The assessment committee's tasks and the assessment

The committee's academic task

The committee is tasked with submitting an academically reasoned recommendation as to whether the dissertation is found suitable for defense with a view to obtaining the higher doctoral degree. It is therefore expected that the committee in its recommendation critically assesses the dissertation’s methodology and results, and whether the author possesses “considerable scientific insight and maturity” and considers whether the author has “substantially contributed to the advancement of science with the dissertation” (Ministerial order 3(2)).

If the higher doctoral dissertation consists of a collection of articles, then both the individual articles and the compressed account must be reviewed individually, and a critical approach should be taken to methodologies used and results as well as the individual article's contribution to science. Articles which have previously made a basis for conferring an academic degree – e.g. articles from a PhD dissertation – can not be included in the assessment of the higher doctoral dissertation.

Furthermore, in its recommendation the committee must also assess whether the higher doctoral candidate has demonstrated independence in relation to his or her previous research environment and in this way demonstrated academic independence and maturity.

The work of the assessment committee is described in further detail in the guidelines for assessment committees for higher doctoral dissertations at Health (PDF in Danish). The committee must prepare a reasoned and written recommendation which must be able to form the basis for the Higher Doctoral Dissertation Committee's decision on whether the dissertation can/cannot be accepted for defence. If the administration finds formal shortcomings or the Higher Doctoral Dissertation Committee finds the content of the recommendation insufficient, it can be returned to the assessment committee for revision.

When the final recommendation is available, it must immediately be sent to the author. If the Higher Doctoral Dissertation Committee recommends the dissertation for defence, the author together with the assessment committee should find a date for the defence as far as possible within two weeks. Following this, preparations for the holding of the defence can begin.

In the case of a negative or not unanimous recommendation, the author has the opportunity to submit his/her own comments or to withdraw the dissertation from further consideration within a three-week deadline.  

If the author submits comments without withdrawing the dissertation, the assessment committee has the opportunity to comment on the comments and possibly revise the recommendation. The author is then notified about the committee's reaction and the processing of the recommendation by the Dean and the Academic Council. 

Responsibilities of the chair and external members of the assesment committee

The chair is responsible for ensuring that the assessment takes place according to the scheduled deadlines.

The chair is responsible for compiling the members' contributions to the committee's recommendation and for ensuring that the compiled recommendation is presented as a uniform text, which is objectively formulated and generally drawn up in accordance with the guidelines set out in the ministerial order, in the faculty’s guidelines and in the template/disposition for the committee’s recommendation (Word). In this way, the chair must ensure that the recommendation is suitable as a basis for processing by the Higher Doctoral Dissertation Committee and the Academic Council, respectively.

In addition, the chair must allocate the work between the members of the assessment committee and determine with them who will act as the first and second official opponent in connection with the defence.

Finally, the chair is tasked with undertaking the faculty's obligations as host of the committee's external members. Find inspiration and practical information in the  faculty’s guide - hosting at Health (PDF). 

The external members of the assessment committee undertake the basic academic assessment of the doctoral dissertation, prepare contributions to the committee's recommendation and also act as official opponents at the defence.   

Practical information for the committee's external members

Questions about booking travel and accommodation in connection with the defense should be directed to the chair of the assessment committee.

Travel expenses and honorarium

Travel: Your travel expenses will be reimbursed according to Aarhus University's Rules and Regulations and expenses regarding meals.

Please follow these rules for travel:

  • Use public transportation and the cheapest means of transport during your trip
  • Use only economy class when travelling
  • If you need to use taxi, please make an agreement with the graduate school beforehand

Honorarium: As an assessor from outside Aarhus University, you are entitled to an honorarium of approximately DKK 10,000. The honorarium will be disbursed after the doctoral defence has taken place.

Assessors without a Danish Social Security number (CPR) will receive a link by e-mail from Graduate School Health to an online settlement system, which will be used to gather relevant information in order to make a reimbursement to you. Both your travel expenses and your honorarium will be paid as a total amount/in one transaction.

Assessors with a Danish Social Security number (CPR)  are kindly asked to use the following forms to claim reimbursement of travel expenses and to receive your honorarium:

After the defence, please submit forms and documentation per e-mail to with the subject ”Doctoral defence [name of doctoral candidate]”, att. "Health".

Accommodation – where to stay and how to book

You have 3 choices when it comes to accommodation:

1)     We will assist you with booking of Hotels in Denmark. All we need from you is:

a) Time of arrival and departure
b) City where the defence is taking place
c) Name of the person who’s defence you are assessing
d) Send the mail with the above information to, att. "Health".

2)     You can arrange to stay privately (please note you will get a small reimbursement for overnight stay at private accommodation if noted on the travel claim).

3)     You can book your accommodation yourself. When booking a hotel room, please be aware that the graduate school only reimburses up to 2 nights (DKK 1000 per night, incl. VAT and breakfast )

If you have questions to the above details, please contact att. "Health".