The doctoral dissertation should be a work of independent research. It should reveal the ability to formulate a problem or research question, gather, analyse and interpret source material, demonstrate knowledge of the literature relating to the subject, describe the methods and procedures used, report the results, and display the researcher’s ability to discuss fully and coherently the meaning of the outcome of his/her research. A doctoral dissertation which has been written in the EUI’s PhD programme must be defended at the EUI.
Setting up the examining board
When the supervisor concludes that the doctoral work progress justifies the establishment of an Examining Board, he/she shall propose the composition to the Department. The composition of an Examining Board for a PhD defence is the responsibility of the Department and then of the Executive Committee. The supervisor proposes the composition of the jury after having consulted with the candidate and the co-supervisor (if any). Researchers shall not contact potential jury members directly.
The Board is normally made up of two internal and two external members. The four members should not all be nationals of the same state or be currently employed in the same state. The thesis cannot be sent to the Examining Board members before the final confirmation by the Executive Committee.
At the end of the 4th year (or at the latest by the end of the 60th month of registration) the researcher hands in the thesis together with the anti-plagiarism receipt and a 300-word abstract to the Departmental Coordinator. The submission date is the date when the supervisor confirms that the thesis is ready to be sent to the Examining Board. The thesis needs to be defended within 11 month from the date of submission. Normally the defence date is scheduled for 4 months after the submission date. For an overview of the whole procedure see the outline of the PhD defence workflow.
Student status and access to EUI resources until defence
A student status can last up to 60 months. Researchers should submit their final thesis before the end of the 60th month of registration, and no submission will be allowed after the expiry of the said student status. The thesis counts as submitted only if the supervisor accepts that it is ready to be sent to the Examining Board for defence. Se article 11.3 of the Academic Rules and Regulations for possible extensions of student status due to extenuating circumstances.
- If researchers submit before the end of their fourth year, they maintain their student status (and fourth year grant payments if applicable) until the 48th month of registration
- If they submit within their fifth year of registration (between month 49 and 60) the student status ends on the date of the submission.
Researchers are expected to defend their thesis within a maximum period of 11 months after the date of submission. Between the submission and defence dates, researchers are provided with a temporary access to EUI academic facilities and all library resources to facilitate the preparation for their defence.
Examining Board reports
Each examining board member sends in a report on the thesis within two months after receiving it. The reports are circulated among the examining board members and the PhD candidate only after all four have arrived. If the reports ask for revisions, such revisions have to be carried out within no more than six months. All changes to the thesis have to be recorded in a letter which will be sent to the Examining Board members. No later than one month before the date of the defence the final thesis has to be printed by the print-shop and sent to the Library for public consultation.