Information on thesis defences

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Information on thesis defences

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The regulations governing doctoral thesis defences are Royal Decree 99/2011, of 28 January, which regulates doctoral studies; the Revised Text of the UGR Regulations on Official Doctoral Studies and Doctoral Degree Certificates (BOUGR No. 75, of 31 October 2013); Law 39/2015, of 1 October, on the Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations, and Law 40/2015, of 1 October, on the Legal Framework governing Public Administrations.

Consider the following as the most relevant rules to follow for any thesis defences:

1. Doctoral thesis defences must be convened by the Secretary of the board of examiners on behalf of the Chairperson.

2. The Secretary of the board of examiners will communicate the date of the thesis defence to the International School for Postgraduate Studies (EIP) through the “DEPÓSITO DE TESIS” (Thesis submission) application in their “Acceso identificado” Account. The thesis defence must be scheduled no sooner than 15 days nor later than 3 months after obtaining the authorisation from the management committee of the corresponding Doctoral School. In addition, the date must be announced at least 15 calendar days before the defence. Upon receipt of this communication, the EIP will prepare the required documentation for the defence. When the documentation is available, the Secretary of the board will be notified via email so that they can access the documents through the “DEPÓSITO DE TESIS” (Thesis submission) application.

3. On behalf of the Secretary of the board, the EIP will inform the university community of the date, place and time of the doctoral thesis public defence. This is the only communication that the university community will receive.

4. The board of examiners must comply with the requirements established in Article 14.2 of Royal Decree 99/2011, i.e. the majority of board members must be external to the University of Granada and the institutions collaborating in the doctoral programme. The Secretary of the board of examiners must be a member of the permanent academic staff with doctorates of the University of Granada. In the event of having to resort to substitutes and if these were not available (this circumstance must be explained in the doctoral thesis evaluation report), the provisions of Articles 15 to 18 of Law 40/2015, of 1 October, on the Legal Rules governing the Public Sector for collegiate bodies will apply, specifically: In order for the body to be validly established for the purposes of holding sessions, deliberating and reaching agreements, the Chairperson and Secretary or their substitutes must be present, in person or remotely, as well as at least half of the members of the body.

5. The provisions of Articles 23 and 24 of Law 40/2015 will apply to the members of the board of examiners. These Articles set out the situations in which members must refrain from participating in the procedure, especially if such situations involve the thesis author or supervisors. More specifically, a board proposal will not be accepted if any of the suggested members is related by blood or marriage to the thesis author or has a de facto relationship with them, as envisaged in Law 40/2015 (Advisory Council for Doctoral Schools [CAED] agreement of 14 December 2020 on family relationships or blood relations in boards of examiners).

6. The defence shall be conducted as follows:

• Once the doctoral student has defended the thesis, the board of examiners, in a first session, will grade the doctoral thesis as FAIL, PASS, VERY GOOD or EXCELLENT.
• After examining the required documentation for the thesis defence, the board of examiners will award, if appropriate, the “International Doctorate” Mention. If so, the Secretary of the board will complete and sign the “International Doctorate” Mention certificate for the corresponding doctoral degree certificate.
• FOnce the thesis defence has been completed, the decision to award the Cum Laude Mention will be voted in a separate and secret session, provided that the thesis has obtained the grade “EXCELLENT”. The protocol to be followed is described at the following link: https://escuelaposgrado.ugr.es/doctorado/cumlaudeonline/index. The counting of votes will take place at a separate session in the presence of the Secretary and a civil servant of the International School for Postgraduate Studies (EIP). The Secretary will complete, if appropriate, the Cum Laude certificate reflecting the result. The Cum Laude Mention will only be awarded if the vote is unanimous.

The Secretary will find the required documentation for the thesis defence on the “DEPÓSITO DE TESIS” (Thesis submission) application. This documentation will consist of:

1. A copy of the thesis, which must incorporate all quality publications containing part of the thesis results and, if appropriate, the documents relating to the “International Doctorate” Mention.
2. Doctoral student's activity document, in compliance with the provisions of Article 14.3 of Royal Decree 99/2011. This document will not result in a quantitative grade, but rather serve as a qualitative evaluation instrument that will complement the assessment of the doctoral thesis.
3. Curriculum of the doctoral student.
4. A copy of the certificate of thesis defence evaluation. The Secretary will indicate the grade awarded to the doctoral thesis, and all the members of the board of examiners and the doctoral student will sign the certificate of thesis defence evaluation. All these signatures must be either electronic or handwritten. Different types of signatures will not be accepted on the same document.
5. Doctoral thesis evaluation report form. This report must be written and signed by the Secretary of the board and must include a detailed description of everything that takes place during the defence, as well as a joint evaluation by the board.
6. Standard certificate for the award of the “International Doctorate” Mention.

