Independent PhD - Tuition Fee Free

For those who are interested in doing a PhD and meet the academic requirements, fit into the research areas at the IT University, and have the financial resources to support themselves during their enrolment.

If you are interested in doing a PhD, meet the academic requirements, fit into the research areas at the IT University, and have the financial resources to support yourself during the period of enrolment, ITU has the option to offer you enrolment as an independent student with a Tuition Free Fee stipend.

This model means that you'll support yourself financially during the period of enrolment and are able to document your ability to do so or provide a solid financial plan prior to enrolment. The Tuition Free Fee stipend is not paid to you as a PhD student, but it will be used to finance the ITU's expenses in connection with the PhD programme, such as supervision, administration, office space, computer etc.

However, the IT University will support you financially with regards to the Research Stay Abroad during your enrolment and will normally cover expenses related to accommodation, traveling, shipping, and living expenses under the condition that the Research Stay Abroad does not last longer than 90 days. As any other PhD student enrolled at ITU you will also have a yearly gadget account.


Enrolment as an independent PhD student is not sought through a typical public PhD call, but are more typically you, as a potential PhD student, approaching a Faculty supervisor at the IT University and sending your application to the leader of the PhD School. Below you can see the requirements that an application needs to meet.

Once you have submitted your application an assessment committee will assess all applications. After deadline for submitting the applications, You can expect an answer the latest 3 months after the submission.

Stepwise your approach should look like this;

1. Find willing supervisor (student/supervisor)
2. Pre-approval of Assessment of qualifications (via PhD School Head/HR)
3. Author a proposal with the supervisor (student/supervisor, peer review via PhD School Head/)
4. Obtain letter of support from supervisor (supervisor submits to PhD School Head)
5. Approval of enrolment by Head of PhD School (in consultation with PhD School Head/Head of Department)
6. Offer of enrolment (PhD School Head)


PhD students are enrolled for either 3 or 4 years in the PhD programme. To be qualified for assessment, you must possess the following qualifications:
  • A Bachelor Degree and a Master Degree qualify for assessment for a 3-year PhD enrolment (copy of diploma must be included in the application)
  • A Bachelor Degree and one year of university studies on Master level qualify for a 4-year PhD enrolment (copy of BA diploma and documentation of planned course activities corresponding to 60 ECTS points at Master's level must be included in the application)
  • English Language Skills Documentation. The minimum requirement is usually considered met if one of the following options for documentation can be provided:
    1. English at minimum Danish level b (gymnasium) or;
    2. A B.A. or MSc degree obtained on the basis of an English study programme inAustralia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or USA, or;
    3. A B.A. or MSc degree obtained on the basis of an English study programme in an EU/EEA country or;
    4. One of the following English tests with a certain score, as indicated below:
      • TOEFL paper-based test result of at least 550
      • TOEFL iBT test result of at least 80
      • IELTS (academic) test results at at least 6.0
      • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English passed
      • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English passed

Get more information on recognition of foreign qualifications at the Danish Agency for Higher Education.

The applicant must submit a single PDF file containing the following:

Cover Letter. The cover letter should consist of one single page and should mention the suggested supervisor as well as the suggested research group the applicant wishes to join at ITU.

Statement of Purpose. The statement of purpose (PhD project proposal), authored by the applicant, must include an original research question and the main goals of the proposed PhD project. The statement of purpose should be of maximum 5 pages.

  • If the applicant works with interdisciplinary approaches, including social sciences and humanities perspectives, the statement of purpose should also include a motivated choice of theory and method and an empirical basis for the research.
  • The statement of purpose will be used to determine the applicant’s abilities of independent thinking, definition of original goals, and grasp of the state-of-the-art of the relevant research field. Goals and research field should match the interest and competences of the suggested ITU advisor.
  • Documentation of Academic Degree(s) and Exam Transcripts. All documentation must be provided either in English or in Danish. If the applicant has a document in any other language, a translation in English must also be included. The translation should be done by the institution issuing the document or by a state-authorised translator. Transcripts that are not issued by an EU country must be accompanied by a grade key or an explanation of the local grading scale (in English). The ITU will assess the applicant’s level of education, and compare it to the requirements of the Danish University system.
  • Curriculum Vitae containing at least two references.

  • List of Publications. Should contain the applicant’s relevant scientific publications in recognized, peer-reviewed venues, such as major international conferences or journals in the suggested supervisor’s field, or an excellent master’s thesis.

  • Letters of Recommendation. Letters of recommendation by leading international researchers that are professionally known to the potential supervisor. They should be written in either Danish or English. Each letter should clearly state the name of the person who has written it, contact information, and this person’s affiliation to the applicant. The IT University reserves the right to ask for verification of any copies that might be enclosed as documentation.

Sending the application

Please send your application to the leader of the PhD School.