Flexible PhD programmes – University of Copenhagen

Flexible PhD models (3+5 and 4+4)

It is possible to start your PhD project before obtaining your Master's degree.

The PhD student is simultaneously enrolled in a Master's programme and the PhD programme, complying with all requirements in both programmes.

Study structure

Flexible models

The flexible PhD programme is not a fast track to obtain a PhD degree. The PhD programme is prescribed to 180 ECTS, equalling three years workload. Most Master's programmes are prescribed to 120 ECTS equalling two years workload. Any course or thesis activities from the Master's programme cannot be credit transferred to the PhD programme.

Part A is completed, when the PhD student obtains the Master's degree. This is followed by Part B, which is two years of 100 % PhD studies. For Master's programmes which are more than 120 ECTS (e.g. medicine), Part A is extended accordingly.

You can work on your Master's programme and your PhD in part A simultaneously. You can also take a semester or a quarter where you focus either on your Master's programme or your PhD.

Why do a PhD as a flexible model?

  • You do not get more time for doing research, but you get a longer time period to conduct your research and your PhD project.
  • A majority of PhD students on the flexible models are already affiliated to the research environment, where the PhD project is to be carried out.
  • From the supervisor's point of view, the university or hospital can attract or maintain highly talented students.

Current UCPH Master's students - how to apply

  • Like all other PhD students, you must have a project, a supervisor and funding.
  • You must complete a time- and activity schedule divided in quarters for the entire enrolment period together with your supervisor. This period totals to three years of PhD study plus the remaining study elements of your Master's programme, which must be no less than six months.
  • Apply for exemption at your Master's programme study board for extended study time or from compulsory registration for 30 ECTS per semester. Find further information at the study pages of your Master's programme at KUnet.
  • Consult the Head of Graduate School for preliminary approval. Your request must include a recommendation from your supervisor specifying why the project is suitable as a flexible model, and your time- and activity schedule.
  • Apply for enrolment at the Graduate School after obtaining your preliminary approval. Enclose the preliminary approval and state that the application is for the flexible PhD model.
  • You can apply for study start any time of year.

Applicants outside UCPH - how to apply

  • Like all other PhD students, you must have a project, a supervisor and funding.
  • Apply for admission to a Master's programme at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Enclose a letter of recommendation from your supervisor, stating that you also will enroll in the flexible PhD programme.
  • You must complete a time- and activity schedule divided in quarters for the entire enrolment period together with your supervisor. This period totals to three years of PhD study plus two years of Master's programme. 
  • Apply for exemption at your Master's programme study board for extended study time or from compulsory registration for 30 ECTS per semester. Find further information at the UCPH Master's programmes.
  • After being admitted to the Master's programme, you can apply for enrolment in the Graduate School. Enclose documentation for admission to your Master's programme and state that the application is for the flexible PhD model.
  • Study start is usually 1 September or 1 February.

Salary and funding

Stipend, salary, PhD tuition fee, running costs etc. must be covered by your supervisor or department.

Tuition fee

  • If you are a non-EU citizen, the tuition fee for the Master's programme will be waivered by the University of Copenhagen. Danish and EU citizens do not pay such tuition fee.
  • The PhD tuition fee must be paid annually in the first three years of your enrolment period. The annual fee is DKK 50,000.

Salary

  • If you conduct your PhD at a hospital, the Graduate School recommends that you are offered a scholar stipend in Part A. Talk to your supervisor.
  • If you are employed at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, you will receive a stipend equivalent of 48 grant portions during Part A. Each portion is equivalent to the current level of Danish state education grant. You will be offered 150 working hours each year as a student assistant at your department during Part A. Learn more at KUnet.
  • When you start Part B, you will obtain salary like other PhD students.