Doctoral education

Instructions for opponents (School of Engineering)

Here are instructions for the opponents at the School of Engineering. An opponent is an expert, appointed by the School, who is suitably qualified in the topic of the doctoral thesis. The opponent must hold a doctor’s degree.

A doctoral thesis must contain new scientific findings. An approved doctoral doctoral thesis may be:

  1. A single study, i.e. a monograph that is thoroughly examined.
  2. An article doctoral thesis: the examination is directed at the summary part and the aggregate of the doctoral thesis since the articles have already undergone peer review.
  3. Some other work that meets corresponding scientific criteria.

Statement of the opponent

The opponent(s) is (are) requested to give a 1-2 page written statement to the school concerning the doctoral thesis and its defence no later than two weeks after the public defence. On receipt of the statement, the Doctoral Programme Committee decides on the approval of the doctoral thesis.

Evaluation of doctoral thesis

The doctoral thesis is examined at a public defence. When examining the doctoral doctoral thesis, the opponent shall take into account the doctoral thesis in itself as well as merits shown by the candidate in the public defence. On the basis of both of these, the opponent will propose whether the doctoral thesis should be accepted “Pass” (or rejected “Fail”). A demand for failing the doctoral thesis must be made in writing and reasons must be given.

Tasks of an opponent

The opponent’s task is to establish whether the doctoral thesis fulfils general quality requirements. Therefore, particular attention should be paid to the following aspects:

  1. A doctoral thesis must contain new scientific findings in its area of research.
  2. Research methods and new research findings are to be presented clearly and they should withstand the scrutiny appropriate for scientific research.
  3. The candidate’s own contribution to the research shall be sufficient and clearly stated.
  4. A doctoral thesis must follow good scientific practice and ethically sustainable principles.

In her/his final statement on a doctoral thesis, the opponent should estimate whether the candidate's contribution to the doctoral thesis has been sufficient. The opponent should approach monograph, article doctoral thesis and some other work that meets corresponding scientific criteria as a whole, regardless of the fact that separate articles have been accepted for publication in refereed series. When examining a doctoral thesis, the opponent may compare it against the standard of the doctoral thesiss accepted in his/her own university.

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