PhD Handbook The Doctoral School of Engineering and Science

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1 PhD Handbook The Doctoral School of Engineering and Science A Sequential Description of the PhD Processes within the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science

2 1 Preface Introduction The PhD Study Application for Enrollment Employment Standard Requirements Application for Credit Transfer Enrollment/Employment AAU-Employed PhD Students Tuition Waiver Private Funding Industrial PhD Students PhD Degree without Previous Studies ( 15.2) Supervisor Responsibilities Time frame Termination Plagiarism PhD Plan Delayed PhD Plans Paradigm PhD Plan - 2 months Updated PhD plan PhD Plans and Applications for Credit Transfer Continuous Evaluation of the Progress Intent and Purpose Outlook State of Affairs PhD Courses at AAU Rules and Regulations Course Registration at AAU External PhD Courses Course Forms General Courses

3 Project Specific Courses Course Evaluations External Research Cooperation Financial Support Study Abroad Leave of Absence Application for Leave of Absence Time Frame Salary PhD Finalization Time Frame Assessment Committee Assessment Committee Members Exceptions Co-Author Statements Supervisor Statement Preliminary Assessment Defense Problems in Relation to the Defense Moderator Final Assessment Diploma Evaluation Form

4 1 Preface This is the first attempt at creating a PhD handbook that incorporates all standardized aspects related to the PhD studies at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science. It follows a PhD study from beginning to end with a clear description of all standardized elements. Thus the contents seek to provide a description of the content related to this timeline. Due to the complex and extensive nature of this area, the work has been separated into the following elements: 1. Main part with a description of the entire PhD study. This includes all standard elements that students, supervisors and departments will need to be aware of. 2. A clarification of the responsibilities of the different members within the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science. The combination of these three texts creates a thorough description of the PhD study at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science. All deviations and elements excluded from the timeline will be presented in their relevant section. An example of this is application for leave of absence which is not part of a standard PhD study. In connection with the various processes, there are several timeframes that the parties must be aware of. Some are required by the ministerial order and some are implemented by the university and the doctoral school. These should not be considered as guidelines but as fixed regulations enforced in order to promote a fast and efficient administrative process. Although this might seem inflexible and stringent, it must be remembered that with the addition of 650 active students it is necessary to support the academic and administrative personnel as much as possible. The handbook will not present procedures in relation to extreme and special cases since these often require special action and assessment from the personnel involved. The material presented throughout the handbook is created and compiled with assistance from the academic staff, administrative employees, supervisors, students, heads of departments etc. However, the authors are solely responsible for the handbook. All inputs for improvements are welcome. 3

5 2 Introduction As the number of enrolled students is increasing so is the need for a complete and precise overview of the PhD study and the doctoral school. This handbook aims to provide such an overview which can be used in all aspects related to the PhD study at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science. The scope of the content covers the different groups affiliated with the PhD study at the Faculty of Engineering and Science. It is the intent of the material to outline the processes affiliated with the different groups. In order to ensure that the different processes are clearly distributed amongst the different groups and that everyone is aware of their tasks, an outline of roles and responsibilities are included in the various sections. The structure and content should enable the material to function as a framework for everyone involved with the PhD studies at the doctoral schools. New employees and PhD students should refer to the material when initially starting their job/study. This enables them to quickly gain an overview of their tasks and responsibilities during the course of a PhD study. The document will undergo continuous editing after its publication. This is to ensure that any changes made in relation to the ministerial orders and internal regulations and processes are reflected in the document. All inputs for such improvements are welcome. The data included in the material is based on rules and regulations from the ministerial order regarding the PhD program, the law regarding universities and internal regulations. As there has been an increased focus on quality assurance in the recent period, it is equally important for existing personnel to familiarize themselves with the current processes and regulations. 4

6 3 The PhD Study In order to create an understanding of the process related to PhD study in Denmark, this section presents a figure that illustrates a standard completed PhD study. Figure 1 Illustration of a standard PhD process at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science 5

