Milestones during the fourth year of the PhD Programme
1. Special rules for the 4+4 programme - Part B
This programme addresses students who need one year (60 ECTS) to complete their graduate degrees.
PhD programmes in accordance with the 4+4 programme have a prescribed period of four years' full-time studies and must include the same elements (incl. 30 course activity) and courses corresponding to 60 ECTS points, of which 30 ECTS points can be at graduate level, and a qualifying examination equivalent to a Master's thesis (30 ECTS points).
The programme is divided into two parts, part A and part B, each taking two years. The programme is organised so that the student completes the graduate programme at the end of part A as an integral part of the PhD programme.
Part B must be structured in such a way that, after completing it, the student will have completed his/her PhD project by writing a final PhD thesis and have fulfilled the requirements for courses, study periods abroad and knowledge dissemination.
The composition of part B therefore depends on those elements of the PhD programme that have already been completed during part A.
2. Formal requirements for the thesis
The thesis must as a principal rule be in Danish or English and contain an abstract in both languages.
A PhD thesis is an independent work based on an individual PhD study programme and can therefore not be submitted for the assessment of several people jointly. However, there is no objection to the underlying research project having been performed in collaboration with others.
3. Co-author declaration
The principal supervisor can approve the inclusion of manuscripts for articles that have already been published. If the thesis is based on articles, there must be a summary providing an account of their mutual connection, showing the progression of and summing up the overall research results. Articles included in the thesis may have been written together with others on the condition that the thesis is accompanied by written declarations from each of the co-authors indicating the author's share of the work. However, the predominant elements must have been written independently.
The co-author declarations must be signed by the co-authors and the PhD student. The PhD committee's form for co-author declaration must be used.
4. Two months' notice of submission
The PhD student must notify the Head of Department and the PhD School Secretariat of the submission of the thesis in good time and no later than two months before the expected submission date in order to ensure that the deadlines for the assessment and the defence can be met. It is important to comply with this term of notice so that the assessment committee can be appointed when the thesis has been submitted.
5. Submitting the thesis - What must the thesis contain?
No later than the date on which the PhD programme expires the PhD thesis including an abstract in both Danish and English must be submitted in PDF format to the PhD School Secretariat via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) accompanied by the following documents:
Statement from the principal supervisor about the PhD study programme as a whole, including the performance of the individual elements in the PhD plan (coursework activities, knowledge dissemination, and study periods at other research institutions). The statement must be in English
Co-author declarations, if applicable
The PhD School Secretariat sends the PhD thesis including statements to the assessment committee and the principal supervisor.
The PhD student's enrolment at the university ceases on the submission of the PhD thesis.
6. The list of activities and the principal supervisor's statement
The student must draw up an updated list of the programme activities performed during the PhD programme on the basis of the PhD plan in connection with submitting the thesis. The list of activities must be written in Danish and English with respect to issuing the PhD certificate. The list must be forwarded to the principal supervisor no later than two weeks before the thesis is submitted.
The principal supervisor writes a statement about the PhD study programme as a whole, including the performance of the individual elements in the PhD plan based on the list of activities, cf. Section 9 of the Ministerial Order on PhD programmes. The statement must be in English.
If, in his statement, the principal supervisor indicates that the PhD programme has not been performed satisfactorily, the PhD student is entitled to comment on the statement within two weeks.
The Head of PhD School decides whether the PhD study programme has been performed satisfactorily on the basis of the principal supervisor's statement, any comments from the author and the regular evaluations. The thesis can only be accepted for assessment if the overall PhD programme has been performed satisfactorily.
If the Head of PhD School decides that the PhD programme has not been performed satisfactorily, the PhD student is entitled to forward comments on the decision to the Dean within two weeks. In this case, the final decision will be made by the Dean.
7. The assessment committee
The thesis will be assessed by an expert assessment committee comprising three members who must be professors, full-time associate professors or hold similar academic qualifications in the relevant academic field. Two of the examiners must be from outside the university, of whom one must be from abroad unless this is inappropriate for academic reasons. Where PhD students under the Industrial PhD programme are concerned, at least one of the members of the assessment committee must have company-relevant research experience in the academic field in question, cf. Section 26, subsection 2 of the Ministerial Order on PhD programmes. The University of Southern Denmark's representative acts as the chairperson of the committee. The PhD student's supervisors may not be members of the assessment committee, but the principal supervisor is delegated to the assessment committee without the right to vote.
