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Foundational course in PhD supervision

Time of year
October-November 2020

Target group
All main supervisors and co-supervisors of PhD students at Faculty of Natural Sciences and Faculty of Technical Sciences (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: Monday 19 October at 9-17
  • Session 2: Monday 26 October at 14-16
  • Session 3: Monday 2 November at 14-16
  • Session 4: Monday 9 November at 14-16


  • Session 1: Monday 19 October - Richard Mortensens stuen, Frederik Nielsens Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus
  • Session 2: Monday 26 October - Richard Mortensens stuen, Frederik Nielsens Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus
  • Session 3: Monday 2 November - Richard Mortensens stuen, Frederik Nielsens Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus
  • Session 4: Monday 9 November – Mødelokale 1, Frederik Nielsens Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus


  • 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

Sign up here

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

Lunch and coffees are provided during session 1.

18978 / i43