Milestones during the Part A

 

Milestones during part A of the PhD Programme

1. Overview

Enrolment on the 4+4 programme at the PhD School under SAMF involves three evaluations being carried out during the PhD programme of study:

  • Evaluation 12-15 months after enrolment
  • Qualifying examination and PhD seminar 24 months after enrolment
  • Third evaluation 42 months after enrolment
2. Special rules for the 4+4 programme - Part A

This programme addresses students who need one year (60 ECTS) to complete their graduate degrees. 

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 A

Part A comprises the preparation of a plan for research and work activities and of courses, work on the thesis, required work for the department and the qualifying examination.

When enrolling in the 4+4 programme the student needs to acquire 60 ECTS points in order to obtain a Master's degree. Part A must therefore include PhD and graduate courses corresponding to at least 30 ECTS points as it is possible to take graduate courses corresponding to up to 30 ECTS points with full ECTS value during the course of studies (graduate programme).

It can be recommended that the course programme in Part A include a considerably greater share of the overall course programme corresponding to a total of 60 ECTS points. It is also possible to take the entire course programme during Part A.

Graduate courses taken as part of a graduate programme at the University of Southern Denmark or subjects taken at another institution must be approved separately by the respective Academic Study Boards at the University of Southern Denmark. 

3. PhD plan

The PhD plan 

Students under the 4+4 programme must submit a PhD plan to the PhD committee for approval no later than two months after enrolling, cf. section 9. The PhD plan can be of a more preliminary character than PhD plans under the 5+3 programme, but plans for courses in Part A should be clarified and the PhD plan must include deliberations about all items in the plan and a statement from the principal supervisor.

The updated PhD plan

After approximately one year of enrolment in a PhD programme, the PhD plan must be updated and forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat no later than 14 months after enrolment. At the same time, a statement from the principal supervisor containing an evaluation of the course of the programme to date and the updated 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 must be forwarded. 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 Head of PhD School decides whether the PhD study programme has been performed satisfactorily on the basis of the updated PhD plan and the principal supervisor's statement.

4. The PhD plan must contain the following

The PhD plan must contain:

  1. Information on the academic field, departmental connection and attachment to a research training programme, if applicable.
  2. A timetable for the PhD programme as a whole, which provides an account of the completion of the individual elements of the programme.
  3. An agreement on the form supervision will take. There must be information on the number of hours of supervision that can be expected per semester, on the division of roles between the principal supervisor and the co-supervisor and the extent to which they are available to the PhD student.
  4. A plan for the PhD project. A description of the research project, including information on research issues, theories and methods and a description of any subsidiary projects and milestones.
  5. A plan for the form the thesis will take (monograph or articles).
  6. A plan for PhD courses. The composition of PhD courses must be agreed in consultation with the principal supervisor. If possible, descriptions of planned courses must be enclosed.
  7. A plan for participating in active research environments – including stays at other, mainly foreign, research institiontion, private research enterpriceses, etc.
  8. A copyright agreement. If the PhD programme is performed in collaboration with several parties, the PhD plan must include an agreement on copyright and the rights to the data collected. Any limitations of copyright must be approved by the Dean on the recommendation of the Head of PhD School. The thesis will be published if there are no special circumstances to prevent this.
  9. A funding plan (budget). Funding for the PhD programme must be approved in connection with enrolment. It must be made clear whether the research training programme will be funded through internal or external means.
  10. An evaluation of the PhD plan by the principal supervisor and the PhD student's requirements in relation to the plan, including an evaluation of whether it is realistic to assume that the PhD student will be capable of realising the plan within the PhD period. 

Students under the 4+4 programme must submit a PhD plan to the PhD committee for approval no later than two months after enrolling, cf. section 9. The PhD plan can be of a more preliminary character than PhD plans under the 5+3 programme, but plans for courses in Part A should be clarified and the PhD plan must include deliberations about all items in the plan and a statement from the principal supervisor

The updated PhD plan

After approximately one year of enrolment in a PhD programme, the PhD plan must be updated and forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat no later than 14 months after enrolment. At the same time, a statement from the principal supervisor containing an evaluation of the course of the programme to date and the updated 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 must be forwarded. 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 Head of PhD School decides whether the PhD study programme has been performed satisfactorily on the basis of the updated PhD plan and the principal supervisor's statement.

5. At what time is my PhD plan to be handed in?

The PhD plan

Students under the 4+4 programme must submit a PhD plan to the PhD committee for approval no later than two months after enrolling, cf. section 9.