The thesis will be assessed by an expert committee comprising three members who must be professors, full-time associate professors or hold similar academic qualifications in the relevant academic field. Two of the members must be from outside the university, of whom one must be from abroad, unless this is inappropriate for academic reasons. Where PHD students under the Industrial PhD Programme are concerned, at least one of the members of the assessment committee must have company-relevant research experience in the academic field in question, cf. section 27, subsection 2 of the PhD Order. The University of Southern Denmark's representative acts as the chairperson of the committee. The PhD student's supervisors may not be members of the assessment committee, but the principal supervisor is delegated to the assessment committee without the right to vote.
Appointment of the assessment committee
The assessment committee is appointed by the Dean on the recommendation of the PhD Committee, which receives a suggestion from the Head of Department.
When notice is given of the submission of the thesis, the PhD School Secretariat will ask the Head of Department for a proposal regarding the composition of the assessment committee.
The Head of Department forwards a proposal for the composition of the assessment committee to the PhD Committee via the PhD School Secretariat. Prior to this, the Head of Department must make sure that the proposed members of the assessment committee agree to sit on the committee. External members must forward a CV.
On the basis of this, the PhD Committee recommends the composition of the assessment committee to the Dean, cf. section 16b, subsection 2, no. 2 of the University Act.
The PhD School Secretariat informs the author about the composition of the assessment committee. The author may raise an objection to the members within one week. If the author has not raised an objection within a week, the PhD School Secretariat will forward 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 defence 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 to clarify any possible misunderstandings before it is sent to the Dean.
Preliminary assessment of the PhD thesis
The assessment committee issues a recommendation to the Academic Council regarding whether the PhD thesis is suitable as a basis for awarding a PhD degree no later than two months after the submission of the thesis (July is not included in the two months), which is then forwarded to the Dean via the PhD School Secretariat. The recommendation must be substantiated and in the case of disagreement will be decided by a majority of votes. The recommendation must provide a suitable basis for the Academic Council's decision whether to award a PhD degree. The recommendation must be signed by all members of the assessment committee. Subject to the Dean's approval, the PhD School Secretariat will send a copy of the recommendation to the author without undue delay.
If, according to the recommendation, the thesis is suitable, the defence can take place and the recommendation must then be approved by the Academic Council. The assessment committee can propose a subject for the PhD lecture in connection with the assessment. The subject of the lecture must give the author an opportunity to provide an account of central elements of the thesis, but need not be limited to this.
If, according to the recommendation, the thesis is not suitable, the assessment committee can state in its recommendation whether it can be submitted again in a revised version and, if so, what the deadline for this will be.
The author and the principal supervisor are entitled to comment to the recommendation within two weeks.
Based on the assessment committee's recommendation and any comments from the author and the principal supervisor, in consultation with the Head of the PhD School , the Dean makes one of the following decisions:
- That the defence cannot take place.
- That the PhD thesis can be submitted again in revised version within a deadline of at least three months. If the PhD thesis is resubmitted, it will be assessed by the previously appointed assessment committee, unless there are special circumstances to prevent this.
- That the thesis will be assessed by a new assessment committee.
8. The PhD defence
The PhD defence
The thesis is defended at a public defence. The defence must take place no earlier than two weeks after the assessment has made its recommendation and within three months after submission of the thesis, see PhD Order § 20 paragraph 2. The chair of the assessment committee agrees on a time for the defence with the committee members, the principal supervisor and author, and notifies the PhD School Secretariat.
If exceptional circumstances exist, the Head of the PhD School can decide to postpone the defence. A postponement of the defence requires an agreement between the author, chair of the assessment committee and Head of the PhD School, including an agreement on the time period of the postponement of the defence, see PhD Order § 20 paragraph 3.
The defence is held at the University of Southern Denmark. In exceptional circumstances, the Dean may allow the defence to take place elsewhere than the University of Southern Denmark.
It is the duty of the chair of the assessment committee to ensure that a room of adequate size is reserved for the defence. This is arranged with the departmental secretary. The Department is in charge of the practical tasks associated with the defence (reservation of a room for the defence, the sending of any invitations and reception, etc.).
The PhD School Secretariat sends notification of the defence and possibly the lecture topic to the author and the members of the assessment committee.
The Department has the responsibility of advertising the defence under Upcoming events on the University of Southern Denmark's website. The PhD School Secretariat is responsible for the popular scientific abstract of the thesis being announced on the PhD School website. The PhD thesis is publicly available at the PhD School Secretariat in good time before the defence.
Procedures for the Defence of the PhD thesis
At the defence the author has an opportunity to set out his or her work and to defend the PhD thesis before the members of the assessment committee. Prior to the defence, the assessment committee has notified the author about the lecture topic.
The defence may not exceed 3 hours, of which 30-45 minutes is devoted to the author's lecture.
The defence will be based on the following plan:
Introduction by the Dean or his designated representative (moderator), with a presentation of the PhD student as well as the members of the assessment committee. The moderator conducts the defence proceedings.
