PhD Fellowship in European Language and Literature

University of Copenhagen Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies

PhD Fellowship in European Language and Literature as part of the research project: ‘Where Love Happens: Topographies of Emotions in European Literature and Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century’, funded by the Velux Foundation

The Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen is offering a fully-funded 3-year PhD scholarship commencing 1 September 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

We are looking for a candidate who is highly motivated to work on a PhD project provisionally entitled ‘Languages of Love’ as part of our four-year collective project funded by the Danish Velux Foundation:

The Reasearch Project – a brief presentation:

Romantic love is usually thought of as immaterial, personal, intimate. Our project questions this by examining the materialities of love in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. We wish to demonstrate that romantic love also emerges materially, once print culture makes spaces where it can flourish.  How does reading about love affect us, both emotionally and physically? Where do we seek those love stories, where do they take us? How does the idea of romantic love traverse the 19th and 20th centuries? How can the language of love be both universal and profoundly personal at the same time? What role does the philosophy and literature of romantic love play in the ways in which we express love in real life?  With studies of literary tourism, of topoi in British print culture, of private codes in love letters, and the case study of a 20th-century treatise of love, we will provide elements for such a material history of love, hoping to demonstrate the close link between material places of love and the immateriality of emotion.

Job description:

The PhD candidate will be asked to analyse ‘the languages of love’ in the literatures of at least two major European languages (out of the language areas embedded in the department, namely English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese). We envision the project as rooted in the long nineteenth century (ca. 1780-1920). 

The PhD candidate will work on a project which will be partly linguistic, partly sociological, and partly literary, with ‘language’ defined in the broadest possible terms, encompassing everything from the language of flowers, postcards, coded language in subcultures, sign language, clichés, to manuals on wooing and courtship, and love letters and scenes in literature. He/She will analyse private codes of love for their linguistic strategies, showing how language can be used to make space for feelings.

Since one of the culminating points of the project is a collaborative exhibition at the Goethe Haus in Frankfurt, an interest in the materiality of print and material objects is a requirement. One focus for the exhibition could be love letters. The project as a whole is interested in the places (both printed and physical) where love can be described, indulged, or experienced.

We encourage independent and original projects, and interdisciplinarity, intermediality, and abilities to work competently across languages will be rated highly in our selection of the candidate.

For further information about the position and its content, please contact Principal Investigator Professor Lene Østermark-Johansen (, who will be supervising the project together with a colleague from the department.

 Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree in one of the language areas, or in literary studies. The successful applicant will have advanced analytical skills and be a strong communicator in English. We expect the PhD thesis to be written in English. Further, it is essential that candidates are team-players with good collaborative skills and have a curious mind-set with a strong interest to participate in an international and interdisciplinary research team.

Applicants with a non-Danish Master's degree will have their degree assessed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science in order to establish that their Master's degree is equivalent to a Danish Master's degree. Please read more at the Ministry of Higher Education and Sciences website:

Other criteria of relevance:

  • Exam results
  • The time taken to complete previous degrees
  • Intellectual originality and interdisciplinarity
  • Ability to form an active and contributing member of the existing research group
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience.

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. 

Terms of employment

The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s successful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree. 


For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal investigator.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of Humanities is available at the PhD Studies’ website:

Application procedure

Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents: 

1.   Project abstract (max. 1,200 characters)

2.   Motivated letter of application (max. one page) A detailed project description 

3.   CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

4.   Diploma and transcript of records  

Applicants must upload the following documentation:

  1. A copy of master's degree diploma (if not available before the application deadline, a pre-approval must be submitted) 
  2. A copy of master’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included)  
  3. A copy of bachelor’s degree diploma  
  4. A copy of bachelor’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included)
  5. Publication list (if any) 

If the master diploma and/or examination records are in another language than English, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, please include a translation into either of these languages in your application.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements. 

Project description

Project descriptions should outline the overall objectives, as well as design and timeline of the project and include

·      presentation of state of art

·      presentation and motivation of the theoretical framework and choices of methods 

·      a description of the project itself and how you see it fitting in with the larger research     project and contributing substantially to it

The project proposal must not exceed 6 standard pages, corresponding to approx. 12,000 characters (including curriculum, title, punctuation, figures, footnotes and references, but excluding bibliography / bibliography). A substantial breach of this will result in the application being excluded from consideration. 

Please adhere to the guidelines at this page:

You can read about the recruitment process at

The recruitment process

After the deadline for applications, applicants are selected for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee. All applicants will be notified whether they are shortlisted for assessment or not. An Assessment Committee are appointed and the selected applicants are notified of the composition of this committee. Each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment which relates to their own application. The assessments are expected to be complete before end of May. 

Afterwards, a selection of qualified candidates will be invited for an interview. Please be advised that a positive assessment does not necessarily mean that you will be invited for an interview. 

For further information on the recruitment process, please see University of Copenhagen’s website:

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

As an equal opportunity employer the university invites applications from all interested candidates regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin or religion.


As a PhD scholar at The Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, you will be supervised for approximately 180 hours distributed over 6 semesters. In addition to this, you must complete PhD courses of a total approximating 30 ECTS. On completion of the PhD programme, you must submit a PhD thesis.  

Read more about the structure of the PhD programme and what it means to be enrolled as a PhD scholar at the Faculty of Humanities via this link:

For more information about the PhD School read more at this page:

Terms of employment

PhD scholars at the Faculty of Humanities are appointed under the terms and conditions of the collective agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. 

According to the agreement, PhD scholars are obliged – without any additional remuneration – to perform tasks assigned to them corresponding to 840 working hours over the three years. These tasks will primarily be in the form of teaching, dissemination, research or other related academic areas.

Please note that it is normally a precondition for employment that the applicant in question does not already have a PhD degree. Applicants who have already obtained a PhD degree will, as a main rule, not be considered for the application process.   

Salary, pension and terms of employment are 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 begins around DKK 27,593.77 DKK /approx. 3,910 EUR (April 2020-level) plus pension.

Contact information

For any further questions regarding the recruitment process please contact HR employee Mette Christensen, e-mail:, please refer to ID number 211-0635/20-2I.

Application deadline: 11 March 2021, 23:59 (CET)


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: 11-03-2021
Employment start: 01-09-2021
Department/Location: Institut for Engelsk, Germansk og Romansk