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Ph.D. thesis preparation and defence procedures

What determines an acceptable EUI Thesis

An acceptable Ph.D. thesis should contain a contribution to knowledge taking one of the following forms:

An extended paper providing the basis for a book or monograph of publishable standard on a topic in economics and/or econometrics; or

A series of papers of which at least two could provide the basis for papers that would justify publication in refereed economics and/or econometrics journals.

Joint research may form part of a Ph.D. thesis, provided that the thesis contains a clear statement of which parts are the result of joint research, and of the relative contributions of the co-authors. The thesis should contain at least one substantial piece of work that is not co-authored.

Since 1 November 2013, it is mandatory for the candidate to do an originality check through the anti-plagiarism software TURNITIN before submitting the final thesis draft to the supervisor. The supervisor then receives from Turnitin a summary originality report plus an annotated version of the submitted draft showing which part of the text is also found in other publications. Please read detailed information about the procedure here:  http://www.eui.eu/ServicesAndAdmin/DeanOfStudies/OriginalityCheck-TurnitinSoftware.aspx

The thesis must contain (and must also be accompanied by, in a separate document), an abstract of 300 words. This is strictly required for the defence and the abstract will be put online.

Examining procedure

Once the supervisor is satisfied that the thesis is close to completion and of the required standard, the supervisor will propose the membership of an Examining Committee for the approval of the Executive Committee. This Examining Committee (usually consisting of four members and including the supervisor (always a member), one other internal member of the Economics Department, and two external examiners whose specialist knowledge is relevant for the topic of the thesis) once appointed, will remain valid for six months. If the thesis has not been examined within six months of the appointment of the Examining Committee, it is necessary for the Economics Department to reconfirm the composition of the Examining Committee, or to propose a new membership to the Executive Committee.

Members of the Examining Committee will be sent a copy of the thesis, an examiner's report form and a copy of the thesis guidelines, and are expected to read and give comments in writing on the suitability of the thesis within 2 months of the thesis being posted to them (3 months if in the summer).

Members of the Examining Committee should complete the report form and send it, together with any further comments on the thesis (including changes they wish to see prior to defence), to the Chairman of the Exam Committee of the Economics Department, who will then communicate them to the supervisor and the candidate. If all examiners are in agreement, the Chairman of the Exam Committee will then initiate arrangements for the public defence of the thesis.

If one or more members of the Examining Committee require changes to be made to the thesis before a public defence then a new version will be prepared by the candidate, which in general will only be sent for approval to those members who required the changes. This version may be sent to all members for approval at the discretion of the Chairman of the Exam Committee taking into account the advice of the supervisor (All members of the jury will of course eventually receive the version that is to be examined at the public defence).

The Economics Department does not normally arrange for a public defence of a Ph.D. thesis UNLESS all the examiners have indicated in writing that they expect the defence to be successful. However, under EUI rules, a candidate does have the right to call for a public defence regardless of the recommendation of the Examining Committee.

Examiners' recommendations

Following the public defence, the Examining Committee deliberates in camera, and on the basis of the thesis submitted to it and the way the candidate has defended it, takes one of the following decisions:

  • immediate unconditional acceptance
  • postponed conditional acceptance

Preparation of the thesis

You can use any word-processing programme to prepare your thesis, but it needs to be sent in as one pdf file.  After the examination period, when a defence date has been set, the final step is to send the document to the Printshop to have it copied and bound. This is dealt with by your supervisor's assistant, who also prepares the title and introductory pages on the standard EUI Economics Department templates. There is therefore no need for you to do a formal cover page for this document. It is of the utmost importance to have the correct title of your thesis on this document and your name as you would like it to appear on the final printed and bound thesis. Your thesis will be copied in black and white: no colour graphs should be used.

Publication of electronic theses

The EUI encourages researchers to publish their defended theses as an electronic thesis document. The Ph.D. thesis is published electronically in full text as a protected pdf file and inserted in the EUI repository Cadmus and publications databases. This text cannot be downloaded, printed, or copied. If cited or quoted, reference should be made to the full name of the author, the title, the year and the publisher. The author will be given a form to fill in at the time of his/her defence. The author must inform the Economics Department of the EUI if the thesis is published elsewhere and also take responsibility for any consequential obligation(s).

The day of the defence

On the day of the defence the candidate is expected to make a presentation lasting approximately 20 minutes. The Examining Committee will then pose their questions (the supervisor will be the last one to ask his/her questions). A general debate can then follow. At the end of the discussion the candidate and guests will be asked to leave the room for a few minutes while the jury deliberates in camera.

The candidate should indicate to the organizing secretary in which language(s) the diploma and the certificates should be issued. On the basis of this information the Academic Service will prepare the diploma and certificates. The Doctorate of the EUI is ungraded, and this fact will be clearly stated on the diploma issued to the doctor concerned.

Page last updated on 10 February 2016