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PhD, Postdoc, and Professor Salaries in Denmark

In Denmark, academic salaries are determined by contracts negotiated between academic unions and the government. The Collective Agreement for Academics in the State sets each position’s basic salary level for five seniority grades. Employees receive two supplements on top of this base salary: A position-based supplement (which is stipulated by collective agreement) and a qualification-based supplement (which is set by each university). Professors’ salaries are not based on seniority and use a separate wage scale. They still receive position- and qualification-based supplements. To see how this all comes together, take a look at the salary scale for Copenhagen Business School here and Aalborg University here. The salaries statistics in this article do not account for taxes, which are around 40-50% in Denmark.

PhD Fellow

PhD fellows in Denmark are considered employees not students and most PhDs are fully funded. Before starting a PhD in Denmark you must have a Master’s degree first, although there are some programs that take a year longer and combine a Master’s and PhD. Danish students do not do coursework; they start working on the project that will become their thesis immediately. It is often expected that PhD fellows will teach a course during their degree, which takes three years to earn.

At Copenhagen Business School, the salary for a PhD fellow ranges from 28,838 to 34,865 DKK per month, while at Aalborg University it ranges from 26,653 to 31,847. The average monthly salary for a PhD fellow at the University of Copenhagen is 32,567 DKK.

Postdoc

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 the researcher’s training that allows them to further specialize in a particular field and learn new skills and techniques. It may also require them to take on some teaching responsibilities.

At Copenhagen Business School, the salary for a postdoc ranges from 35,264 to 47,695 DKK per month, while at Aalborg University it ranges from 29,520 to 34,847. The average monthly salary for a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen is 40,849 DKK.

Adjunkt

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.

At Copenhagen Business School, the salary for an assistant professor ranges from 35,264 to 47,695 DKK per month, while at Aalborg University it ranges from 29,520 to 34,847. The average monthly salary for an assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen is 42,961 DKK.

Lektor

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.

At Copenhagen Business School, the salary for an associate professor ranges from 43,049 to 56,592 DKK per month, while at Aalborg University it ranges from 37,622 to 44,289. The average monthly salary for an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen is 51,768 DKK.

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 at an international level. They focus on teaching, research and innovation. It is a three- to five-year fixed term position with an option for extension to eight years total. At the end of the appointment, the special responsibilities end and the academic becomes a lektor.

At Copenhagen Business School, the salary for a professor with special responsibilities is 56,594 DKK per month, while at Aalborg University it ranges from 45,564 to 49,405. The average monthly salary for a professor with special responsibilities at the University of Copenhagen is 64,551 DKK.

Professor

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.

At Copenhagen Business School, the salary for a professor is 56,594 to 77,087 DKK per month, while at Aalborg University it ranges from 47,707 to 57,975. The average monthly salary for a professor at the University of Copenhagen is 71,798 DKK.

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