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Seminars, Evaluations and Qualifying Exams

You can find more information about which seminars and evaluations are relevant to you on the page concerning evaluations. This page contains an overview of all types of seminars and evaluations for PhD students in both the 5+3 and 4+4 schemes.

This evaluation is conducted as a status seminar with a presentation of your PhD project to the research group/department. It is up to the respective department to define the form, but it will be a requirement that the PhD student and principal supervisor provide feedback to the PhD School on how and when the status seminar is conducted, as well as who has participated.

The purpose of this evaluation is to ensure an initial overview of the PhD programme with a focus on the delimitation, quality and progression of the PhD project. This creates an opportunity to ensure optimal planning of the PhD student’s stay abroad/environmental change, as well as the opportunity for early management of any risk factors.

After the first year of the PhD programme, the first regular evaluation is carried out. This evaluation forms the basis for an assessment of progress and achieved results and provides an opportunity to adjust the plans for the remaining time of the programme.

The evaluation is based on a status report from you and your principal supervisor, a supervisor’s statement from the principal supervisor and two assessors’ assessment of written material (prepared by the PhD student), which is presented at a seminar. 

The report is prepared jointly by you and your principal supervisor and the special form for first-year evaluation is used.  

In order to strengthen the basis for the first-year evaluation and to provide a broad basis for any adjustments in the PhD project, two assessors (may not be the co-supervisor) are involved in the first-year evaluation – one from the department and one outside the University of Southern Denmark.

The Head of PhD School must approve the overall first-year evaluation. The result of the Head of PhD School’s assessment is communicated in writing to you and your principal supervisor.

The report must include:

  • approximately ½-1 page description of the previous research efforts on the PhD project (progress, results, possible obstacles) and the research plans for the remaining part of the PhD period – including a description of any adjustments in relation to the PhD plan.
  • information on completed and planned courses, dissemination activities, stays abroad, execution of work obligations for you as a PhD student as well as information on the form and scope of the supervision.
  • information about assessors, and date of the PhD seminar.
  • any other information that may be relevant to the assessment of your course of study.

After the second year of the PhD programme, the last regular evaluation of the PhD course is carried out. This evaluation forms the basis for an assessment of progress and achieved results and provides an opportunity to adjust the plans for the remaining time of the programme. The evaluation is based on a status report from you and your principal supervisor as well as a supervisor statement from the principal supervisor.

The report must include:

  • a description (approx. ½-1 page) of the previous research efforts on the PhD project (progress, results, possible obstacles) and the research plans for the remaining part of the PhD period – including a description of any adjustments in relation to the PhD plan.
  • an overview of the expected thesis content (list of articles, chapters or similar) with an indication of the status of the various parts (published, completed, in proofreading, in preparation, being planned, or the like.)
  • information on completed and planned courses, dissemination activities, stays abroad and execution of work obligations for you as a PhD student.
  • any other information that may be relevant to the assessment of your course of study.

The report is prepared jointly by you and your principal supervisor. It is the responsibility of your principal supervisor that it is submitted to the PhD School’s secretariat in time. The special form for second-year evaluation is used.

Together with the status report, a statement is sent from the principal supervisor with an assessment of the previous course and any planned adjustments and changes in relation to the PhD plan, as well as an assessment of your ability to complete the programme in accordance with the PhD plan. The statement must either confirm that the PhD programme will be completed in accordance with the PhD plan, or explain the necessary adjustments. The PhD student must have a copy of the statement, and has the opportunity to submit comments on the statement within 2 weeks.

The Head of PhD School may choose to summon the PhD student and/or the principal supervisor for a conversation in order to have the written material elaborated.

Based on the written material and any interviews, the Head of PhD School assesses after each evaluation whether the course is satisfactory. The result of the Head of PhD School’s assessment will be communicated in writing to you and your principal supervisor.

Upon approval of the course of programme, the enrolment is automatically extended.

If your course cannot be approved, clear reasons for this must be given and it must be stated at which points the course has not been satisfactory, so that you are able to deal specifically with the deficiencies. You then have a period of 2 weeks to submit any comments. You will then receive an offer for rectification.

The purpose of this evaluation is to carry out an assessment of the project’s progression, follow up on the assessors’ recommendations from the mid-term evaluation, get a status of planned/completed programme elements and feedback from the principal supervisor regarding the status of the thesis. The evaluation also gives you the opportunity to get a second opinion on your PhD project. The overall purpose is thus to ensure that the programme is completed on time with the award of the PhD degree.

