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Final phase - completion, submission and public defence

Course of action in the completion phase of the PhD education.

Publisert: Endret:

Proposal for evaluation committee

Prior to the submission of the doctoral thesis, the institute will ensure a well-reasoned proposal for the composition of the evaluation committee is prepared. This will be sent to the doctoral committee from the head of the department.

The evaluation committee, consisting of a minimum of three members, will be composed in such a way that:

  • different sexes are represented
  • at least one of the members is not affiliated with UiS
  • at least one of the members must have the main position at a foreign institution;
  • all the members hold a doctoral degree or equivalent expertise

The composition of the committee must be well justified in the proposal and it must also illustrate how the committee, as a whole, covers the field(s) addressed in the doctoral thesis.

All parties to the matter are obliged to clarify the relations (if any) to the proposed committee members, since this may affect the assessment of conflict of interest. This applies to both professional and familial relationships. This obligation is incumbent, not only upon the candidate and potential committee members, but also upon supervisors, co-supervisors and heads of departments /centre directors, if applicable, the project leader or the funding body.

Before the evaluation committee is appointed, the candidate can comment its composition, so that the doctoral committee can be informed of a possible conflict of interest or other decisive factors before treating the proposal.

The faculty must either appoint one of the committee members to serve as the committee’s chairperson or nominate another person from outside the committee. The committee chair is responsible for managing the committee's work and ensuring that the committee work progresses at a decent pace in compliance with the given timeframe. The chair will assist in coordinating the committee's recommendation of the thesis and assign duties to the committee members during the public defence. The chair shall also ensure that the committee's work is in accordance with both the Regulations for the degree Philosophiae Doctor at the University of Stavanger and Guidelines for the Evaluation of Norwegian Doctoral Degrees.

The proposal regarding the evaluation committee should normally be ready either before, or at the time of submission of the thesis. The academic community must clarify with the proposed members whether they wish to and have the opportunity to participate in the committee. Once this is done, the proposal is sent to the doctoral committee (acting on behalf of the rector) for consideration and a final decision. The doctoral committee is responsible for ensuring that the proposed committee members do not have close relationships or a conflict of interest with any of the parties in the PhD thesis.

Once the faculty has approved the application for thesis assessment, the evaluation committee is appointed. Once the doctoral committee recommends the evaluation committee, the doctoral candidate may submit written comments regarding the committee composition, no later than a week after the proposal has been made known (Regulations § 7-4). If there are no comments, the thesis is sent to the evaluation committee, with the name(s) of the supervisor (s), information about the candidate's coursework and declarations of co-authorship, if any. Regulations for the degree Philosophiae Doctor at the University of Stavanger and Guidelines for the evaluation of Norwegian doctoral degrees should also be attached to the thesis.

It is often the case in practice that supervisors, the members of the evaluation committee and the moderator of the public defence set a date for the defence in connection with the appointment of the evaluation committee. The public defence date should be set no later than five months after the thesis has been submitted.

Submission of the doctoral thesis

The application for assessment of the doctoral thesis may only be submitted to the faculty after the required coursework has been approved, and the evaluation committee’s proposal must be sent (with or without the thesis) to the faculty’s doctoral committee.

The PhD candidate must hand in the following documents to the faculty’s PhD coordinator:

  • application for assessment of the thesis on a stipulated form
  • seven copies of the thesis
  • declaration of co-authorship on a stipulated form. If the thesis contains joint work, declarations must be obtained from the other authors, clarifying co-authorship in the individual works
  • documentation of authorisations, if any
  • documentation of approved coursework
  • report on completed mid-term evaluation (50 % seminar) and, if applicable, on final seminar (90 % seminar)

The PhD coordinator can assist with further information in this process.

Normally, the seven copies submitted are regular prints. These can be in a booklet format or bound in a simple manner (Attende prints this first edition). The final version is sent to the printing press after the thesis has been approved.