The updated PhD plan

After approximately one year of enrolment in a PhD programme, the PhD plan must be updated and forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat no later than 14 months after enrolment.

6. Changes in the PhD plan

In addition to the regular evaluations, the course of the PhD programme must also be evaluated if major changes are made in the PhD project or other elements of the PhD plan. Examples of major changes are significant changes in the research design, data or theory foundation. There may also be major changes in timetables, including delays in connection with subsidiary elements. Finally, there may be changes in the form of the thesis, changes in the location or duration of study periods abroad, or major changes in the course programme or communication activities.

In cases where such changes are made, the PhD student and his/her principal supervisor must jointly write a report describing the changes and the reasons for them. The report must be forwarded to the PhD School Secretariat. The principal supervisor is responsible for forwarding the report.

The principal supervisor forwards a statement on the course of the programme to date and of the planned changes in relation to the PhD plan, as well as an assessment of the probability that the PhD student will be able to complete the programme in accordance with the PhD plan, together with the report describing the changes. 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.

7. The Status seminar

The purpose of this evaluation is to ensure a preliminary overview of the PhD programme with a focus on delineation, quality and progression in the PhD project. This provides the opportunity to ensure optimal planning of the PhD student's exchange programme/relocation, as well as the opportunity to ensure early management of possible risk factors.

8. Deadlines - Status seminar
The first evaluation of the PhD programme shall be conducted 12-15 months after enrolment.
9. The evaluation must contain the following

The evaluation is conducted as a status seminar with the presentation of the PhD project for the research group/department. It will be up to the respective department to define the method, but it will be a requirement that feedback be given to the PhD School from the PhD student and principal supervisor on how and when the status seminar was conducted, as well as who participated. The PhD School's form for evaluation after 12-15 months (status seaminar) must be used. 

10. Assessment of the evaluation

The Head of PhD School must approve the  evaluation. The Head of PhD School will inform the PhD student and the principal supervisor of the result of the evaluation in writing.

The Head of PhD School may decide to call in the PhD student and/or his/her principal supervisor for an interview in order to obtain more details in connection with the written material.

After each evaluation, the Head of PhD School decides whether the course of the programme has been satisfactory on the basis of the written material and any interviews. The PhD student and his/her principal supervisor will be informed of this decision in writing.

Enrolment will automatically be extended if the course of the PhD study programme has been approved.

If the course of the programme cannot be approved, clear reasons for this and an itemisation of the areas that have not been satisfactory must be given to enable the PhD student to consider how to tackle its shortcomings. In the event, the PhD student is allowed two weeks to come up with comments, after which he/she will receive an offer to re-establish the programme.

11. What is the qualification exam?

Part A is completed by a qualifying examination followed by a PhD seminar held within 24 months after enrollment. It may be beneficial to hold the qualifying examination and subsequent PhD seminar on the same day, possibly by holding the qualification exam in the morning and the PhD seminar in the afternoon. We recommend that the qualifying examination and PhD seminar be held in good time before the end of part A, i.e. at least one month before the end of part A.

The qualifying examination must show that the PhD student has achieved a level of professional competence comparative to a Master’s degree and the PhD seminar must provide a broad basis for assessing the PhD student's ability to complete the PhD programme and possibly adjust this during the PhD project.

12. Deadlines - qualification exam

The qualifying examination and PhD seminar must be held within 24 months after enrollment on the 4+4 programme. The PhD student submits material for the qualification exam and the subsequent PhD seminar approx. 1½ months prior to the qualification exam.

The PhD student shall prepare a status report and gather the written material that is the basis for the evaluation (see more below) within 24 months of enrollment. The principal supervisor is responsible for submitting the two evaluations.

Determination of the date for holding the qualification exam and PhD seminar

The study contact obtains the date for the qualifying examination and proposal for external examiner from the supervisor and submits it for approval by the external examination committee. The study contact informs the supervisor, internal assessor and external examiner. The principal supervisor, department and PhD student agree on the date, time and location for the PhD seminar together. We recommend that the qualifying examination and PhD seminar be held on the same day.

13. Appointment of assessors

Two assessors are involved, preferably one from the department (internal assessor). The first assessor may not be a principal or co-supervisor, and the other must be from outside the University of Southern Denmark (external examiner). The head of the department upon the request and recommendation of the principal supervisor appoints the assessors, possibly in collaboration with other supervisors. The assessors must be Professors, full-time associate professors or possess equivalent academic qualifications in the relevant subject area.