In order to follow up on the assessors’ recommendations from the mid-term evaluation and thereby ensure continuity and ‘a different light’ in the project, the internal assessor is involved again in this last evaluation of the PhD course. Based on a specific assessment, the department may also choose to involve the external assessor.

Follow-up on the assessors’ recommendations from the mid-term evaluation must be done based on a status paper from you on a maximum of two-pages.

In connection with the evaluation, the principal supervisor, research group leader or Head of Department must also discuss career plans with you as a PhD student. The discussions must address the question of your potential in relation to continuing a career in academia as well as the department’s or research group’s opportunity to offer you a position after completing a PhD programme.

Where deemed relevant, the internal and/or external assessor may be involved in the discussion of career plans. 

Together with your principal supervisor, you must prepare:

  • a status paper (maximum of two pages) with a description of your previous research efforts on your PhD project (progress, results, possible challenges and addressing of recommendations from the mid-term evaluation) and the research plans for the remainder of your PhD programme.
  • an overview of the expected thesis content (list of articles, chapters or similar) with an indication of the status of the various parts (including review, published, completed, in proofreading, in preparation, being planned, or the like).
  • brief overview of completed and planned courses, dissemination activities and environmental change/stays abroad.
  • risk assessment in relation to whether your project can be completed on time. What efforts are planned in relation to handling/addressing any challenges.

 

The PhD School’s form for the third evaluation must be used.

The Head of PhD School can choose to summon you and/or the principal supervisor and the Head of Department for an interview to have the written material elaborated on, if the third evaluation has exposed indicators of problems with the completion of the PhD programme.

Based on the written material and any interviews, the Head of PhD School assesses whether the programme is satisfactory after each evaluation. The result of the Head of PhD School’s assessment is communicated in writing to you, your principal supervisor and the Head of Department. 

If the programme cannot be approved, clear reasons must be given for this and it must be stated on which points the programme has not been satisfactory, so that you are able to deal specifically with the deficiencies. If the programme is not approved, you have a deadline of two weeks to submit any comments. You will then receive an offer for rectification.

The mid-term evaluation is used to assess the project’s development and achieved results. Overall, the purpose is to ensure that the project is on the right track and can be completed on time.

The evaluation allows you to adjust the plans for the rest of the project period. The evaluation also gives you the opportunity to get a second opinion on the PhD project from an internal and an external assessor. Finally, the PhD School uses the evaluation to offer rectification programmes in cases where this is deemed necessary.

In connection with the mid-term evaluation, the PhD School encourages the principal supervisor, research group leader or Head of Department to also discuss career plans with you. The discussions can address the question of your potential in relation to continuing a career in academia as well as the department’s or research group’s opportunity to offer you a position after completing a PhD programme.

The discussion of career plans is not a mandatory part of the mid-term evaluation, but an offer to you. Where deemed relevant, the internal and/or external assessor may be involved in the discussion of career plans. The discussions can address the question of your potential in relation to continuing a career in academia as well as the department’s or research group’s opportunity to offer you a position after completing a PhD programme.

Material to be produced in connection with the mid-term evaluation

The evaluation of the two assessors is based on:

  • written material prepared by you that is presented at the mid-term seminar (mid-term evaluation seminar) for your principal supervisor, assessors and possibly research group/department
  • a status report prepared jointly by you and your principal supervisor. The special form for the mid-term evaluation is used
  • a supervisor statement from the principal supervisor

 

Re written material

 

The material for your evaluation could be e.g. (drafts of) one or more articles or chapters that you expect to include in your final thesis. It could also be material that you have prepared as part of your project, e.g. detailed research plan, questionnaires, interview guides, data summaries, theory summaries or the like.  The material must give the assessors the opportunity to evaluate the research design/method and the preliminary results, and have a scope of 20-50 pages.

 

Re status report

 

The status report is prepared jointly by you and your principal supervisor, and you must use the form.

 

The status report should contain approximately a one to two page description of:

  • The research efforts to date on the PhD project; development, results, possible obstacles, etc.
  • The research plans for the remaining part of the PhD period, including a description of any adjustments in relation to the PhD plan.
  • Information on specific subjects that are to be discussed at the seminar.

 

The status report must also contain a risk assessment of the project. The risk assessment is expected to be a maximum of one page. Thus, it is not the expected that appendices etc. are provided in the risk assessment. Where relevant, the following questions may be included in the risk assessment:

  • Are there indicators that the project will not be completed on time? If so, what are the challenges?
  • What is considered to be the largest single risk factor in relation to a successful completion of the PhD project; e.g. delimitation of subject matter, applicability of the chosen method in relation to the thesis/project goals, delay due to data collection, extent of work obligation.
  • What efforts are planned in relation to handling/addressing the above?

