment and the comments, if any, made by the student, the PhD Study Director decides if the re-establishment period has been sucessfull. If so the PhD study continues. The three month period does not lead to an extension of the PhD study. If the period is not sucessfull the PhD student's enrollment in the Doctoral School is terminated.

    A PhD student is only eligible for one re-establishment period during the PhD study.

    If you have any questions in relation to the above, contact Helen Kjerstein Kristensen at the Doctoral School

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    Supervisor Responsibilities

    As a PhD supervisor it is important that you are familiar with the different responsibilities that are laid upon you and the different aspects you are involved with during the PhD study.

    As a starting point it is imperative that you allign your expectations with the PhD student you are supervising. This founds the crucial starting point for the entire PhD study and it is therefore of outmost importance that you and the PhD student are on the same track.

    The doctoral school suggests reading this document in relation to evaluating a PhD study.

    The document found in the link below contains a complete description of the PhD supervisors responsibilities.

    Supervisor Responsibilities

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding the PhD study, terms of employment, courses and the like, please contact us:


Phone: 9940 9638

Niels Jernes Vej 10, 1st floor

9220 Aalborg East