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PhD Examination and Thesis

Admission to candidacy (detailed instructions attached below)

The graduate school requires all students to be admitted to candidacy by the end of the third year. Students who have completed their course requirements with satisfactory grades, pass the qualifying seminars, and have submitted an acceptable dissertation final draft are recommended for admission to candidacy. The time line for admission to candidacy is the following:

  • By end of June students and supervisors must propose the names of two readers (referees) for peer review of the thesis. The referees must be professors/staff researchers outside of Pavia University who had no involvement with the student’s research and who can be completely objective in his/her evaluation of the dissertation. The referees are approved by the Graduate School Board by mid-July.
  • By September 15th students must submit a final draft of their dissertation which is sent, for peer review, to the two external referees. The reviewers should send a written report on the dissertation draft within about one month. The reports should comment on the suitability of the dissertation for admission to the final exam (dissertation defense). The report may contain criticism, remarks, requirements or suggestions for improving the thesis, which the student has to implement before submitting the final version of the thesis.
  • In case of major problems, the referees may ask to postpone the final exam by a period of no more than 6 months. In this case, a new version of the thesis must be resubmitted to the referees after the extension period.
  • By September 15th students must submit the following documents to the Graduate Registrar, Mrs. Anna Rita Mangia, and to the Coordinator - the documents must be submitted in electronic form via email containing a link to a google drive folder:

- the PhD thesis (provisional version);

- a summary of the thesis;

- a list of publications;

- a Research and Academic Performance Report, please use the attached template.

  • On the basis of the submitted documents, by September 30th the Graduate School Board deliberates admission of the PhD students to the final defense. This is still subject to positive recommendation by the external reviewers, whose reports are typically received by the Coordinator in October.
  • Detailed instruction for registering to the final exam are sent by the University PhD Office. Typically, students must register in the period from October 1st to 15th.
  • After received the referee reports, students must implement the required changes. The final version of the thesis must be uploaded in the University repository through the ESSE3 system at least 20 days before the date of the final exam. The uploaded version of the thesis must be validated by the supervisor.
  • If some parts of the thesis should be kept confidential from some time, it is possible to request an embargo period of 18 months. In this case, the thesis is published after the embargo period.
  • The Graduate School has specific rules about printing the dissertation, see attachment below. Typically the Graduate School requires at least four bound copies of the dissertation- One for the Science Library, three for the members of the Defense Committee.

Forming a dissertation defense committee

The University of Pavia requires a 3-member faculty committee for the dissertation defense and must be approved by the Graduate School Board. Typically, the Dissertation Committee should be made up by one tenured faculty member of the Physics Department of the University of Pavia and by two outside members who are tenured faculty outside of Pavia who have had no involvement with the student’s research and who can be completely objective in their evaluation of the student’s dissertation defense. The student’s adviser cannot be a member of the committee. These rules are superseded when the dissertation defense is under the aegis of an international co-tutorship agreement between our graduate school and a graduate school abroad.

Dissertation defense

Once the Defense Committee is chosen and approved by the Graduate School Board, it is the Pavia Faculty member’s responsibility to set the date, time and place for the defense at a time convenient to all members of the Committee. Typically the final exams are held in the month of January.

Copies of the dissertation should be given to the Defense Committee member at least one month before the exam. The dissertation defense shall consist of two consecutive parts. The first part be an oral presentation of approximatively 30-45 minutes in length. An official announcement will appear in the departmental Seminar Notices. The second part will consist of detailed questioning of the candidate by the Defense Committee. The whole exam is open to the public.

The examination process is rigorous. It ensures that candidates meet the highest standards of scholarship and that the degrees conferred by our Graduate School are of the highest quality. The student can either pass or fail in the final exam. By national regulations, it is not possible to repeat the exam in case of failure. The best way to avoid risks is (1) to write a high-quality thesis, with core results by the candidate that are published or approved for publication, (2) to receive favorable reports by the reviewers, and to implement carefully their suggestions, (3) to deliver a clear and convincing presentation at the final exam.

FileDescriptionFile sizeLast modified
Download this file (Final three-year report.doc)Final three-year report.docTemplate for final three-year report 38 Kb06/19/18 10:08
Download this file (Guidelines for printing PhD thesis.doc)Guidelines for printing PhD thesis.docGuidelines for printing the PhD thesis45 Kb06/19/18 10:12
Download this file (sample_cover_inter.doc)sample_cover_inter.docTemplate of PhD thesis cover, internal pages148 Kb06/19/18 10:10
Download this file (sample_cover_outer.doc)sample_cover_outer.docTemplate of PhD thesis cover, external pages197 Kb06/19/18 10:10
Download this file (Tempistiche tesi PhD dal ciclo 31.doc)Tempistiche tesi PhD dal ciclo 31.docTiming and guidelines for delivering the PhD thesis (in Italian)44 Kb06/19/18 10:13
Download this file (Thesis LaTex template not compulsory.doc)Thesis LaTex template not compulsory.docTemplate LaTex for PhD thesis, one of many, not compulsory34 Kb06/19/18 10:44