 

The status report must also include:

  • Brief overview of completed and planned courses, dissemination activities, stays abroad, execution of work obligations for employed PhD students and information on the form and scope of the supervision.
  • Information on assessors and date of the midterm seminar.
  • Any other information that may be relevant to the assessment of your course of study.

 

Re supervisor statement from your principal supervisor

 

The principal supervisor’s statement must appear on the PhD School’s form for mid-term evaluation.

 

Practical information

Your principal supervisor is responsible for arranging a mid-term seminar between assessors, supervisors and you as a PhD student.

 

Your principal supervisor decides when to hold the seminar in the interval 16-18 months on the basis of an assessment of what is most appropriate in relation to your project.

 

The seminar is led by your principal supervisor. At the seminar, you must have the opportunity to present the submitted material and discuss it with the assessors. The PhD supervisors can participate in the discussion, and the principal supervisor can allow other participants present to take part. There is no immediate limitation on the topics that the assessors may choose to discuss with you. It should be noted, however, that the purpose of the discussions is to help ensure that your PhD programme is completed on time.

  

The department ensures that a suitable room is reserved for the seminar and announces the seminar on the department’s website and to the department potentially in other ways.

If, in connection with the evaluations, the Head of PhD School concludes that you do not meet the requirements of the PhD plan despite any adjustments, you will receive an offer to rectify your PhD study within three months. The Head of PhD School will typically be in close dialogue with supervisors and possibly the Head of Department before deciding on a rectification course. The three-month rectification period does not in itself lead to an extension of the overall PhD programme. Offers for rectification courses can only be given once during the entire PhD programme.

If you have not accepted this within one week of receiving the three-month offer for the rectification of the programme, your enrolment will cease.

Read more about the rectification period.

Part A is concluded with a qualifying examination and a subsequent PhD seminar, which is held no later than 24 months after enrolment. It may be beneficial to carry out the qualifying examination and the subsequent PhD seminar on the same day, possibly with the qualifying examination in the morning and PhD seminar in the afternoon. It is recommended that the qualifying examination and the PhD seminar be held in a timely manner before the conclusion of Part A – i.e. at least 1 month before the conclusion of Part A.

The qualifying examination must demonstrate that you have obtained a qualification level corresponding to a Master’s degree, and the PhD seminar must provide a broad basis for assessing your ability to complete your PhD programme and, if necessary, make adjustments to your PhD project.

The qualifying examination is based on part of the PhD thesis. At least one chapter or article of the thesis – possibly in the form of a literature review or a method review. The content of the written work must be of such a nature that it at least equivalent to the academic requirements for a Master’s thesis. The material must be ready to be handed in via ItsLearning no later than 6 weeks before the qualifying examination takes place.

For use in the PhD seminar, the form for the Qualifying Exam and PhD seminar and any supplementary written material is used, for example (draft) additional articles or chapters that are expected to be included in the final dissertation, detailed research plan, questionnaires, interview guides, data summaries, theory summaries or the like. The overall material should allow the assessors to evaluate the research design and the preliminary results. The supplementary material should not exceed 50 pages.

The qualifying examination is held as a thesis examination. You must be allowed to present the principal features of the examination material. Subsequently, you will be examined by the principal supervisor and external assessor (external examiner) from outside the University.

Based on the qualifying examination, the principal supervisor and external assessor will award a grade in accordance with the 7-point grading scale expressing target fulfilment in relation to the requirements for a Master’s thesis. To pass, a minimum grade of 02 is required. Re-examination/make-up examination can be held, but must be passed no later than three months after the first examination. Only the supervisor and the external assessor (external examiner) may be present during the voting. The Student Information Point registers the protocol and forwards a copy to the examinations office.

The PhD seminar is held immediately after the qualifying examination. The seminar is led by the principal supervisor. At the seminar, the PhD student must have an opportunity to present his or her research plan and any further submitted material and discuss it with the assessors. The PhD supervisors can take part in the discussion and the principal supervisor can also permit other people who are present to participate.

Based on the material and the seminar, the assessors prepare an assessment of your PhD programme to date and plans for your PhD project. The assessors may put forward any suggestions and ideas for future work in the evaluation. The assessors have the option to provide comments and assessments in a joint statement or two individual statements. The assessors’ statement must be submitted to the principal supervisor as soon as possible and no later than two weeks after the seminar. You will also get a copy of the statement, and have the opportunity to comment on the statement within two weeks. Your principal supervisor is responsible for submitting the assessors’ statement(s) to the PhD School Secretariat.

