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Faculty of Social Sciences

Submitting, evaluation and public defence

This document provides an overview of the routines and procedures from the point when the doctoral thesis is submitted and until the University’s doctoral award ceremony.

The following guidelines are intended for the doctoral candidate, the department, the faculty, the evaluation committee and the leader of the public defence. It pertains to the evaluation and public defence of the PhD and Dr.Philos. degrees.  

The doctoral candidate

When submitting the dissertaion at The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Bergen, the doctoral candidate (PhD) has to use the form Application for submission of doctoral dissertation.

Please be aware that the following has to be uploaded in the application:  

  • An electronic version of the thesis. The electronic version must be in pdf-format and identical to the printed version
  • Thesis’ abstract. The abstract shall normally be of 1-3 pages and written in English. Please note that the abstract must be included in the thesis itself
  • In the event that the doctoral thesis contains joint work, a declaration from the co-authors that identifies the effort of the doctoral candidate must be enclosed. The declaration(s) must be signed by the co-author(s). The declaration(s) must be written in the language of the thesis.
  • Documentation of necessary permits, such as ethical clarifications etc.

In addition to submit the form, the doctoral candidate must send 5 printed copies of the thesis to The Faculty of Social Sciences. If relevant, the declaration(s) from the co-authors must be printed out and included in the 5 copies of the thesis.

The application includes a declaration that the PhD thesis has not been submitted for assessment at any other institution.

The training component must be completed and approved at least three months before planned hand-in of the thesis. As you approach the last stages of working on your thesis you must inform your department of the forthcoming submission. This will help your department in finding an evaluation committee in due time.

 

Regarding the defence of a Dr.Philos., the following material must be sent to The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Bergen:

  • An electronic version of the thesis to post@svfa.uib.no The electronic version must be in pdf-format and identical to the printed version
  • 5 printed copies of the thesis
  • A short application in which s/he applies to defend the thesis for the Dr.Philos.-degree. The application must also include contact information and the candidate’s Norwegian personal identification number (11 characters), if applicable
  • A print-out of the thesis’ abstract. The abstract shall normally be of 2-3 pages and written in English. Please note that the abstract must be included in the thesis itself
  • Documentation of the applicant’s academic education
  • A declaration that the thesis or parts thereof is neither currently being evaluated nor has ever been submitted for evaluation towards a doctoral degree at any other academic institution in Norway or abroad

The doctoral candidate will be informed about the members of the doctoral evaluation committee through a copy of the letter of appointment to the committee members. The doctoral candidate will receive a copy of their evaluation report as soon as it is submitted, and the doctoral candidate is allowed to present comments to the evaluation report within a deadline duly specified.

Printing

The University of Bergen has entered into a contract with AiT on printing. It is imperative to have AiT printing the 28 copies for libraries and the auditorium of the defence (see below). It is recommended to also make AiT print the initial 5 copies for the evaluation committee.

Should the thesis be found worthy of public defence, the following points pertain:

The doctoral candidate must order minimum 20 copies of the thesis from AiT. These copies will be sent to your department and will be made available during the public defence. Additionally, AiT will print 8 copies for the university library and the national library. On the library the thesis will be made accessible to the general public. The thesis must be publicly accessible no later than two weeks ahead of the public defence for the PhD degree, and no later than four weeks ahead of the public defence for the Dr.Philos. degree. For more information, please see "Production and printing" under Thesis

Press release

The doctoral candidate will send a draft press release written according to certain specific criteria to the Faculty no later than three weeks ahead of the public defence. When the press release has been approved, the Faculty forwards it to The Communication and Media Centre of UiB. Detailed information regarding deadlines, photo to accompany the press release and submission of the thesis will be sent directly to the candidate in question.

Trial lecture

The subject for the doctoral trial lecture will be sent to the doctoral candidate ten working days prior to the trial lecture. Candidates for Dr.Philos. will submit the title of their chosen topic of their trial lecture to the faculty one month ahead of the public defence.

The auditorium support service must be notified well in advance, on telephone number 55 58 91 87,should the candidate wish to make use of computer, video projector or other means of technical equipment during the trial lecture or the public defence.

