Dr Mike J Smith
Swedish PhD Defence
Just got back from a PhD defence at the Stockholm University in Sweden. Never having assessed a PhD outside the UK this was interesting as a process, as well as seeing some new research. Unlike the UK, this is a public event held in a lecture theatre. The student (Martin Margold), known as the "Respondent", gave a short 30 minute presentation before the "Opponent" (Chris Stokes, Durham) spent around 2 hours questioning him. As this is a dissertation by publication (4 papers published, 1 in review and 1 to be submitted), it is "wrapped together" with a short introduction and provides a good structure for questioning. The Opponent is meant to be neutral but provide the context for the student to be questioned and evaluation to be made. After this is complete, the Evaluation Committee (myself, Brent Ward (Simon Fraser) and Henriette Linge (Bergen)) had about 10 minutes each to ask specific questions. They can be a little more probing. At this point questioning is thrown open to the floor, but no one tool the opportunity!
The committee, Opponent, supervisor and faculty representative then retire for a discussion with an outcome of "Pass" or "Fail". No in-between!
Martin successfully defended his thesis (in photo) and did a very good job too. Many congratulations!