On the basis of the report, the qualifying examination and the PhD seminar, the principal supervisor prepares an assessment of the programme thus far and any planned adjustments and changes, and whether you are deemed suitable to continue to Part B and thereby complete the PhD programme. The statement must include what grade you obtained in the qualifying examination. The principal supervisor’s assessment is forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat while the department makes a request for employment without posting a vacancy on SDUJob.

Material produced in connection with the qualifying examination and the PhD seminar

The two assessors’ evaluation is based on the following material:

  • Written material prepared by you that is presented at the PhD seminar for your principal supervisor, assessors and possibly research group/department
  • A status (report) from you and your principal supervisor. The report is prepared jointly by the PhD student and the principal supervisor, and the dedicated form for the PhD seminar is used.
  • A supervisor statement from the principal supervisor

 

Re written material

Approximately 6 weeks before the qualifying examination, you submit material for the qualifying examination and the subsequent PhD seminar via Itslearning. The material includes:

The evaluation is prepared jointly by you and your principal supervisor, and the form for the PhD seminar is used for this.

 

The material for the qualifying examination must contain:

  • Material for the qualifying examination is the part (article or chapter) of the dissertation that is available in finished form (max. 50 pages)

 

Material for the PhD seminar must contain:

  • Examples of material for PhD seminars include drafts of chapters or articles that will be included in the thesis, questionnaires, data summaries, theory summaries or the like.
  • Any other information that may be relevant for the assessment of the programme

 

 

The PhD seminar must contain a description of approximately one or two pages of:

  • The research efforts thus far on the PhD project; development, results, possible obstacles, etc.
  • The research plans for the remaining part of the PhD period, including a description of any adjustments in relation to the PhD plan
  • Information on specific subjects that are to be discussed at the seminar

 

The evaluation must also include a risk assessment of the project. The risk assessment is expected to be a maximum of one page. Thus, it is not the expected that appendices etc. are provided in the risk assessment. Where relevant, the following questions may be included in the risk assessment:

  • Are there indicators that the project will not be completed on time? If so, what are the challenges?
  • What is considered to be the largest single risk factor in relation to a successful completion of the PhD project; e.g. delimitation of subject matter, applicability of the chosen method in relation to the thesis/project goals, delay due to data collection, extent of work obligation
  • What efforts are planned in relation to handling/addressing the above?

 

The evaluation must also include:

  • A brief overview of completed and planned courses, dissemination activities, stays abroad, execution of work obligations and information on the form and scope of the supervision
  • Information about assessors and date of the PhD seminar
  • Any other information that may be relevant for the assessment of the programme

 

The evaluation may also include:

  • In connection with the PhD seminar, the PhD School encourages the principal supervisor, research group leader or Head of Department to also discuss career plans with you. The discussions can address the question of your potential in relation to continuing a career in academia as well as the department’s or research group’s opportunity to offer you a position after completing a PhD programme.
  • The discussion of career plans is not a mandatory part of the PhD seminar, but an offer to you. Where appropriate, the internal and/or external assessor may be involved in the discussion of career plans.

 

 

Re supervisor statement from the principal supervisor

The principal supervisor’s statement must appear on the PhD School’s form for the qualifying examination and the PhD seminar.

 

Assessors’ and principal supervisor’s statement after completion of the seminar

On the basis of the material and the seminar, the assessors prepare a statement on the PhD programme thus far and the plans for the PhD project.

 

The assessors may put forward suggestions and ideas for future work in the statement. The assessors are expected to make statements on strengths/weaknesses and possible risks that the PhD student should be aware of.

 

There are no specific requirements to the extent of the statements made by the assessors.

 

The principal supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the overall material – i.e. the status report and the assessors’ statement as well as the principal supervisor’s statement – is sent to the PhD School’s secretariat no later than one month after the PhD seminar has been held.

Part A is concluded with a qualifying examination and a subsequent PhD seminar. The qualifying examination must demonstrate that you have obtained a qualification level corresponding to a Master’s degree, and the PhD seminar must provide a broad basis for assessing your ability to complete your PhD programme and, if necessary, make adjustments to your PhD project.

It is recommended that the qualifying examination and the PhD seminar be held in a timely manner before the conclusion of Part A – i.e. at least 1 month before the conclusion of Part A.

