PhD Scholarships in Psychology

University of Copenhagen Department of Psychology

PhD scholarships at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

The Center for Visual Cognition (CVC), Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark, invites applications for a PhD position in psychology to be filled by December 1, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is fully funded for 3 years.

Information about CVC can be found at

The PhD position is part of a 4-year Project 2 Grant that is financed by the Independent Research Fund (IRF) and lead by Associate professors Signe Vangkilde and Anders Petersen.

The larger project entitled Are you in control? The Cognitive Control and Arousal Project (CoCoA)? investigates cognitive control, which refers to the basic psychological processes, that allow us to select important perceptual information and actions. Loss of cognitive control can lead to impulsive thoughts and actions, which can be detrimental to everyday goal directed behaviour. Fluctuations in control are, however, normal and may be linked to changes in our arousal level but the specific relation between arousal and cognitive control is not yet clear. The overarching goal of the project is the development of a new theoretical and mathematical framework for understanding perceptual mechanisms of cognitive control, and how they are affected by changes in arousal. Empirically, this will be explored using experimental tests and EEG measurements in healthy participants solving conflict tasks, which tax cognitive control, while manipulating their arousal level. Furthermore, the framework will be employed to investigate failures of cognitive control in data collected from clinical groups with different neuropsychiatric disorders.

Deadline for applications: 1st of October, 2021 at 23.59 (CEST)


Further information regarding the project, please contact, Associate professor Signe Vangkilde,

Further information about the PhD study programme is available on the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences:

In English:

In Danish:

Under "Legal basis" on the website you will find information about the rules and guidelines for the PhD programme and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities.

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the research strategy and the ongoing research at the Department before submitting their application. Further information can be found:

In English:
In Danish:

Job description

The specific focus of the PhD project is to investigate the relation between neural and physiological substrates of cognitive control and arousal. To obtain evidence that the theoretical framework and models developed predict biologically plausible behaviour, the PhD student will measure neural and physiological correlates of performance and arousal in selected experimental tasks requiring cognitive control. The PhD student will employ EEG to measure event-related potentials (ERPs) such as the N2cc and LRP (i.e., lateralized readiness potential), which are known neural markers related to conflict resolution, but also ERPs related to perceptual- and attentional-related processes such as the N2 and N2pc, and ERPs related to conflict detection such as the ERN (i.e., error-related negativity). Further, the PhD student will also use eye-tracking to measure pupil size, as pupil dilation provides a reliable measure of both slow and fast changes in arousal. The empirical work will inform the development of the mathematical framework, but also in testing hypotheses derived from the theoretical advances.

The successful candidate will be working in close cooperation with the project employees and other researchers is expected to partake in the activities of CVC on a daily basis.

Enrolment as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences' PhD School is a precondition for employment as a PhD scholar.

As a PhD scholar at The Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen, you will be supervised throughout the 6 semesters of your programme. In addition to this, you must complete courses totalling approximately 30 ECTS. On completion of the PhD programme you must submit a PhD thesis in order to document your research effort.

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


Applicants need to hold a two-year Master's degree (120 ECTS) or the equivalent.

Applicants must send pre-approval of their thesis if it’s not completed at the time of the application deadline.

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:

Excellent communication skills in English are essential and applicants must speak and write academic English. The administration may ask applicants to document their proficiency in English at any time in the recruitment process, if considered necessary.

The applicant’s qualifications for the scholarship are evaluated by the applicant’s general educational and academic background.  Project description, grade average, thesis grade, language competencies, publications, and other academic activities will be taken into account.


The application must be submitted electronically using the APPLY NOW button below.

Applications should include the following enclosures:

  • Project description
    The application must include an overall, brief project description of a hypothetical project making direct reference to the CoCoA project mentioned above. This proposal should contain on one or more relevant research questions elucidating the link between cognitive control and arousal, as well as specific reflections on both experimental design and methods.

    The project proposal must not exceed 3 standard pages, corresponding to approx. 6,000 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. Furthermore, please note: Text in additional application documents (e.g. a CV) which could be considered as supplementary text to the project description will be included in the calculation of the characters in the project description.

  • CV
    Including a list of publications, if available, must be submitted with the application.

  • Cover letter
    detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project
  • Diploma and transcript of records
    The following documentation must be submitted:
    • A copy of the applicant's Master's degree diploma (if not available before the application deadline, a pre-approval must be submitted)
    • A copy of the applicant's Master’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included)
    • A copy of the applicant's Bachelor’s degree diploma
    • A copy of the applicant's Bachelor’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included)

If the MA 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. (Do NOT upload recommendations, publications or your Master thesis)

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society, and invites all qualified applicants, regardless of personal background, to apply for the positions. In order to be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enrol as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013.

Application process   

On the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences you will find a time schedule for the application process, and information about enclosures to include with your electronic application: (in English) and (in Danish)   

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, applicants are selected for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee. All applicants will be notified whether they are passed on to assessment or not. Whereafter, the Assessment Committee is appointed by the Dean and the selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee. Each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment which relates to their own application.

Afterwards selected 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 any further questions regarding recruitment please contact HR officer Lotte Strandberg, e-mail:, please refer to ID number 211-0417/20-2H #1.

Applications received after the deadline will not be taken into account. 


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: 01-10-2021
Employment start: 01-12-2021
Department/Location: Department of Psychology