The main supervisor will be asked to submit a proposal for the composition of the assessment committee (see below) five months before the PhD student submits his/her PhD dissertation.

The role of an assessment committee is to:         

  • make a preliminary recommendation to the university as to whether the PhD dissertation can be accepted for defence
  • take part in a public defence and subsequently make a final recommendation as to whether the PhD degree should be awarded

The PhD student needs to approve the proposal before it is submitted to the graduate school. The proposal needs to include a brief presentation of the PhD project and a time schedule.

The PhD committee will approve the composition of the assessment committee.

Composition of the assessment committee

The requirements for the composition of the committee are as follows:

  • The assessment committee needs to consist of three renowned researchers within the academic area in question
  • The members of the committee should be at associate professor level or higher
  • One member needs to be employed at Health and act as the chair of the committee
  • Two of the members needs to be employed at another institution than Aarhus University
  • At least one of the members needs to be from abroad (an exemption can be granted if there are valid reasons)
  • Preferably, the members of the committee should represent both genders
  • The main supervisor is a member of the assessment committee, but has no voting right
  • The members of the committee cannot be close colleagues of the main supervisor or the student
    They are also not permitted to:
    • Come from the same department/unit as the main supervisor or the student
    • Have previously supervised the student, for instance in connection with the Master’s degree project
    • Be co-authors of articles or manuscripts forming part of the dissertation
    • Have recently (within the last three years) published material together with the main supervisor or the student

The outcome of the assessment

There are three possible outcomes of the assessment of a dissertation:

  • The dissertation is recommended for defence
  • The dissertation is returned for revision
  • The dissertation is rejected

It is a good idea to read the graduate school’s "Guidelines for assessment of PhD dissertation and PhD defence" (see right sidebar). This can give you an idea of what the assessment committee focuses on when assessing a PhD dissertation. 

Accepted for defence

If the recommendation is positive, the PhD student will receive an e-mail with the assessment attached and the defence of the dissertation can take place.

Returned for revision

If the assessment committee recommends revision of the dissertation, the PhD student needs to submit a new, revised dissertation together with a point-by point reply where he/she comments on the assessment committee's remarks.

We need to receive any comments to the assessment committee’s decision no later than two weeks after the date where the PhD student received the assessment.

Unless special conditions apply, the same assessment committee will reassess the dissertation. If the committee approves the changes, the defence can take place, and the PhD student and the assessment committee need to agree on a new date for the defence.   

The PhD student’s changes need to be included in the final (printed) dissertation.


If the assessment committee recommends rejecting the dissertation, the graduate school needs to receive any comments on the assessment committee’s decision no later than two weeks after the date where the PhD student received the assessment.

The graduate school management will review the assessment committee’s recommendation, including any comments from the main supervisor and PhD student.  

The management then makes the final decision on whether the PhD student is asked to resubmit the PhD dissertation to the assessment committee, resubmit to a new assessment committee, or whether the dissertation is rejected completely.

Information to assessors from outside AU

Travel and accommodation

It is the chairman’s responsibility to provide guidance on practical aspects of the defence. For foreign assessors, this includes guidance about travel arrangements, accommodation, hotel bookings etc.

In connection with a PhD defence, the graduate school reimburses up to DKK 8,000 for travels within Europe and up to DKK 15,000 from other countries.

As a starting point we do not cover taxi to and from the airport. So please take the bus to and from your destination in Aarhus. Find information about timetables, prices and tickets here: Billund Airport and Aarhus Airport.

It is expected that travels both in Denmark and from abroad will be on economy-class. If necessary, we also reimburse up to 2 nights in a hotel (up to DKK 1020 per night, including VAT).

Feel free to have the billing (made in Denmark) sent directly to us using the following EAN-no.: 5798 000 418370. Make sure the assessment committee member’s name and the name of the relevant PhD administrator is mentioned on the bill.

Travel reimbursement and honorarium

As an assessor from outside AU you are entitled to an honorarium of approximately 7,000 DKK.

After the defence please fill in and return to the Graduate School:

  • The Travel expense form
  • Copies of all your tickets and receipts
  • The Honorarium form for non-Danish assessors / Honorarium form for Danish assessors
  • If you are not a Danish citizen please make sure to submit a copy of your passport in order to be exempt from Danish tax.

We will need the assessor’s signature on both forms, so we kindly ask you to print the forms, sign them and email a scanned copy to together with the copies of your receipts.