Requirements for the doctoral dissertation’s form, content and language

The dissertation most often comprises a collection of articles. The articles must have been accepted for publication prior to the submission of the dissertation. In addition, the dissertation must contain a compressed account in which the author presents and discusses the research results that have been achieved. The compressed account must include a section that specifically explains how the author believes he or she has contributed substantially to the advancement of science with his or her dissertation. This section must have its own heading in the dissertation’s table of contents.

Articles origination from the candidate’s own or co-authored articles from another person’s PhD thesis and similar works that have formed a basis for conferring an academic degree will not be taken into account in relation to the assessment of a higher doctoral dissertation. If such articles have a scientific relevance for the higher doctoral dissertation they should be enclosed as a separate file in the submitted material.

The doctoral dissertation can also be a monograph. This must include a section that specifically explains how the author believes he or she has contributed substantially to the advancement of science with the dissertation. This section must have its own heading in the dissertation’s table of contents.

The compressed account

The compressed account must:

  • Summarise the results achieved.
  • Discuss the methods used in the original articles.
  • Place the results and methods in relation to relevant international literature in the area.

If previously assessed work is enclosed by the submission of the higher doctoral dissertation, the candidate must in compressed account also give an account for the new findings achieved in relation to the ones previously assessed.

The compressed account should be structured as follows:

  • Introduction
    This section should provide an account of the works on which the dissertation is based, for example in the following way:
    • “Works A and B have formed part of (title and year of article).
    • "Works C and D are based on results which form the basis for my articles (title of e.g. PhD dissertation, year)."
    • “The other works E and F or the results forming part thereof, have not previously been submitted with a view to conferral of an academic degree.
  • Presentation and discussion of the methodologies used.
  • Presentation and discussion of the results achieved.
  • Description of how the author believes he or she has contributed substantially to the advancement of science with the dissertation.
  • Conclusion.

Content - additional information

Health accepts dissertations written in Danish or English. Other languages, including Norwegian and Swedish, may be approved by the Higher Doctoral Dissertation Committee in individual cases.

The requirements for the content of a doctoral dissertation and its academic level are determined in the ministerial order (sections 3 and 5). Please refer to Rules and documentation. Within the framework of the ministerial order, Health has determined the following specific requirements regarding content:

  • If the doctoral dissertation consists of a collection of articles and a compressed account, the compressed account must be written by the higher doctoral candidate alone. The compressed account may take the form of a published summary article with the higher doctoral candidate as the sole author. A section describing how the author believes he or she has contributed substantially to the advancement of science with the dissertation should be included.
  • As a rule, general review articles and meta-analyses cannot be included in a doctoral dissertation without the specific acceptance of the Higher Doctoral Dissertation Committee.
  • Articles from a PhD dissertation are not included in the assessment of the doctoral dissertation but can be included in an overview of the underlying work.
  • Patents cannot be part of a doctoral dissertation, as neither peer review nor academic, scientific evaluation is undertaken in this context.

Responsible conduct of research

A doctoral dissertation must take into account and comply with Aarhus University’s policy for responsible conduct of research, the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and the standards of responsible research practice at Health (PDF in Danish). Please refer to Rules and documentation.