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Danish Academic Job Titles Explained

3 min arvioitu lukuaika · Kirjoittanut Academic Positions

What's the difference between a professor and and a professor med særlige opgaver? What about a forsker and a lektor? Here's a breakdown of the most common academic job titles used in Denmark.

PhD Fellow

PhD fellows in Denmark are considered to be university employees rather than students and as such, most PhD positions are fully funded. Typically you must first earn a Master’s degree before starting a PhD in Denmark, although there are PhD programs that are one year longer where students earn both a Master's and a PhD. Danish students do not do coursework; they start working on the project that will become their thesis right away. It is often expected that PhD fellows will teach a course during their degree, which takes three years to earn.


After earning their doctorate, researchers go on to a postdoc which, in Denmark, can last up to four years at the same university. A postdoc is a continuation of a researcher’s training that allows them to further their professional development and start to transition from student to independent researcher. Postdocs in Denmark might also be required to take on some teaching responsibilities. 


This is a research positions which is often permanent, but can also be fixed-term for a maximum of six years. Researchers are responsible for conducting research, giving scientific advice, and innovation. They may also have some teaching responsibilities. 


An adjunkt is equivalent to an assistant professor. The position can be either fixed-term for a maximum of four years or tenure-track. The main responsibilities of an adjunkt are research and research-based teaching. At this level, they are also supervised by a higher ranking professor and given the opportunity to improve their pedagogical skills. If the adjunkt is on the tenure-track, their performance is assessed after six years and, if successful, they are promoted to a lektor.


Senior researchers are responsible for research and research-based public sector consultancy. They may also be asked to teach and supervise assistant professors. Through their work, they contribute to the university’s national and international collaborative efforts and further research-based innovation. This is usually a permanent position.


Equivalent to an associate professor, a lektor is a permanent position. Like others of the professorial rank they are responsible for research and research-based teaching, as well as supervising and mentoring assistant professors. While this is considered a tenured position, it does not offer further promotion to a professor as in North America. The hiring process for professors is always thorough open calls.

Professor med særlige opgaver

This title translates to professor with special responsibilities. These positions give talented, young researchers an opportunity to develop a new field of research to an international level. They focus on teaching, research and innovation. This is a three to five year fixed-term position that can be extended to eight years total. At the end of the appointment, the special responsibilities end and the academic becomes a lektor.


Professors usually have a record of original scientific production at an international level. They are responsible for conducting research and research-based teaching and have experience in research management or innovation. This is a permanent, tenured position.

Kirjoittanut Academic Positions  ·  Published 2019-10-28

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