The hosting of a doctoral dinner following the public defence is entirely a private matter. However, should the doctoral candidate wish to do so it is customary to invite the members of the evaluation committee, the supervisor(s), the leader of the public defence and the head of the department.

The department

The department will suggest the members of the evaluation committee to the faculty for appointment. The requirements for the composition of the committee can be found in the Regulations’ paragraph 11.4. Unless special conditions apply, the committee should be appointed no later than one month after the candidate has submitted the thesis.

The following information about each committee member must be supplied:
- name
- position
- academic degree
- institutional affiliation
- mailing address
- e-mail address, telephone and telefax numbers

It is the responsibility of the department to ensure that the premises for the trial lecture and public defence are tidy and in presentable order, and that lighting and technical equipment will be in working order. Please contact the auditorium support service well in advance (telephone 55 58 91 87). Furthermore, it is the department’s responsibility to decorate the auditorium, to ensure that the purple tablecloth will be placed on the podium table, and that drinking water and glasses will be available to the opponents and the doctoral candidate. The tablecloth and a sign to place at the pavement in front of Ulrike Phils Building can be found in the office of the faculty administration. The faculty administration also has a key available for storing of luggage and valuables in a designated room at Ulrike Phils Building. Moreover, it is the department’s responsibility that (at least) twenty copies of the doctoral thesis will be available for browsing during the public defence.

It is the responsibility of the department to arrange hotel accommodation for the committee members for the public defence, and to certify their travel expense forms. The appropriately filled in and certified forms must be sent to the faculty. The faculty will order the amount to be paid out.

It is the department’s responsibility to make tax arrangements for committee members based abroad and to arrange for their fees to be paid out. Forms for this purpose will be attached to the letter of appointment from the faculty, for return to the department. No fees will be awarded to the internal committee members. The fee rates can be found in the letter of appointment of which the department will receive a copy. The committee members will receive the appropriate fees even if the thesis should not be found worthy of public defence. In such an event, the basic fee applies. The appropriately filled in and certified form must be sent to the faculty.

The faculty 

The evaluation committee will be appointed by the Dean no later than one month after the thesis has been submitted if possible. The letter of appointment will be sent from the faculty administration to the committee members enclosed with the thesis and a document outlining the procedures of evaluation for the doctoral thesis, and the opponents’ task during the public defence.

The faculty shall provide for the public defence to be held within five months after submission.

It is the responsibility of the faculty to book the auditorium in which the trial lecture and public defence will be held as soon as the leader of the evaluation committee has determined the dates and times, and when the leader of the public defence has been appointed.

These dates will be confirmed through e-mail to the members of the committee, the doctoral candidate, the department in question, the department’s financial officer, and to the head of the public defence.

The faculty will forward the committee’s evaluation report upon receipt to the doctoral candidate for possible comments. A copy of the evaluation report will be sent to the doctoral candidate when all committee members have duly signed.

The committee’s evaluation will be handled by the Dean if the conclusion is unanimous positive. In the event that the conclusion of the evaluation is not unanimous, or should the committee not find the thesis worthy of public defence, the matter must be handled by the Faculty Board. With evaluations that are unanimously positive, the opponents will be appointed when the evaluation is approved.

The faculty issues the manuscript for the leader of the public defence and the letter of approval of the trial lecture and the public defence for the committee members to sign. The faculty will forward the signed letters of approval to the University Board recommending that the doctoral degree be conferred upon the candidate in question.

The faculty will make arrangements for a joint lunch for the committee, the doctoral candidate, the supervisor(s) and the leader of the public defence on the day of the public defence.

The faculty buys a gift which the leader of the public defence will present to the candidate on behalf of the faculty, either during the doctoral dinner or at the close of the public defence.

The faculty issues the Doctoral Diploma that will be awarded during the University’s Doctoral Award Ceremony.

