thesis, assessment and defence

Format and language of the PhD thesis  |  Pre-defence  |  Appointment of the assessment committee 

Submission of thesis  | Acceptance of the thesis  |  Press strategy  |  Defence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Format and language of the PhD thesis

The PhD fellow must not write their thesis together with others, but the thesis may be part of a research project which forms the basis of a number of individual PhD theses.

At the Humanities, theses may be written in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, English, German, French or Spanish. At the Faculty of Social Sciences, theses must be written in Danish or English. At both faculties, an abstract (max. 10 pages) in both Danish and English must be attached.

At both faculties, permission may be granted to write the entire or some part of the thesis in a language other than those stated above. An application to this effect, endorsed by your principal supervisor and head of department, must be submitted to the dean (Faculty of Social Sciences), whereas PhD fellows enrolled at the Faculty of Humanities must apply to the programme director.

You must discuss the format and publication strategy of your thesis with your supervisor. Your thesis may be a monograph, a number of articles, or a monograph in combination with articles. At the Faculty of Social Sciences, the guidelines say 3-6 articles and a conference paper. The conclusions from these articles, which may be in English, may also be included as entire paragraphs in the monograph (with source references).
 

Types of theses

a) The Monograph

A monographic thesis is characterised by the introduction of an issue at the beginning of the thesis. This will then be elaborated on throughout the thesis. Dependent on the method applied, the thesis will include chapters regarding method, theory and empirical data which illustrate the issue stated.
 

b) The Article based thesis

The article based thesis (which at the Faculty of Social Sciences must be approved by the dean at the beginning of the process) is characterised by a number of manuscripts or already published articles which are related as regards contents and/or method, but which do not overlap. The articles must be linked together by a summary conclusion and opened by an introductory paragraph (see the study regulations of the Faculty of Humanities).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-defence

For PhD fellows enrolled under the CGS programme, a so-called pre-defence (for PhD fellows enrolled at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences the pre-defence is the IV evaluation) will be held six months before submission of the PhD thesis. This will provide a possibility for the PhD fellow to present elements of their PhD thesis, and discuss central issues with academically competent persons who have not previously been involved in the project.

The time of the pre-defence will be stipulated after consultation with the supervisor, and participants are the programme’s management, a discussant from another AAU department or another Danish university, the supervisors involved, PhD fellows at CGS and other interested AAU scholars/staff. The PhD fellow will forward max 70 pages in advance (at least 2 weeks before the pre-defence) to all participants and will open the pre-defence with a presentation of the design of the project.

 

Practice as regards the pre-defence

The programme director and the supervisor will find an opponent for the pre-defence and inform the programme secretary. The programme’s policy is that we use an opponent from AAU, alternatively from another University in Denmark, to keep the expenses down. The opponent will be honoured 8 hours. The programme secretary will book rooms, and inform  supervisor, opponent, PhD fellow and programme director, and will order lunch, coffee and take care of the payment of a fee, if relevant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appointment of the assessment committee

The composition of the assessment committee must be determined at least 2 weeks prior to submitting the thesis (in VBN). The committee is recommended by the department and approved by the dean. Suggestions as regards the composition of the committee are prepared by the department, after consultations with the principal supervisor and the PhD fellow. According to the PhD regulations, a minimum of two committee members must be from outside of Aalborg University. The supervisors of the PhD fellow cannot be members of the committee, but the principal supervisor and the project supervisor will assist the committee without voting rights. At both faculties, it is a requirement that both genders are represented in the assessment committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submission of thesis

When you have completed your thesis, proofread it and compiled the literature list etc., you may require final assistance from a person with special skills in word processing and layout in order to add the finishing graphic touch. Any expenses towards layout and language revision assistance must be paid by your taximeter grant. Please remember that you need to format your thesis according to the formatting guidelines.
 

Humanities

Your thesis must contain an abstract of max. 10 pages in both English and Danish. Once you have completed your thesis, you must send it to the faculty office, accompanied by a statement from your principal supervisor (supervisor’s declaration) in English (please notice that the title of your thesis must be written in both English and Danish) as to whether the research education process was satisfactory. At the humanities, this statement will be enclosed as a supplement to your examination certificate. For the declaration, a net based form is available. The declaration must include:

  • The name of the PhD student and the title of the thesis
  • Information as to whether the individual elements of the programme have been completed in accordance with section 10 of the Ministerial Order, and if the requirement of course participation corresponding to 30 ECTS points has been complied with
  • How the PhD student has taken part in a number of active research environments here and/or abroad
  • How the PhD student has acquired teaching experience or other knowledge communication experience.

You must also submit a declaration stating that the thesis has not previously been submitted for academic assessment.

You must submit your thesis through the VBN editing system Pure.
 

Social Sciences

Your thesis must contain an abstract of max. 10 pages in both English and Danish. Once you have completed your thesis, you must send it to the faculty office, accompanied by a statement from your principal supervisor (supervisor’s declaration).

