After submission of doctoral thesis - PhD

Norsk versjon: Etter innlevering

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The process once you have handed in your doctoral thesis will depend on your faculty even though the rules and regulations are similar. For specific information on what to do and expect, look at your faculty’s web page. There is some general information below.

Faculty of Architecture and Design
Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences
Faculty of Economics and Management

Assessment Committee

Once you have submitted your thesis, the Faculty will appoint an assessment committee based on a suggestion by the Department.

Within one week of being notified of the composition of the committee, you may submit written comments to the composition.

The assessment committee’s work

The thesis is sent to the committee with a deadline of approx. three months for them to evaluate the thesis. The committee’s job is to evaluate the thesis against the requirements of the PhD-regulations. The Guidelines for the assessment of Norwegian doctoral degrees may also aid the committees in their work.

The committee can make the following recommendations:

  • The thesis is worthy of public defence
  • Minor revisions
  • Not worthy of defence

The Faculty makes the final decision on whether the thesis is worthy of being defended for the doctoral degree, but the Faculty will generally follow the committee’s recommendations. If the committee’s decision is non-unanimous, the Faculty will usually follow the majority decision. For more information about the Faculty’s options, see Section 16 of the PhD-regulations. As the candidate, you may submit written comments to the committee’s report within 10 working days of receiving the report.

If the committee and the Faculty allows minor revisions of the thesis, you will be given a deadline normally not exceeding three months to revise the thesis in accordance with the recommendations. The thesis must be resubmitted by the deadline and the evaluation completed by the same committee. This counts as one assessment in total. The committee should not recommend minor revisions if it finds that extensive changes related to the theory, hypothesis, material or methods used in the thesis are needed in order to deem the thesis worthy of a public defence.

If the Faculty decides that the thesis is not worthy of public defence, you will still be given the opportunity to resubmit the thesis after a waiting period of six months. The decision letter will specify when you are allowed to hand in a revised thesis. A doctoral thesis may only be reassessed once. If your thesis is found not worthy a second time, you will not be able to resubmit the work for the doctoral degree again.

Approved thesis

Once your thesis has been approved, it is time to prepare the defence. The doctoral defence should take place within two months of the Faculty approving the thesis.

Errata list

An errata list is a list of formal errors that are corrected in the thesis between submission and the final version. You are not allowed to make any changes or correct anything of a substantial nature. The errata list should be submitted to the faculty prior to the work being made public. Correction of formal errors may only take place once.

Submission of the summary

When your thesis has been approved, you need to submit a summary of the thesis in Norwegian and English to the Faculty. The summary will be used in press releases from the Faculty. For this reason, NTNU recommends that you write the summary in a popular science format.

Printing your thesis

The Faculty or Department determines the number of copies to be printed. The thesis should be publically available no later than three weeks before the defence takes place.

Before submitting the thesis for the final printing, you must order an ISBN number. You should not order the ISBN number before the thesis has been found worthy of defence.

Trial Lecture and Disputation

The trial lecture and the defence usually takes place on the same day.

The trial lecture must be approved before the defence takes place.

There are guidelines for use of digital solutions during the doctoral exam.

Trial lecture

You will be given the topic of the trial lecture 10 working days before it is scheduled to take place. The assessment committee specifies the topic for the trial lecture and the topic must not have a direct connection to the topic of the thesis.

The purpose of the trial lecture(s) or other test on an assigned topic is for you to document your ability to acquire and impart knowledge beyond your area of specialization. The lecture or test should be conveyed in such a way that students at master’s level can benefit from it.

The trial lecture should usually be held in the same language as the doctoral thesis, unless the Faculty approves the use of another language.

Required for dr.philos.

Dr.philos. has two trial lectures:

  • One on the given topic – as described above.
  • One self-chosen topic.

The candidate states the title of the self-chosen trial lecture to the faculty four (4) weeks ahead of the disputation.

Both trial lectures must be approved before the defence takes place.


The defence is chaired by the Dean or by a person authorized by the faculty. The chair opens the defence usually followed by the candidate explaining the purpose and results of the doctoral work. This is then followed by the opposition.

There are usually two opponents, both members of the assessment committee. The first opponent opens the discussion and the second opponent concludes it. Members of the audience may participate in the discussion ex auditorio. They have to notify the chair of the defence within the time limit specified at the beginning of the defence.

The defence should be an academic discussion between you and the opponents concerning the research questions raised, the methodological, empirical and theoretical sources, documentation and form of presentation.

The most common structure for the public defence is as follows:

  1. You start by presenting your thesis
  2. The first opponent the describes the strengths and weakness of the thesis. This is followed by a longer discussion between you and the first opponent. After this, the public defence can be held in different ways, but the most common is to take a break here.
  3. The second opponent then highlights aspects of your work that the first opponent has not addressed. This discussion is often shorter.
  4. If anybody in the audience wants to as questions (ex auditorio), this takes place here after they have submitted the question(s) to the chair of the defence during the break.

After the defence, the committee reports to the Faculty and concludes as to whether or not you have passed your trial lecture and defence.

After the defence

The Department or research group sometimes hold a small gathering after the defence, but this varies and is completely up to the department itself.

Doctoral dinner

Most people want to celebrate the defence with a doctoral dinner. This is a private event so it is completely up to you whether to have a doctoral dinner at all, and where and how it takes place. If you have a doctoral dinner, it is customary to invite the chair of the defence, your supervisor and, the assessment committee.

PhD ring

Once you have completed your doctoral degree and you are interested, you may order and purchase a PhD ring. Only people with a doctorate from NTNU may purchase these rings.

Electronic publishing

Once you have successfully defended your thesis you can make your dissertation openly available at NTNU University Library through NTNU Open. NTNU Open is NTNU’s archive and publishing service for scientific publications.

Doctoral Awards Ceremony

Some time after the defence, you will be invited to the Doctoral Awards Ceremony where you receive your diploma from the Rector at NTNU. The Doctoral Awards Ceremony generally takes place twice a year. The ceremony in the spring are for the doctors who completed their degree last autumn and the ceremony in the autumn are for those who completed their degree that spring. If you are unable to participate, you will receive the diploma by mail.


Appeals related to handing in doctoral theses, trial lecture and defence is regulated by Section 23-3 of the PhD-regulations. Details for the grounds of appeal should be sent to the Faculty within in three weeks of being notified of the decision. If the Faculty dismisses the appeal, the appeal is forwarded to the University Appeals Committee at NTNU for a ruling.

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    The guidelines have been established to ensure good quality, equal treatment and safeguarding of the doctoral candidate when using digital solutions during the doctoral examination. Norsk versjon:...