The press release form (available in the Regulations and Forms section at the university’s PhD website) must be submitted once the thesis is approved for public defence. It can be completed together with the supervisor.

After the thesis is submitted for assessment, the PhD candidate has the possibility of applying to the faculty for permission to correct errors of a formal nature that will not change the content or the pagination of the thesis (an errata list). This is a list of concrete changes formal errors (e.g. layout, typos and/or spelling mistakes) that the PhD candidate wishes to carry out before the thesis is printed. This errata list shall be submitted to the PhD coordinator, at the latest, four weeks before the evaluation committee presents its report.

The faculty may permit a revision of the thesis on the basis of the evaluation committee's preliminary comments (PhD Regulations § 7-6).

The evaluation committee report

No later than 25 working days before the planned public defence, the evaluation committee shall present a well-argued report on whether the thesis is worthy of being defended for the PhD degree.

The report is sent to the faculty's PhD coordinator, and approved by the faculty. The PhD coordinator ensures that the PhD candidate, the supervisors and the department, all receive a copy of the report. The candidate is given 10 working days to submiwritten comments to the report.

See the PhD Regulations § § 7-8 to 7-10 and Guidelines for the Evaluation of Norwegian Doctoral Degrees for more detailed information regarding the appointment of the evaluation committee, it’s mandate, and the processing of the committee’s report.

Printing and publication of the thesis

The thesis must be approved by the evaluation committee before it can be printed in its final version

As soon as your thesis is approved for public defence, contact your PhD coordinator at the faculty to be assigned a thesis serial number, an ISSN number and an ISBN number. These numbers must be printed on the thesis covers.

UiS’ official cover and templates for the PhD thesis must be used. The university printing services, Attende, located on the university campus, has access to the standardised cover and templates for the PhD thesis, and will print the thesis.

The thesis must be printed in accordance with the established template. Electronic templates are also available through IT services. Making a correct pdf file can sometimes be very time consuming. A certain number of copies of the completed thesis must be submitted to the PhD coordinator at the faculty:

  • 25 copies at the Faculty of Science and Technology
  • 50 copies at the PhD Programme in Social Sciences
  • 70 copies at the Faculty of Arts and Education
  • 80 copies at the Faculty of Health Sciences

The invoice for the required number of copies can be charged to the faculty. The candidate must pay out of pocket for copies over and above this number.

The thesis will be publicly available at the UiS’ library no later than two weeks before the public defense. Attende ensures that two copies of the thesis are submitted to the library.

The doctoral thesis is published electronically in the scientific archive UiS Brage, so that it is publicly accessible, unless there are specific reasons for not doing so, such as significant third-party copyright material that is included in the thesis. The University Library is responsible for both the clarification of the rights of publishers, and obtaining the consent of co-authors, if any. The candidate/author retains the copyright of their thesis, unless they themselves transfer the copyright. A copy of the thesis will be made available during the public defence.

The trial lecture

The trial lecture is an independent part of the examination for the PhD degree and is held on an assigned topic. The purpose of the lecture is to test the candidate’s ability to disseminate research-based knowledge.

The lecture(s) must be of a high academic standard, but should be communicated in a language to make it accessible to those with the knowledge corresponding that which would be found among advanced students of the subject. The lecture will last for 45 minutes. 

The PhD candidate will be informed of the title/subject of the trial lecture ten working days prior to the lecture. The topic of the lecture must not have a direct connection to the topic of the thesis but shall help to document the candidate's academic breadth within the chosen field.

The trial lecture must be approved before the public defence can be held. The faculty decides whether the trial lecture will be held separately or on the same day as the defence.

Procedures related to the trial lecture are further described in the PhD Regulations § 8-1 and 8-2, and in the Guidelines for the Evaluation of Norwegian Doctoral Degrees, available on the university website.

Disputation

The public defence is the PhD candidate's defence of the thesis. The faculty is responsible for organising the public defence of the candidate’s thesis.

