The members of the Assessment Committee must be professors, full-time associate professors or hold equivalent professional qualifications in the relevant field. Two of the members must be external, at least one of whom must be from abroad, unless this is inappropriate from an academic standpoint. For PhD students on the Industrial PhD Programme, at least one of its members must have business relevant research experience in the relevant field, see PhD Order § 26, subsection 2. SDU's representative functions as chair of the committee. The PhD student's supervisors cannot be members of the assessment committee, but the principal supervisor is attached to the assessment committee without voting rights.

The Faculty aims to have both genders represented in an assessment committee.

Appointment of the Assessment Committee

The assessment committee is appointed by the Dean upon recommendations from the PhD Committee which receives proposals from the Head of Department.

When the submission warning is sent, the PhD School secretariat asks the Head of Department for a proposal for the composition of the assessment committee.

The Head of Department sends a proposal for the composition of the assessment committee to the PhD Committee via the PhD School Secretariat. The Head of Department must first ensure that the proposed members of the assessment committee will agree to join the committee. CVs of the external examiners should be attached.

On this basis, the PhD Committee will give its recommendation for the composition of the committee to the Dean, see the University Act § 16b, paragraph. 7, no. 2

The PhD School Secretariat will inform the author of the committee's composition. The author may raise objections to the members within one week. If the author has not objected within one week, the PhD School Secretariat sends the thesis to the assessment committee and the principal supervisor.

The work of the Assessment Committee

The committee's chair is invited to take the initiative in establishing the timeframe for the assessment work and agree on a provisional defence date immediately upon the appointment of the assessment committee. The defense date must be agreed with the assessment committee, the principal supervisor and the PhD student. The PhD School secretariat is notified of the date when it is agreed, but it is made public only when there is a positive recommendation from the Assessment Committee.

It is the duty of the chair of the Assessment Committee to include the principal supervisor. The chair should ensure that the principal supervisor is invited to the Assessment Committee's meetings, is advised on email correspondence and similar. The principal supervisor will participate in the work of the committee in order, among other things, to answer questions about the underlying PhD Programme and the academic progression of the research project. The chair is responsible for the principal supervisor being informed of the preliminary assessment of the thesis. The principal supervisor must have the opportunity to comment on the preliminary assessment and to clarify any possible misunderstandings before it is sent to the Head of the PhD School.

Preliminary assessment of the PhD thesis

Within 2 months after the submission of the thesis, the assessment committee should provide a preliminary recommendation that merely needs to be signed by the chair of the assessment committee. The preliminary recommendation will decide whether the thesis in its present form is suitable as a basis for awarding the PhD degree. It is the Department’s responsibility that the assessment committee meet the deadline. The month of July is not included in the deadline for the preliminary recommendation.

The preliminary recommendation should be brief (a half A4 page) and must address the broad outlines of the thesis (whether it is of reasonably high quality, sufficiently self-conducted and of sufficiently high standard measured by international standards) rather than specific details of the thesis. The recommendation must be justified and the decision must be either unanimous or by majority vote. The recommendation is sent to the department's secretary who forwards the recommendation to the PhD School secretariat. After the Dean's approval the PhD School Secretariat immediately sends a copy of the recommendation to the author.

If the recommendation is positive the Assessment Committee together with the recommendation submits a proposal for the title of the lecture for the defense and recommends time and location for the defense to the department secretary. The PhD student should have the opportunity to explain central parts of the thesis during the defense but the defense should not be limited to this.

The chair of the assessment committee may at this stage, if it does not delay the defence, allow changes or additions to the thesis prior to or at the time of the defence, and shall fix a deadline for these changes.

If the thesis is recommended as not suitable the assessment committee will indicate in its recommendation whether the thesis can be resubmitted in revised form and if so within what time limit.

The author and the principal supervisor should be allowed two weeks to submit comments on the recommendation.

Based on the comments of the assessment committee, and possibly those of the author and principal supervisor, the Dean, in consultation with the Head of the PhD School, makes one of the following decisions:

  1. That the defence cannot take place
  2. That the thesis may be resubmitted in revised form within a period of at least three months. If the PhD thesis is resubmitted it will be assessed by the previously appointed assessment committee, unless there are any special circumstances that apply
  3. That the thesis is to be re-assessed by a new assessment committee

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