PhD in National Human Rights Systems in Developing Countries in Copenhagen

Deadline: 1 June 2015
Open to: graduated applicants interested in law and human rights
Scholarship: monthly salary in accordance with Danish law


The Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen and the Danish Institute for Human Rights are looking for a PhD candidate to examine the mandate, the roles and the practices of state actors in relation to international human rights standards and systems in developing countries, ideally DIHR partner countries and/or DANIDA priority countries. The PhD project shall document (selected aspects of) the mandate and the roles played by state actors, and analyse the challenges and opportunities they face, the interaction between different state actors, as well as the relationship to supranational human rights mechanisms.

The PhD project should focus on one or several of the actors below:

  • the national human rights institutions (human rights commission or institute, ombudsman, etc.);
  • the relevant governmental agencies (ministries, governmental human rights focal points, etc.);
  • the courts and tribunals, including the prosecution service;
  • the Parliament (and especially its human rights committee, if any);
  • and law enforcement and security actors (penitentiary, police, military).

The goal of the PhD Programme is threefold:

  • to prepare candidates for a continuing career in teaching and research;
  • to educate a new generation of scholars to produce high-quality independent research;
  • to equip them with the analytical and problem-solving skills required for a successful career in both the public and private sectors.


  • Applicants must have obtained a degree that corresponds to the Danish Master of Laws or equivalent qualifications. Applicants must have obtained a minimum overall grade average of 8,2 or above at the Master’s level in accordance with the Danish grading scale;
  • Applicants may submit their application before they have completed their Master’s Degree, however, they should have submitted the final evaluation for their course before 1 June 2015;
  • Applicants must document an aptitude for research through the meritorious assessment of their final thesis, publications or academic recommendations in order to show that they are capable of undertaking the demanding task of writing a PhD thesis;
  • Actively engage in the research environment at the University of Copenhagen and the Danish Institute for Human Rights; participate in international conferences, courses and meetings relevant to their research project;
  • Contribute to teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses offered by the Faculty of Law and knowledge dissemination at the the Danish Institute for Human Rights;
  • Conduct independent and high quality research under the supervision of a senior member of academic staff at the Faculty.


The Faculty of Law offers supervision by highly qualified academics and provides an excellent opportunity to research contemporary legal issues in an intellectually stimulating environment. If you are offered a PhD position, you will receive a regular monthly salary in accordance with Danish law and you will be entitled to an annual research budget. The Faculty does not provide accommodation.

How to apply?

We advise you to have the following documents ready before you begin your online application:

  • Research project proposal. This should include the following: objective(s) of the research, major research questions, review of relevant literature, methodology to be applied in the research, and a timetable that plans for all course requirements to have been met within three years. The project description must elaborate on the value of the proposed research project in terms of its relevance to existing and future research in the field (maximum 6 pages excluding bibliography). The document must be in Times New Roman, font size 12, spacing 1.5 and all margins (right, left, top and bottom) of 2 cm;
  • Curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages);
  • Certified copies of original diploma(s) and transcripts (both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree) in the original language and an authorized English translation if they are issued in other language than English or Danish;
  • A certified explanation of grading scale in the original language and an authorized English translation if it is available in other language than English or Danish;
  • The name of a member of academic staff whom you wish to have assigned as your supervisor;
  • Letter of motivation that outlines how the project fits within the research priorities at the Faculty (maximum 1 page) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights;
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must document proficiency in English by having passed one of the recognised language tests. For IELTS a minimum score of 6.5 is required. For TOEFL a minimum score of 90 (internet-based) or 231 (computer-based) is required. Applicants who have obtained a university degree in a country in which English is the official language (Australia, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada), and applicants holding a Master’s Degree from one of the Nordic universities are not required to submit proof of English proficiency.
  • Applications must be submitted in either Danish or English.

For more information, please check the official web-page or Curriculum for the PhD programme.

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