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Milestones during the second year


Milestones during the second year of the PhD Programme

Enrolment on the 5+3 programme at the PhD School under SAMF involves three evaluations being carried out during the PhD programme of the study:

  • Evaluation 6-9 months after enrolment
  • Mid-term evaluation 16-18 months after enrolment
  • Third evaluation 30 months after enrollment 

A major mid-term evaluation of the PhD programme of study is carried out within 18 months of the PhD programme being completed.

The purpose of the mid-term evaluation is to provide a basis for and an assessment of the project's development and results achieved.

The evaluation thus provides a basis for a possible adjustment of the plans for the remaining period of study. The evaluation also provides the PhD student with the option of getting a second opinion on the PhD project by involving an internal and external assessor in addition to the principal supervisor. Finally, the evaluation enables the PhD School to provide offers for re-establishment in cases where this is deemed necessary.

The overall purpose is to ensure that the programme is completed on time with the allocation of a PhD degree.

The PhD School encourages the principal supervisor, head of research group or head of department to further discuss carrier plans with the PhD student in connection with the midt-term evaluation. 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 mid-term evaluation, but an offer for the PhD student. The internal and/or external assessor may be involved in discussions of career plans if deemed relevant. 

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

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

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

Re written material

A mid-term evaluation is based on written material prepared by the PhD student.

The material may consist of, e.g. one or more (draft) articles or chapters that are expected to be included in the final dissertation. It may also consist of other written material prepared as part of the PhD project, e.g. detailed research plans, questionnaires, interview guides, data summaries, theory summaries or similar.

The material must provide the assessors with the ability to evaluate the research design/methodology and the provisional results and be between 20 and 50 pages long. It is not expected that the material used has been separately edited or processed for the purpose of evaluation.


Re status report

As stated above, the PhD student and principal supervisor prepare the status report jointly, and the form for mid-term evaluation is used for this purpose.

The status report 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 status report 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. ineation 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 status report must also contain:

  • brief overview of completed and planned courses, dissemination activities, exchange programmes, Settlement of workcommitment for the PhD student  employees and information about the form and extent of guidance.
  • Information about assessors and the date of the mid-term evaluation.
  • Any 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 mid-term evaluation.

In order to strengthen the basis for the mid-term evaluation, including securing a second opinion on the project and providing a broad basis for any adjustments in the PhD project, two assessors will be involved in the mid-term evaluation.

The assessors are formally appointed by the head of department upon the request and recommendation of the principal supervisor.

One of these may be an external assessor from the department (not a principal orco-supervisor), while the other may not be in the employment of the University of Southern Denmark.

The assessors must be Professors, full-time associate professors or possess equivalent academic qualifications in the relevant subject area. An equal distribution of gender should be aimed at.


Submission of material to assessors

The principal supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the written material, together with the PhD plan and status report, is sent to the assessors in due time prior to the seminar in order to ensure that the assessors have the opportunity to study the material.

The principal supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the assessors, supervisors and PhD student agree on a time for a mid-term evaluation. As stated above, the seminar will be held 16-18 months after enrolment, but may be deferred, e.g. if the PhD student is studying abroad during this period.


The timing of the seminar during the 16-18 months period is determined by the principal supervisor on the basis of an assessment of what is considered most appropriate in relation to the specific project.


The principal supervisor leads the seminar. At the seminar, the PhD student must have an opportunity to present the 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.


Generally, there are no limitations regarding the themes that the assessors may select and discuss with the PhD student. However, it should be noted that the purpose of the discussions is to contribute to the PhD programme of study being completed on time with the allocation of a PhD degree.


The department ensures that a suitable room is reserved for the seminar and announces the seminar on the department's website and by other means for the department where appropriate.

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 that discussions about career plans were implemented on achievement of the PhD degree.

The principal supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the collected material, i.e. the status report and assessors' statement, as well as the principal supervisor's statement, is sent to the PhD School Secretariat no later than a month after the mid-term evaluation 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 make comments on the statement within the space of two weeks.


The PhD student and principal supervisor shall prepare a status report and gather the written materials that are the basis for the evaluation (see more below) within 16 months of enrolment. The principal supervisor is responsible for submitting the two evaluations.

The seminar held in connection with the mid-term evaluation will generally be held 16-18 months after enrolment. Exemptions from this may be granted in exceptional circumstances, e.g. if the PhD student is studying abroad during the period mentioned.

The Head of the PhD School must approve the overall mid-term evaluation.

The Head of the PhD student and/or principal supervisor, as well as the head of depaartment, for an interview to gain further understanding of the written material in the event that the mid-term evaluation 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 written material and any interviews that been carried out. The PhD student, principal supervisor and the head of department are notified in writing about the result of the Head of the PhD School's assessment.

In the event that the porgramme cannot be approved, clear reasons must be given for this, as well as an indication of 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.

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.

Last Updated 05.07.2019