Changes in the PhD Regulations due to the coronavirus

Information about changes in implementing digital public defences and PhD education due to the coronavirus outbreak. The page is being updated continuously with frequently asked questions and answers.

Norsk versjon: Endringer i ph.d.-forskriften på grunn av koronaviruset

Topic page about doctoral degrees

Rector’s decision #

The extraordinary situation due to the coronavirus has created a need for temporary provisions in the PhD Regulations. The Rector has decided on temporary rules that allow exemptions from the PhD Regulations – see the Rector’s decision:

Rector’s decision – Temporary provisions for doctoral education, due to the extraordinary coronavirus situation (pdf, in Norwegian).

The Rector’s decision comes into force immediately and applies from the date of the decision until 15 September 2020.

Rector’s decision is extended until 15 September 2021: 2021 Rectors decision - extension of extraordinary measures due to the corona virus - until 15 September 2021 pdf in Norwegian.pdf

Faculties are responsible for implementation #

Although the guidelines are central (see the Rector’s decision in the link above), the faculties are responsible for implementing public defences, and PhD candidates are asked to get in touch with their contact people/PhD administration at the respective faculties.

Implementation of public defences #

NTNU wants to carry out all public defences as far as possible, and as long as the PhD candidate wants this. We have therefore made arrangements for digital implementation of public defences, preferably with the administrator and candidate present in the same room. But if their presence is not possible, there is an opportunity for a fully digital public defence.

The administration at the faculties and the departments are working together with IT to create the best conditions that they can achieve. Everything will take place in a good dialogue with the candidate.

For the moment, public defences will take place as planned, in the following way:

  • Performed with the candidate and the administrator physically present if possible. 
  • Opponents take part using suitable digital tools with two-way communication
  • The audience follows the public defence using suitable digital tools with two-way communication

If the candidate cannot be physically present because of the coronavirus outbreak, the candidate can participate using suitable digital tools. The supervisor confirms that it is the correct candidate. The requirement for a public defence is satisfied when the public can follow the defence digitally and thus also has an opportunity to comment ex auditorium (“from the auditorium”).

Frequently asked questions #

I am about to defend my thesis – will the public defence go ahead as normal? #

NTNU has said that all public defences will continue as planned, as long as the candidate wants this and it is possible to make arrangements using digital tools. As far as possible, the public defence should be held with the candidate and the administrator physically present. Opponents take part using suitable digital tools with two-way communication. The audience follows the public defence using suitable digital tools with two-way communication.

If the candidate cannot be physically present because of the coronavirus outbreak, the candidate can participate using suitable digital tools. The supervisor confirms that it is the correct candidate.

Contact your faculty or department to plan the public defence. See the link below “Contact” at the bottom of the page.

What is a suitable digital tool? #

NTNU recommends Zoom for conducting public defences, but Skype and Teams may also work. Each candidate reaches an agreement with their own administration about the best tool to use.

Zoom is robust and has good audio quality. More information about Zoom.

The administration of your faculty or department sets up a Zoom meeting for a public defence. If the trial lecture and the public defence take place on the same day, a single meeting is booked for both of them. The administration also ensures good organization and chairing of the meeting during the public defence. In most cases, a digital test will be conducted a few days before the defence to ensure that everyone who needs to take part in the defence can connect to the meeting.

Tips and advice for using Zoom #

See this page for using Zoom in public defences.

How much IT support will we get for a public defence? #

The administration of your department or faculty will ensure a good dialogue with IT, so contact the administration of your department or faculty to find out more. IT will make sure that tools work and provide guidance for using digital tools. In principle, all rooms can be used, but IT also has a list of the rooms that have been customized for this purpose. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we have established a shared list of future public defences together with the faculties, so that we can plan IT support.

What if the digital tools do not work on the day of the public defence? #

NTNU will do its best to ensure that everything works on the day of the defence, but unforeseen issues may arise, such as overloaded network infrastructure. If the digital tools are working in a way that enables all the important people such as the candidate, opponents and administrator to take part, the public defence will continue as normal. A defence should be public. However, if arrangements have been made in advance for the audience to participate but the digital tools do not work on the day itself, the defence will continue without an audience, in the interests of the candidate who has invested a great effort in preparations for the defence.

If it turns out that a public defence cannot be carried out, a new date for the defence must be set as soon as possible. The trial lecture does not have to be public. The trial lecture can therefore be recorded so that the candidate does not need to prepare a new trial lecture.

What happens if I get delayed in my work for the PhD due to the coronavirus outbreak?  #

Any extensions of your PhD position will be made in consultation with HR, and normal regulations for employees apply together with the additional rules laid down by the authorities. Beyond this, NTNU is continuing its efforts to sort out all the issues and administration involved in extending PhD positions. 

Extensions of the right of admission to the PhD programme will be made in consultation with your faculty. If you have already been granted an extension of your right of admission and you are approaching the maximum period of study of six years, the right of admission can be extended beyond six years if there are delays due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Publication of dissertations - how to deliver the thesis digitally  #

The dissertation must be publicly available three weeks before a public defense. This is a prerequisite for a public defense. Since the library is closed, a dissertation cannot be made public with a paper version in the library as tradition says, and we have new guidelines for how a dissertation is made public: 

  • All dissertations must be delivered digitally. If the candidate does not accept digital publication and cannot refer to an agreement with a publisher, then the alternative is to postpone the public defense. 
  • All dissertations are published in NTNU Open, to the greatest extent possible, 3 weeks before the public defense. The library prepares for publication, and the printers have said that they will facilitate the preparation of the digital thesis file in time. It must be stated in which stage of the doctoral process the dissertation is published. 
  • There are cases where the entire dissertation cannot be made publicly available on the internet. In these cases, the introduction or cover paper (“kappa”) is published in NTNU Open. The entire dissertation can nevertheless be sent out as a file to those who wish to receive it. This must be stated in the announcement of the dissertation. The faculties are responsible for handling and sending the dissertation as a file. 
  • You may want to use file sender to transfer the dissertation file.

Contact #

If you have any questions, please contact the PhD administration at your faculty.

See also: #

How to apply for extension of employment period for PhD - due to corona

Extensions due to the coronavirus pandemic for PhD candidates

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