14. Seminar and qualification exam – planning, study completion and announcement

The qualifying examination is based on a part of the PhD thesis. At least one chapter or one article shall be used for the dissertation - this may take the form of a literature survey or a method review. The content of written work must be of such a nature that it is at least equivalent to a Master’s thesis. The PhD student must prepare the material so that it can be submitted via Blackboard no later than 1½ months prior to the qualifying examination. 

 

Items that should be submitted for use at the PhD seminar include the form for the qualifying examination and PhD seminar and any supplementary written material prepared by the PhD student, for example (drafts of) further articles or chapters that are expected to be included in the final dissertation, detailed research plans, questionnaires, interview guides, data summaries, theory summaries or similar. The collected material must provide the assessors with the ability to evaluate the research design and the provisional results. The supplementary material should not exceed 50 pages.

 

The qualifying examination is conducted as a master's thesis exam. The PhD student must have the opportunity to present the main features of the exam material. The principal supervisor and the external assessor (external examiner) from outside the University subsequently examine the student.

 

On the basis of the qualifying examination, the principal supervisor and external assessor will award a grade in accordance with the 7-point grading scale expressing target fulfillment in relation to the requirements for a Master’s thesis. In order to pass, a minimum grade of 02 is required. A re-examination/make-up examination is possible, but must be passed within 3 months of the first exam. Only the supervisor and the external assessor (external examiner) may be present during the voting. The protocol is registered by the study contact, who submits a copy of the protocol to the examinations Office.

 

The PhD seminar is held immediately after the qualifying examination. The principal supervisor leads the seminar. 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 may take part in the discussion, and the principal supervisor may also allow other participants present to take part.

 

Based on the material and the seminar, the assessors prepare an evaluation of the progress of the PhD so far and plans for the PhD project. The assessors may put forward any suggestions and ideas for future work in the evaluation. The assessors have the option of choosing 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. The PhD student shall also have a copy of this statement, and has the option of commenting on the statement within two weeks. The principal supervisor is responsible for submitting the assessors’ statement(s) to the PhD School Secretariat. 

 

On the basis of the status report, the qualifying examination and the PhD seminar, the principal supervisor will prepare an assessment of progress so far and any planned adjustments and amendments, and whether the student is deemed to be suitable for continuing on to Part B and thereby completing the PhD programme. The statement must include the grade the PhD student achieved in the qualifying examination. The PhD student shall have a copy of this statement, and has the option of commenting on the statement within two weeks. The principal supervisor’s assessment is sent to the PhD School Secretariat, while the department makes a request for recruitment without posting in SDUJob.

15. Material produced in connection with the qualification exam and PhD seminar

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

  • Written material prepared by the PhD student and presented at the PhD seminar for principal supervisors, assessors and possibly research group/department
  • A status report from the PhD student and principal supervisor. The PhD student and principal supervisor prepare the report jointly, and the special form for the PhD seminar is used
  • A supervisor's statement from the principal supervisor

Of written material

The PhD student submits material for the qualifying examination and the subsequent PhD seminar approx. 1½ months prior to the qualifying examination via Blackboard. The material encompasses the following:

 

As stated above, the evaluation is prepared jointly by the PhD student and principal supervisor, and the form for the PhD seminar is used for this purpose.

 

The PhD seminar  must contain a description approximately ½-1 pages in length about: 

  • The research efforts made so far on the PhD project - progress, results, any obstacles etc.
  • Research plans for the remaining part of the PhD period, including a description of any adjustments to the PhD plan
  • Information about specific topics intended to be discussed at the seminar

The evaluation must also contain a risk assessment of the project. The risk assessment is not expected to exceed more than one page in length. It is therefore not expected that documents etc. shall be provided in the risk assessment. The following questions may be included in the risk assessment where appropriate:

  • Are there any indications that the project will not be completed on time? If yes, what are the challenges?
  • What is considered to be the largest single risk factor in terms of a successful completion of the PhD project, e.g. delineation of subject matter, the applicability of the selected method in terms of the dissertation/project’s goal, delay due to data collection, the extent of the work commitment?
  • What measures have been planned with regard to managing/addressing the above mentioned?

