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Information for the adjudication committee

As a member of the adjudication committee, you will determine whether the PhD thesis is worthy of public defence. This section provides information on the work entailed in being a member of an adjudication committee.

Administrator of the committee

The third member of the adjudication committee represents the unit and serves as administrator of the committee. This member ensures that deadlines are met, that the adjudication meets the requirements for academic standards and that the external committee members are familiar with the entire adjudication process. The administrator of the committee actively participates in the assessment of the thesis and is responsible for initiating the opponents’ adjudication work. The administrator collates and submits the final recommendation to the unit on the form for the adjudication committee’s assessment of the thesis

Assessment of the thesis

The recommendation is the written assessment of the thesis. The adjudication committee has six weeks to submit its recommendation. The adjudication committee may request the PhD candidate to submit source material and supplementary or explanatory information. Supervisors may be called to adjudication committee meetings in order to explain the supervision and thesis work. The committee will determine whether:

  • The thesis is worthy of defence without changes.
  • The thesis is worthy of defence, but minor changes need to be made before the public defence. The PhD candidate must normally be able to do this within two months. In this case, no new adjudication is necessary.
  • The thesis has a significant number of shortcomings that need to be corrected/revised before the public defence can be held. The PhD candidate must normally be able to do this within six months. The revised thesis must be re-assessed by the original adjudication committee
  • If the adjudication committee finds that a thesis cannot be revised within six months, it must be rejected. The PhD candidate is entitled to, and must receive, a detailed written account/justification of the rejection.

If the thesis requires a revision that requires the adjudication committee to assess the revised thesis in order to determine whether it is worthy of defence, the adjudication committee will have a new deadline of six weeks to submit its final recommendation from the date it receives the revised thesis.

Public defence and trial lecture

When the thesis has been approved by the Dean of Studies, the trial lecture and public defence can be held. The committee will be in attendance and serve as adjudicators in the trial lecture and public defence.

Trial lecture

The adjudication committee sets the topic for the trial lecture, and the administrator announces the topic to the candidate ten days prior to the lecture.

The trial lecture aims to test the candidate's academic maturity. The assigned topic must therefore be outside the specialist field of the thesis. The lecture will further test the candidate's ability to organize material and time, and should last for 45 minutes. The title of the trial lecture and information about where and when the trial lecture and public defence will take place are sent to the PhD contact at the department. The adjudication committee will tell the faculty whether the candidate has failed or passed the trial lecture. The recommendation must be substantiated in the event of a fail. The trial lecture must be passed before the public defence can be held.

Public defence

The Head of Department is authorised by the Dean to chair the public defence. If the Head of Department is unavailable, the vice head or a senior researcher at the department can chair the public defence. The defence cannot be chaired by the candidate’s supervisor or the administrator of the adjudication committee. The committee will decide the order of the opponents and the committee’s administrator will inform the chair of the public defence about this.

The chair of the public defence will briefly explain the submission and assessment of the thesis, and give a brief introduction of the candidate. The candidate will then spend a maximum of 30 minutes explaining the purpose and findings of the scientific investigation.

Two of the committee members serve as opponents. The first opponent will put the candidate's work into an international academic context, for a maximum of ten minutes. When both opponents have concluded their arguments, the chair of the public defence will invite others present to participate in the discussions.

Finally, the candidate will take the floor to extend his/her thanks, before the chair of the public defence declares the public defence concluded.

Following a brief meeting of the adjudication committee after the conclusion of the public defence, the chair will announce the committee’s decision on the candidate’s public defence.

After the public defence, the adjudication committee will submit a report to the faculty on special forms (public defence and trial lecture) explaining how it has assessed the thesis and its defence. The conclusion of the report must specify whether the candidate has passed or failed the public defence. Using the form provided, the committee member without an affiliation with a Norwegian university will submit a separate statement comparing the standard of the thesis in question with the general level of PhD theses in similar subject areas at his/her own institution.

In the event that any ex auditorio opponents present significant objections, this must be mentioned in the assessment.

Published Apr. 11, 2016 3:27 PM - Last modified Feb. 5, 2021 12:56 PM