This declaration must comprise a statement regarding the entire PhD process, including the completion of the individual elements of the PhD plan:

  • The name of the PhD student and the title of the thesis
  • Information as to whether the individual elements of the programme have been completed in accordance with section 10 of the Ministerial Order, and if the requirement of course participation corresponding to 30 ECTS points has been complied with
  • How the PhD student has been taken part in several active research environments here and/or abroad
  • How the PhD student has acquired teaching experience or other knowledge communication experience.

You must also submit a declaration stating that the thesis has not previously been submitted for academic assessment and a form from Statistics Denmark. Find more information at the Doctoral School under "Internal rules and regulations of the Doctoral School of Social Sciences"

You must submit your thesis through the VBN editing system Pure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acceptance of the thesis

The assessment committee will submit a preliminary reasoned unanimous or majority recommendation as to whether the PhD thesis in its present form fulfils the requirements for the award of the PhD degree and will therefore be accepted for defence. The committee may also assess the thesis to be suitable for defence with some limited supplementary adjustments. The outcome of the assessment may also be that the thesis is not suitable for defence, but that it may be so if it is submitted in a revised form. Finally, the committee may also assess the thesis not to be suitable for defence, and that revision will not render it suitable.

At both faculties, the committee must make its preliminary recommendation no later than two months after the submission of the thesis, and a copy of this recommendation must be forwarded to the PhD student. When the thesis has been accepted, the defence must take place two weeks after the assessment committee's submission of its recommendation at the earliest and within three months of the submission of the PhD thesis, at the latest, according to the Ministerial Order on the PhD programme.

Time and place of the public defence will be stipulated by the PhD programme in consultation with the chairman of the assessment committee and the PhD student. No later than on this occasion, the committee may forward their suggestion to the faculty of the title of the lecture which the PhD student will give at the defence. The subject of the lecture must give the PhD student an opportunity to account for central elements of the thesis (e.g. on the basis of the thesis title or a particular subject, which should be elaborated on), but is not limited to this.

Publication of time and place of the defence will be carried out by the administrative staff of the PhD programme in collaboration with the faculty office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press strategy

In connection with the defence, the PhD fellow may consider whether the conclusion of their thesis is of public interest. If this is the case, it is a good idea to contact an actual journalist or issue a press release and send it out in advance of the defence in order to have the PhD thesis made public in the press. Susanne H. Knudsen, communications officer at the Faculty of Humanities, will assist you with this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defence

The defence usually takes three hours, including a 15-minute break. The defence must include the following elements:

  • Opening remarks by the chair (Dean/Head of Department or an appointed substitute)
  • Max. 45 minutes’ lecture given by the PhD student on the stipulated theme
  • Members of the assessment committee comment on the thesis and ask questions to central aspects in the thesis
  • Questions, if any, from the audience. Members of the audience who wish to ask questions must report to the chair during the break.
  • The chair closes the defence and may allow the PhD student to make a brief concluding statement, if requested.

Immediately following the defence, the assessment committee will withdraw to consider whether the PhD degree can be awarded.

The break is often scheduled after the lecture of after the contribution of the first opponent.

The defence is open to the public, which means in practice that colleagues, family/friends without much knowledge of the academic topic will be present, but as this is the last step in the assessment of a research project, the assessment committee is the primary target group, even as regards the preliminary lecture. In practice, most PhD students choose to outline the main issues of the thesis, elaborating on the most important points of criticism raised by the assessment committee. Preparation of the discussion with the assessment committee may typically take as its point of departure the written draft assessment, in which the assessment committee members highlight the strong and weak aspects of the thesis, and in this regard it is important, for instance, that the PhD student is able to substantiate any choices made or rejected during the research process.

The Academic Council makes the final decision to award the PhD degree, and the PhD student will be notified of this and will receive the final recommendation by mail. Subsequently, the PhD certificate (in Danish and English) will be forwarded.

Audio recording

At the Humanities, the defence is recorded, and the recording will subsequently be forwarded to the faculty office. The programme secretary will arrange for the defence to be recorded.

Reception

The department is responsible for all practical arrangements in connection with the actual defence, whereas the reception afterwards is organised by the PhD student together with the programme secretary.

Final assessment

After the oral defence, the assessment committee will complete their recommendation as to whether the PhD degree should be awarded. This recommendation must be based on the written thesis and the oral defence in combination, and the recommendation will include comments on both.

If the committee members do not agree to give a positive recommendation, they must forward a preliminary recommendation together with the reasons for their disagreement to the PhD student via the Faculty. The PhD student must be given the opportunity to comment on the recommendation within a period of at least one week, following which the committee will submit their final recommendation.

It must be emphasised that it is very rare not to award the PhD degree, once a thesis has been accepted for defence. In a majority of instances the assessment committee will withdraw immediately following the oral defence to complete their recommendation, and will then return to announce a positive result.
 

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