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Assessing a PhD thesis

Assessment of a PhD Thesis

The assessment committee shall submit a recommendation as to whether the PhD student, through the publicly defended thesis, has fulfilled the requirements laid down in the Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certaing Higher Educational Institutions.

Within two months after the thesis has been submitted and not later than three weeks prior to the defense the assessment committee is requested to write a preliminary recommendation stating whether the thesis in its preliminary form can be accepted for public defence. The chairman of the assessment committee forwards the preliminary recommendation to the Doctoral School who makes sure that the author receives a copy of the recommendation. If a majority of the members of the assessment committee accept the PhD thesis, the chairman of the assessment committee, the other committee members and the supervisor(s) in co-operation set the date for the public defence of the thesis.

If a majority of the committee members cannot accept the PhD thesis in its present form, the recommendation must also include at least a majority recommendation that can form a basis for a decision by the institution as to whether the thesis can be re-submitted in a revised form within a time period of at least three months.

The supervisor is responsible for handling the practical matters in connection with the defence. This includes the booking of hotel rooms, the announcement of the defence, as well as the recommendation to the Faculty concerning the chairperson of the defence. Announcement of the defence and the recommendation for the chairperson should be forwarded via the department to the Faculty of Engineering and Science.

The PhD defence

The defence shall take place following the submission of the preliminary recommendation of the assessment committee and no later than three months after the handing in of the thesis. Based on the rules in the legislation on inventions, or if special circumstances apply, the institution may decide to postpone the defence.
Prior to the defence, the chairperson appointed by the Faculty must arrange a meeting with the assessment committee and the supervisor(s). This meeting usually takes place 1-2 hours before the defence. At this meeting it shall roughly be agreed how the examination shall proceed. The total examination time (question time) must not exceed 2 hours and the members of the assessment committee and the supervisor(s) shall prioritize their questions in such a way that they confine themselves to this time limit.
The PhD student gives a lecture explaining the research work carried out. The duration of the lecture should be approximately 45 minutes.
Examination. The most significant role of the chairperson is to ensure that the agreed upon plan (cf. number 2 above) is followed. This includes ensuring that all the members of the assessment committee get the opportunity to ask questions and that the PhD student's time to answer is limited in such a way that the assessment committee can obtain answers to their questions within the time limit. Questions may be asked ex auditorio provided that the chairman is notified. Each person asking questions ex auditorio is given a maximum of 15 minutes including the necessary time for the PhD student's answer.

Immediately after the public defence the assessment committee shall submit to the department its recommendation based on the PhD thesis and the public defence as to whether the PhD degree should be awarded. Afterwards the department forwards the recommendation to the Faculty.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding the PhD study, terms of employment, courses and alike, please contact us:

E-mail: aauphd@adm.aau.dk

Phone: 9940 9638

Niels Jernes Vej 10, 1st floor

9220 Aalborg East