In completion of his/her studies and before the date set for conclusion of studies, the PhD student must submit a thesis in which he/she explains the scientific project undertaken and the results achieved. The thesis must be written by the PhD student him-/herself.
It is recommended that the thesis be based on scientific articles already published on the same scientific topic as the project (sub-theses). However, these articles must not be part of previous study programmes such as the master’s thesis. A synopsis stating the relationship between the articles and summarizing the results is to be enclosed.

If the thesis includes articles (i.e. published journal and conference articles, unpublished manuscripts, chapters etc.) made in collaboration with the principal supervisor or other researchers, a co-author statement verifying the PhD student's contribution to each article must be made by all authors. However, if an article has more than three authors the statement may be signed by a representative sample, cf. article 12, section 4 and 5 of the Ministerial Order No. 1039 27 August 2013 about the PhD degree. We refer to the Vancouver protocol’s definition of authorship. A PhD thesis written as a monograph is not subject to this requirement.

A representative sample of authors is comprised of:

  • Corresponding author and/or principal/first author (defined by the PhD student)
  • 1-2 authors (preferably international/non-supervisor authors) 

The thesis must be in electronic format – if necessary with formula, drawings and graphs in handwriting. The thesis must be written in English. The PhD committee may though, on the recommendation of the supervisor, grant the student dispensation to submit the thesis in another language. Any application for a dispensation must be submitted at least six months before the thesis submission deadline. The application is processed by the relevant PhD committee.

Offprint (or photocopies) of articles must also be in electronic format.
The thesis must include an abstract both in Danish and in English (including the title). This should not be confused with the Popular science summary which must be submitted with the thesis.
The thesis must contain information regarding where the studies have taken place (department, company, any partners), the funding of the studies, and state the name(s) of the supervisor(s) and place of employment.

Thesis title
PhD titles need to be comprehensible and enticing to a potential reader, while at the same time not being so general and vague as to obscure what the PhD thesis is about.

Furthermore, titles should be concise and informative. Abbreviations and formulae should be avoided where possible. DTU recommends PhD students to include a few keywords in the title to aid web-searches.

Guidelines for avoiding plagiarism or self-plagiarism in your PhD thesis
DTU aims to produce excellent research, and wishes to ensure that all PhD theses meet high standards for good scientific practice. Furthermore, DTU wishes to ensure that all students are well prepared for a scientific career. This means being familiar with the values of good scientific practice as they relate to scientific writing. It is therefore important that you fully understand the definitions of plagiarism and self-plagiarism. These definitions as well as guidelines on how to avoid plagiarism and self-plagiarism can be found here. Please ensure that you read and understand these guidelines.

Even if you have a good understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and self-plagiarism, you should consult the guidelines to ensure that you fully understand how specific rules may apply to you. If you are still in doubt about how to comply with good scientific practice, you should contact your supervisor. If you have questions about the Danish law or the DTU guidelines on plagiarism, you should contact DTU’s Research Integrity Officer (

The thesis must be sumbitted as follows. Additional copies, format and printing are to be agreed with the department. Read more about this at DTU Inside.

On the end date of the PhD study, the PhD thesis is to be submitted/distributed as follows:

  • electronically at the department to the PhD secretary who will then send it via DTU-DOCX to the PhD Office.
  • to the supervisors.
  • the central PhD administration forwards the thesis and co-author statements to the assessment committee.

When the assessment committee has completed their work and submitted a positive recommendation, additional copies of the thesis are to be distributed as follows:

  • One copy for the chairman of the defence session. 
  • One copy which is publicly available at the department after advertisement of the defence. 
    (The parties involved may agree among themselves that the thesis may be sent in  full upon request to persons interested.)
  • The thesis is to be sent to the Danish Royal Library, cf. If the thesis is printed by a professional printing company, they will send it to the Royal Library. If the thesis is not printet, the department must send a copy to the Royal Library. This may be done by email to

After the defence, the PhD student may furnish the thesis with a corrections sheet. The purpose of the corrections sheet is to give the PhD student the possibility of pointing out any errors and omissions in the thesis. Accordingly the PhD students states in the corrections sheet what he/she would have corrected in the thesis had it been possible.

A corrections sheet may only contain minor, e.g. linguistic, corrections. This means that new figures, tables or reference to articles and similar are not acceptable. Similarly, sentences that add new or alternative approaches to the text already submitted are not acceptable. The corrections sheet may not exceed two pages.

The central PhD Office forwards the thesis and a possible corrections sheet to the Orbit team after award of the PhD degree.

If the entire thesis or some of it is meant to become part of a series of reports or otherwise become more widely published, this must be agreed between the PhD student and the PhD school/department concerned.
In special cases, the university may accept a thesis for assessment without the author having completed an entire course of PhD studies, if the author in other ways has acquired qualifications equivalent to a PhD study programme.

Patent applications
If the thesis contains material which form the basis for patent applications, the publication and the defence may be postponed for another month. Still, a possible patenting process must be initiated as early as possible during the course of the PhD studies so as not to postpone the defence unduly.

It is often the case that companies involved in a PhD project request that parts of the thesis are kept confidential. However, it is not possible to keep part of the assessed thesis confidential as the thesis is subject to the rule of a public defence and availability to the public. Those parts of the PhD student’s work that a company wish to keep confidential must instead be left out of the thesis which is submitted for assessment and defence.