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Common PhD principles introduced at AU

AU has adopted a number of basic principles for the university's four graduate schools. The principles will help establish a common foundation for educating the next generations of researchers to our challenge conventional wisdom with ground-breaking and independent research.

The essential cornerstone of any PhD programme at Aarhus University is the deeply founded elements of independence, academic development, scientific integrity, social commitment and a strong ability to collaborate. A number of recently adopted basic principles have forged renewed common understanding for this cornerstone, and they will be implemented very soon at the graduate schools at all four AU faculties.

But what does it all mean, and how will the principles be ensured in the individual's PhD programme?

"Generally speaking, the purpose of the basic principles is to ensure the right level of independence at the right stage of the PhD programme. It is also crucial to establish a common understanding of what a PhD programme at Aarhus University actually is. We hope that the basic principles will contribute to facilitating collaboration on PhD programmes across faculties and with external parties, and that the principles will clarify what can be expected of a PhD graduate from AU," says Vice-Dean Per Baltzer Overgaard, Aarhus. BSS, who has coordinated of the process of drawing up the principles.

A long process has preceded the new basic principles. For example, a conference in 2017 focused on the different conceptions between and within the four faculties of what a PhD programme should include. This has given rise to a number of important discussions between research directors, supervisors, programme chairs and PhD students about how to interpret the substance of being a PhD student at AU. The dialogue will be followed up with another internal conference in 2020, which among other things will focus on the development of degree programmes.

"It has been an enriching process for both the university and those directly involved, who can now apply the principles throughout the process from enrolment to dissertation defence. It is important that the principles can safeguard the academic development of PhD students so that we maintain the high level of independence, and so that the skills to design, develop and conduct international-level research are well-developed after graduation," explains Per Baltzer Overgaard.

The principles has already been used on the various graduate schools to various extends, but with this set of principles supplies a common ground that will be implementing the principles in the individual faculties over the coming year.

Read more about the principles on this website.