There are many reasons why doing a company project as part of your course of study is a good idea. The aim is to ensure that you are given the chance to test and practice your theoretical skills in a practical setting, experience what it is like to actually solve a problem in reality, and start building a professional network.
Numerous studies show that such work experiences will make you a much more attractive job applicant once you have graduated.
How does a company benefit from a company project?
A company project is not only good for you; it also benefits the company/organisation. As a student, you will provide the company/organisation with a fresh view of things, based on the newest theories and methods. Thus, a company project is a chance for the company/organisation to gain access to the latest research in their field and to be looked over by your unprejudiced scrutiny.
Planning a company project
The first step towards a successful company project is planning.
You should start planning your project in good time as you must enter into a formal agreement with a company/organisation and a supervisor from SDU before registering for the project.
1. Timing and scope
You have two different options:
- You can do a company project weighting 15 ECTS as a Perspectival Activity on your Master's degree programme, usually in the spring semester of your first year.
- You can do a company project weighting 30 ECTS on the third semester of your Master's degree programme, in which case your Master's Thesis project will be scaled down to 30 ECTS.
The scope of a company project is based on the ECTS system, as are all other parts of your programme:
- 15 ECTS equals approx. 375 working hours (10 weeks' full-time work)
- 30 ECTS equals approx. 750 working hours (20 weeks' full-time work)
However, if you do a company project weighting 15 ECTS, your company stay is not required to be scheduled as full-time work. By appointment with the project host, your working hours at the company could be spread across a longer period of time, allowing you to do other electives in the same semester.
You must register for the company project via Student Self-Service during the regular course registration period. Please read the relevant course description carefully before you register:
2. Finding a supervisor and project company
1. Contact a project coordinator
Before choosing a project supervisor, you must contact one of the following project coordinators:
- Magnus Wahlberg (dissemination of biology)
- Sara Egemose (environmental biology)
- Erik Kristensen (all subject areas)
2. Choose and internal project supervisor
All professors and associate professors at the Department of Biology can act as internal project supervisors for your company project. The internal project supervisor is responsible for ensuring that all formal and administratives rules are followed and that you have the qualifications to do the project.
The internal project supervisor is also formally responsible for supervising you during the company project, ensuring that aim, scope, contents and academic level meet the formal requirements.
3. Choosing a project company
Once you are aware of your academic interests and qualification , you must contact a relevant company/organisation in Denmark or abroad, as agreed with your internal project supervisor.
SDU RIO has made agreements with the companies and organisations listed below on the possibility of doing a company project as part of the Master's degree programme in Biology. The companies are all open to inquiries from students in order to discuss a collaboration.
- National Aquarium Denmark – Den Blå Planet
- The Fisheries and Maritime Museum
- Geopark South Funen Archipelago
- Odense ZOO
- Terrariet – Reptile Zoo
- The Wadden Sea Centre
- Amphi Consult
- The Danish Environmental Protection Agency
- City of Odense
- VandCenter Syd
- Enorm Biofactory A/S
If you need further inspiration as to where to find a suitable project company, the SDU job bank may have offers that match your ideas and wishes.
Furthermore, you are welcome to make queries about company project to your lecturers. A lecturer may very well have relevant contacts both in Denmark and abroad. A research project might also be approved as a company project.
If you are considering doing a company project outside Denmark, please contact SDU International for further information about the process.
The external project supervisor must be a person with an academic degree who works in the department that you will join during your company project. They will act as your everyday sounding board during your stay in the company and is responsible for introducing you to the company as a working place and giving you feedback on your work.
Some companies or organisations may have a specific project that they want help with planning and managing, but mostly, you yourself are expected to describe and define the activities and areas that you think you'll be able to manage during the placement. Therefore, you should take time to reflect on what activities you would like to handle and have interest in.
4. Written project contract
When all agreements are in place, you must submit a digital project contract. The contract contains a project description and an activity plan, which must be approved by your internal project supervisor at the Department of Biology and by the external project supervisor at the project company.
In addition to defining the title of the project and the project period, an appendix with conditions also ensures that you are assigned meaningful tasks at a sufficiently high level and that the company can safely let you gain insight into confidential workflows and documents without fear that it will be published.
You must submit the project contract via the digital form system within one week of the semester in which you are doing the project. However, we recommend that you submit the project contract as soon as possible after you have registered for the company project via the Student Self-Service.
Once the study board has approved the project contract, you will receive a confirmation that it has been approved.
A company project is is part of your degree programme on equal terms as any other elective. Therefore, a company project in a Danish company must be unwaged. If you are waged or are given any remunerations for your time in the company, the university cannot approve the company stay as a part of your degree programme.
However, the project company is allowed to compensate you for documented expenses related to your company project, for example travel expenses, accommodation and telephone bills.
If you are eligible for SU, you will continue to receive SU during your company project. Additionally, the company project might give you a gratuity corresponding to a maximum of DKK 3,000 per month. It is voluntary for the project company to give you any gratuity and it may not be agreed in advance that you must be given a fixed monthly amount.
Company projects outside Denmark
In some countries, for example Germany and France, it is required by law that students receive wages during company projects. If you do a company project in one of these countries, you may receive the legal minimum wage.
You must be able to document that it is a legal requirement that you receive wages and you must not receive SU simultaneously.
5. Company project report
You complete the company project by producing a written report of the project process. The length of the report is usually 30-40 pages, excluding appendices.
The report should focus on describing the project process and the tasks you have solved during your company stay. It will typically start with a description of how your competences fit into the activities of the project company. Next is a description of the project company, followed by a portfolio of the tasks you have solved. The portfolio must contain the adacemic background for your problem solving, but must not necessarily go into the subject of academic theories. The aim, method, results and conclusions of the main task must be described in detail in a mini-report within the report.
Finally, you must reflect on the project process. This is the most important part of the report, where you, among other things, should explain how the collaboration with the employees of the project company has gone, how well you have solved the given tasks, what competence boosts you have gained thereby, how the relationship with the management has been, and how the project can help you in your future career.
All products that you have contributed during the project period must be submitted as appendices to the report.
The written report is followed up by an oral exam, which is initiated by a 30-minute presentation of the project process. It is important that you not only repeat what is stated in the report, but also reflect on the individual sub-projects.
The presentation is followed by an academic discussion based on the project process, the project report and the oral presentation. An important part of the discussion will be based on the external supervisor's experience of you in the company.
The oral exam must be held no later than four weeks after the submission of the project report.
Your internal project supervisor from SDU and the external supervisor from the project company participate in the oral exam as internal examiners. In addition, an external examiner participates.
Immediately after the oral exam, a grade is given according to the 7-point scale.
Read more about aims and requirements in the relevant course description:
Submission deadlines for reports
- Projects in the autumn semester: 31 January (re-examination 1 March)
- Projects in the spring semester: 31 July (re-eksamination 31 August)