Systematic Biology 2018 Guidelines for the PhD Half-Time Examination (HTE)
All PhD students in IOB must complete an examination at the mid-point of their PhD studies, to mark their progression toward an independent researcher. The mid-point of PhD studies is defined as two full years of research study, at which point the student should have completed 20 HP of course work. The student should also have produced a substantial body of research and demonstrated the ability to interpret and present their work in the form of a seminar and a thesis, the latter including at least one publication-quality manuscript or published paper or, if appropriate, an abbreviated monograph.
The mid-point examination can take the form of either a formal licentiate or a more informal half-term exam (HTE). The main difference between the two is that the HTE thesis is not published, and completing the HTE does not confer a formal qualification. In all other ways, the rules for the HTE follow those of the licentiate as defined by the Swedish Council for Higher Education (Annex 2, Third Cycle Qualifications, pages 91-92). Specifically, both the HTE and licentiate require that the student has completed 50% of their course work, prepared a written thesis, and presented their work in a public seminar attended by an external examiner and examination committee.
A. Objective of the HTE: to show that the student has acquired a substantial amount of training and research competence
B. Pre- requirements for the HTE
- two years from the start date of PhD study (+/- 3 months)
- 20 HP of PhD course credit
- completion of a university approved course in research ethics (or a 7.5 HP course in teacher training)
- a thesis consisting of a kappa and one or more publication-quality manuscript(s) or an abbreviated monograph. The manuscript(s)/monograph should present the student’s own original research.
C. Contents of the thesis
- The kappa should be aroud 10 pages and should include an abstract, an overview of the research field, and summaries of the included manuscript(s). If the student’s research results are largely negative, more emphasis should be placed on the kappa including a thorough and thoughtful evaluation of research problems.
- Manuscripts should be publication quality, following manuscript guidelines for an appropriate journal (published papers can be included as reprints)
- Formatting should follow the PhD thesis guidelines: https://mp.uu.se/en/web/info/forska/avhandling/mallar
D. Format for the HTE “exam”
- The student should present their work in seminar format. The seminar should be research-based and should be 30-45 minutes long.
- The seminar is public and must be attended by an external examiner and examination committee: normally, the forskarutbildning professor (“FUAP”, i.e. head of program) + one additional PhD supervisor (handledare).
- Following the seminar, the student will answer questions from the examiner, examination committee and audience.
- After the seminar, the student will meet with the examiner, supervisor and exam committee to receive feedback.
E. The examiner and examination committee
- The examiner should be a research scientist with teaching experience (docent or equivalent) in a field related to the student’s work.
- The examiner must not have been a member of SystBiol or have had research collaborations with any member of SystBio in the past five years.
- The exam committee should consist of two SysBiol handledare, one of which is usually the FUAP.
- The choice of examiner and exam committee must be approved by the supervisor and FUAP.
F. Time plan
- 2-3 months prior to the HTE: invite the examiner and set a date for the exam
- 3 term-time weeks prior to the HTE: the thesis should be printed and made available. Copies should be sent to the
examiner, the FUAP, the IOB administrator, the supervisor, and the second examining handledare
- 1 week prior to the HTE: the disputation should be publicly announced, e.g. by email to IOB and IEE (and ICM if appropriate)
- 1-3 day prior to the HTE: send out an email reminder
- For a check list for the public disputation see: www.teknat.uu.se/education/postgraduate/before-licentiate-degree/