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.