Doctoral Programme

iCourt PhD students are viewed as integrated members of the iCourts research team. They will have access to all iCourts facilities, including expert supervision, visits to our targeted international collaborators, research funding, specialised research training courses, etc.

Within the first month of enrolment at the Law Faculty in the iCourts doctoral program, students must write up a three-year individually tailored work programme. This should be prepared by the individual PhD students in close cooperation with their supervisors and the head of doctoral training. All PhD students must have a main supervisor and a co-supervisor who approve the individual program. As iCourts is a basic science research centre, all individual projects must have appropriate methodologies, as well as include primary research in addition to drawing on secondary sources.

To facilitate leaning all PhD students will upon enrolment be appointed a mentor who will introduce him/her to iCourts and the Copenhagen Law Faculty. PhD-students who have been in iCourts for more than a year are expected to act as a mentor for new students.

Within the first year of enrolment all PhD students will present his/her research project at an internal iCourts seminar. Here you will receive critical feedback on your project from the iCourts team, and you will be expected to regularly share your insight and knowledge with the team. As part of the program, PhD-students will share research skills between them. PhD-students will be expected to form their own workshops and organise international doctoral conferences on relevant research issues.

All iCourts PhD students are expected to visit at least one, and hopefully two of our targeted international collaborators. Students should present a research visit plan to their Supervisors and the head of iCourts doctoral training before finalizing any arranged visit. The goal of such visits is to  expose doctoral students to a research environment outside the University of Copenhagen. To this end, students are expected to solicit feedback and be an active participant in the intellectual life of the host institution. 

As part of the overall PhD-programme at The Faculty of Law, iCourts PhD students must complete doctoral training courses totalling approx. 30 ECTS points. iCourt PhD students will be required to meet this requirement by participating in the following types of training activities:

  • iCourts Lab (a number of specialised seminars internal to iCourts)
  • Supervised conference presentations
  • The Science BBQ (A theory and methods orientated research training programme at The Law Faculty)
  • Training Courses at our targeted international collaborators
  • JURFORSK training courses (Courses offered by the Danish/Nordic network of PhD-programmes)
  • Other relevant activities

Finally, as part of the overall PhD-programme, PhD students must build experience in the academic profession of sharing research and teaching. iCourts students are expected to fulfil this requirement through teaching either in Copenhagen or at the institution of one of our targeted international collaborators. We also encourage that iCourts students publish during their research project, but in any event expect students to demonstrate that they have fulfilled these expectations.

Dual degree with Northwestern University (USA)

In 2014 Northwestern University’s Department of Political Science and iCourts launched a dual degree program that allows iCourts doctoral students to qualify for PhD in Political Science at Northwestern University.

Dual degrees require students to have doctoral advisors and to complete the mandated requirements of both institutions. The requirements for Northwestern’s Doctorate have been modified for students pursuing a dual degree.

Admission: Dual degree candidates from the University of Copenhagen apply to Northwestern’s department of Political Science in fall quarter, as part of Northwestern’s normal admissions cycle. Upon request to the relevant Northwestern Director of Graduate Studies, University of Copenhagen applicants can have their application fee waived.  This request should come at the time of application.

Coursework: Dual degree students must acquire a minimum of 3 course credits in Political Science and a minimum of 9 course credits in total during their time at Northwestern (the equivalent of 1 year of course work, in residence). Coursework will normally, but not necessarily, be undertaken in consecutive quarters. Northwestern coursework undertaken as a visitor may be used towards this requirement.

Methods training: Students must obtain methods training approved by the Director of Graduate Studies of Political Science. This training may be completed at another University, at the Department of Political Science, or in another Northwestern department.

Exams:  University of Copenhagen dual degree students will take one comprehensive exam in their political science field of choice. Each program area has slightly different preparation requirements for field exams, which are explained by looking at the various program areas listed here. Additional information is in the guide to graduate study.

Second year paper requirementDual degree students must fulfill the second year paper requirement of the Department of Political Science.  A chapter of the student’s dissertation can be used to fulfill this requirement, and this requirement may be completed during or after the one year of coursework at Northwestern. For more information, see the guide to graduate study.

Teaching: Dual degree students are required to teach (TA or lecture) for at least one quarter during their doctoral training. Students may teach at either institution, but teaching location is generally tied to funding. When on iCourts funding, students will not teach at Northwestern. Students who teach at Northwestern may satisfy their University of Copenhagen teaching requirement, but find that their funding package is decreased according to University of Copenhagen rules.

Residency Requirements: Dual degree students must be in residence at Northwestern University for a minimum of four quarters. Dual degree students may remain beyond the original terms of their formal exchanges, subject to funding and visa restrictions.

Dissertation Committee and Dissertation Prospectus Defence: Dual degree students must have advisors from both institutions. Northwestern University’s Graduate school requires that two Northwestern Graduate Faculty serve on dissertation committees. The entire dissertation committee must sign off on a 10-20 page dissertation prospectus that defines the research question, justifies its theoretical contribution, and specifies the method of investigation. This prospectus is normally defended at a meeting with dissertation committee members. The meeting occurs after the completion of coursework and the comprehensive exam. Prospectus approval is separate from and in addition to the Phd plan required by the University of Copenhagen.

Dissertation Requirements: Dual degree students must submit a version of their dissertation that satisfies all quality, editing, binding and other material requirements of the Northwestern dissertation. This includes a requirement that the dissertation be written in English.

Dissertation Defence: In addition to the defence requirements at the Faculty of Law, a dissertation defence must be conducted at Northwestern University. This defence must adhere to Graduate School rules and program requirements regarding all other defences, e.g., that defence committees must include at least two Northwestern University graduate faculty members and at least one member from the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law.

Funding: Students accepted to the Faculty of Law doctoral program generally have three years of doctoral funding that can support their year(s) in residence at Northwestern. With the exception of granting a tuition waiver, Northwestern University will not initially fund incoming University of Copenhagen dual degree students. Students will be responsible for any fees normally paid by Northwestern graduate students, and for securing health insurance that meets requirements at Northwestern University.