PhD Scholarship in Sociology Aalborg University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Social Work


At the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Social Work, a PhD scholarship in Sociology is open for appointment on 1 May 2018 or as soon as possible.



The scholarship is part of the comparative, qualitative research project ‘Just Worlds’, comparing cultural notions of social justice and entitlement between China, US and Scandinavia. The scholarship is part of the US sub-study. The project is funded by the Aalborg University Talent Management Program and is led by Associate Professor Morten Frederiksen.


Comparative welfare state research consistently find that public attitudes to welfare and redistribution are very different between countries. Surprisingly, we know little of the normative principles behind people’s attitudes and how these principles differ between countries. Current research links social justice attitudes to country specific historical trajectory and institutional structure. However, this research does not account for the cultural foundations of different social justice attitudes: the shared normative standards people use to justify their attitudes. These principles remain unexplored. In this project we will conduct an interview study within an explorative, mixed methods design comparing cultural notions of social justice between three cases: the Confucian welfare state (China (PRC)), the liberal welfare state (USA), and the universal welfare state (SE/DK). The question driving the project is whether the huge differences between the three cases in terms of welfare institutions are accompanied by similar differences in prevailing, cultural notions of social justice. The project approaches this question from the perspective of the sociology of valuation and evaluation, exploring cultural notions of fairness and entitlement in the context of social rights.


A general project outline is available and can be requested from Associate Professor Morten Frederiksen,


The applicant will be responsible for the US part of the project, carrying out data collection in collaboration with local research assistants and the US partner Harvard University.


While the study design and methodology is fixed within a larger comparative study, there is room for the PhD fellow to define part of the interview guide and analytical strategies for the American data. Applicants are required to submit a short project proposal outlining both their particular approach to the project and how this contribute to the research general project. The project proposal should also include a preliminary plan for the 3-year fellowship.


Applicants with a degree in sociology, anthropology, political science or similar degrees and experience conducting qualitative research will be preferred. Good English language skills are a requirement


Qualification requirements


The PhD scholarship has a duration of three years. Applicants to the PhD scholarship must hold a degree equivalent to a Danish Master’s degree. Applicants enrolled at a Danish Master programme who expect to graduate before the date of appointment must forward statement from thesis supervisor, verified transcripts, a copy of thesis contract and documentation for the date of their final exam.


The completion of the scholarship will be in accordance with the Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities No 1039 of 27 August 2013 (the PhD Order), and it is a prerequisite for allocation of a scholarship that enrolment as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences takes place. According to the PhD Order, the PhD study comprises among other requirements: Participation in active research environments, including stays at other, mainly foreign, research institutions, private research enterprises etc. Please find information on admission requirements for PhD positions on the website of the Doctoral School.


Application requirements


  • letter of motivation
  • project proposal (approx. 5 pages) containing the research project title, an outline of the course of study and a description of the overall problem areas
  • information on which language the PhD thesis is expected to be written in
  • curriculum vitae
  • diplomas confirming academic degrees (Master degree), including academic transcripts
  • foreign applicants must forward verified IELTS test (International English Language Testing System). Exempted are applicants with at Master Degree from Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and Canada
  • Co-author statement. If publications that have been written in cooperation with others are submitted, a declaration from each of the authors must be enclosed. The declaration must state the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the total work and be signed by the authors.
  • Application for credit transfer if relevant.


The complete application including attachments shall be sent electronically by selecting the "apply online" function. Please note that zipped files are not supported by the recruitment system, please upload only Word or PDF files.




The assessment of the applicants will be undertaken by an expert assessment committee. Shortlisting will be applied. This means that subsequent to the deadline for applications, the head of department supported by the chair of the assessment committee will select candidates for assessment. All applicants will be informed whether they will be assessed or not. The selected applicants will be informed of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant will have the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that applies to the applicant in question. When the employment process has been terminated, a final rejection will be sent to the applicants who are not considered. The Faculty draws your attention to the fact that the applicant's project description may be tested for plagiarism in the IT system iThenticate



You may obtain further information regarding the academic contents of the position from Head of Department Trond Beldo Klausen e-mail:, phone: +45 9940 2602
If you have questions regarding the procedure of applying for the position, please contact Anne Lone Bråten e-mail:



Appointment and salary in accordance with the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities No 242 of 13 March 2012 and The Ministry of Higher Education and Science Circular concerning the job structure for academic staff at universities of 19 August 2015. Salary will be in accordance with the agreements in force.





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