The leader of the public defence

The public defence will be headed by the Dean, Deputy Dean or whoever has been delegated such authority. It is the responsibility of the leader of the public defence to ensure that the public defence be conducted in a worthy manner, that the letters of approval be signed by the committee’s members, and that these letters be handed to the faculty. The order of the public defence is described in the section entitled Public Defence. The robe to be worn during the public defence shall be available in the faculty office. The leader of the public defence will present a gift to the candidate on behalf of the faculty, either during the doctoral dinner or at the close of the public defence.

The evaluation committee

The evaluation committee will assess the thesis and issue a written reasoned recommendation to the faculty whether the thesis is deemed worthy of being defended for a doctoral degree at the University of Bergen.

The committee will receive an electronic version of the thesis. In the case of divergence between the electronic and printed version, the content in the printed version will hold precedence.

The committee’s evaluation report shall be submitted no later than three months after the committee has received the thesis, but no later than five weeks before a planned public defence.

A thesis which is not approved for public defence may be submitted in a revised form. A new evaluation can only be done once. The committee should only recommend re-submission if it considers it probable that a satisfactory standard can be achieved within a frame corresponding to six months of full-time work.

The Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions has published Guidelines for the Evaluation of Candidates for Norwegian Doctoral Degrees. The requirements for a Norwegian doctoral degree can also be found in the appropriate doctoral regulations.

The committee’s evaluation report must address the following:

  • Headline: Evaluation report from the evaluation committee regarding [NN’s] thesis [title] for the degree of [applicable doctoral degree] at the University of Bergen
  • Names, titles and institutional affiliation of the committee members
  • A brief description of the format of the thesis (monograph or collection of articles)
  • Nature of the thesis (for instance theoretical or empirical) as well as size (number of pages)
  • If the thesis is based on a series of articles, the evaluation report should clarify whether the candidate has lone or shared authorship of these, and in the latter case whether the candidate is the main author. The report should also mention if the articles have been published or not, and when and where, if applicable.
  • A description of the thesis’s academic significance and its key components in terms of theories, hypotheses, material, methodologies and findings
  • Evaluation of the thesis’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Conclusion, i.e. whether the committee deems the thesis worthy of public defence
  • Date and signatures

Recommended length of the report is from three to six pages. In cases where the thesis is not approved for public defence the report should be somewhat more thorough.

The committee submits the evaluation report as a pdf-file.

It is the responsibility of the committee to determine the topic of the doctoral trial lecture.

The evaluation committee will distribute the roles of first and second opponent during the public defence among the external members of the committee. For details on the roles of the opponents during the trial lecture and public defence, please see below.

The committee will communicate with the faculty through the leader of the committee. Practical matters such as booking of hotel accommodation, fees, etc. must be discussed directly with the doctoral candidate’s department.

The leader of the evaluation committee

The leader of the evaluation committee shall serve as a full member of the committee, as well as administer the committee evaluation, and serve as a link between the committee and the faculty. The leader shall coordinate the committee evaluation process, and ensure that progress is made and deadlines met. The leader should solicit possible dates for the public defence as soon as possible and inform the faculty accordingly, although the dates can only be determined upon confirmation of available auditorium for the trial lecture and public defence. The auditorium in the Ulrike Pihl Building will be reserved for trial lectures Thursdays from 3 p.m. and all day Fridays. Public defences cannot be arranged any other weekdays during term time.

If a separate administrator has been appointed in addition to the three committee members, the administrator will take care of the administration and not participate in the committee’s academic evaluation.

The committee’s evaluation report will be forwarded to the Faculty by the committee’s leader (or the administrator) no later than five weeks prior to the public defence. If time is short, the external members of the committee may sign the evaluation report on the day of the public defence. In such a case, it is the responsibility of the leader of the public defence to ensure that this be done.

The cover letter will state the title of the trial lecture and the proposed distribution of first and second opponent roles during the public defence. The cover letter will explicitly state if the conclusion of the evaluation is negative and/or split.

The leader of the committee shall serve as the department’s link with the external members, and meet the opponents upon arrival in Bergen.

The trial lecture

For the PhD degree, the candidate will hold one trial lecture over a given topic, while the Dr.Philos. degree requires one trial lecture to be held over a given topic and one lecture over a topic of the candidate’s choice. Each trial lecture will last 45 minutes.