7 4 Application for Enrollment Employment The following section presents the different elements related to submitting and processing an application for enrollment/employment as a PhD student. For information regarding specific financing issues, it is recommended to contact the PhD secretariat or the relevant department. As there are different forms of employment and enrollment, there are also different processes preceding the actual enrollment. The specifics related to these forms are explained in the appropriate sections. For all applications, the project description and PhD plan is subject to a scan for plagiarism. 4.1 Standard Requirements For any application, the minimum of required information includes the following material: A completed application for enrollment (only when not applying for a stipend). Copy of master s degree diploma with grade transcripts. Curriculum vitae. Project description. It is imperative that these elements are included in the application form since it is the combination of this information that forms the basis for the assessment committee s decision making. For some forms there are additional requirements. These are described in the appropriate sections. In relation to stipends, any student applying is obligated to use the online registration form provided along with the stipend. Applications submitted by other means are not accepted for assessment. All applications for enrollment, excluding industrial PhD students, are assessed by a committee that is composed of the following members: Potential supervisor for the project. Head of the doctoral program the student is assigned to. The assessment is partially based on the performance of the student, scope of the project plan and the relevance of the master s degree for the project at hand. In order to minimize the chance of deregistration, 6

8 the process of selecting the best candidate is very thorough and the final employment is assessed by the PhD study director. The candidate selected is informed by the doctoral school via an employment/enrollment letter. It is important that all the information provided in the employment/enrollment letter is read and acted upon. 5 Application for Credit Transfer For all credit transfer applications it is imperative that the requirements in relation to the application are adhered to. The application for credit transfer must be forwarded to the doctoral school at least 1 month prior to the requested date of enrolment. As there are many elements required for a credit transfer application, contacting the doctoral school before initiating the process is suggested. At a minimum, any credit transfer application must cover a period of 3 months. The application for credit transfer must contain the following elements: A document clearly stating the number of months that the application for credit transfer covers. The preceding work must have been part of conducting a research project. The number of months applied for must be realistic so that the remaining time for the study corresponds to the remaining workload. In connection with this a clear and precise PhD plan must be forwarded along with the application. If the application contains course credits this must be specified and contain the following elements: Course title. Course provider Number of ECTS credits awarded for completion (certificate of completion is provided along with the application). Type of course (general or project). Course contents. Only courses taken at a PhD level can be included in the application. If a course is attended outside Denmark, documentation of the appropriate academic level must be provided. This can be done by submitting a detailed course description including learning objectives, literature application, titles of lectures etc. An approved PhD plan from the relevant doctoral program must be submitted. In this PhD plan, it must specifically be stated how the credit transfer period has contributed to the study and what parts of the planned study have already been done prior to the requested enrolment. It must clearly be stated what 7

9 parts of the work/time plan have already been done as well as the outcome of this (e.g. results, and publications). Any form of dissemination included in the credit transfer application must be well documented. External Research Environment An external research collaboration must have been completed by the end of the study. If this has been fulfilled prior to enrolment then it must be clearly stated in the application for credit transfer. Alternatively it can be included in the PhD plan. Please note that this is subject to assessment by the PhD study director. All applications are signed by the supervisor and accepted by the student. The PhD plan is a mandatory element in the application for credit transfer. If a credit transfer is granted, a corresponding time frame is deducted from the time allocated to the study. In relation to the application process the roles of the different parties are as follows: Student: Ensures that all material is present when applying for the position. Applies for credit transfer in due time. PhD Study Director: Appoints the potential supervisor. Supervisor/Department: Submits the stipend to the doctoral school for announcement and assesses all applications in conjunction with the remaining assessment committee member. The Dean: All stipends are subject to approval by the Dean. The PhD Secretariat: Publishes the stipend and manages the time frame related to it. Ensures that the student is notified regarding employment and the application for credit transfer. PhD Board: Assesses and approves/rejects credit transfer applications. PhD Study Director: Assess and approves/rejects all applications for enrollment. 8

10 6 Enrollment/Employment As briefly stated there are various forms of enrollment and employment. For each form there are different parameters that are addressed prior to, during and when finalizing the study. The following section will present the different forms and their conditions. For all applicants, it is required that the student holds a Danish master s degree or a degree on a corresponding academic level at the time of enrollment. Applicants from nations using a different grading scale will have their educational level evaluated. This is done according to the data provided by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. If the education does not qualify, the student is notified of this and advised with regard to skill development. All PhD students with teaching responsibilities are expected to complete 840 hours of teaching during the 3-year period 1. For all forms of enrollment/employment it is imperative that the elements in the PhD plan are adhered to. For students that are co-financed by the faculty, it is imperative that the plan is delivered on time. This is due to financial considerations. 6.1 AAU-Employed PhD Students All vacant PhD stipends are publicly announced on the AAU website and on the website of the doctoral school. It is only possible to apply for them through the online application system. Being employed as a PhD student at AAU means that the student is paid a salary by the university and all enrollment costs are covered by the university. They are employed and paid according to the collective agreement regarding academic employees in the state. This means that the students are employed for a 3- year period plus a possible extension due to leave of absence or illness. Information regarding salary and conditions regarding the individual stipends should be directed to the member of the administrative staff responsible for the stipend. Co-financed 2 PhD students must be aware of the fact that their department does not receive the initial DKK 150,000 bonus until the PhD plan is approved. 1 A more specific distribution of these hours must be settled with the individual department. 2 Co-financing refers to the group of PhD students that are partially funded by the university and partially by external sources. The specific details of the financing are agreed upon between the external party and the department in question. 9

