PhD Programme in Medicine and Health Sciences


PhD Programme in Medicine and Health Sciences

– Completion phase

What happens when the doctoral education is approaching completion?

Completion phase - MH-faculty

Approaching the end of your PhD?
Here you will find rules and procedures from the submission of your PhD thesis to the Conferring of Degrees Ceremony



A thesis must be submitted no later than 4 months prior to the tentative date for defence. Theses may be submitted at any time, however please note the following:

  • Theses submitted between 20 June - 1 August will not normally be forwarded to the committee before August.
  • Theses submitted after 1 December will not normally be forwarded to the committee before January.


Completed academic training

Before the doctoral thesis can be submitted, the academic training for the PhD programme must be completed. The Faculty will issue a statement confirming that your academic training is completed and approved. You will receive such a confirmation on request by contacting the Section of Student and Academic Affairs at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences:


Submission of doctoral thesis for assessment

The form Application for assessment of PhD Thesis  should be sumitted to your department. The department will review the application and attachemnts before forwarding it to the Faculty.


The application for assessment of doctoral thesis should include the follwing attachments:

1) A statement from the Faculty that confirms an approved academic training.

2) 1 bound copy of the thesis (complete with table of contents, compilation and references). A PhD thesis at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences should normally consist of at least 3 scientific papers/manuscripts,the PhD candidate should be first author of at least 2 of them and at least 1 should be accepted for publication. Detailed thesis requirements can be found in Section 10 in NTNU's PhD Regulations

It is convenient if you use a standardised layout for the initial submission in order to reduce future discrepancies in page numbers, margins etc. 

3) Co-author declarations must be included for all papers. The declaration should identify the candidate's independent contribution to each paper and include a consent from co-authors to include the paper in your doctoral thesis. 

4) Complete list of publications - displaying all the candidate's publications, not only the publications included in the thesis.

5) Declaration from the supervisor, confirming the thesis as an independent academic work that meets international standards (with regard to ethical requirements, academic standards and method in the subject area). The supervisor should also clarify that the candidate has dissemination experience. The statement should preferably be issued in English unless all committee members are able to read Norwegian.

6) Declarations from the candidate: Has the work, or parts of the work, been approved as the basis for previous examinations or degrees?

7) Proposal from the supervisor/department for assessment committee.


Electronic submission

In addition, an electronic version of the doctoral thesis must be sent to
All components should be included in one, single pdf-file. 


Assessment of thesis

The application for assessment and the proposal for thecommittee will be considered by the Dean on the basis of a recommendation from the Department. The Faculty will send the thesis with all enclosures to the appointed committee.

After appointing the committee, the candidate will be notified of the composition of the committee. All communication to and from the assessment committee must go through the Faculty - there should be no communication between supervisor/candidate and the committee at this point.

The assessment committee will base the evaluation solely on the submitted work. Manuscript(s) may be accepted for publication after the thesis was submitted. The candidate can apply to the Faculty for a chance to replace a manuscript with an accepted or published article after the Committee has reached its final decision. Only formal corrections to the manuscript(s) will be accepted. Substantial changes to presentation or interpretation of material or adjustments to conclusions of the scientific work will not be approved. The final version of the thesis must have a description of the corrections compared to the original submitted work (List of errata).

Administration of the committee

The administrator of the committee has the responsibility to organize the committee's work, ensuring that the work is initiated without delay and that the committee will make the deadline for submitting their report. The administrator must contribute to the coordination of the members' work clarifying how the members will divide the work at the public defence, cf. the "Guidelines for the Evaluation of Candidates for Norwegian Doctoral Degrees". The administrator must at the earliest possible convenience find a tentative date for lecture(s) and public defence, and inform the Faculty in due time for the booking of auditorium and hotel accommodation. The administrator must clarify in what language the lecture(s) and the public defence will be conducted and of the opponents preferred choice of technical equipment..

The committee is given a deadline of 2 months to complete the assessment.  Upon receipt of the committee's report a copy is sent to the candidate and the supervisors giving a standard time limit of 10 days for possible remarks. Confirmation of receipt of the assessment and/or remarks in writing must be sent to the Faculty.

The committee's assessment will be considered by the Dean. The candidate will be informed of the appointment of opponents and time and place for lecture(s) and public defence. Lecture(s) and public defence will be held within ordinary office hours.

Dissemination and printing

Printing/compulsory delivery of the thesis

After approval of the thesis, 80 printed copies of the thesis must be sent to the Faculty. Copies will be distributed to the National Library(5), Medical Library(1), local collections (3), the assessment committee, Acting Dean and the audience at the public defence (approx. 70). 

Printing costs

The printing costs should normally be covered by the candidate's project funds. Questions regarding printing costs should to be addressed to the Department.

Ordering printing

NTNU has a standard layout for doctoral theses. The print shops, NTNU Grafisk senter and Skipnes Kommunikasjon AS, will have an online ordering system for doctoral theses.

