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 may not have been 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If the thesis includes articles (i.e. published journal and conference articles, unpublished manuscripts, chapters etc.)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 joint-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 in the form a monographs does not need any joint author agreements.

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 however, 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 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 that must be submitted with the Supervisor report.).
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 ( or Legal Consultant Susanne Schultz (

The number of copies listed below is obligatory. 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 distributed as follows:

  • One copy is submitted electronically at the department to the PhD secretary who will 
    then send it via DTU-DOC to the PhD Administration.
  • One copy for each supervisor.
  • Three copies for the assessment committee. The supervisor is responsible for the thesis being sent to the committee members. 

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

The PhD school/department must also see to it that the PhD thesis is uploaded to DTU's  Library which will see to it that the thesis is registered in OrbitPlease read more in MyPublications Quick Guide.
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 certain cases, parts of the thesis may be considered confidential out of consideration for a participating company. The assessment and award of the PhD degree must, however, be based on a fully public part of the thesis which can function as an independent sub-thesis. The members of the assessment committee base their evaluation solely on the background of the public part of the thesis, and this alone is dealt with at the defence.
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.
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.