Recommended protocol for doctoral thesis defences

At its meeting of 19 May 2020, the Advisory Council for Doctoral Schools (CAED) approved a recommendation for the protocol on doctoral thesis defences addressed to the Chairperson and Secretary of boards of examiners. The aim of this recommendation is to establish a relatively uniform system for the organisation of doctoral thesis defences. These are not compulsory rules, but guidelines that the board of examiners is advised to follow. The recommendation reads as follows:

Seating placement of board members for face-to-face defences

The Chairperson (1) will sit in the middle and will have the Secretary (2) on his far left. The three other members will sit according to the following two general criteria of university regulations, irrespective of the administrative number assigned to them as members of the board. They must be seated first according to rank and then seniority: the youngest and lowest-ranked member (3) on the far right; the next youngest and highest-ranked member (4), between the Chairperson and the Secretary; and the oldest and highest-ranked member (5), between the Chairperson and the other member. This arrangement can be seen in the following table:

(3) Member (5) Member (1) Chairperson (4) Member (2) Secretary

1st part of the session: presentation

1. The Chairperson opens the session by announcing the title of the doctoral thesis and the name of the doctoral candidate.

2. The Chairperson introduces the members of the board.

3. The Chairperson indicates that, in compliance with Spanish legislation, the defence will consist of two consecutive parts: presentation of the thesis (between 40 and 60 minutes) and discussion with the board of examiners. Subsequently, the board will deliberate on the grade to be awarded to the thesis and, if appropriate, an additional session will be held to vote on the award of the Cum Laude Mention.

4. The Chairperson gives the floor to the doctoral candidate, pointing out that if the student has applied for the “International Doctorate” Mention, they must use a language other than any of the official languages of Spain at some point in their presentation.

2nd part of the session: discussion with the board of examiners

5. The Chairperson will call for questions from the board members in the following order: first from the Secretary, then from the member in position 3, next from the member in position 4 and subsequently from the member in position 5. The Chairperson will speak last.

6. At the discretion of the Chairperson, the doctoral candidate will respond to each board member in sequential order or make a general response at the end of all the interventions.

7. In this discussion, the Chairperson may allow the board members to speak out of turn, if appropriate, to enrich the debate with the doctoral candidate.

8. At the end of the discussion between the board and the doctoral candidate, the Chairperson will give the floor to the thesis supervisor(s) in case they wish to make any comments.

9. Finally, the Chairperson will ask if any doctor in the room wants to speak.

10. The session is closed for deliberation. The audience must leave the room.

3rd part of the session

11. The session is resumed by the Secretary, and the Chairperson announces the grade awarded to the doctoral thesis. The grade may be Fail, Pass, Very Good or Excellent.

12. If the thesis is graded as Excellent, the doctoral candidate will be eligible for the Cum Laude Mention, which qualifies to compete for the Outstanding Doctorate Award of the University of Granada. The Cum Laude Mention is awarded by secret ballot through the procedure designed for this purpose by the International School for Postgraduate Studies (EIP). The result will not be known until 24 hours after the thesis defence. Under no circumstances should the Chairperson make any statement on the evaluation of the board of examiners with regard to the Cum Laude Mention.

END OF THE DEFENCE

STEPS AFTER THE DEFENCE

Once the defence has finished, the Secretary will complete the documentation and send it to the EIP via email to --LOGIN--3205359acfc1f417fcb6c57fa1af53faugr[dot]es , in accordance with the terms indicated in the regulations.

If the thesis is unanimously graded as Excellent, the EIP will send an email to the members of the board to proceed to the secret ballot for the award of the Cum Laude Mention. This email will contain a link to access the voting process. The CAED agreement of 15 June 2020 states the following in point 3. 7:

7. Once the corresponding Doctoral School has received the doctoral thesis evaluation report, and provided that the thesis has been unanimously graded as Excellent, the Doctoral School will send an email to each member of the board of examiners indicating the URL and the corresponding credentials (passwords) to access the form to vote for the award of the Cum Laude Mention. The Doctoral School will disable the form 24 hours after the email has been sent. Each member of the board of examiners may vote only once and must confirm their vote. If a member does not vote before the form is disabled, the Cum Laude Mention will not be awarded. The Secretary will ensure that all board members have received the message and will report any incident to the Doctoral School (…)..

Hence, the Secretary is responsible for ensuring that all board members have received the email. They have 24 hours to vote and if they fail to do so, their vote will be considered as “blank”. It is therefore essential that all members are aware of the voting process to ensure that an oversight does not prevent the awarding of the Cum Laude Mention (if applicable).

If you have any problems, please contact --LOGIN--3205359acfc1f417fcb6c57fa1af53faugr[dot]es

Before sending out the voting emails, the EIP will notify the Secretary for information purposes.

Additional information

Once the doctoral degree has been awarded, the doctoral student must access the TESEO Doctoral Thesis Database (link) and complete the corresponding form following the instructions indicated on the website.