PhD scholarship in digital media and scandal at the Department of Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship studying citizen perspectives on and participation in scandals in a digital media context at the Department of Communication. The chosen candidate will be employed by the PhD School at the Faculty of Humanities and enrolled at the Department of Communication.

The scholarship is for 3 years starting on 1 February 2025.

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD-candidate who will conduct research as part of the research project “EXPOSING: The Public Value of Socio-Mediated Scandals in the Digital Age” funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (September 2024-February 2028, grant ID: 10.46540/3097-00035B).

The EXPOSING project examines how scandals emerge and progress over time and across media, as citizens no longer passively witness scandals through mass media but take an active role by posting their opinions online and becoming a driving force in exposing and judging moral transgressions. The project aims to show how citizens’ participation in digital publics affects the ways in which scandals develop, and how scandals, as a result of being increasingly citizen-driven, become sites for public communication of concern. The hypothesis is that scandals have the potential to create public value by occasioning citizens’ engagement in the negotiation of what a society considers contestable.

Within the larger framework of the EXPOSING project, the candidate will carry out a three-year PhD-project with the overall purpose of investigating how and why citizens engage in scandals and scandal communication on social media.

We invite project proposals with innovative ideas for how to empirically study citizens’ participation in, opinions about, and motivations for debating contemporary scandals on social media, preferably using a mixed-methods approach. The project proposal could address questions such as: How can the PhD-project contribute to a theoretical rethinking of the concept of scandal in a digital media context? How can citizens’ participation in scandals online be empirically studied in new ways? Why is it important and what motivates you to study contemporary scandals from a citizen perspective?

We are looking for a candidate with:

  • a background in media and/or communication studies, preferably with knowledge about digital media and communication, digital platforms, and digital culture,
  • interest and experience in empirical media audience research in digital contexts, e.g. in collecting and analysing audience data using digital ethnography, surveys, qualitative interviews, doing quantitative and qualitative analyses of digital media content, social media posts, etc.,
  • strong skills in organising and managing professional work and juggling multiple tasks,
  • a keen interest in communication to stakeholders and the broader public.

The successful candidate will work closely with the EXPOSING research team, which includes scholars with expertise in digital media and communication studies, celebrity studies, journalism studies, and political communication. The team includes Professor Nete Nørgaard Kristensen (PI, who will supervise the PhD project), Professor Anne Jerslev (co-PI), Associate Professor Manuel Menke, and Postdoc Mikkel Bækby Johansen.

The PhD program is a study program which aims at training PhD students, at an international level, to undertake research, development, and teaching assignments. These qualifications open a window of opportunity to a variety of careers within the private and public sectors. The program includes the drafting of a PhD thesis, active participation in research networks and the Department’s scholarly life, PhD courses, teaching, and other forms of knowledge dissemination. The standard duration of the PhD programme is three years of full-time studies, which equals 180 ECTS credits.

Qualification requirements
Applicants must have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS) or equivalent and, as 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 decide whether they correspond to the Danish level. For further information, please refer to the website of the Ministry of Education and Research:

Applicants must possess skills in written and spoken academic English at a high level. Knowledge of and some proficiency in Nordic/Danish language will be an advantage. If deemed necessary, the Department may request that applicants document their English skills.

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

For further information about the structure of the PhD programme, please refer to:

Applicants are also invited to familiarize themselves with the ongoing research at the faculty:Research – University of Copenhagen (, especially at the Department of Communication and in the Section of Media Studies.

Equal Opportunity Workplace
University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society, and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates, regardless of their personal backgrounds. For more information on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R, please see: HR Excellence in Research – University of Copenhagen (

To be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enroll as a PhD student at the Faculty of Humanities, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013.  

How to apply
Applications must be submitted online. Click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of this advertisement to apply. The application must be written in English, and include the following enclosures in Adobe PDF or Word format:

  • Project abstract (please fill in the “Project abstract” box in the application form. Must not exceed 1,200 characters).
  • Cover letter detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project as part of the larger EXPOSING project.
  • Project description outlining the project’s theoretical, empirical and analytical components and responding to the three posed questions above (should not exceed 12,000 keystrokes, including time schedule for the three years but excluding bibliography. You can find more information here about how to write your proposal.
  • CV   
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and master’s degree).
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. pre-approval of master's thesis, list of publications, documentation of English language qualifications (if relevant).

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. 

On the website of the PhD School, you will find information about the enclosures to include with your electronic application:

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

  • Research qualifications as reflected in the project proposal. 
  • Quality and feasibility of the project.  
  • Qualifications and knowledge in media and/or communication studies. 
  • Performance (grades obtained) in graduate and post-graduate studies. 

After the deadline for applications, the Head of Department considers advice from the Appointment Committee and then 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. The assessments are expected to be completed by mid to end October 2024.

For further information about the application procedure, please refer to the University of Copenhagen website: Recruitment process – 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 4,120 EUR (April 2024 level) plus a 17.1% pension contribution. 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, please see: For international researchers at the University of Copenhagen – University of Copenhagen (

Contact information
For further information about the structure and rules of the PhD programme, please email the PhD Administration at Søndre and City Campus, email:

Information about the recruitment process is available from HR South and City Campuses, email: Please refer to case number: 211-1862/24-2H #1.

If you have any questions about the academic content of the PhD programme or the project, please e-mail PhD coordinator and PI Nete Nørgaard Kristensen, email:

The deadline for applications is 1 September 2024 at 23:59 CEST (Central European summer time/Central European time).

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: 01-02-2025
Department/Location: Department of Communication
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