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Public defence of a doctoral thesis and licentiate thesis

The doctoral education culminates in handing in a doctoral thesis, or in some cases a licentiate thesis as a part or the end of the doctoral education.

A doctoral or licentiate thesis must be publicly defended in the presence of an expert within the field from another university, known as an opponent. The opponent is chosen (after proposal) by the Committee for Doctoral Education. The Committee also decides (after proposal) on the chairman of the public defence and the examining committee (usually three people). For licentiate seminars, the Committee appoints (after proposal) an examiner instead of the examining committee. The examining committee and the examiner asses the thesis and the doctoral student's defence of the doctoral-/licentiate thesis. Based on their assessment, the thesis is either "Passed" or "Failed".

Applying for the public defence of doctoral thesis/licentiate seminar

The Committee for Doctoral Education decides (after proposal) on the time and place for the public defence of doctoral thesis/licentiate seminar. The doctoral student, alongside the supervisor fills out the form Application regarding the public defence of a doctoral thesis, or the Application regarding licentiate seminar.

The application regarding the public defence of a doctoral thesis contains suggestions with regard to dates, examining committee, opponent and chairman of the public defence. This form should have arrived at least three months (excluding non-term time) prior to the preliminary date set for the public defence. At this time, a preliminary yet assessable version of the thesis must be available.

The application regarding the licentiate seminar includes suggestions with regard to the date of the licentiate seminar as well as suggestions regarding the opponent and the examiner. This form should have arrived at least two months  (excluding non-term time) prior to the preliminary date set for the licentiate seminar. At this time, a preliminary yet assessable version of the thesis must be available.


Things to consider before the public defence of doctoral thesis/licentiate seminar

Around 3–4 month before the public defence/lic. seminar

• Update the individual study plan.

• Fill out the distribution list for the doctoral-/licentiate thesis.

• Fill out the Application regarding the public defence of a doctoral thesis or Application regarding licentiate seminar

2–3 months before the public defence/lic. seminar

• The application regarding the public defence must should arrived at least three months before the intended date of the public defence. The application regarding the licentiate seminar should have arrived at least two months before the intended date of the licentiate seminar. The application must be sent to the Committee for Doctoral Education to be processed by them. Remember that the Committee for Doctoral Education needs to be sent all the relevant documentation at least one week before they meet to consider your application, which means that all the application's appendices should be finished prior to this.

• When the application is being prepared, there must be a preliminary yet assessable version of the thesis available.

1–2 months before the public defence/licentiate seminar

• The school's relevant communicator sends a questionnaire to the doctoral student which will be the basis for a press release and an article. Read more under "Communication" in the previous chapter.

• Submit the material for print, see previous chapter (please note 6 term weeksbefore the public defence / seminar *).

3 academic weeks* before the public defence/licentiate seminar

•The thesis is available in print and is being distributed in accordance with the distribution list.

• The doctoral-/licentiate thesis must be registered in DiVA (link). Through DiVA, the thesis' title sheet is generated in preparation of the notification of the date of the defence of a doctoral thesis (i.e. “spikning”).

• When all parts of the thesis are registered in DiVA the complete version of the introductory chapter is made available. Please note that the printed and e-published edition have different ISBNs.

• A notification is made in the university's internal and external calendar found on the university´s website. This is undertaken by the relevant communicator.

• Send the answers to the questionnaire and a high resolution photo (personal portrait) to the school's relevant communicator. Read more under "Communication" in the previous chapter.

 

* Please note that "term weeks" implies that the weeks between spring term and autumn term are not taken into account, as well as the period around Christmas and New Year. Therefore, please take this into consideration and contact the Communications Department in good time.

Actors at the public defence of the doctoral thesis

  • Members of the examining committee: Usually three in number. At least one of the members of the examining committee has to come from another University. Each member must be either a docent (associate professor) or a professor. They award the grade of the thesis as well as the defence of it.
  • Opponent: An internationally distinguished researcher within the relevant field who discusses the thesis with the doctoral student and asks questions during the public defence of the doctoral thesis.
  • The chairman of the public defence: Should be either an docent (associate professor) or a professor. The chairman should not be the same person that has supervised the student, nor a member of the examining committee. The chairman leads the public defence through its different stages.
  • Doctoral student: Defends his/her doctoral thesis during the public defence and is often referred to as the respondent of the thesis in the context of the public defence.

Actors at the licentiate seminar

  • Examiner: Must be a docent (associate professor) or a professor employed by Halmstad University. Is not allowed for the examiner to have supervised the doctoral student. Awards the grade of the thesis as well as the defence of it. The examiner leads the seminar through its different stages.
  • Opponent: An internationally distinguished researcher within the relevant field who discusses the thesis with the doctoral student and asks questions during the licentiate seminar.
  • Doctoral student: Defends his/her licentiate thesis during the licentiate seminar and is often referred to as the respondent of the thesis in this context.

The outline of a public defence of a doctoral thesis at Halmstad University

1. The chairman of the public defence welcome everyone, presents the doctoral student, the opponent and the members of the examining committee. The chairman presents any relevant information regarding where the research has been carried out and whether any others have been involved. In addition, the chairman presents how the public defence will be organised.

2. The chairman give the doctoral student the floor and invites him/her to present any eventual errata.

3. The doctoral student presents a summary of the thesis as well as its scientific contributions during approx. 20 minutes. Alternatively, the opponent presents the thesis and compares it relatively to other research in the field. The doctoral student must then be given the opportunity to comment on the opponent's perception of the thesis.

4. The opponent discusses the thesis with the doctoral student by asking questions which enables the doctoral student to show his or her expected knowledge and ability to discuss the results. During this part of the defence other listeners may not participate in the discussion.

5. The chairman gives the members of the examining committee the opportunity to ask the doctoral student questions.

6. The chairman gives all listeners the opportunity to ask questions to the candidate and comment on the thesis.

7. The chairman formally closes the public defence.

8. The examining committee convenes and reports their decision as soon as possible.

The entire process normally takes approximately 2–3 hours.

The outline of a licentiate seminar at Halmstad University

1. The examiner welcomes everyone and then presents the doctoral student and the opponent. The examiner presents any relevant information regarding where the research has been carried out and whether any others have been involved.

In addition, the examiner presents how the seminar will be organised.

2. The examiner gives the doctoral student the floor and invites him/her to present any eventual errata.

3. After presenting any eventual errata the doctoral student presents a summary of the thesis as well as its scientific contributions during approx. 30–40 minutes.

4. The opponent discusses the thesis with the doctoral student during approximately 45–60 minutes by asking questions which enables the doctoral student to show his or her expected knowledge and ability to discuss the results. Alternatively, the opponent presents the thesis and compares it relatively to other research in the field. The doctoral student must then be given the opportunity to comment on the opponent's perception of the thesis. During this part of the seminar other listeners may not participate in the discussion.

5. The examiner invites all listeners to ask the doctoral student questions and to comment on the thesis.

The entire process normally takes around 2 hours.

Updated 2018-07-11