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HEALTH: PhD Supervision for Supervisors


The quality of PhD students' education is largely dependent on the PhD supervisor's competencies as a supervisor. The aim of the basic course in PhD supervision is to expand the participants’ repertoire of supervision strategies and methods in order to provide a flexible approach to supervision, strengthen their reflections on practices, roles and relationships in the supervision process, and share experiences and new knowledge for advancing PhD supervisors’ competencies.    

Learning outcome

  • Describe and give reasons for own supervision practice.
  • Analyse and consider actual dilemmas in supervision.
  • Identify and argue for individual choices in managing one’s own supervisor role.
  • Write a supervisory letter in order to explicate values and traditions in the researcher community.
  • Apply communicative methods that underpin progression in the supervision meeting.
  • Give constructive text feedback and thus promote the PhD-student’s writing process.
  • Describe and give reasons for the ways in which talent identification and talent development takes place in the supervisor’s research environment.
  • Adapt the rules and regulations of the Graduate School of Health.
  • Discuss responsible conduct of research.    


The course is about supervision in research education, including supervision of PhD students and research year students. The course aims at developing supervisors’ competencies and flexible approach in the actual supervision process, thus the course put emphasis on hand-on training, exchange of knowledge and sharing experiences across the faculty. The supervisor’s ability to approach the supervisee in a flexible way is a key issue in the course. Flexibility in supervision is a matter of knowing how to adjust the guidance of students with different needs, different challenges, and different backgrounds. The content of the course focuses on the following basic elements:

Module 1: Roles and expectations in PhD supervision

  • Clarifying supervisor and student expectations in PhD supervision
  • Supervisor roles – teacher, master, colleague, supervisor, mentor
  • What is successful PhD supervision – according to research?
  • Identifying and fostering talent in research – the supervisor’s role

Module 2: Rules, regulations and research integrity

  • Introduction to rules and regulations
  • Framework and Information
  • How do you get into the PhD programme?
  • What requirements are there along the way?
  • How do you complete a PhD programme?
  • What kind of support is available, if you have an international PhD student?
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Module 3: Communication, feedback and training

  • The process of writing and giving text feedback
  • Peer-feedback
  • IPTO – Intended PhD Training Outcome
  • Communication, active listening and feedback on dilemmas in supervision: applying a four-stage dialogue model    

Working methods

The course comprises of three modules (one day per module) with in-class activities. In addition to the modules, the participants are expected to conduct out-of-class activities such as written assignments, collection of exemplars of students’ texts and supervisors’ feedback, and/or observation of supervision. The participants’ working methods at the course vary from small group exercises, small group discussions, individual training and reflection, and plenary discussions. In order to stimulate collegial network and cooperation the participants are grouped in learning groups of 4-5 persons per group. These groups are recurring groups throughout the course.

Successful completion requirements

The workload of full participation in the course is about 60 hours including three days of participation (the three modules), participation in group work, individual reading and out-of-class activities, and a concluding assignment.

Approval of the course participation presupposes full participation, participation in group work, and handing in a concluding assignment. A maximum of 20% absence in the course modules due to own or child’s illness or the like is acceptable.

The course is mandatory for main supervisors.


Autumn 2024

For the full course description, dates and registration for the course please see the Course Calendar of the Graduate School of Health.


  • Target group: PhD Supervisors
  • Language: in English if non-Danish speakers are present, otherwise in Danish
  • Span: 3 course days + preparation. 60 hours in all
  • Course certificate: upon satisfactory completion
  • No. of participants: Min. 8, max. 24

Administrative contact

Johanne Gregor Højgaard

Course Administrator Health Administrative Centre - Health PhD Administration