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Assessment of the PhD thesis

Assessment committee

No later than at the submission of PhD thesis, a competent assessment committee is appointed consisting of three people at associate professor, professor or senior researcher level. Two of them must be external; one from an international university, unless it is inexpedient from an academic consideration. To secure sufficient knowledge about the level and the traditions of the Danish PhD the Faculty of Health Sciences, SDU has decided, that the other  external assessor has to be Danish. The chairman is appointed among the Faculty's associate professors or professors. He or she must have insight into the research area but must not have been otherwise involved in the PhD course. The appointed adjudicators must have accepted to participate in the assessment task and have agreed to the schedule.
Please be aware that the members of the assessment committee may not have published with the main supervisor or any of the co supervisors. 


Chapter 2 of the Administrative Law concerns ineligibility within public administration. Examples of possible ineligibility can be seen here.

The Committee Concerning Academic Theses (UvAA) is an advisory committee under the PhD committee that assists in securing quality and uniform level in connection with the conferral of PhD degrees, and in offering advice for the PhD committee concerning the appointment of assessment committees. The Dean appoints assessment committees upon recommendation by the scientific members of the PhD committee.

Main supervisor

He/she can't be a member of the assessment committee, but is appointed without voting right. The committee chairman can thus contact the supervisor with questions of academic nature or concerning the preceding PhD course. The faculty has furthermore agreed that the main supervisor must have an opportunity to see and comment on the temporary recommendation, before it is sent to the Graduate School Secretariat.

The PhD thesis documents that the PhD student has been able to independently complete an academic project using relevant scientific methodologies, and thereby contribute to promoting research at a level that corresponds to the international standard for PhD degrees in the subject area in question.

The assessment committee estimates the research effort that is basis for the PhD thesis, including whether the extent corresponds to the three student FTEs of the PhD programme - with consideration for the other programme elements.

The assessment basis is the submitted PhD thesis. Insufficient supervision or bad planning cannot be considered "extenuating circumstances" in the assessment of the final result.

The provisional recommendation

No later than six weeks after the reception of the PhD thesis, the assessment committee submits a provisional recommendation to the PhD Secretariat. It has an extent of 4-8 pages. A detailed description of what the recommendation contains can be found here.

The recommendation concludes whether the PhD thesis complies with the requirements of the PhD Executive Order with regard to academic level and warrants the conferral of a PhD degree.

The conclusion may be the following:

  • The Assessment Committee approves the PhD thesis in its current form. The assessment committee can, if necessary, recommend a language revision and other, minor corrections. This must appear points of criticism in the recommendation and be of limited extent.
  • The PhD thesis in its current form does not comply with the requirements. On the basis of the recommendation, the faculty makes one of the following decisions:
    • The PhD thesis does warrant the conferral of a PhD degree, if it is revised and resubmitted within a period of at least three months. The given deadline can be extended after concrete assessment, in case of e.g. long-term illness, maternity leave or other force majeure. The revised PhD thesis is assessed by the previously appointed committee.
    • The PhD thesis is rejected, because it does not comply with the requirements, and because it is estimated that a revision will not be able to improve it. In this case, the defence cannot take place either.
    • The PhD thesis is subjected to assessment by a new assessment committee.

The provisional recommendation is presented to the main supervisor for comments which must be taken into consideration by the assessment committee before the final recommendation is sent through the Graduate School Secretariat to the Committee Concerning Academic Theses (UvAA). However, the main supervisor should refrain from sharing the provisional recommendation with the PhD student. The Graduate School will inform the PhD student after the Committee concerning Academic Theses (UvAA) has estimated the recommendation with reference to whether it gives satisfactory information concerning the PhD thesis assessment.  If the assessment committee recommends that the PhD thesis does not comply with the requirements, then the PhD candidate and the main supervisor are asked by the Graduate School Secretariat to comment on the recommendation before the recommendation and any comments are sent to the Committee Concerning Theses. 

Printing the PhD thesis

The printing of the PhD thesis should take place at the University of Southern Denmark's print shop Print & Sign. Please note that 1 copy should be handed in to the Graduate School.

No changes can be made once the PhD thesis is handed in. However, you are allowed to enclose an erratum.

Last Updated 04.03.2020