The printed theses must have an ISBN/ISSN serial number and the candidate must follow procedures given, re. the print shops' web-pages.


In the printed thesis, after the title page, there should be a Popular Science Summary in Norwegian of approx. 1 page (A4). It should be sent electronically to the print shop with all files being part of the thesis. The summary should mainly present the results of the research work followed by a short description of the background, structure and methodology of the research project. 

The headline must indicate the Norwegian title of the thesis and the end must indicate time and place for public defence, degree, Department, supervisor(s) and financing, see example.  

Electronic publishing at NTNU

A digital copy of all PhD theses should be archived in NTNU Open. The library receives a digital file of your thesis directly from the printing office.
No more than meta data and the abstract will be published until have submitted the author's agreement. For more detailed information; see


Lecture – Public defence

Trial lecture for PhD (one lecture)

The candidate will be informed of the given the topic for lecture 10 work days before lecture will take place.  The lecture and the public defence will normally take place on the same day.  The lecture is set for 45 minutes, inclusive of 5 minutes questioning and discussion, re. PhD regulations § 19.

Trial lectures for dr. philos.  (2 lectures)

The candidate must inform the Faculty of chosen topic for trial lecture one month before lectures take place.  The candidate will be informed of the given topic from the Faculty 10 work days before lectures take place. The candidate can choose in which order to conduct the chosen and given topics.  The lectures will normally take place the day before the public defence within business hours, but can also if possible be conducted the same day as the public defence. The lectures are set for 45 minutes, inclusive of 5 minutes questioning and discussion, re. dr. philos. -regulations § 8.

Practical matters for the public defence 

The Section of Student and Academic Affairs will administer practical matters for the public defence (booking of  auditorium, flowers, accommodation and meals for the committee members, announcements etc.)  The candidate's Department is responsible host for the committee members during their stay and will invite for dinner the evening prior to the public defence. The Department is also responsible for any event after completed public defence. The doctoral dinner is the responsibility of the candidate and neither the Department nor the Faculty offers financial support.


The public defence

The public defence will be conducted by the Dean or an Acting Dean. The candidate will introduce the thesis explaining the purpose and results of the scientific research.  The introduction's duration is 20-30 minutes.  The first opponent will initiate the discussion and the second opponent will conclude the discussion.  The lectures and the public defence will be conducted in the language decided by the committee's administrator, preferably in English or Norwegian.

Awarding the doctoral degree

Resolution awarding the doctoral degree

The assessment committee must inform the Faculty of their evaluation of the trial lecture(s) and public defence. The Dean will, based on the assessment, consider whether the degree can be awarded.  The candidate will be informed about the resolution.

Certificate, Transcript of Records with Diploma Supplement

The Faculty will send the PhD certificate by registered mail. All  candidates are encouraged to check their postal addresses in Studweb.

Doctoral Degree Awards Ceremony

NTNU's doctoral degree awards ceremony takes place twice a year. Candidates awarded their doctoral degrees in spring, will be invited for the ceremony in November. Candidates awarded their doctoral degrees during the fall, will be invited to the ceremony in March the following year.

More information about the Awards Ceremony

Questions? Contact the Studies Division



Suggestion for assessment committee

  • The suggestion is to be written on this form.
  • Three members must be suggested, and at least two members of the committe should not be affiliated with NTNU. The suggestion is to show how the committee jointly covers the disciplinary area of the thesis
  • At least one member of the committee must be from an educational institution abroad (international member).
  • The committee should consist of members of both genders. The 1. and 2. opponent should be of different genders. If not, the proposal must list the names of at least three people from the underrepresented gender who have declined.
  • If the 1. and 2. opponent are of the same gender, the 3. opponent/administrator (local member) must be of the opposite gender.
  • The members of the assessment committee must hold a doctoral degree or equivalent academic qualifications.
  • The provisions applicable to legal competence in the Norwegian Public Administration Act, §§ 6 and following sections, apply to the members of the committee, cf. § 10 of the same Act. At The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, co-authoring with either the candidate or the supervisor during the time of PhD education will disqualify from a adjudication committee. A list of publications from both candidate and supervisor must be attached the application for evaluation.
  • An opponent can only be appointed twice for candidates from the same research group.
  • Before the propsal for the assessment committee is sent to the faculty, the supervisor or department should ask the proposed members if they are willing to accept an appointment.
  • If the Head of the department approve the suggestion of committee members, he/she should sign the suggestion form and forward it to the Faculty no later than the candidates application for doctoral evaluation.

A doctoral examination marks the conclusion of a candidate's training and fronts the University as a research institution at the same time. For the institution, it is important that the ceremony is conducted in a dignified manner:


The Faculty administration will book appropriate premises for the public trial lecture and the thesis defence. The Faculty administration will also provide flowers for decoration. The candidate will get to keep the flowers as a memento from the Faculty.


Formal attire is expected to be worn by the doctoral candidate and members of the assessment committee. The chairperson - the Dean or Deputy Dean - willl wear an academic robe during the thesis defence.

