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For PhD assessment committees

Published online: 08.08.2022

Information for assessment committees and the template for assessment of a PhD thesis

Article

For PhD assessment committees

Published online: 08.08.2022

Information for assessment committees and the template for assessment of a PhD thesis

No later than 1 month before submission of the PhD thesis, the Dean appoints an expert assessment committee composed of three members:

  • One of the three members is appointed chairman of the committee (must be internal to AAU). 
  • The members of theassessment committee shall be recognized researchers within the relevant field and must be professors, full-time employed associate professors or possess corresponding qualifications. 
  • The assessment committee must be composed of both male and female members, unless special circumstances apply.
  • Two of the members shall be external researchers, of whom at least one shall be from outside of Denmark, (extemption from this can be granted). 
  • The PhD student’s supervisors shall not be members of the assessment committee; however, the principal supervisor shall assist the assessment committee without voting rights.

THE PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT


Within two months of the submission of the PhD thesis, the assessment committee shall submit its preliminary assessment to AAU PhD to whether the PhD thesis fulfils the requirements for the award of the PhD degree. In the event of disagreement, the majority shall prevail.

The PhD student should be able to use the preliminary assessment to prepare the oral defence, or to revise the thesis, if the recommendation is not favourable. If the recommendation is not favourable, the assessment committee shall state in the recommendation whether the PhD thesis may be resubmitted in a revised version. In such case, a deadline for resubmission shall be stated.

In order for the PhD student to be able to prepare the defence or to revise the PhD thesis, the premises supporting the committee’s evaluation should be clear and reasoned. Finally, the preliminary assessment should give an indication of what themes the committee would like to discuss at the oral defence.

THE PUBLIC DEFENCE


The defence takes place after the assessment committee has submitted its preliminary assessment, and within three months of the submission of the thesis. Time and place of the public defence is decided by the chairman of the assessment committeem the supervisor and the PhD student.

Where special circumstances apply, the PhD Study Director may approve that the defence is postponed. Postponement of the defence is subject to mutual agreement between the parties (programme director, assessment committee, PhD student) as to a new date for the defence.

The programme director appoints an academic faculty staff member to chair the public defence. At the defence, the PhD student must be given the chance to explain his or her work and to defend the PhD thesis before the members of the assessment committee. The PhD student’s explanation of his or her work takes approximately 45 minutes and each assessment committee member can spend 30 minutes on questions and dialogue with the PhD student. The chair may allow others to make contributions during the defence. The entire duration of the defence must not exceed 3 hours, including all breaks. It is the responsibility of the chair to ensure that the defence does not exceed 3 hours, and that it proceeds in a dignified manner.

THE FINAL ASSESSMENT


Immediately following the defence, the assessment committee shall submit its final recommendation to AAU PhD via aauphd@adm.aau.dk. Following quality assurance the recomendation is sent to the Academic Council, who makes the final decision regarding the award of the PhD degree. The final assessment shall include the same information as the preliminary assessment; however, the concluding section in the final assessnebt shall give an account of the date and evaluation of the oral defence.

Download the template for the assessment - it is mandatory for the assessment committee to apply the provided template.