The evaluation must also contain:

  •  A brief overview of completed and planned courses, dissemination activities, exchange programmes, settlement of work commitment for PhD student employees and information about the form and extent of guidance
  • Information about assessors and the date of the PhD seminar and any other information that may be relevant for the evaluation of the programme

The evaluation may also contain:

  • The PhD School encourages the principal supervisor, Head of the Research Group or the Head of the Department to further discuss carrier plans with the PhD student in connection with the PhD seminar. The discussions may address the question of the PhD student's potential for continuing an academic career, as well as the possibility of the department or research group offering a position after the PhD programme has ended
  • Discussion of career plans is not a compulsory part of the PhD seminar, but an offer for the PhD student. The internal and/or external assessor may be involved in discussions of the career plans is deemed relevant

Material for the qualification exam must contain:

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

The material for the PhD seminar must contain:

  • Material for PhD seminars consists of, e.g. draft chapters or articles to be included in the dissertation, questionnaires, data summaries, and theory summaries or similar
  • Ant other information that may be relevant for the evaluation of the programme

Re supervisor’s statement from the principal supervisor

The principal supervisor’s statement must be specified in the PhD School’s form for the qualification exam and PhD seminar.

 

The assessors’ and principal supervisor’s statement after completion of the seminar

Based on the material and the seminar, the assessors’ prepare a statement of the progress of the PhD so far and plans for the PhD project.

The assessors may put forward suggestions and recommendations 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 assessors may make a joint statement or two individual statements, which must be submitted to the principal supervisor as soon as possible and no later than two weeks after the seminar. The PhD student shall also have a copy of this statement, and has the option of commenting on the statement within two weeks.

The principal supervisor also prepares an assessment of the previous programme, as well as any planned adjustments and amendments in relation to the original PhD plan.

The statement from the principal supervisor should contain an assessment of the PhD student's ability to complete the programme according to the PhD plan. The principal supervisor should therefore relate to strengths/weaknesses and possible risks that the PhD student should be aware of in the statement.

Therefore, the statement must either confirm that the PhD programme is conducted according to the PhD plan or explain the necessary adjustments.

In addition, the statement should briefly explain whether discussions about career plans were implemented on achievement of the PhD degree, as well as the conclusions thereof.

The principal supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the collected material, i.e. the status report and assessors' opinion, as well as the principal supervisor's statement, is sent to the PhD School Secretariat no later than a month after the PhD seminar has been held.

The PhD School sends a copy of the statement from the principal supervisor to the PhD student who has the opportunity to comment on the statement within the space of two weeks.

16. Assessment of the PhD seminar

The Head of the PhD School must approve the overall PhD seminar

The Head of the PhD School may choose to call the PhD student and/or principal supervisor, as well as the Head of the Department, for an interview to gain further understanding of the written material in the event that the PhD seminar has revealed indicators of problems with the implementation of the PhD programme.

After each evaluation, the Head of the PhD School assesses whether the programme is satisfactory on the basis of the written material and any interviews that have been carried out. The PhD student, principal supervisor and head of department are notified in writing about the result of the Head of the PhD School’s assessment.

In the event that the programme cannot be approved, clear reasons must be given for this, as well as an indication of the points, which have been unsatisfactory, so that the PhD student is able to substantiate a view on the shortcomings. In the event that the programme is not approved, the PhD student has a deadline of two weeks to submit any comments. The PhD student will then receive an offer regarding re-establishment.

 

17. Rectification period

If the Head of PhD School concludes that the PhD student has failed to live up to the requirements in the PhD plan in spite of any adjustments that may have been made, the PhD student must be offered an opportunity to re-establish the PhD study programme within three months. The three months may not as such lead to an extension of the overall PhD programme. The chance to get back on course in connection with a regular assessment can only be given to the PhD student once during the PhD programme.

If the PhD student has not accepted the offer to re-establish the programme within a week of receiving an offer to this effect, enrolment will be terminated.

If the PhD student accepts the offer to rectify the programme, the Head of PhD School will appoint an assessment committee comprising two expert examiners and the principal supervisor. The assessment committee must set out concrete goals as to how the PhD student can re-establish his/her study programme within the three months and decide whether there is a need to change the PhD plan.

At the end of the three months, the assessment committee must perform a new assessment within a month to determine whether the PhD student has achieved the goals set out and can continue with his/her study programme.

If, after the three months, the assessment is positive, the Head of PhD School can approve it and the PhD student can continue his/her studies. The Head of PhD School will inform the PhD student and his/her principal supervisor about the decision in writing.

If, after the three months, the assessment is still negative, enrolment will be terminated. The Head of PhD School may decide to inform another place of employment, if any, of this. The Head of PhD School will inform the PhD student and his/her principal supervisor about the decision in writing. The PhD student can submit remarks to the Dean about the decision made by the Head of PhD School within a week. In this case, the final decision will be made by the Dean.

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