The Dean or his or her appointee will preside over the trial lecture(s) and introduce the trial lecture(s) using a manuscript provided by the faculty administration, and announce the time and venue of the public defence when the trial lecture(s) have been successfully completed.

All members of the evaluation committee will be present during the trial lecture(s). Immediately following the lecture(s), the committee will decide on the approval of the lecture(s). All committee members will sign a written declaration of approval to be returned to the leader of the public defence. The trial lecture(s) must be approved prior to the public defence.

If the trial lecture is not approved, a new trial lecture must be held. The new trial lecture must be given on a new topic, and no later than six months after the first attempt. A new trial lecture may only be held once.

The public defence

The public defence procedures shall be the same irrespective of whether the candidate will defend a PhD or Dr.Philos. degree.

The public defence will be presided over by the Dean or his or her appointee, and will commence by an academic procession. The procession will be headed by the leader of the public defence, followed by the doctoral candidate, the first opponent, the second opponent and finally the third member of the committee. The public will remain standing for the duration of the procession. The leader of the public defence will enter the rostrum, while the rest take up their assigned seats. The public will be seated upon signal from the leader of the defence.

The leader of the defence will open the proceeding by using manuscript provided by the faculty administration. The doctoral candidate will be kindly requested to enter one platform and the first opponent be requested to enter the second platform. The leader of the defence takes his or her assigned seat, and gives the floor to the first opponent.

The first opponent will provide a summary and an evaluation of the thesis, with a view to position the doctoral candidate’s work in the field of research and the development thereof. It is common practice to ask the doctoral candidate whether he or she would like to comment upon the summary and evaluation as presented. The first opponent then enters into a discussion with the doctoral candidate on more specific themes and questions, in a conversation between the opponent and the candidate. The opponent will conclude the first session by thanking the candidate for the discussion. Both will remain standing until the leader of the defence has adjourned this session of the public defence, announced a break and the time for reconvening. He or she will announce that anyone wishing to present ex auditorio opposition must communicate intent to do so to the leader of the defence during the break.

There are no formal rules for how long time the opponents may spend on their opposition. In actual practice, this may vary considerably. As a general rule, however, the first opponent will use one to two hours, while the second opponent will take somewhat less time, approximately one to one and a half hour. It is up to the opponents’ discretion to decide the length of the opposition.

There will be no procession after the break, but the candidate will return to his or her place, while the committee members take their assigned seats. The leader of the defence will take his or her place at the podium table, and announce the commencement of the second part of the defence proceedings. Any ex auditorio opponents will be given the floor ahead of the second opponent, to enable the second opponent to conclude the public defence.

The second opponent may directly enter into a discussion and conversation with the doctoral candidate on particular themes and questions in the content and form of the thesis. The two opponents should be in agreement with one another regarding the distribution of issues to discuss.

The second opponent will conclude the opposition by thanking the doctoral candidate for the discussion. Both will remain standing until the leader of the defence has thanked the candidate for the thesis, thanked the candidate and the opponents for the discussion during the defence ceremony, thanked the committee members for their efforts, and thanked the audience for their attention. The leader of the defence will conclude by saying that a report on the defence will be made and forwarded to the University Board.

All members of the evaluation committee shall be present during the public defence, and immediately decide whether the doctoral candidate’s defence may be approved and whether the committee may recommend that the candidate be awarded a doctorate. Documents for approval and recommendation have been prepared by the faculty administration and will be handed to the committee by the leader of the public defence. The documents shall be signed by all committee members, and handed to the leader of the defence immediately after the close of the public defence.

If the public defence is not approved, a new defence may be held once. A new defence may at the earliest be held after six months, and as far as possible it should be evaluated by the original committee.

Doctoral creation and ceremony

According to the recommendation of the Faculty, the University of Bergen Board will confer the philosophiae doctor (PhD) or the doctor philosophiae (Dr.Philos.) degree upon the candidate.

The University of Bergen arranges doctoral ceremonies in the Haakonshall each term, in the end of January or the end of August respectively. The Rector of the University will present a Diploma to all who have been conferred as doctors during the previous term. Family and friends may be invited to the ceremony.