Defence of doctoral thesis
Book the date for public defence:
On this page you can read about:
Application to defend thesis
Distribution of activity credits
Examining committee for thesis defence
Chair of the defence ceremony
The public defence ceremony
Measures in the event of inability to attend
Thesis defence checklist
Within the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, a doctoral thesis defence can take place if all mandatory courses and components (poster or presentation at international conference) have been passed and the total course credits amount to at least 30 credits.
The doctoral thesis may be a composite thesis consisting of an introductory chapter together with one or more articles/manuscripts, or a monograph. The quality and scope of the thesis should match the expected result of four years of full-time study.
Applications to defend a doctoral thesis can be made using the online form on the disciplinary domain’s website. The form must be completed correctly for the Research Training Committee to process the application, and the application must be approved by the principal supervisor and head of department or person appointed by the head of department with responsibility for doctoral-level education at the department.
The application to defend a doctoral thesis should be submitted to the Research Training Committee 12 days before the meeting of that committee that is scheduled at least 12 weeks before the date of defence.
The application to defend a thesis must include:
- The title of the thesis
- Date of defence
- Proposal of an external reviewer
- Proposal for an examining committee
- Chair of the defence ceremony
- All supervisors
- Author’s short summary of the thesis with a list of included papers.
- Supervisor’s statement on the novelty of the thesis, the PhD student’s effort, progression and independence, and whether the research training objectives have been achieved.
- Report card for the internal distribution of funds at the disciplinary domain, signed by all concerned supervisors and heads of department.
- Register extract from Ladok, clearly indicating courses in the research training.
- Papers included in the thesis.
When applying, the papers should be published articles or manuscripts. The manuscripts should be ready for submission with completed tables and figures.
To facilitate the budgeting of the faculty board, the principal supervisor should, in connection with the department’s application to hold a thesis defence or a licentiate seminar, submit a proposal for the distribution of activity credits and report this to all departments that have any co-authors of the papers included in the thesis.
The same principle of distribution applies to doctoral exams and licentiate exams. The credits should reflect the department’s doctoral education contributions in the form of supervision, project costs, salaries, etc. Credits are only awarded for the period in which the doctoral student is admitted for a doctoral programme, and credits are set in relation to the total period of the doctoral programme. For full credits to be awarded, the doctoral student must have been registered for 36 months. Activity credits are not awarded to licentiate or doctoral exams completed in a period of less than 18 months. The following also applies:
- The doctoral programme has been completed entirely at the department within the disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy at which the doctoral student is registered. The following rule applies: the department in question receives 100% of the credits.
- The doctoral programme has been completed at more than one of the departments within the domain. The following rules apply:
- The credits are to be distributed between the relevant departments. The distribution of credits should reflect commitment, supervision, social responsibility, research activity, etc. and not merely represent remuneration for actual operational costs, laboratory assistance, etc. Normally the department at which the doctoral student has been registered (the mother department) receives at least 50% of the credits.
- When distributing activity credits, a share of less than 10% of the credits may not be awarded.
- In connection with the defence of the thesis, the principal supervisor draws up a proposal for the distribution of the thesis credits and reports this to all departments that have any co-authors of the papers included in the thesis. The relevant heads of department approve the distribution by signing the report card.
- In the case of any dispute about the distribution of activity credits, the chair of the Research Training Committee takes a decision in consultation with the directors of studies at the Faculty of Pharmacy and the directors of studies for preclinical and clinical doctoral research at the Faculty of Medicine.
- The doctoral programme has been completed entirely or in part at a department/equivalent outside Uppsala University’s Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy despite the doctoral student having been registered at one of the departments of the faculties. The following rules apply:
- For any credits to be awarded, the doctoral student must have been working for at least a year at the department laying claim to activity credits, and must have pursued active research during that time. One year of doctoral education at the relevant department results in 25%, two years 50% and three years 75% of the credits. For entirely external doctoral students (e.g. industry-employed doctoral students) at least 0.15 credits must be awarded.
