6. Evaluation of the dissertation

Involvement of independent experts reduces bias and dependency

  • To ensure the quality of the doctoral process, an evaluation of the dissertation according to quality standards valid in the respective scientific community has to be included, which is independent of the supervision. An expert opinion should be prepared by an external expert.
    • “The assessment committee should consist of established and active scientists who are without direct connection to the milieu where the PhD was performed, and without any conflict of interest, and including individuals from another institution” (BR7.3) (ORPHEUS & AMSE 2016: 14).
  • The separation of the supervision and assessment of the dissertation serves quality assurance purposes.
    • "To avoid conflict of interest the supervisor should not be a member of the assessment committee” (BR7.4) (ORPHEUS & AMSE 2016: 14).
  • A distribution group, comprised for example of professors and postdocs of an institute/program, comment on the dissertation and make recommendations. This practice contributes to a harmonization of the evaluation criteria and standards.
  • The PhD defense is open to the public. (The respective ordinance on obtaining a doctoral degree applies.)
    • “The doctorate is examined by a panel of international experts. [...] The defence is held [...] by two examiners, one external to the University and one internal. The examiners must be independent of the candidate and have had no involvement in the project or collaborate with the supervisor or candidate to ensure there is no conflict of interest. The supervisor may be present but only if permitted to be there by the candidate” (LERU 2016: 12).