The material includes:

  • The PhD School’s form (Status report) with information on completed and planned courses, dissemination activities, stays abroad, settlement of work obligations and information on the form and scope of the supervision; a description (approx. 0.5–1 page) of your research efforts on your PhD project thus far (progress, results, possible obstacles) and the research plans for the remainder of the PhD period. This must include a description of any adjustments in relation to the PhD plan. The form is prepared by you and your principal supervisor together.
  • Material for the qualifying examination is the part (article or chapter) of the thesis that is available in finished form (max. 50 pages).
  • Items for the PhD seminar include consist of drafts of chapters or articles that are expected to be included in your thesis, questionnaires, data summaries, theory summaries or similar.
  • Any other information that may be relevant to the assessment of your course of study.

The Student Information Point obtains the date for the qualifying examination and the proposal for external examiner from the supervisor and submits it for approval by the external examination committee. The Student Information Point informs the supervisor, internal assessor and external examiner.

The services of two assessors – preferably one from the department (internal assessor), who must not be the principal or co-supervisor – are drawn on. Also, one assessor from outside the University of Southern Denmark (external examiner). The assessors are appointed by the Head of Department at the request and on the recommendation of the principal supervisor, possibly in collaboration with other supervisors. The assessors must be professors, full-time associate professors or hold similar academic qualifications in the relevant subject area.

Qualifying exams and PhD seminars must be held no later than 24 months after enrolment in the 4+4 scheme.

The qualifying examination is based on part of the PhD thesis. At least a chapter or an article – possibly in the form of a literature survey or the review of a method – must have been completed. The content of the written work must be of such a nature that it at least equivalent to the academic requirements for a Master’s thesis. The material must be ready to be handed in via ItsLearning no later than 6 weeks before the qualifying examination takes place.

For the PhD seminar, please use the form for the Qualifying Exam and PhD seminar and any supplementary written material prepared by you, e.g. (drafted) additional articles or chapters that are expected to be included in the final thesis, detailed research plan, questionnaires, interview guides, data summaries, theory summaries or the like. This material must provide the assessors with an opportunity to evaluate the research design and the preliminary results. The supplementary material should not exceed 50 pages.

The qualifying examination is held as a thesis examination. You must be allowed to present the principal features of the examination material. Subsequently, you will be examined by the principal supervisor and external assessor (external examiner) from outside the University.

Based on the qualifying examination, the principal supervisor and external assessor will award a grade in accordance with the 7-point grading scale expressing target fulfilment in relation to the requirements for a Master’s thesis. To pass, a minimum grade of 02 is required. Re-examinations/make-up examinations can be held but must have been passed no later than 3 months after the first examination. Only the supervisor and the external assessor (external examiner) may be present during the voting. The Student Information Point registers the protocol and forwards a copy to the examinations office.

The PhD seminar is held immediately after the qualifying examination. The seminar is led by your principal supervisor. You must have the opportunity to present your research plan and possibly also other material that has been forwarded and to discuss this with the assessors at the seminar. The PhD supervisors can take part in the discussion and the principal supervisor can also permit other people who are present to participate.

Based on the material and the seminar, the assessors assess the course of the PhD programme to date and the plans for the PhD project. The assessors’ assessment may contain suggestions and ideas for the further work. The assessors have the option to provide comments and assessments in a joint statement or two individual statements. The assessors’ statement(s) must be forwarded to the principal supervisor as soon as possible and no later than 2 weeks after the seminar. At the same time, you must also be given a copy of the statement and you are allowed 2 weeks to comment on it. Your principal supervisor is responsible for submitting the assessors’ statement(s) to the PhD School Secretariat.

Based on the status report, the qualifying examination and the PhD seminar, the principal supervisor prepares an assessment of your progress to date and any planned adjustments and changes, and whether you are qualified to continue to part B and thereby complete your PhD programme. The statement must state the grade you obtained in your qualifying examination. The principal supervisor’s assessment is forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat while the department makes a request for employment without posting a vacancy on SDUJob.

The Head of PhD School decides whether the student can continue to part B and be offered employment for the remaining 2 years on the basis of the examiners' and the principal supervisor's written evaluations and the grades given for the courses completed and the qualifying examination. 

The PhD School will notify the Personnel Unit (SC) and Human Resource services. Human Resource services will then send you a letter of employment, and the PhD School forwards a letter to you on your transition to part B.

If you wish to leave your course of study before passing your qualifying examination, the activities that have been passed during your PhD course of study are transferred to your Master’s degree programme in accordance with the current procedures for credit transfer.

Upon passing the qualifying exam, you have obtained your Master’s degree and can obtain your Master’s degree certificate upon request.

PhD Plan

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Rectification Period

Read more about the rectification period

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Last Updated 06.10.2021