11 When employing PhD students the roles are as follows: Student: Must ensure that all information required is present in the application that is done via the online application form. Applications via other channels are rejected. It is not possible to submit further information past the deadline. Department: Ensures that the funding is in order and must forward all information regarding the stipend to the PhD secretariat. The department must establish an assessment committee consisting of 2 members. One member must be the head of the assigned doctoral program. Assessment Committee: The members of the committee must allocate the majority of their time to the top 10% of the applications. All valid applications are provided with a detailed scientific assessment including the following: o Name, title, and background o Description of the material submitted o Assessment of the material submitted containing a conclusion regarding the material Potential Supervisor: Produces the technical content of the advertisement and forwards it to the department. The potential supervisor is assigned as chair of the assessment committee and ensures that all information is provided to the PhD secretariat. PhD Secretariat: Advertises the stipend, answers administrative questions on the stipend and organizes applications. Ensures that all regulations regarding assessment are in order. Provides the PhD study director with information regarding the selected applicant. Following approval from the PhD study director and the Dean, the student is presented with an employment letter. A copy of this letter must be sent to the supervisor, department, head of the doctoral program, the HR department and a trade union representative. It must be ensured that the applicant possesses all the necessary formal qualifications. Finally, the secretariat must enter the student in the electronic registration system. PhD Study Director: Assess and approves/rejects the application and the presented material. The Dean: Assesses and approves/rejects the employment. 6.2 Tuition Waiver Students with tuition waivers will have their tuition and salary covered by a foreign public institution. The enrollment procedure for a student with tuition waived is similar to that of a PhD stipend with the exception of the online application. It is however only possible to be enrolled with a tuition waiver if the funding is arranged by a foreign public institution. The only major difference is the submission of the application form found on the website of the doctoral school. Students with tuition waivers are similarly 10

12 enrolled according to the ministerial order and by-laws of Aalborg University and the doctoral school. It is the responsibility of the department to ensure that the student is aware of this when enrolling her/him. Furthermore, the department is responsible for ensuring that the student is provided with supervision and access to external co-operation so that the requirements in the ministerial order are adhered to. Students with tuition waivers will not be eligible for financial support from the doctoral school for external stays. In alignment with the requirements for employed PhD students, the application from students with tuition waivers must also undergo a scientific assessment prior to enrollment. The requirements for the assessment committee and the contents of the application are similar to those found for PhD stipends. For students with tuition waivers there are no teaching responsibilities. However, the requirement in the ministerial order in relation to knowledge dissemination must be fulfilled. The distribution of responsibilities when enrolling a student with a tuition waiver is as follows: Student: In relation to the application form it is important to ensure that all requested documents are present. If this is not the case the application is subject to rejection. The application for enrollment indicates the requirements to the student. Department: Ensures that all circumstances regarding funding are in order. In conjunction with the potential supervisor, arranges a precise starting time. Responsible for informing the doctoral school and providing all necessary information. The following information must be present in this package: o Application for enrollment, CV, contact information, and educational information. o List of publications if relevant. o Project description. o Financial outline. o Actual starting time for the student. o Assessment of the material provided by the student (done by the assessment committee) PhD Secretariat: Provides the student with the enrollment letter and ensures that the application is assessed by the PhD study director. Following enrollment, the PhD secretariat must enter the student in the electronic administration system and forward the letter of enrollment to the student, the department, supervisor, and the head of program. PhD Study Director: Initially, the PhD Study Director appoints a potential supervisor in order to create an assessment committee. S/he is also responsible for making the final assessment of the application for enrollment. 11

