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First year evaluation

The first of the regular evaluations of the course of the PhD project is carried out after the first year of the PhD study programme. This constitutes the background for an evaluation of the progress made and the results achieved and provides an opportunity to adjust the plans for the remainder of the study period. The evaluation is based on a status report from the PhD student and his/her principal supervisor, a statement from the principal supervisor and two examiners' evaluation of material written by the PhD student, which will be presented at a seminar.

The PhD student and his/her principal supervisor must write a status report no later than 12 months after submitting the PhD plan. This report must include:

  • a description (approximately half to one page) of the research carried out during the PhD project to date (progress, results, any obstacles) and research plans for the remainder of the PhD period – including any adjustments made in the PhD plan.
  • information on completed and planned courses, communication activities, periods spent abroad, the fulfilment of the work requirement for employed PhD students and information on the form and extent of supervision.
  • information on examiners and a date for the PhD seminar.
  • any other information that may be of relevance to an evaluation of the programme.

The report must be written jointly by the PhD student and his/her principal supervisor on a special form.

The services of two examiners – one from the department (may not be the co-supervisor) and one from outside the University of Southern Denmark – are drawn on in connection with the first year evaluation in order to strengthen the basis for the evaluation and to provide a broad foundation for any adjustments in the PhD project.

The examiners are appointed by the Head of Department at the request and on the recommendation of the principal supervisor, possibly in collaboration with the co-supervisor. The examiners must be professors, full-time associate professors or hold similar academic qualifications in the relevant academic field. At least one of the examiners must be from outside the university, i.e. not employed at the University of Southern Denmark. The principal supervisor is responsible for having examiners appointed and for agreeing on a date for the seminar.

The examiners, supervisors and the PhD student agree on a date for the PhD seminar, which must normally be held within approximately 12-14 months of enrolment, but can be deferred to accommodate the examiners, for instance, or the PhD student's period abroad. However, the seminar must be held within 16 months of enrolment at the latest.

The department will ensure that a suitable room is reserved for the seminar, which will be announced on the department's website.

Evaluation is based on material written by the PhD student. For example, this material could be (the draft of) one or more articles or chapters that are expected to be included in the thesis when completed. It could also be material written as part of the PhD project (e.g. a detailed research plan, questionnaires, interview guides, data lists, outlines of theories, or similar). The material must be such that it enables the examiners to assess the research design and the preliminary results and be approximately 20-50 pages in length.

The principal supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the written material is forwarded to the examiners together with the PhD plan and the status report in good time before the seminar so that they can familiarise themselves with the material. The seminar is chaired by the principal supervisor. The PhD student must have the opportunity to present the material and discuss it with the examiners at the seminar. The PhD supervisor can take part in the discussion and the principal supervisor can also permit others to be present.

The examiners prepare an evaluation on the PhD programme to date and the plans for the PhD project on the basis of the material and the seminar. The evaluation could contain the examiners' suggestions and ideas for the further work and they can make a joint evaluation or two individual evaluations, which must be forwarded to the principal supervisor as soon as possible and no later than two weeks after the seminar. The PhD student must also be given a copy of the evaluation and is allowed two weeks to comment on it, after which the examiners' evaluation and the evaluation from the principal supervisor are forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat.

The principal supervisor forwards a statement on the course of the programme to date and any planned adjustments and changes in relation to the PhD plan, as well as an assessment of the probability that the student will be able to complete the programme in accordance with the PhD plan, together with the examiners' evaluation. The statement must either confirm that the PhD study programme will be performed in accordance with the PhD plan or provide an account of any adjustments that may be necessary. The PhD student must be given a copy of the statement and is allowed two weeks to comment on it.

The collected material – i.e. the status report, the supervisor's statement and the examiners' statement must be forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat. The principal supervisor is responsible for forwarding the material within the deadline.

The Head of PhD School must approve the overall first year evaluation. The PhD student and the principal supervisor will be informed of the result of the evaluation from the Head of PhD School in writing.

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