Ceremonial structure

The trial lecture and thesis defence will open as the chairperson, committee members and the doctoral candidate go in procession into the auditorium. The audience should rise during the procession.

On entry to the trial lecture, the order of the procession should be as follows: The chairperson, the first, second and third opponent and the doctoral candidate. The exit is carried out in the reverse order, though the chairperson will always head the procession.

When entering for the thesis defence: The chairperson, the doctoral candidate, the third, second and first opponent (the opposite order on exit).

The chairperson walks straight to the rostrum, while the others take their seats.

The chairperson's duties during the trial lecture

The chairperson introduces the trial lecture based on a manuscript prepared by the Faculty administration. After the trial lecture(s), the dean announces the time and place for the thesis defence (information will be provided in the manuscript). The trial lecture lasts 45 minutes.

All members of the assessment committee must attend the trial lecture(s). If one of the experts should be unable to attend due to unexpected and unforeseen reasons, the chairperson/acting dean has the authority to designate a deputy for the trial lecture.

After the trial lecture(s), the committee will discuss the result. The trial lecture(s) must be approved before the thesis defence can take place. The chairperson will announce the result in the introduction of the thesis defence.

The chairperson's duties during the thesis defence

The chairperson must wear an academic robe during the defence. The robe will be provided by the Faculty administration.

The general progress of the defence is as follows:

1. Procession.

2. Introduction by the chairperson.

3. Presentation of the thesis by the candidate (20-30 minutes): A brief summary of the most important research contributions.

4. The first opponent opens the proceedings. This sequence should normally take around 45 minutes, but preferably not more than an hour.

5. Before the break of around 10 minutes the chairperson announces that any person wishing to speak ex auditorium as an opponent must register with the chairman during the break.

6. Any opponents ex auditorio are heard to a reasonable extent, but only brief addresses or questions are allowed.

7. The second opponent is heard. This sequence should not extend beyond 45 minutes.

8. When the second opponent signals that she or he has finished, the chairperson will declare the defence to be concluded. The committee's conclusion will be reported to the Dean.

9. The candidate is allowed to make some concluding remarks, which is an opportunity to express gratitude to the Faculty, supervisors, the committee and the academic community.


The department will invite to a celebration after the defence has been completed. The department's representative should contact the candidate to arrange the celebration in accordance with the candidate's wishes.

Some candidates wish to celebrate the day of the defence by inviting the chairperson, the assessment committee, supervisor(s), academic colleagues to a dinner or a similar function. Normally, family and friends of the doctoral candidate are also invited. This celebration is to be considered a private event.

Gift from the university

As a reward from the Faculty of Medicine at NTNU, the doctoral candidate will receive a gift, presented by the chairman (or another representative of the department or academic community) at the dinner/celebration after the defence.

One tradition is that the doctoral candidate invites the dissertation chairman, the assessment committee and supervisors to a celebratory dinner.

This is an old tradition, where the doctoral candidate invites the dissertation chairman, members of the assessment committee and supervisors to share a good meal. This meal is normally called the doctoral dinner, but is not necessarily a dinner. It may also be a lunch or an informal social occasion immediately after the defence. Previously arranged in accordance with a strict framework, the doctoral candidate now is free to decide how this is to be arranged. The doctoral candidate also decides who is to be invited in addition to the dissertation chairman, the assessment committee and the supervisors.

Speeches given during the dinner

The doctoral dinner is given as a token of appreciation to the committee and the supervisors and their efforts. This should be reflected in the speeches.

After the host, i.e. the doctoral candidate, has wished everybody welcome, she or he should give a speech thanking NTNU and the Faculty of Medicine, the assessment committee, the supervisors and the academic community.

The next speech should be given by the dissertation chairman, who wishes the doctoral candidate welcome to the rank of doctor with the rights this confers to teach at the Faculty. Congratulations are also in order for completing the organized doctoral degree training programme. As a representative of the University, the dissertation chairman should also offer thanks to the assessment committee for its efforts. This speech should be formal and follow a formal style.

The following speeches may be of a less formal nature if so desired. The third member of the assessment committee, i.e. the member who has not been a opponent at the defence, normally gives a speech, to be followed by the supervisors and perhaps the head of the academic community. It may be a good idea to mix speeches given by representatives of the academic community and family/friends for greater variation.

Stipulations concerning tax deductions for the doctoral dinner

You may be entitled to a deduction for your expenses in connection with your doctoral dinner. You will only be entitled to a deduction for the dinner for supervisors, opponents, etc. No deduction will be given for food expenses relating to family and friends. Deductions for PhD expenses are in addition to the minimum standard deduction.

More information about Deduction for PhD expences  

NTNU's Doctoral Awards Ceremony is held twice a year in the University's Aula. The Doctoral Awards Ceremony is for everyone who has received his or her doctoral degree after completing their doctoral education at the university.



Guidelines for the Evaluation of Candidates for Doctoral Degrees at Norwegian University of Science and Technology