13 6.3 Private Funding It is possible for an individual to apply for enrollment without any form of external funding or a tuition waiver. This means that the student is responsible for all expenditures during the study. This covers everything from enrollment fees, supervising hours, lab hours and so on. These students are able to apply for financial support for stays at external research environments, if the enrollment fee of DKK 25,000 is paid. As a fixed amount stated in the Finance Act, the cost of the PhD study corresponds to DKK 154,800 pr. year (2014 figures. The amount is subject to variation between the different departments and doctoral programs. The individual departments are responsible for determining the final amount 3 ). The roles in relation to enrolling a student who is privately funded correspond to those for enrolling a student with a tuition waiver. Student: In relation to the application form it is important to ensure that all requested documents are present. If this is not the case the application is subject to rejection. The application for enrollment indicates the requirements to the student. Department: Ensures that all circumstances regarding funding are in order and notifies the student of the final costs related to the enrollment. Arranges a precise starting time in conjunction with the potential supervisor. Responsible for informing the doctoral school and providing all necessary information. The following information must be present in this package: o CV, contact information, and educational information. o List of publications if relevant. o Project description. o Actual starting time for the student. o Assessment of the material provided by the student (created by the assessment committee). PhD Secretariat: Provides the student with the enrollment letter and ensures that the application is assessed by the PhD study director. Following enrollment the PhD secretariat must enter the student in electronic administration system and forward the letter of enrollment to the student, the department, supervisor, and the head of program. 3 The amount presented here is only a guideline. For additional information, contacting the individual department is recommended. 12

14 PhD Study Director: Initially, the PhD study director appoints a potential supervisor in order to create an assessment committee. S/he is also responsible for making the final assessment of the application for enrollment. 6.4 Industrial PhD Students Enrollment as an industrial PhD student requires employment in an organization that meets the requirements. The organization in question pays ½ of the student s allocated salary and the remaining half is paid by the Ministry 4. This allows the student to create a PhD study that is relevant to the tasks related to the organization and the daily work of the student. The time is equally distributed between the university and the organization. The students is employed at the organization and enrolled at the doctoral school. Note that students from all countries can be enrolled as an industrial PhD student. However, their place of employment must be geographically located in Denmark. This requirement can also be fulfilled if the student is employed in a Danish branch of an international organization. A member of the organization in which the student is employed must be assigned as co-supervisor. The organization and student in question must initially present an application to the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The organization is responsible for the application to the ministry 5. There are 3 annual deadlines for applications and the ministry processes the applications. The application and the contents are typically created in conjunction with a potential supervisor from the department in question. For specific requirements regarding the application see the website of the ministry. When enrolling an industrial PhD student the roles are as follows: Potential Supervisor/Student: Create the application in line with the requirements stated by the ministry. Organization/Student: Provide the department with the enrollment package. Department: As standard the majority of documents are compiled in the application for funding to the ministry. The department ensures that all necessary information is included in the package to the doctoral school (CV, contact information, background and educational information). For industrial PhD students a grant notification letter from the ministry must also be included. 4 The ministry will only support industrial PhDs for the allocated time, i.e. 3 years. 5 Admission and thereby financial support to the industrial PhD program is administrated by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. There are specific requirements and application dates that are found on the website of the ministry. 13

15 Additionally, the department ensures that the supervisor is notified of the enrollment and provides the doctoral school with the relevant information. PhD Secretariat: Prepares the enrollment papers for the PhD study director. Following approval, the doctoral school forwards the enrollment letter to the student, supervisor, department, the head of program and the ministry. The doctoral school enters the student in the electronic administration system. PhD Study Director: Assigns a potential supervisor for the student and approves the enrollment. For industrial PhD students there are no teaching responsibilities, the demand regarding knowledge dissemination in the ministerial order must be fulfilled. During the enrollment there are other parameters that industrial PhDs must be aware of. This revolves around providing information to the ministry regarding leave of absence and alike. 6.5 PhD Degree without Previous Studies ( 15.2) It is possible to submit a thesis for assessment without having being enrolled as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science. However, there are conditions that must be met in order for this type of material to be accepted for assessment. For additional information please see the Ministerial Order on the PhD program, particularly 15 section 2. At the commencement of the project, the author must have an educational background corresponding to a master s degree (on the level of a Danish master s degree), or an educational background equivalent to this. This must be obtained prior to the commencement of the project. The author must account for the following elements: o Starting point of the project o That the research undertaken by the author is done independently and under supervision o Declaration stating the type of collaboration with other research environments The actual PhD project must be accompanied by the following elements: o Description of the research project including the initial hypotheses. o A declaration concerning courses and how the required 30 ECTS credits have been obtained. This must include the following information: Title, provider, course certificate, relevance for the project, extent. All included courses must be at a PhD level. o Dissemination type, extent and time frame (date). o Co-author statements (if the thesis consists of a collection of papers). 14

