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Final assessment

Assessment criteria and procedures

Requirements for completion of the doctoral program: The PhD candidate is entitled to submit the completed thesis and register for the final comprehensive oral examination, once the following conditions are met:
  1. successful completion of the coursework according to the PhD curriculum, including public oral presentations at international conferences;
  2. significant amount of highly original findings within the scope of the thesis topic;
  3. technical proficiency;
  4. at least one first author publication (or acceptance) of the results of the thesis in an SCI-listed, preferably top 20 %, journal;
  5. at least one co-author paper with fellow students or PIs within RESPImmun to demonstrate interdisciplinary and collaborative capacities.
Whether the amount and quality of the publications is sufficient to conclude the doctoral research is jointly decided by the Thesis Committee and the student. On average, MOLMED students have had one first author publication from their thesis in a top 20 % journal and 2 to 4 co-authored papers. Importantly, these requirements are communicated to students straight after enrolment in the program.

Assessment of the thesis by external reviewers: The completed dissertation is submitted to the Dean of Doctoral Studies who nominates two external reviewers. Reviewers must be affiliated with a university other than the MedUni and have substantial teaching and supervision experience (venia legendi) and are international experts within the field of the dissertation. No conflict of interests (e. g. joint publications, hosts for research visits) should exist. The supervisor or Dissertation Committee members cannot serve as reviewers (MedUni was the first Austrian University to implement this separation of supervision and assessment functions for doctoral studies). The reviewers assess the dissertation according to international standards as outlined in the evaluation form. Their recommendation may be (i) approve the thesis without any changes, (ii) approve after minor changes, or (iii) recommend re-evaluation after major revision as outlined in the reviewer’s report.

Final comprehensive oral examination: Once the thesis has entered the process of evaluation, which according to MedUni regulations must not exceed four weeks, the PhD candidate can register for the final comprehensive oral examination. The Study Rector appoints a board of three examiners; two must be affiliated with a university other than MedUni and are preferentially the two external reviewers who assessed the thesis. The third examiner is a member of MedUni and chairs the examination. Again, the supervisor and members of the Dissertation Committee cannot serve as examiners. The student is informed of the composition of the Examination Board at least four weeks prior to the examination. The final comprehensive examination is conducted as a public oral examination by the entire examination board. The student must give a brief presentation of the dissertation including a discussion of the results with the audience that is entitled to ask questions. Throughout the examination, the candidate is supposed to provide evidence of her / his scientific aptitude and skills and a thorough understanding of the main scientific issues. Subsequently, the examination board discusses the result of the examination in a closed session and makes a decision by majority vote. The oral examination will only be deemed successfully completed if each examination subject has been awarded a grade of at least “satisfactory”. If a grade of “unsatisfactory” is given for more than one examination subject, the final comprehensive oral examination must be repeated in its entirety.