A 30-45 minute presentation by the PhD student.
The moderator may allow questions from the audience with specific reference to the lecture given.
The three members of the assessment committee comment on the thesis and put questions to the author. The moderator shall ensure that this opposition is limited to 1 hour and 30 minutes divided among the members according to internal agreement. The opposition must include specific questions on key topics in the thesis.
The moderator concludes the defence proceedings. Before the conclusion, he or she may allow the student to make a brief comment.
It should be noted that it is not expected that the principal supervisor or the co-supervisors should make a contribution. The moderator may waive this rule upon the request of the committee. In such case the speech of the supervisor(s) will be limited to 30 minutes.
9. Award of PhD Degree
The award of a PhD degree
After the defence has been completed, the members of the assessment committee confer. The assessment committee must judge whether the requirements for the PhD thesis and the defence have been fulfilled. The assessment committee informs the Dean and the author of its recommendation via the PhD School Secretariat. The recommendation must be substantiated and in the case of disagreement will be decided by a majority of votes. The assessment committee can inform the parties of its recommendation orally immediately after the defence and it must be presented in writing as soon as possible. The recommendation must be signed by all members of the assessment committee.
The PhD degree will be awarded if this is recommended by the assessment committee.
If the assessment committee's recommendation is negative, the Dean may decide to have the thesis assessed by a new assessment committee if the author requests this within a week.
The PhD certificate
The PhD School Secretariat will issue a PhD certificate immediately after the award of the PhD degree. The PhD certificate is in Danish and English and states the academic field it was awarded for as well as the title of the PhD thesis. The certificate will be signed by the Dean and accompanied by a list of completed courses and study periods abroad/changes of research environment in Danish and English.
Documentation for completed elements of a PhD programme
At the request of PhD students who terminate their programmes without receiving a PhD degree, the PhD School Secretariat will provide documentation in Danish and English for those elements of PhD programmes that have been successfully completed.
10. Submitting a PhD thesis without prior enrolment
In very exceptional cases the university can decide that a PhD thesis can be assessed without the author having completed a PhD programme if it is considered that the author has acquired qualifications in some other way that can be equated with a completed PhD programme, cf. Section 15, subsection 2 of the Ministerial Order on PhD programmes.
When a PhD thesis is submitted without the author's prior enrolment, the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences can charge a fee to cover the expenses connected with the work of the assessment committee and holding a PhD defence.
Applications for submitting a PhD thesis without the author's prior enrolment must be made on the PhD committee form Submission of PhD thesis without prior enrolment, which must be accompanied by an account of the way in which the author has acquired qualifications in another way that can be equated with the requirements laid down in the Ministerial Order on PhD programmes together with documentation for the activities mentioned in the account and a solemn declaration regarding whether the PhD thesis has previously been submitted for assessment.
The PhD thesis must be submitted in PDF format to the PhD School Secretariat via e-mail (email@example.com) accompanied by the following documents:
for assessment and whether the author has acquired qualifications that can be equated with the requirements laid down in the Ministerial Order on PhD programmes for the completion of PhD programmes.
If the thesis can be accepted for assessment, the PhD committee will recommend the composition of an assessment committee to the Dean. The PhD School Secretariat will inform the author about the composition of the assessment committee. If the author has not raised objections to the members within a week, the PhD School Secretariat will forward the thesis to the assessment committee. The same rules apply to the composition and procedures of the assessment committee in connection with a thesis defence as to those in connection with theses submitted after completed PhD study programmes.
11. Complaints procedure and dispensation
Complaints regarding the university's decisions in accordance with these guidelines for PhD programmes at the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences can be brought before the Danish Agency for Higher Education when the complaint is connected with legal issues. The deadline for submitting complaints is two weeks from the date the complainer has been informed of the decision in question. The PhD students and authors described in the present ministerial order are entitled to make complaints. However, in order to be entitled to submit complaints, authors who have not competed the PhD programme must have had their PhD thesis accepted for assessment pursuant to section 15, subsection 2 of the Ministerial Order on PhD programmes.
Complains must be forwarded to the Dean who will make a statement that the complainer must be allowed a week to comment on. The university will then forward the complaint to the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation together with the statement and any comments the complainer may have made on it.
The university can provide dispensation from the rules in the guidelines for PhD programmes at the Faculty of Social Sciences which have been established by the faculty under special circumstances. Applications for dispensation must be addressed to the PhD committee and forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat.
The Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation may grant exemptions from the ministerial order for PhD student at universities if unusual circumstances apply, except in the situations mentioned in section 19 (3), section 20 (3) and section 26 (1).