16 The PhD study director will assess whether all the required elements are present. If accepted, the PhD study director requests that the relevant department forms an assessment committee that will provide a standard scientific evaluation. It is an essential requirement that the thesis must not have been accepted for assessment at any other university. In line with other PhD projects, all theses submitted in this manner are subject to a check for plagiarism. 7 Supervisor Responsibilities As the supervisor has an essential role throughout the PhD process, it is important to establish the requirements and expectations for the supervisor. In all cases, the PhD study director is responsible for appointing the potential supervisor from among the faculty s full-time academic staff 6. The main supervisor must be at the level of professor or associate professor. Appointment is based on assessment of the documentation regarding the individual staff member s ability to provide supervision. All newly appointed professors and associate professors with no supervision experience are obligated to participate in the annual supervisor course. Only if valid documentation for participation in the Assistant Professor Course is presented are the members excused. As mentioned, the supervisor is engaged in a number of tasks related to the individual PhD study. On a general level, the supervisor has the primary academic responsibility for the organization of the study and must ensure that the formal conditions stated in the ministerial order are adhered to. During the course of the study the supervisor is responsible for the following elements: 1. Provides professional guidance and supervision related to the research and the other aspects of the project. 2. Ensures that the student acquires experience related to the communication of scientific knowledge. 3. Ensures the participation of the student in external and internal research environments. 4. Provides guidance on the composition of courses and ensures that the number of ECTS credits for general and specific courses corresponds to the requirements of the ministerial order. 5. In collaboration with the student, the supervisor must present a PhD plan. The PhD plan must contain information regarding collaboration between the supervisor and the student regarding 6 It is possible for 20% professors and associate professors to act as supervisors as well. 15

17 the elements above. The supervisor and the student must forward an updated PhD study plan 11 months after enrollment. This version must contain the progress made since the first version and what will be undertaken during the remaining time of the study. 6. Every six months the supervisor must ensure that the student is following the PhD plan and declare whether or not this is the case (6-month declaration). 7. Assesses relevance of conference participations, stays abroad and alike. 8. Assesses applications for leave of absence. 9. Approves course activities equivalent to 6 months (30 ECTS credits) - 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 28 hours. 10. At the completion of the study, the supervisor must present the supervisor statement containing information regarding the coursework (type, ECTS credits and place), stays abroad that the student has completed during the course of the study, information regarding knowledge dissemination and external research collaboration. The contents of the outline above are elaborated on in the corresponding sections. 7.1 Time frame All standard enrollments/employments are expected to be completed within the 3-year time frame as stated in the ministerial order. Information related to this is provided to the student in the letter of employment/enrollment. A PhD student wishing to work with a different time frame must thoroughly document the reason. The alternative time frame must be approved by the PhD study director and the main supervisor. Furthermore, the alternative time frame is described in the PhD plan for all aspects of the study and the rate of progress. The alternative time frame is described separately in the letter of employment/enrollment. It is not possible to be employed as a PhD student for more than 3 years (full time studies). A typical time frame used by students is the part-time study. This can be the case when students are employed elsewhere whilst conducting the PhD study 7. Note that this option is also used in different contexts. When the student is employed on a part-time basis the salary corresponds to the hours of employment as a PhD student. In addition to this variation it is possible for a student to apply for a renouncement of the assigned teaching hours. This option entails that the student also renounces the salary corresponding to the duration of the teaching part of the PhD study. In order for this to be accepted, the student must present valid documentation that previous activities compensate for the hours allocated 7 This is not to be confused with industrial PhDs. 16

18 to dissemination. The doctoral school does not provide templates or plans for fixed alternative time frames. Students are encouraged to act within the time frame provided in the ministerial order. The doctoral school will however assess and evaluate the needs and argumentation of those students that would like to use different approach. 7.2 Termination Any student may terminate an employment/enrollment with a written declaration to their assigned department. The department is then responsible for notifying the secretariat at the doctoral school. Termination is normally subject to a 1-month notice. The PhD secretariat is responsible for notifying the HR department. 17

