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Ph.D. Thesis Submission and Defence Procedures

The timespan between the submission of the thesis and the defence is ideally 4 months.
It is the responsability of the researcher together with the supervisor to inform the department in due time of any tight deadlines to defend. Requests will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The thesis defence will be organised by the supervisor’s assistant. 

 Outline of the Ph.D. defence workflow:

  1. Thesis preparation and submission
  2. Setting up of Examining Board
  3. Thesis circulation and evaluation
  4. Thesis printing
  5. Formal procedures before the defence
  6. Publication of electronic thesis
  7. The day of the defence 

1. Thesis preparation and submission

What determines an acceptable Ph.D. 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. However, it is mandatory that the thesis contains at least one single-authored paper. 

Language revision subsidy

The thesis candidate may be eligible for a subsidy to help with the language correction costs of the thesis. What the department offers is a contribution, not the full reimbursement of the cost of language revision.

Important: before proceeding with any language revision, please contact the departmental coordinator, because without prior departmental approval you cannot have the correction done. For further information also check the dedicated webpage.

Thesis formatting and submission

In order to prepare the thesis, the researcher can use any word-processing programme, but the document must be submitted as one single and numbered pdf file (see thesis template), and it must contain an updated title, an abstract of 300 words, a table of contents and a Researcher Declaration (template will be provided by the Department). It is mandatory that the title is the final one, and it is recommended that it reflects as much as possible the subject of at least the main paper of the thesis (Job Market Paper). Generic titles like “Three Essays in Microeconomics/Macroeconomics/Econometrics” should be avoided.

Before submitting the thesis it is mandatory for the candidate to do an originality check through the anti-plagiarism software TURNITIN. The candidate will then officially submit the thesis draft together with the TURNITIN report by email to the departmental coordinator (Sarah Simonsen) and the supervisor. The supervisor checks the originality report and gives the authorization to send out the thesis to the jury. Please read detailed information about the procedure here.

The thesis needs to be defended within 11 months from the date of submission.

2. Setting up of the Examining Board

Once the supervisor is satisfied that the thesis is close to completion and ready for submission, s/he will propose the composition of the Examining Committee (thesis jury) to the Department by sending an official email to his/her assistant with the name of the proposed jury members. This should happen ideally 4 months before the expected defence date and at this time usually a provisional defence date is set.

The thesis jury needs to be approved by the EUI Executive Committee (EC), which meets twice a month and the assistant needs to send the documents on the Thursday preceding the EC meeting.

The jury usually consists of four members: two internal members (supervisor and co-supervisor) and two external examiners whose specialist knowledge is relevant for the topic of the thesis. The jury members should not all be nationals of the same state or be currently employed in the same state. Furthermore, at least one of the external members must be a current university professor and no more than one external member may be appointed from the same institution.

3. Thesis circulation and evaluation

The defence needs to take place within 11 months from the date of submission.
After the submission of the thesis the external jury members will receive a copy of the thesis, an examiner's report form and a copy of the thesis guidelines, and they are expected to read and evaluate the thesis and send their report to the administrative assistant within 2 months (3 months if in summer). The reports will state whether the thesis is considered “defendable” as submitted, or whether any changes are needed to make it suitable for defence. When all reports have arrived, the Department will forward them to the researcher, who will have maximum one week to make some minor changes to the thesis and send the final file to the Department for printing.

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 defence).

Only when all jury members conclude that the thesis can be defended, the date for defence can be scheduled or confirmed. The Economics Department does not normally arrange for a defence of a Ph.D. thesis until 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 thesis jury.

4. Thesis printing

After having received feedback from the external jury members, the last step before the defence is to send the final print version of the thesis to the EUI Printshop, which usually requires one week to copy and bind the file. This is dealt with by the supervisor's assistant, who also formats the cover page and introductory pages on the standard EUI Economics Department templates. There is therefore no need for the researcher to prepare a formal cover page for the document. It is however of the utmost importance to have the correct title of the thesis on this document as well as the name as the candidate would like it to appear on the final printed and bound thesis. The thesis will be copied in black and white, so no colour graphs should be used.

The printed thesis copy should be displayed in the EUI library for two weeks before the defence.

5. Formal procedures before the defence

The candidate should indicate to the organising assistant in which language the official Ph.D. diploma should be issued. Additional certificates in other languages can be requested. On the basis of this information the Academic Service will prepare the official documents after the defence. The Doctorate of the EUI is ungraded and this fact will be clearly stated on the diploma.

6. Publication of electronic thesis

In order to enhance the visibility of their research, the EUI encourages researchers to publish their defended theses as an electronic thesis document in the open access EUI repository (CADMUS). The thesis is published online in full text as a protected pdf file and the 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. Before the defence, the researcher will be given a form to fill in. The researcher must inform the Economics Department of the EUI, if the thesis is published elsewhere and also take responsibility for any consequential obligation(s).

7. The day of the defence

Thesis defences at the EUI are public, so apart from the candidate and the jury members also other participants may attend the event, which shall be given appropriate publicity at least two weeks before the date set.

On the day of the defence the candidate is expected to give a presentation of approximately 20 minutes. The Examining Board will then pose its questions (the supervisor will be the last one to ask any questions and has no vote). A general debate can follow. At the end of the discussion the candidate and guests will be asked to leave the meeting for a few minutes, while the jury deliberates in camera and takes one of the following decisions:

  • immediate unconditional acceptance
  • postponed conditional acceptance

Furthermore, the Chair of the Examining Board (always one of the external jury members) will write a report together with the other members on the thesis and the way the candidate has defended it.

After the deliberation the candidate is called back in the meeting again together with the rest of the audience and the Chair will read out the defence report with the outcome of the defence.

The total duration of the defence shall not exceed two hours.

Page last updated on 08/12/2022

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