Prior to the defence, the chair of the evaluation committee and the faculty's PhD coordinator must agree upon their responsibilities and division of tasks. The chair of the evaluation committee appoints a time and date for the public defence, together with the rest of the committee. They are responsible for contacting committee members, while the PhD coordinator is usually responsible for coordinating the date for the defence with the PhD candidate, supervisors, dean and head of department as well as for the practical arrangements related to the implementation of the public defence. In the checklist for the chair of the evaluation committee, a list of tasks connected to the public defence, the monitoring of the evaluation committee and the sharing of tasks between the evaluation committee and the PhD coordinator, have been drawn up. Usually, the PhD administration works closely together with the evaluation committee’s administrator.

The time and place of the public defence will be publicised a minimum of ten working days before the defence, together with the subject of the trial lecture and information about the publication of the thesis.

The public defence will be chaired by the dean of the faculty or a person authorised by the dean. First, the chair of the defence will give a brief explanation of the procedures relating to the submission and evaluation of the doctoral thesis and the trial lecture. The PhD candidate will then explain the purpose and findings of the doctoral research project. The first opponent begins the questioning of the PhD candidate and the second opponent concludes the same. Each faculty can decide upon a different order or division of tasks between the candidate and the opponents. Those members of the audience who wish to participate in the deliberation’s ex auditorio must give notice to the chair within the timeframe determined and announced at the start of the public defence.

If the committee deems the thesis and the defence satisfactory, this is announced immediately at the venue, upon conclusion of the defence. The committee then submits a report to the PhD coordinator, on a stipulated form, where it evaluates the thesis, the trial lecture and the defence, and concludes whether the defence has been approved or not.

For further information about the public defence, see Procedures for the Public Defence on the UiS website. The trial lecture and public defence are referred to in the PhD Regulation § 16-2.

The faculty covers the external committee members’ fees, travel expenses and accommodation. For the PhD candidate, expenses incurred for printing, travel, and organising a celebratory event on the day of the public defence are tax deductible. See the section on the Norwegian Tax Administration website regarding the deduction of costs relating to a doctorate.

If the faculty does not approve the trial lecture(s) or the public defence, the PhD candidate will be given another chance to defend his thesis after 6 months. Upon approval of the thesis, the PhD coordinator prepares a case presentation for the rector, who awards the doctoral degree. As soon as the rector has signed the decision letter, it is sent to the PhD graduate the degree is awarded to. A PhD diploma is awarded to the candidate during the university's annual celebration in October.

Graduation dinner

Once the trial lecture is completed, the candidate, supervisors, opponents and guests are invited to a lunch, the expenses of which are covered by the university. Additionally, it is tradition to invite committee members, supervisor(s) and the chair of the public defence to a doctoral dinner following the defence.

This is a private event, and expenses are covered by the candidate.

Dinner expenses for the supervisor(s), opponents and such are tax deductible. The same does not apply for family and friends. The deductions for PhD expenses come in addition to the minimum standard deduction. The deduction is entered in point 3.3.7 of the tax return form and must be documented with receipts and a list of the participants if the tax office requests such information.

Checklists for the final phase

  • As you approach the submission of your thesis, contact the PhD coordinator at your faculty, for a review of the procedures in the final phase. At the Faculty for Arts and Education, there is a final-phase seminar.
  • Hand in the stipulated application form for the assessment of the thesis to the PhD coordinator, along with the necessary attachments.
  • After submission, you may ask the faculty for permission to correct formal errors in the thesis (errata), (PhD regulations § 7-7)).
  • After the thesis has been approved you will, in cooperation with Attende, make an official UiS front page for the thesis
  • Fill inn Press release form when the thesis is approved for the public defence  
  • Contact the PhD coordinator at the faculty to get a serial number, ISBN and ISSN numbers to be assigned to the thesis.
  • Contact the Printing Services  to arrange printing and to ascertain the form in which the thesis must be submitted to them.
  • After the public defence, contact the University Library regarding electronic publication in UiS Brage.