19 8 Plagiarism As mentioned in relation to the different types of enrollment, all material handed in for assessment at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science is checked for plagiarism. The PhD secretariat handles the process of checking the material for plagiarism. This is done by uploading the relevant documents to the Ephorus system. Here the material is checked for a variety of elements which is presented in an automatically generated report once the scan is completed. Should the report indicate possible plagiarism, the PhD study director is notified. The procedure from this point follows the general regulations regarding plagiarism at Aalborg University. These guidelines apply to all students at Aalborg University; this also means all PhD students regardless of their type of enrollment/employment. Individuals who have delivered material for assessment without prior studies are also affected by these regulations. The overall guidelines are found here: In addition to this, the doctoral school also follows the regulations established in the Vancouver Declaration. For more information regarding plagiarism please see the following website: 18

20 9 PhD Plan The following section clarifies the use of the PhD plan and why it is imperative that it is used as a guidance tool as early as 2 months into the study. According to the Ministerial Order on the PhD programme, any enrolled PhD student must provide a study plan within 3 months of enrollment. All experience shows the PhD project takes direction in the beginning of the study which underscores the need for a proper PhD plan. Therefore the doctoral school has decided to conform to the ministerial order by implementing a requirement for a PhD plan after 2 months. The student must then present an updated version after 11 months. The 11-month version surpasses the requirements of the ministerial order but it is found to be highly effective in guiding the students and the direction of their study. In addition to presenting elaborated information on what is presented in the 2- month plan, there are content specific sections in the 11-month version. The circumstances related to the PhD plan are presented in coming sections. 9.1 Delayed PhD Plans All PhD plans should be uploaded within the assigned time frames. Any violation of the time frame is a matter that should not be taken lightly. If a student and supervisor assess that the plan cannot be completed on time, they must contact the doctoral school. Only the PhD study director can provide dispensation in relation to the time frames. 9.2 Paradigm With more than 650 active students it is imperative that the paradigms provided are followed. All PhD plans that do not conform to these are eligible for rejection. This stringent approach is necessary since different versions with different content require additional processing by the administration and the academic personnel. The paradigms are created in order to assist the student and supervisor in including the different mandatory elements. The PhD plan is a tool that is initially used by the PhD student and the supervisor. It is also used by the head of the doctoral program to monitor the progress of the individual students. The PhD plan communicates and concretizes all elements in the study and thus helps to direct the development of the PhD study. The PhD plan also enables the supervisor to assess whether or not the proposed research is manageable within the given time frame. In relation to the 6-month declaration, the PhD plan forms the basis for a positive declaration. If there are serious deviations from the PhD plan, the 6-month declaration is likely to be negative. 19

21 It must be ensured that proper scientific conduct is demonstrated throughout the PhD plan. The PhD plan must not exceed 10 pages (12 point, Times New Roman, 2 m.m margins on all sides). It is important that this standard is kept since the need for precise information is a paramount throughout the PhD study. Before the PhD plan is created, the parties involved must make themselves aware of any recommendations and requirements from the department and doctoral program PhD Plan - 2 months The PhD plan is submitted no later than 2 months after the study commences (enrollment date). It is considered as an early but critical step in the PhD project, for all parties, in terms of the initial scope of the project. The content is somewhat subject to change in the updated 11-month version. PhD plans containing unrealistic time frames or content will be adjusted in the approval process and commented on by the supervisor and the head of program. The main supervisor is responsible for the initial corrections of the PhD plan which is then later assessed by the head of program. It is important that the paradigm provided is followed for form and content. The roles in relation to the 2-month PhD plan are as follows: Student: Creates the PhD plan in conjunction with the supervisor using the paradigm provided. The student must then upload it via the online PhD manager system where it is assessed by the supervisor and head of program. Supervisor: Assists the student in creating the PhD plan and approving it through the online system. Head of program: Assesses, comments on and approves/rejects the PhD plan. All information regarding upload, assessment, comments and dismissal is automatically forwarded to the assigned parties. One secretary from each department is able to access the program. For additional information contact the PhD secretariat Updated PhD plan Compared to the 2-month PhD plan, the updated version is more focused and specific in key areas. The nature of the paradigm for the updated version reflects the change in focus and requirements. Updated PhD plans that do not reflect the required changes are subject to rejection. The updated plan is due no later than 11 months after enrollment. 20