Before the application can been completed, a consultation should take place concerning the choice of members of the examining committee. The following points should be raised during this consultation:
- Composition of the examining committee
- Issues concerning conflicts of interest
- Papers included in the thesis, the publication status of each paper and whether each paper included in the present thesis has been included or will be included in another doctoral student’s thesis
As a support there is a checklist: Consultation checklist.
The supervisor or the doctoral student should have the consultation with the appointed member of the research training committee:
|Department||Main responsible||First backup|
|Faculty of Pharmacy|
|Pharmaceutical Biosciences||Johan Lennartsson|
|Medicinal Chemistry||Mikael Hedeland|
|Faculty of Medicine|
|Public Health and Caring Sciences||Stefan Eriksson|
|Immunology, Genetics and Pathology||Rose-Marie Amini||Ingrid Glimelius|
|Surgical Sciences||Eva Lindberg |
|Women´s and Children´s Health||Mikael Hedeland||Elisabet Nielsen|
|Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology||Mikael Sellin |
|Medical Cellbiology||Mikael Sellin|
|Medical Sciences||Eva Lindberg |
All theses at the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy at Uppsala University should be finalised using the University’s thesis template. The University Library’s thesis production unit
The doctoral thesis should be available at the University Library for at least three weeks before the defence takes place, in the requisite number of copies to enable a satisfactory review of the thesis before the defence. The period from 15 June up to and including 15 August may not be counted as part of the period of availability.
The external reviewer should be a highly academically qualified person with knowledge of the author’s field of research.
Fee: SEK 15,000. The department is responsible for this payment.
The examining committee for a doctoral thesis defence can consist of three or five members. No member of the examining committee is permitted to have any connection to the thesis. All members should have academic qualifications corresponding to the level of docent (associate professor). Each proposal in the thesis defence application for a member of the examining committee should be accompanied by a short justification.
- If the examining committee comprises three members, a maximum of one may come from the home department (‘home department’ refers to the department(s) at which the author of the thesis or any supervisor works) and there must be at least one external member from another higher education institution or organisation outside Uppsala University.
- If the examining committee comprises five members, a maximum of two may come from the home department and there must be at least one from another higher education institution or organisation outside Uppsala University. Where there are five members, one member is permitted who does not fulfil the requirement of docent (associate professor)-level qualifications, but the unique expertise they are bringing to the examining committee must then be explained.
The defence ceremony is led by a chair. The chair can be one of the members of the examining committee but could also be a person appointed solely for the purpose of serving as chair of the defence ceremony, in which case they should be a highly academically qualified person. In the latter case, the Chair may not participate in the examining committee’s discussions or decisions. The examiner may serve as chair. Supervisors or other individuals with a direct connection to the author’s thesis are not permitted to serve as chair.
All theses at the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy undergo a mandatory advance review before the defence.
The advance review is carried out by the examining committee appointed by the Research Training Committee. One of the members is to be nominated as coordinator for the advance review. Supervisors can propose the coordinator. The coordinator should not work at the same department as the author of the thesis or any of the supervisors. The Research Training Committee decides who is to be coordinator for the advance review.
The examining committee has 10 working days from the point at which the task has been approved and communicated by the Research Training Committee.
Once the report from the advance review has been received, the thesis defence application can be reopened for a decision by the chair.
If the decision is negative, a new date for a thesis defence cannot be less than 3 months from the initially specified date.
The advance review covers the papers included in the thesis. The documents “Instructions for advance review by the examining committee” and “Report on advance review by the examining committee” are to be used when producing the advance review. Examining committee members receive the instructions when they are informed that an advance review is to take place. The report template is sent to the coordinator for the advance review. The coordinator confirms the result of the advance review with a signature and sends the report to the Office for Medicine and Pharmacy.
Plagiarism checking theses is an essential part of ensuring the quality of theses.
After the Examining Committee has completed its preliminary review, the Research Training Committee decides whether the PhD student may proceed to printing and nailing the thesis with the support of the disciplinary domain. In connection with this, a plagiarism check must be carried out on the so-called “kappa” – or introductory chapter – of the thesis. The principal supervisor and the PhD student are responsible for carrying out the plagiarism check. The program is called Ouriginal.
