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PhD Activities

As a PhD student within the Department of Anthropology, you become part of a vibrant research community. You are encouraged to engage in the activities of the research program and enhance your skills in inquiry, analysis, presentation, discussion, and the advancement of your research through courses, roundtable discussions, workshops, and lectures alongside fellow researchers.

Explore our array of structured academic activities and formats designed to immerse emerging scholars into the environment and ensure a doctoral education in Anthropology at the highest international level.

About the PhD Programme

As a PhD student at the Graduate School of Arts – working within the disciplinary fields of Anthropology or Human Security – you will be enrolled in the PhD programme of Anthropology, Global Studies and the Study of Religion.

If you are working on an interdisciplinary project, you are allowed to choose courses from different study programmes. Learn more about the different PhD programmes at the Graduate School of Arts here.


As a newly enrolled PhD. student, you will be paired with a 'PhD Buddy' who will guide you through the department and address any queries you might have as a newcomer. The initial meeting will commence with a 'grand tour' of the MoCa Campus, offering insights into essential facilities (lunchroom, copying rooms, pigeonholes, library, etc.), and an introduction to the department head, research program leaders, secretaries, and staff members occupying the offices.

If, as a PhD Student, you are interested in becoming a PhD Buddy yourself, please reach out to the department secretary. You can dedicate up to 20 'institution hours' to this role.


As a PhD-student, you have an important part to play in suggesting and planning thematic courses, workshops and conferences in cooperation with the Research Programme of Anthropology and the PhD Programme of Anthropology, Global Studies and the Study of Religion.

The Department of Anthropology collaborates with the University of Copenhagen in offering three PhD courses every term: From Plans to Practice, From Fieldwork to Analysis, and From Analysis to Text. These courses are designed to progressively enhance specific competencies in anthropological project development, from idea conception to fieldwork, analysis, and eventual publication. While the courses are not mandatory, we expect PhD students employed within the Department of Anthropology to attend in order to qualify for a PhD degree in Anthropology.

We expect all courses to be friendly, creative and productive. You may experience that your ideas about your project are challenged and that you lose foothold for a while. But do not worry! A creative process necessarily implies some sort of friction and remember that it is between you and your supervisor that decisions regarding your PhD thesis are taken.


All courses are announced on PhDcourses.dk

The courses are primarily available for PhD students enrolled at the local PhD Programme, but PhD students from other PhD Programmes may apply and will be accepted in case of vacancies.


  • In the Spring, courses are administered by AU Research School for Arts, Ph.D. Administrator Henriette Jaquet (Tel. 87 15 25 43, henriette.jaquet@au.dk).
  • In the Autumn, courses are administered by KU HR Søndre City Ph.D. Course Administrator Maja Erlund/KU HR Søndre City Ph.D. (Tel. 35 33 42 24; phd@hrsc.ku.dk)

Plans to Practice (1 day, 2 ECTS)

Week 10 (Spring) and week 41 (Fall)

This course is for PhD students who are in the first semester of their PhD program. You will get the opportunity to present your research project – the ways in which you have imagined the field and developed a research process that can generate data for the project – and, in turn, receive comments from your fellow students and the course facilitators. The course will assist you in giving specific form to your fieldwork plans and making the move from general overall ideas to concrete research design.

In preparation for the course, you are expected to prepare a document including a short, up-to-date, version of your project description, between 3-5 pages in length.

Fieldwork to Analysis (2 days, 3.5 ECTS)

Week 10 and 13 (Spring), and week 37 and 41 (Fall)

This course is for PhD students who are in the middle of their PhD program and have done some fieldwork, if not all. We will work with the analytical potential in your data, and you will have a chance to try out an analysis and get feedback from your fellow students and the course facilitators. As an integral part of this, we will also work towards the development of your overall thesis argument.

In preparation for the first course day, you are expected to prepare a short description of your project including an overview of your fieldwork and data. In addition, you will be asked to submit a "lump" of data. It can be a description of a particular situation in your fieldwork, a life history, mappings of different kinds, some visual data, or a combination of data that somehow seem to be related. We want you to choose from "gut feeling" and intuition and dare to engage in an exploration of analytical possibilities.​​​​​​​

We propose that you meet with your supervisor shortly after the first course day and discuss the feedback you have received. Between the first and second course days, you are expected to turn your "lump" into a short analysis.

Analysis to Text (2 days, 3.5 ECTS)

Week 10 and 13 (Spring), and week 37 and 41 (Fall)

This course is for PhD students who are in the process of writing up their dissertations. The aim of the course is to train how to write with clarity, how to engage the reader in the presentation of the material, and how to present the overall argument in writing and in structuring the thesis. You are asked to submit a text ahead of the course. Participants may be at different stages of the process, and some will be ready to present more completed texts than others, but don’t worry if you present a non-finished text. You will learn just as much from that, if not more. The text should be a maximum of 20 pages. It could be a draft for a chapter or an article that forms part of your thesis. In addition, you must submit one page presenting the overall argument of your thesis. We propose that you meet with your supervisor shortly after the first course day and discuss the feedback you have received. Between the first and second course days, you are expected to work on your text.


Anthropology Matters are guided academic discussions for PhD fellow members of the RPA. At each meeting, a faculty member presents a concept important to their research for 15-20 minutes. Then two designated PhD students present how the concept in question relates to their own research for 5-10 minutes each. The idea is to open up and push one's work in a new direction.

Attendees are expected to read 2-3 papers and engage in the plenum discussion.


Thesis seminars are designed to help PhD fellow members of the department to prepare for the PhD defense. The seminar outlines a planned thesis – including selected drafts of basic hypotheses, theories and methods - that are presented and discussed in critical dialogue with two senior experts acting as opponents. The seminars offer attendees a good chance to learn what “doing a PhD” is about.

Pictures from the MEGA Seminar organized by PhD students from the department (photos by Kathrine Svejstrup).