22 The following elements are subject to revision in the updated PhD plan: Co-operation with a foreign research environment. A satisfactory level of communication of research conducted. This can be done via teaching, conference participation or published work in peer reviewed journals. A detailed description of course activities corresponding to a half year of academic work 30 ECTS credits. Thus, the 11-month version must illustrate the academic progress made since the initial plan was submitted. In addition to a thorough description of the progress made, the updated plan must include a description of the work planned for the remaining study period. The roles in relation to creation and approval are similar to those for the 2-month PhD plan. 9.3 PhD Plans and Applications for Credit Transfer There are special conditions for the PhD plan when applying for credit transfer in relation to a PhD study. As the minimum time that can be applied for is three months, the PhD plan is already due when the student is enrolled. The student must therefore submit an approved PhD plan along with the application for credit transfer and enrollment. The requirements for the PhD plan are similar to those for regular PhD plans. 21

23 10 Continuous Evaluation of the Progress The following section clarifies the use of the 6-month declaration. This initiative is implemented in accordance with the ministerial order 10 that requires continuous monitoring of the student s progress Intent and Purpose The 6-month declaration functions as a tool for supervisors and students. It is used to ensure that the student is progressing in accordance with the contents of the PhD plan. Ultimately, use of the 6-month declaration should result in a reduction in the number of deregistered students. The PhD secretariat provides the supervisor with the declaration which is completed in conjunction with the PhD student. Following completion it is sent back to the PhD secretariat where it is screened and added to the data of the PhD student. Declarations with no negative comments or critique are filed and included in statistics and quality assurance. Any declaration containing comments on the study or performance of the student is assessed by the PhD study director. The process is currently (April 2014) undergoing significant changes. Please consult the outlook section for more information regarding this. Should a declaration contain negative information regarding the performance of the student the following options are available: The supervisor suggests a 3-month period to (re)establish satisfactory performance. o The 3 months does not prolong the total amount of time allocated for the PhD study. It is only possible to have 1 reestablishment period. If the performance continues on an unsatisfactory level then the student is deregistered. The supervisor suggests minor alterations in relation to the performance of the student. The supervisor/student arranges a meeting with the PhD study director or the head of program. Following these steps, the PhD study director determines the process. In order to ensure that the 6-month declaration is valuable for all parties, the doctoral school provides guidelines for the procedures forming the basis for the declaration. In addition to incorporating data from the PhD plan, the student provides an oral presentation of the progress made during the last 6 months. This step ensures that all parties are updated on the current progress and potential challenges. The doctoral school recommends that the presentation contain the following elements: Changes to the PhD plan (depending on the current progress). 22

24 The student s own evaluation of the progress made in the last 6 months and the general state of the project. Outcome of course participation. Distribution of hours in relation to the overall workload. The doctoral school recognizes that effective communication is of paramount importance in order to create a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all parties engaged in the individual PhD study. It is therefore strongly recommended that all parties carefully read the guidelines found in the paradigm for the plan and use the 6-month declaration correctly. Although the layout of the 6-month declaration is simple, the document is very important and must not be overlooked. In order to minimize difficulties and incorrect expectations, the following elements should be discussed and commented on in the 6-month declaration: Mutual expectations and their fulfillment during the last 6 months. Difficulties in relation to supervision. Mutual orientation on progress and expected progress. It is the experience of the doctoral school that publications are often a good way to measure progress. A project with frequent publications in reputable venues is typically characteristic of a project that is progressing well. If a period of twelve to eighteen months has not resulted in any publications, the supervisor and the student must carefully review the plan and the overall progress of the project. If the plan seriously deviates from the current progress of the project, the doctoral school is contacted in order to arrange a meeting with the PhD study director. A supervisor is always able to send in a 6 month declaration if significant changes occur. The distribution of roles in relation to the 6-month declaration is as follows: Student: Presents current progress to the main supervisor; acknowledges the statement created by the supervisor. Supervisor: Completes the form which must be acknowledged and signed by the student. PhD Secretariat: Distributes the 6-month declaration (2 fixed dates every year) and if necessary informs the student of the PhD study director s decision. This is only done in the cases where the supervisor/student has presented a declaration containing suggestions for alterations or requesting a meeting. 23

