Doctoral education

Instructions for opponents (School of Electrical Engineering)

Guidelines for opponents of public examinations of doctoral theses in the School of Electrical Engineering

Evaluation process of the doctoral thesis

The examination of the thesis starts with the pre-examination of the thesis: two independent pre-examiners will give their statements on the thesis. Based on these statements, the doctoral programme committee will decide on granting permisson for public defense either directly or after minor or major revisions, depending on the statements. 

Finally the thesis will be examined at a public examination/defence by the opponent(s). Read more about the proceedings at the public examination.

The final acceptance of the thesis is decided by the Doctoral Programme Committee of the School of Electrical Engineering based on the statements by the pre-examiners and opponent(s).

Statement of the opponent

The opponent(s) is (are) requested to give a 1-2 pages written statement to the school concerning the thesis and its defence as soon as possible but no later than two weeks after the public defence.

A small remuneration will be paid to the opponent after the public defence is held. The University also covers the travel and accommodation costs as a result of acting as the opponent.

General quality requirements set for theses at Aalto University

  1. A doctoral thesis shall contain new scientific knowledge in the field it represents.
  2. The doctoral thesis must present the new results clearly and in a manner meeting the criteria set for scientific texts.
  3. The independent contribution to the research shall be sufficient and clearly demonstrable.
  4. The research methods used shall fulfil the criteria set for scientific research.
  5. A doctoral thesis shall conform to the principles of responsible conduct of research and adhere to ethically sustainable principles.

Guidelines for evaluating the thesis

An approved doctoral thesis may be:

  1. A monograph
  2. An article-based doctoral thesis

When examining the doctoral thesis, the opponent shall take into account the thesis as well as merits shown by the candidate in the public defence, and on the basis of both of these, the opponent will propose whether the thesis be accepted or not.

  1. The theses at the Aalto University, School of Electrical Engineering are evaluated only as pass or fail. No grade is given.
  2. When examining a doctoral thesis, the opponent may compare it against the standard of the theses accepted in their own university.
  3. The opponent is to see in their statement of 1-2 pages whether the thesis fulfills the general quality requirements set for theses giving particular attention to the general quality requirements for theses at Aalto University (presented above).
  4. The opponent is asked to propose the acceptance of the thesis in their statement. A demand of failing the thesis must be made in writing and reasons must be given.
  5. If the thesis is of particular scientific merit, particularly significant in its field of research and has outstanding international significance, the opponent should propose it to be awarded with the annual thesis award. In this case the thesis should be among the top 10 % of its field and fulfill the following requirements:
  • the thesis has particular scientific merits
  • the results are exceptionally significant in the research field
  • the articles in a article-based thesis have been published in international scientific series of high standard, or in exceptional cases in other equivalent publication fora subject to peer review
  • the student has a significant independent contribution in obtaining the results
  • the manner of representation is clear and the language and reference practice used are first-rate
  • the thesis has been defended excellently in the public examination.
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