The director of the doctoral school appoints a principal supervisor, who is responsible for the PhD program of the PhD student (cf. Ministerial Order on the Ph.D. programme, §8, 1). As a main rule, the principal supervisor must be a researcher within the field of the PhD project, possessing qualifications corresponding to professor, associate professor or senior researcher level and be employed on a permanent basis at Aalborg University. One or more secondary supervisors with expertise within the relevant field are appointed at the time of enrolment, unless special circumstances apply. Industrial PhD students must have a secondary supervisor affiliated with the company. Secondary supervisors must be approved by the director of the doctoral school. All appointed supervisors are expected to be familiar with the Rules and Curriculum. All supervisors employed at Aalborg University are expected to attend the doctoral school’s courses and programme specific seminars for supervisors at a regular basis. Both courses for new and experienced supervisor are available.
The responsibilities of the principal supervisor are divided into three phases below: at the beginning, during and at the end of the PhD-study.
At the beginning:
1) The principal supervisor initiates a discussion of mutual expectations between the student and the supervisor, as clarification of mutual expectations is crucial for a succesful PhD education.
2) The principal supervisor assists the PhD student in planning the PhD program and acts as a sparring partner in discussions of research questions pertaining to the PhD project.
3) The principal supervisor assists in working out the PhD plan and approves the final PhD plan within three months from the date of enrolment (see submission of PhD plan).
4) The principal supervisor acts as a sparring partner throughout the PhD period.
5) It is the responsibility of the principal supervisor to guide the PhD student regarding course activities and conference participation.
6) The principal supervisor provides guidance in relation to stays abroad and participation in other active research environments and networks.
7) The principal supervisor ensures that the PhD student gains experience of teaching and other kinds of knowledge dissemination related to the PhD project.
8) It is the responsibility of the principal supervisor to follow the PhD student’s academic progress. Hence, the principal supervisor oversees that the PhD student is following the PhD plan in terms of the stipulated academic contents and time frame.
9) The regular assessment of whether the PhD student is following the PhD plan is carried out on the background of biannual assessments, termed progress reports. submitted by the PhD student. The progress reports must be approved by the principal supervisor.
10) The principal supervisor is to ensure that the student follows good scientific conduct, including ethic considerations.
11) In case of application for extension of enrolment (maximum 2 x 6 months), the principal supervisor provides a statement confirming the necessity of the extension and the likelihood of completion with 6 months (application for extension)
At the end:
12) At least one month before submission, the principal supervisor identifies the potential members of the academic assessment committee according to the stipulated criteria, ensures acceptance from the assessment committee and sends it to the doctoral school for approval.
13) Upon submission of the thesis, the principal supervisor prepares an opinion (supervisor’s statement) on the completion of the PhD program as a whole.
14) The principal supervisor acts as an observer during the assessment process and assists the assessment committee without voting rights (cf. Ministerial Order, §16, 2).
Relevant literature on supervision
From, U. & Nørgaard Kristensen, N. (2005): Proces og struktur I ph.d.-forløbet. Frederiksberg. Samfundslitteratur.
Lee, A. (2008): How are doctoral students supervised? Concepts of research supervision. Studies in Higher Education, Vol 33, No 3, June 2008, 267-281.
Tanggaard, L.; Wegener, C. (2016): A Survival Kit for Doctoral Students and their Supervisors: Traveling the Landscape of Research, 1 ed. Californien: Sage Publications, Incorporated
Practical information for supervisors
300 hours of supervision are allocated to the entire study program. Supervision hours are distributed be-tween the principal and the secondary supervisors in accordance with an agreement between the PhD student and the supervisors.
For AAU-employed supervisors, the supervision hours are part of the normal account of hours. External supervisors will receive a form for payment of honorarium by the end of the semester.
The responsibility for the guidelines is owned by Doctoral School of the Humanities who can be contacted if there are questions.