PhD position in Ethnology and Health Humanities at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen

One PhD-position available at the Copenhagen Centre for Health Research in the Humanities (CoRe). The position will be part of the Carlsberg Foundation funded Semper Ardens Accomplish project: Skin Health: New Biocultural Zones of Contact.

The Saxo Institute, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen is inviting applications for one three-year PhD-position in the field of Ethnology and Health Humanities, starting 1 January 2025, or as soon as possible thereafter.

The position is fixed term, full-time and will last for 36 months in total.

The Skin Health project explores current skin health practices between everyday life, medical knowledge, industrial interests and aesthetic norms. The skin is our largest organ, a key player in health, and a vital part of our cultural, social, and political fabric. A damaged or ill skin can produce serious social stigma and personal trauma and activate mechanisms of exclusion. Engaging with these issues, the project’s aim is to advance a more nuanced understanding of skin health focusing on the crucial relations between scientific, commercial and everyday skin practices. Skin health and skin care practices will be investigated by means of historical analysis and ethnographic fieldwork, and explore the prevailing discourses, medical, technological and everyday practices that define our cultural understanding and engagement with skin health.

The PhD project is expected to contribute to the Skin Health project by ethnographically investigating skincare practices in a life course perspective. Throughout the life course skin is an ongoing matter of concern and enacted as an active canvas for care, social relations, industrial interests, power and inequality. The aim of the PhD project is to study contemporary everyday skin work related to infants/toddlers, teenagers, and older adults, as examples of critical skin stages over the life course.

Applicants, who wish further information about the position and the research project, should contact Principal Investigator prof. Astrid Pernille Jespersen,  phone +45 20972205

PhD studies consist of research programmes that qualify students for independent and wide-ranging research, development and teaching at international level. The main emphasis is on PhD students organising and conducting their research project, under supervision, and in close collaboration with the entire project team in Skin Health. The successful candidate is thus expected to contribute to co-authored papers. The programme culminates in the submission of a PhD thesis, which the student must defend in public. The programme is prescribed to 180 ECTS points, corresponding to three years of full-time study.

A PhD opens up a range of career opportunities in academia and elsewhere. As well as writing a thesis, PhD students work in active research environments in Denmark and abroad. They contribute to the academic environment, take research training courses and convey the results of their research in teaching, at academic conferences and to the general public.

Qualification requirements
We seek applicants with a background in Ethnology, Anthropology or related fields. Applicants must have a two-year Master’s degree (120 ECTS) or equivalent, and, as a minimum, have submitted a Master’s thesis for which they have received pre-approval at the time of application.

The qualifications of applicants with non-Danish Master’s degrees will be assessed to ascertain whether they correspond to the Danish level. For further information, please refer to the website of the Ministry of Education and Research:
Application, admission and guidance — English (

Applicants must possess skills in written and spoken academic English at a high level. The ability to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in Denmark is a further requirement. If deemed necessary, the department may request that applicants document their language skills. It is furthermore a requirement that the PhD fellow resides in Denmark during the employment period.

For further information about the guidelines for PhD studies at UCPH, please refer to:
PhD Programmes - Guide to studies and admission – University of Copenhagen (

All applications must be submitted online, in PDF or Microsoft Word format, via the link Apply for the position at the bottom of the page.

The application must include:

  • Project description (max. five pages) Applications must include a detailed project description covering methodology, design and timetable (max. five pages/12,000 characters, incl. spaces, excl. bibliography). In the project description, applicants are furthermore encouraged to suggest empirical sites/situations and elaborate on possible theoretical inspirations.
    Applicants who anticipate incurring extraordinary expenses (related to fieldwork, extended stay(s) abroad, equipment, etc.) must include brief comments about this in their project description.
    Guidelines and good advice on project descriptions are available here.
  • Personal statement (max. one page) In their personal statements, applicants are encouraged to describe as clearly as possible their competencies and personal qualifications relevant to the research project.
  • CV Applications must be accompanied by a CV (max. one page) and a list of publications, where relevant.
  • Documentation (diplomas and transcripts)
    Applicants must upload the following:
    • A copy of their Master’s degree diploma or similar (if this is not available by the application deadline, applicants must document pre-approval of their Master’s thesis)
    • A copy of their Master’s degree transcript
    • A copy of their Bachelor’s degree diploma
    • A copy of their Bachelor’s degree transcript.
      Applicants with a degree from a university where the working language is not English, German or one of the Scandinavian languages must submit a translation of their Master’s diploma and/or diploma transcripts approved by the Danish embassy or consulate in the country where the original document was issued. These documents must be translated into English, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish. An official description of the grading scale (and a diploma supplement where relevant) must also be attached.
  • Other relevant material Please do not upload or submit recommendations, publications, theses, etc. 

Please note that it is only possible to upload one document per attachment category. If more than one document must be uploaded in the same category, please make sure that they are scanned and collected into one file. 

The recruitment process
The following criteria are applied when assessing PhD applications:

  • The quality, originality and feasibility of the PhD project
  • Research qualifications, as reflected in the attached CV and project description
  • Competencies and knowledge of relevant fields of academic research
  • Level (grades obtained) of Bachelor and Master’s studies.

After the deadline for applications, the Head of the Appointment Committee selects applicants for assessment. All applicants will be notified whether they have been shortlisted. After this, the Head of Department sets up an expert Assessment Committee to assess the shortlisted applications. The selected applicants will be informed who is serving on the committee. Individual applicants will be offered the opportunity to comment on the committee’s assessment of their application before the appointment is announced.

It is a prerequisite for employment that successful applicants enrol at the PhD School of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen.

For further information about the structure of the PhD programme, please refer to:
Structure of the PhD programme – University of Copenhagen (

For further information about the guidelines for PhD studies at UCPH, please refer to:
PhD Programmes - Guide to studies and admission – University of Copenhagen (

Terms of employment
PhD students are paid a salary in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 30,700 DKK/roughly 4,100 EUR plus 17.1% pension. The PhD student has a work obligation of up to 840 hours over the 3-year period without additional pay. The work obligation can include for instance teaching.

International applicant?
The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here:
For international researchers at the University of Copenhagen – University of Copenhagen (

Contact information
Applicants, who wish further information about the position and the research project, should contact Principal Investigator prof. Astrid Pernille Jespersen, email:  or phone +45 20972205.

Information about the recruitment process is available from HR South and City Campuses, email:, please refer to case number: 211-1870/24-2H #1.

For further information about the structure and rules of the PhD program, please email the PhD Administration at South and City Campus, email:

The deadline for applications is 1 September 2024, at 23:59 CEST.

Any applications or additional material submitted after the deadline will not be considered. However, changes may be made to the submitted application right up until the deadline.


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 01-09-2024
Employment start: 01-01-2025
Department/Location: The SAXO Institute
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