Defence

The defence takes place after the handling of the assessment committee’s preliminary recommendation and not later than three months after submission of the thesis. However, two weeks at the earliest after the assessment committee has submitted its recommendation. The month of July is not included when calculating the deadline. 
 
The principal supervisor arranges with the members of the assessment committee (examiners) and the PhD student a date and time for the defence. The defence takes place at DTU.  If special circumstances apply, it is possible to hold the defence a virtual meeting for some of the key participants or for all participants when the head of the PhD School decide so.  The PhD student must be in agreement with this decision. 

If special circumstances apply, the institution may decide to postpone the defence. Postponement of the defence is subject to agreement between the PhD student/ the author of the and the institution. This includes agreement on a date for the defence.

The PhD school publishes the date and time for the defence proceedings in the engineering weekly Ingeniøren (in the section on meetings, congresses, etc.), registers the time of the defence in the DTU calendar no later than two weeks before the defence and notifies DTU Avisen, redaktion@dtuavisen.dk. 

When the defence is held as a virtual meeting, it is also to be published at relevant web sites/ social media for the public to be well informed. 
Furthermore the posting of the defence must be sent to the PhD Office through DTU DOCX, CAS Serviceafdelingen (not when held as a virtual meeting), and the chairperson presiding over defence.
 
The notice must state how a thesis abstract can be obtained and also that a copy of the thesis is presented for inspection at the PhD school in question.
When the defence is held virtually this must be stated in the announcement and the public must be invited to sign in, electronically, for participation in the defense by a clear deadline. 

The principal supervisor appoints an associated professor or professor at DTU to preside over the defence (to be the chairperson). Members of the assessment committee as well as principal and co-supervisors cannot be appointed chairperson. The chairperson’s checklist of the defence proceedings can be found in the menu on the right hand side. The department PhD secretary sees to it that the chairperson receives the following materials:
a) a copy of the advertisement of the defence
b) the thesis (incl. summaries)

If the defence is held as a virtual meeting, the following additional material must be received: a complete list of participants in the PhD proceeding; the PhD student, the supervisors, the members of the assessment committee, and the audience. 

The time limit for the defence is three hours, 45 minutes of which are set aside for the PhD student’s independent presentation of the main results of the thesis (lecture). In case of electronic challenges time is added if necessary. The assessment committee is in charge of the assessment of the defence. The defence must be conducted in English unless a dispensation is granted by the the Dean.
The 45-minutes set for the lecture itself must be observed. If a lecture is of considerably shorter duration, the assessment committee may require a new defence. In case of considerable exceeding of the time limit, the chairperson must interfere offering the PhD student the opportunity of a very brief conclusion.
 
In connection with the defence, the members of the assessment committee and the supervisors are entitled to ask questions to the PhD student concerning the scientific work.
 
Others may also ask the PhD student questions concerning the scientific work. Any such question must be limited to 15 minutes, including the time necessary to reply.
 
Immediately after the defence, the assessment committee must make their recommendation as to whether the PhD degree should be awarded. This is the responsibility of the head of the committee. The recommendation must be justified and if there is disagreement, the recommendation must be based on majority of votes. The recommendation is handed in at the department. 
 
If the recommendation of the assessment committee is negative, the head of the PhD school may decide that the PhD thesis is to be assessed by a new assessment committee if the PhD student requests so within one week. The decision is to be sent to the PhD Office.
 
The principal supervisor will receive the forms used for the recommendation of the assessment committee together with the notification of approval of the assessment committee.
 
In rare cases, DTU (the head of PhD School) may grant the PhD student an exemption in such a way that the defence can be held with only two of the three members of the assessment committee present. Contact the PhD Office for guidance in relation to an exemption.
 
If necessary, in order to observe the regulations of publication in the act on inventions at public research institutions or the act of inventions of employees or if other specific circumstances apply, the institution may decide to postpone the defence. A postponement of the defence implies a reciprocal agreement between the parties involved, including when the defence can take place. 

Supplement to the process when defenses are held as virtual meetings 

The proceeding is run using the digital platform Zoom, please read mere here; https://www.inside.dtu.dk/Medarbejder/IT-og-telefoni/PC-AV-print-mv/Video-tjenester/Zoom. Other appropriate platforms may also be used if necessary (e.g. Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams). 

The chairperson is the “host” (owns the meeting in zoom) and is responsible for the defence proceedings. The chairperson evaluates and decides if the defence progresses satisfactorily; if a break should be granted, if the three hour timespan should be prolonged  or even if the defence has to be postponed (e.g. due to technical problems) etc. 

The chairperson must ask for necessary assistance from the department, the central IT Service or the PhD Office. The central IT service can assist with technical support in advance of the defence. During the actual proceedings, the participants should go to a Plan B with agreed solutions to certain technical problems. Please read more about technical recommendations and technical failure/issues in the slides on the left hand side of this page.  

Prior to the day of the defence, the public has had the chance to sign up for the defence since it has been announced at various web sites and in other relevant media. The participants that have signed up will be invited to the proceedings in Zoom by or on behalf of the chairperson (it is important that the meeting with all participants can be accessed through the particular labtop used during the defence). The participants will also have received guidelines for participation. 

The PhD student must be familiar with Zoom including showing a presentation and other facilities needed to complete the defence through this media. 

The Department is responsible for advising members of the assessment committee on how to participate in the proceeding via Zoom.  

The chairperson commences the PhD defense and informs the participants about code of conduct in connection with participating in the PhD defence. Please check the Chairperson's checklist for defence proceedings; https://www.dtu.dk/english/education/phd/rules/phdguide/defence/checklist

In due time after the defence, the chairman of the assessment committee sets up a separate meeting with the PhD student, the examiners and the supervisors in order for the examiners to be able to convey the content of their final recommendation to the PhD student.