The department must ensure to document and file the plagiarism check and that this documentation is available in case of any follow-up.
The public defence ceremony is to be held at Uppsala University. The Research Training Committee can permit the defence to be held at another location.
The description of the ceremony below is merely an example from the Swedish Council for Higher Education.
- The defence ceremony is led by a chair.
- The chair opens the defence ceremony, lays out the order of the proceedings and presents the author of the thesis, the title of the thesis, the external reviewer and the members of the examining committee
- The author has the opportunity to present any corrections and amendments to the thesis
- The external reviewer and/or author gives an overview of the research area, a summary of the contents of the thesis and its novelty
- The external reviewer provides a review of the thesis with discussions and various types of questions to the author, with the author defending the thesis by answering these questions
- The examining committee poses additional questions to the author
- The audience is invited to pose questions to the author
- The chair concludes the defence ceremony
- The examining committee convenes
The following rules apply when the external reviewer or an examining committee member gives notice of their inability to attend before the defence ceremony.
- Written request with a proposal of a new external reviewer or member is to be sent to the secretary of the Research Training Committee. A consultation is to be held. A decision by the chair is to be taken as soon as possible.
- If the chair’s decision cannot be taken before the defence ceremony, the chair or vice-chair is to be contacted for an oral decision. If the chair or vice-chair cannot be reached, one of the other ordinary members of the Research Training Committee is to be contacted. The secretary of the Research Training Committee is to be informed.
In the event of absence on the day of the defence ceremony
- The chair first checks whether the absentee has merely been delayed. If the delayed individual can attend, the defence ceremony is postponed by an hour or so (morning defence ceremonies cannot be postponed until the afternoon without first checking whether the slot is free). The doctoral-level education administrator must be contacted.
- If the examining committee member cannot come, the chair of the defence ceremony checks whether a replacement is available. If an extra examining committee member has been specified in the author’s defence application, that person should be asked. The rules governing the composition of the examining committee should be respected. Contact is to be made as laid out in point 1 above.
- If the external reviewer is absent, the chair of the defence ceremony checks whether an examining committee member can take over the role of the external reviewer. A replacement within the examining committee should then be appointed in line with the rules governing the composition of the examining committee. Contact is to be made as laid out in point 1 above.
- If a chair – who does not sit on the examining committee – is absent, an examining committee member is asked to also adopt the role of chair
- If the defence has to be postponed, a new slot should be booked in the defence calendar and referred to the Research Training Committee for a decision
Discussion and report of the examining committee
The committee should appoint one of its members as chair. The external reviewer has the right to participate in the meeting with the examining committee as well as its discussions, but not its decisions. The same applies to the supervisor. The examining committee is in quorum when all members are present. The opinion on which the majority agrees is to apply as the committee’s decision. The committee should determine whether the decision requires justification and whether reservations are to be reported.A report is to be produced in line with the template when the examining committee takes its decision, and the original is to be sent to the Office for Medicine and Pharmacy.
- Book a date in the defence calendar in good time.
- Contact the thesis production unit at the University Library.
- Check that the intended external reviewer and examining committee members are available.
- Consultation surrounding the thesis defence application should be conducted with a representative of the Research Training Committee (not the chair, vice-chair or doctoral student representatives).
- The application should be processed at a meeting of the Research Training Committee (KUF) at least 12 weeks in advance of the planned defence date.
- The application to defend a thesis should be submitted to the Research Training Committee 11 days before the meeting of that committee that is scheduled at least 12 weeks before the date of defence.
- All mandatory courses and components must have been passed.
- Total theoretical credits must amount to at least 30 credits.
- Book venue.
- Public notification of the date of the defence 3 weeks before defence, the author sends the thesis to the external reviewer, the members of the examining committee and the chair of the defence ceremony.
- Visit the venue in advance to familiarise yourself with how the technology works.
- Examining committee report.
It is the Student Registry Unit that issues degree certificates. For them to do that
- The administrator of the PhD student’s department must first register the thesis in Ladok
- The PhD student must then apply for a degree certificate in Ladok
When those steps have been completed, the degree certificate is sent to the PhD student.
For further information, contact the Student Registry Unit.