  • Check the PhD Regulations chapter 7 and 8.
  • Is the coursework completed in a satisfactory way and approved by the doctoral committee?
  • It is the responsibility of the main supervisor to inform the correct entity at the institution of an imminent thesis submission so that the necessary preparations can begin.
  • Ensure that the scientific community, through the Head of Department, hands in the proposal of the evaluation committee, including necessary attachments, to the doctoral committee, well in advance of the thesis submission.

The faculty is responsible for the organisation of the public defence. The chair of the evaluation committee and the faculty’s PhD coordinator have a pre-agreed upon division of responsibilities.

  • Agree upon on a progress plan for the final phase of the PhD with the PhD coordinator. There should not be a gap of more than 5 months between the submission of the thesis and the public defence.
  • The date for the public defence can be set before the thesis has been approved, but it is important to remember that this involves a risk of having to cancel the defence in the event that the thesis is not approved. The date of defence can be agreed upon before the thesis is approved.
  • Ensure that the evaluation committee’s work in assessing the thesis is summarised in a well-reasoned report on whether the thesis is worthy of being defended for the PhD degree. The report should be ready no later than 25 working days before the planned defence and sent to the faculty’s PhD coordinator.
  • Request the two opponents to suggest topics for the trial lecture and come to an agreement on the topic. Ensure that the PhD coordinator receives the topic for the trial lecture well in advance of the topic being publicised for the PhD candidate, at least ten working days prior to the public defence.
  • Manage the evaluation of the trial lecture and public defence. Complete the notification form from the evaluation committee and hand it over to the PhD coordinator.
  • If the chair of the evaluation committee wishes to host a preparatory meeting for the remaining committee members the night before the defence, the rules pertaining to entertaining expenses and expenses for food and catering in the Personnel Manual for Civil Servants apply.
  • Ensure that the PhD candidate has the opportunity to send written comments on the evaluation committee's composition once the doctoral committee has approved the composition of the committee or afterwards.
  • Send the thesis to the committee, together with an overview of where the work was completed, the name of the supervisor(s), documentation of approved coursework and declarations of co-authorship, if any.
  • Send the PhD Regulations, Guidelines for the Evaluation of Norwegian doctoral degrees and Procedures for Public Defence at UiS to the committee members.
  • Coordinate the date of the defence with the involved parties (PhD candidate, supervisors, committee members, head of department and dean).
  • Ensure that the committee’s assessment report is sent to the PhD candidate, supervisor and head of department as soon as it has been approved by the dean/vice-dean of research.
  • Ensure that the topic for the trial lecture is published and that the candidate is informed of said topic at 10 a.m., ten working days before the trial lecture.
  • Book a room for the public defence. Also ensure that the committee members have a room for their use between the trial lecture and public defence, should both fall on the same day.
  • Make arrangements in cooperation with the chair of evaluation committee regarding the arrival and departure of the committee members and ensure that accommodation is arranged.
  • Arrange lunch for the committee members, the supervisor and the moderator on the day of the defence.
  • Make sure you have an IT expert on hand during the public defence.
  • Show the defence venue and the available equipment to the committee members. Make arrangements if they want to use the microphone.
  • Ensure that the PhD thesis is accessible in the room at 12 pm. It is also beneficial if you print some copies of the abstract and put them in the room so they are easily accessible to the audience. 
  • Once the thesis has been approved, ensure that the committee members sign a copy of the thesis.
  • Give the committee members the necessary forms for reimbursement of travel expenses and payment of fees well in advance of the defence. Also ensure that they send a copy of their passport, the completed travel expense form and the form for remuneration to the faculty
  • Obtain the information necessary to present the PhD candidate, the supervisors and the members of the evaluation committee
  • Ensure the common entrance of the moderator, the PhD candidate and the members of the evaluation committee
  • Lead the trial lecture and the public defence

Guide for PhD education