25 PhD Study Director: If a supervisor provides a negative 6-month declaration it is the responsibility of the PhD study director to determine the further process Outlook As of early 2014 the 6 month declaration has undergone significant changes. The distribution is now handled electronically. Supervisors and students must process the declaration electronically. Declarations with a negative content are forwarded to the PhD secretariat that takes action accordingly. When this is fully implemented the template is renamed to progress report State of Affairs Students that are unsatisfied with their progress, supervision or any other aspect related to their PhD study can provide a state of affairs declaration. The document is intended as an outlet for any issues related to the PhD study that the student may experience at any given time. There is no time frame for this declaration; students may hand it in at any time. This The form and content of the template allows students to address all issues related to their PhD study. It is expected that the content will provide the doctoral school with information regarding potential issues that could have gone unnoticed. The roles in relation to the progress report are as follows: Student: Fill outs the form and forwards it to the PhD secretariat. PhD Secretariat: Depending on the nature of the content, the secretariat is responsible for various tasks. If a meeting is requested the secretariat must ensure that all parties are notified of this request and distribute the information back to the student. If no action is required the secretariat is responsible for filing the information provided and using it for statistics and quality assurance. PhD Study Director: Evaluates the information provided in the form only if it is requested by the student. 24

26 11 PhD Courses at AAU The following section contains information regarding PhD courses and their role in the PhD study. The information primarily revolves around the PhD courses held at AAU. The information presents the legal requirements and regulations along with a clarification of how PhD courses at AAU are handled. All AAU PhD courses related to the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science and the Doctoral School in Medicine, Biomedical Science and Technology are found here: Rules and Regulations As stated in the ministerial order, PhD students are obligated to obtain approximately 30 ECTS credits from participation in relevant PhD courses; 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 28 hours. The ECTS credits are primarily obtained via general and project specific PhD courses. The heads of the doctoral programs and the PhD boards collaboratively decide which courses are published. PhD students are always able to suggest courses to the head of the program. A total of 6 ECTS credits may be obtained via conference participation and similar activities. It is required that the participation is well documented and that the documentation is signed by the supervisor. The doctoral school finds it essential to offer courses relevant for the PhD students with the appropriate academic content. Furthermore, it is important that the different courses and their content reflect trends within their respective fields. In order to ensure this, the courses are presented by members of the academic staff and should therefore promote new ideas and trends 8. This composition makes for an innovative and dynamic course catalogue. In addition to this composition, the enrolled PhD students are encouraged to make suggestions for courses. This input will support the relevance of courses in relation to projects of the individual students and trends in the different academic fields. Students submitting an application for enrollment/employment can apply for credit transfer in relation to the required amount of coursework (840 hours) prior to enrollment. It is not required that the applicant has obtained the full amount of ECTS credits in order to apply for credit transfer. It is a requirement that the application for credit transfer contains a minimum of 10 ECTS credits and is submitted prior to enrollment. An application for credit transfer must cover a period of no less than 3 months. On the basis of a recommendation from the PhD study director, the PhD board is responsible for approving credit transfer applications. 8 Some courses are taught by guest lecturers who can be experts from the industry, other universities and the like. 25

27 In all cases, an approved credit transfer will reduce the overall time frame of the PhD study by the number of working hours that the credit transfer accounts for. Credit transfer in this relation can only be granted for courses on a PhD level. In some cases, conference participation can be considered equivalent to course activities. This necessitates that the PhD student produce a thorough report from the conference. As mentioned above, this form can account for a maximum of 6 ECTS credits of the total 30. All applications for financial support in relation to courses and conference participation are submitted to the student s department Course Registration at AAU All administration in relation to courses is handled electronically by the PhD secretariat via In addition to listing the courses for the two doctoral schools, the Moodle website contains the following information: Learning objectives. Course content requirements. Course fee if any. Course holder and lecturers. Practical information regarding time, place etc. Deadlines. All PhD students are informed of the course site in their letter of employment/enrollment and the PhD secretariat encourages students to check back regularly to keep updated with any course alterations. All information provided by course holders is communicated by the PhD secretariat or the course holder on Due to an increase in no-shows the doctoral school has been forced to implement a fee for students failing to show up or deregister outside the time frame. All deregistration is done via which is possible up until 21 days prior to the course start. Students are however able to deregister up until 14 days prior to the course start. If a student wishes to deregister after the 21 days, the doctoral school must be contacted. Students failing to deregister or who are absent at the course start will be charged a fee of DKK The fee is usually paid by the department to which the student belongs. The department is entitled to deduct the 5000 from the annual grant allocated to the students. 26

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