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Information for the evaluation committee

Members of an evaluation Committee evaluate whether a PhD thesis is worthy of a public defence.

This is a practical guide for members of an evaluation committee. The guide is based on the rules and regulations for the degree of PhD at the University of Oslo.

Important time frames

  • Recommendation: You have 3 months to submit a recommendation.
  • Revision of a submitted thesis: You must present your final recommendation within 1 month after a candidate has handed in a revision of a submitted thesis.
  • Earliest date for trial lecture/public defence is 6 weeks after the recommendation has been approved by the faculty.

Committee composition

The committee consists of 3 members: 1st and 2nd opponent, and a committee chair who administers the committee’s work.

The evaluation committee shall normally consist of 3 members and shall be composed so that:

  • both genders are represented
  • two members of the committee have no association with the University of Oslo and have, as a rule, no association with Oslo Univeristy Hospital and Akershus University Hospital
  • at least one of the members has no association with Norwegian institutions
  • all members have a doctoral degree or equivalent academic qualifications
  • a member is from an institution abroad
  • a member is from an institution other than UiO
  • one of the committee members must, as a rule, be employed (as associate professor or professor) at the Faculty of Medicine, UiO, and shall be the committee chair 
  • the candidate’s co-author(s) and/or previous and current supervisor(s) cannot sit on the committee
  • committee members shall normally not have had any joint works with the candidate’s supervisors during the last 5 years.

As member of a committee you must sign a declaration of impartiality form. The principal supervisor will contact you regarding this matter and will hand in the form to the faculty along with the evaluation committee proposal. See information for the principal supervisor for more on evaluation committee and impartiality requirements.

From the time the committee is appointed until the candidate has taken the PhD examination there should be no contact between the supervisors and committee members regarding the candidate or the candidate's work.

The candidate and committee members should not have any contact before the trial lecture and public defence.


Opponents should ask general as well as more specific questions about the research area, questions about form and methods used and questions relating to the results found in the thesis.

The evaluation committee decides which of its members are to take the roles of first and second opponent respectively.

  • 1st opponent has 75 minutes to question the candidate at the public defence.
  • 2nd opponent has 60 minutes to question the candidate at the public defence.

Committee chair

As committee chair you must be employed at the faculty. You are responsible for initiating the committee’s evaluation work.

You coordinate the work, act as a link between the committee and the faculty, and should also compile and submit the committee’s recommendation. See Supplementary rules for information about the committee’s recommendation.

Evaluation of the thesis

The recommendation is your written report of the thesis. It must be written in the same language as the thesis. You have 3 months in which to submit your recommendation. If you should need more time you must submit a written application to the administrative officer in charge explaining the delay.


You should make sure the project has all necessary approvals, and should especially assess the ethical aspects of the project in light of its approvals.

Information about approvals.

Positive recommendation

The following information must be enclosed with the recommendation if it is a positive recommendation:

  • Who will act as 1st and 2nd opponent.
  • Topic for the trial lecture.
  • Suggestions for alternative dates for the trial lecture and public defence.

The recommendation must be signed by all the committee members. The committee chair sends the recommendation by e-mail to with the administrative officer in charge as copy recipient of the e-mail.

The public defence can take place at the earliest 6 weeks after the recommendation has been found worthy of defence by the faculty.

Revision of a submitted thesis

See Section 14.2 of the Regulations for the degree of PhD at the University of Oslo and the faculty’s Supplementary rules for the degree for information on minor revision of a thesis.

Rejection of a thesis

A thesis must be rejected if you do not find the thesis worthy of defence according to the requirements.

A candidate can re-submit a thesis at the earliest six months after the thesis was rejected.

Trial lecture and public defence

The candidate is ready for the trial lecture and public defence after the the dean has found the thesis worthy of defence. The committee members should suggest dates for the trial lecture and public defence. The dates, however, are not binding before they have been approved by the dean.

You must be present at the trial lecture and public defence. If one of you should be prevented from coming, the faculty will appoint a substitute member.

After the PhD examination you must sign attestation forms confirming whether the trial lecture and public defence are approved or not.

Trial lecture

The trial lecture is an independent part of the PhD examination and aims to test the candidate's ability to acquire knowledge and to impart this knowledge in a lecture setting. The lecture is normally given so that students, people without special knowledge and the informed public can benefit from it. The topic should not give the candidatate any possibility to refer to his/her own PhD work, nor should it aim to clarify any weak points in the thesis. The topic of the trial lecture should not be formulated as a question.

The title of the trial lecture will be announced to the candidate 10 working days before the trial lecture.

The trial lecture lasts 45 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes for any questions and comments after the lecture.

The evaluation committee suggests a topic for the trial lecture on the form Title of the trial lecture (docx).

Travel expenses, hotels and fees

You must book your own tickets and hotel. Expenses will be reimbursed after the public defence. You will also get your fees after the defence.

As soon as the recommendation is approved by the dean you will get an e-mail with information about booking your trip and about the fees.

Rules and regulations


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Published Apr. 22, 2015 8:22 AM - Last modified Dec. 15, 2020 9:47 AM