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Foundational course in PhD supervision

Time of year
August-September 2020

Target group
All main supervisors and co-supervisors of PhD students at Faculty of Science and Faculty of Technology (permanent and temporary staff).

To expand participants’ strategies and methods in supervision.

The course runs over four weeks and consists of:

  • Session 1: PhD supervision: rules, relations and communication (8 hrs)
  • Session 2: Supervision of writing (2 hrs, optional)
  • Session 3: The supervisor role in recruitment (2 hrs, optional)
  • Session 4: The supervisor role in assessment (2 hrs, optional)

Content and delivery
The course is highly practical in content through the discussion and testing of methods and tools in supervision. Session 1 covers the most essential elements of PhD supervision and brings experienced and inexperienced supervisors up to date on developments and research in the area. It has three main elements: 1) the optimal use of (and alignment with) the rules and regulations of a PhD education, 2) managing the process of supervision (e.g. aligning expectations, handling cultural differences, ensuring academic development, managing crises and conflicts) and 3) communication skills (e.g. questioning techniques). Session 2 - 4 provide focused training in supervision of writing, recruitment and supervision for the part A exam and thesis defense. Highly experienced supervisors may choose to participate in session 1 and 2 only. Session 3 and 4 are particularly useful for faculty that are new to research supervision in the context of Aarhus University. Session 1 is a prerequisite for session 2-4. 

Recent participants of the teacher training course for assistant professors at AU should note that the present course has a small overlap with module 3 on supervision in the teacher training course.

After the course, the participants will:

  • understand rules and regulations for the PhD education including expectations for supervision on research integrity
  • have tools to align expectations for supervision with students
  • have tools and strategies to develop students’ skills and independence in writing
  • have communication tools that ensure progression in supervisory meetings and enhance students’ independent thinking
  • be able to identify and manage conflicts and crises that may appear during a PhD education


Participants are asked to contribute two small pieces of writing in advance of the course (maximum 1 hour of preparation time).


  • Session 1: Wednesday 26 August 2020 at 9-17
  • Session 2: Wednesday 2 September 2020 at 14-16
  • Session 3: Wednesday 9 September 2020 at 14-16
  • Session 4: Wednesday 16 September 2020 at 14-16


  • Will be held online

Sign up here


  • Tove H Jørgensen, Associate Professor, Department of Biology (course leader)
  • Jes Madsen, Professor, Vice-dean and Head of Graduate School.
  • Rikke J. Ljungman, PhD-partner
  • Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz, Professor, Department of Geoscience

Maximum 20 participants (first-come-first-served)

18977 / i43