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Corona FAQ for GSST PhD students

The situation regarding the outbreak of coronavirus and COVID-19 is escalating, and new safety measures are taken by Danish authorities on a daily basis.

AU is monitoring the situation closely and is regularly updating the information about the coronavirus outbreak on the website: www.au.dk/en/corona.

FAQ for PhD students
Below we are working to collect answers to the most frequently asked questions in relations to the current outbreak of coronavirus. We are aiming to list answers specifically relevant for PhD students at Graduate School of Science and Technology, GSST. The list is updated on a regular basis.

For more general questions, please refer to the links on the right (or below if you're using a mobile device). The information below should be seen as supplemental to the info given by AU's other outlets.

PhD defences

My PhD defence is scheduled soon. What are my options?

Upcoming PhD defences can be postponed to a later date or be conducted digitally/online.

I would like to postpone my PhD defence. What should I do?

Please inform your main supervisor and PhD partner as soon as possible.

I would like to maintain the date for my PhD defence. What should I do?

Your PhD defence may be conducted digitally/online.

Together with the AU IT department, we are currently trying to find a solution to conduct PhD defences digitally/online. The solution needs to be tested thoroughly before the graduate school will recommend digital PhD defences. Consult your PhD partner, if you are considering this option.

Please note that AU is physically closed for the time being, i.e. digital/online defences must be conducted from your own home.

I have defended my PhD thesis. How soon can I get my diploma?

Unfortunately, we are currently not able to prepare the official diplomas during the university lockdown. We are sorry for the delay that you may experience.

If you urgently need documentation of your PhD degree, please ask your PhD partner to prepare a letter confirming your successfully completed PhD defence.


Qualifying exam

What will happen to my qualifying exam?

If rescheduling is impossible, the qualifying exam can be conducted digitally during this period.

Please contact your PhD partner, so that she may assist your through this process.


Research Environment Change

Should I come home from my stay abroad?

That is up to you, but we encourage you to carefully consider your situation. Please also consult your main supervisor.

Currently, Aarhus University strongly encourages all members of staff who do not live abroad to return to Denmark as quickly as possible. 

Please stay informed at AU’s corona website and via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines for travelling abroad.

Special circumstances may apply for international PhD students travelling to or from Denmark. Please keep yourself updated on the International Academic Staff Service (IAS) website.

I am travelling to Denmark soon. Can I get an official document confirming my enrolment/employment to present to the customs officer, if needed?

Yes, please ask your PhD partner to prepare you an enrolment/employment confirmation.

Can I go abroad for my research environment change?

At the moment, Aarhus University strongly advises against travelling abroad.

All PhD Students must stay informed via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines for travelling abroad.

Special circumstances may apply for international PhD students travelling to or from Denmark. Please keep yourself updated on the International Academic Staff Service (IAS) website.

I have received a GSST mobility grant, but my travel plans are affected. What should I do?

If you cut your stay short in order to return to Denmark, you are still eligible to receive the full amount of the grant despite the 90 day-requirement. The grant may be used to cover expenses in relation to cancelling or changing your travel plans.

If your stay is postponed, please send an e-mail to GSSTgrants@au.dk with the new dates for your stay abroad. You do not need to submit a new application.

If you cancel your stay abroad entirely, please let us know by sending an e-mail to GSSTgrants@au.dk. You are welcome to send another application later on, when you make new plans for your research environment change.

Click here to read more about the GSST mobility grant.


Research and PhD courses

What am I expected to do during the university lockdown?

It is expected that you continue to work from home, as far as possible.

We recommend that you, in consultation with your main supervisor, assess how you can approach the PhD project and what parts of the project you can work on during this period and under the given circumstances.

As usual, you should notify your manager of illness and absence in accordance with your department’s guidelines. You are not obliged to provide information about the nature of your illness, but in this special situation, you are encouraged to inform your manager if your illness is likely to be a result of coronavirus. This will make it possible for the university to apply for sick leave benefit reimbursement in connection with your absence.

Are PhD courses cancelled or postponed?

PhD courses scheduled to be held before March 27 will in general be cancelled or postponed. Please check the course descriptions on the GSST website to see any updates. If if doubt contact the person in charge of the course.

We are working hard to prepare digital solutions in order to offer distance learning. We are currently testing the technology and expect to be able to offer distance learning on some PhD courses.

The university has never before had to apply this technology on such a large scale. Therefore, we ask for your patience.


PhD enrolment and employment

Can I get a study extension for the research time lost during the lockdown?

It has yet to be decided how the GSST will deal with corona-related extensions. As soon as we are more clear on the situation, our guidelines will be posted in this FAQ. 

For the time being, it is expected that you continue to work from home, as far as possible. We recommend that you, in consultation with your main supervisor, assess how you can approach the PhD project and what parts of the project you can work on during this period and under the given circumstances.

If you are prevented from or limited in your ability to work during the university's lockdown, please notify your main supervisor.

NB! Please wait to contact us in regard to extensions until the lockdown has been lifted.

I’m sick, possible with COVID-19. What should I do and is it ground for an extension?

As usual, you should notify your manager of illness and absence in accordance with your department’s guidelines. You are not obliged to provide information about the nature of your illness, but in this special situation, you are encouraged to inform your manager if your illness is likely to be a result of coronavirus. This will make it possible for the university to apply for sick leave benefit reimbursement in connection with your absence.

Normally, you will only be granted an extension if you are sick continuously for more than 30 days. It remains undecided whether special rules will apply for COVID-19.    

Should I continue my work as a student teacher/instructor?

Yes, it is expected that you continue to carry out teaching obligations through the available digital solutions (e.g. Blackboard/Zoom). Please consult the course coordinator regarding how best to continue your teaching.

To learn more, please see AU’s webpage on how to transition to remote teaching and learning.    

I’m set to start my PhD studies during the AU lockdown. What are my options?

For the time being, it is expected that you start your work from home, as far as possible. We recommend that you, in consultation with your main supervisor, assess how you can approach the PhD project and what parts of the project you can work on during this period and under the given circumstances.

If you have an employment contract, it is still valid under the current circumstances. You will receive your agreed salary. A postponement of the employment can only be made based on mutual agreement between you and your employer, i.e. your main supervisor and the department management.

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