Guidelines specifying the procedure of doctoral thesis defence in the School of Business and Governance

Approved with TalTech School of Business and Governance Dean’s order 22 November 2023 No 1-24/303
  1. General principles for completing a doctoral thesis and the defence procedure at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) have been laid down in the Regulations of Tallinn University of Technology for Doctoral Studies.
  2. In addition to the aforementioned acts, the present guidelines shall be applied to the procedure of defending a doctoral thesis in the School of Business and Governance (SBG).
  3. The PhD programme at SBG is steered by the Programme Director and managed by Programme Managers according to specializations. Defence procedure is coordinated by a respective Programme Manager.
  4. A doctoral thesis has to pass a pre-defence before the permission for defence shall be granted. To be eligible for a pre-defense, the doctoral student must regularly participate in doctoral seminars. For the pre-defence a doctoral student shall submit a duly completed doctoral thesis (hereinafter also the thesis), with his/her supervisor’s(s’) consent, to the PhD programme manager.
  5. For the pre-defence, the PhD programme manager or a professor designated by him/her shall arrange the peer reviewing of the thesis by appointing two independent reviewers who hold a PhD degree in the field of the doctoral thesis being defended.
  6. The PhD programme manager shall set up a Pre-Defence Committee. The Pre-Defence Committee shall consist of the Chairman of the Committee (the PhD programme manager or his/her deputy), supervisor(s) and at least three members who hold a doctoral degree in the relevant field of research (who may be the same persons who act as reviewers).
  7. Specific information about the pre-defence procedure, time and venue shall be communicated via the general list of the School at least two weeks prior to the pre-defence. In addition to the members of the committee, faculty members of the School of Business and Governance and fellow doctoral students are eligible to participate in the pre-defence in order to provide the defending student with relevant and specific feedback.
  8. After the discussion, the Pre-Defence Committee shall make one of three possible decisions on granting a permission for defence: a) to make a proposal to the dean to grant permission to defend the thesis in its present form; b) to make a proposal to the dean to grant permission to defend the thesis after the changes suggested in the pre-defence have been made (the changes will be made under the supervision of the PhD programme manager or the person(s) designated by him/her); (c) not to make a proposal to grant permission to defend the thesis, which shall require going through a new pre-defence. The PhD programme manager (or a substitute nominated by him/her) shall make, on behalf of the Pre-Defence Committee, a proposal to the dean for granting permission for the defence accordingly.
  9. The main supervisor ensures that the doctoral candidate is aware of proper citation practices and rules and is able to follow them. The secretary of the defence committee conducts a plagiarism check on the thesis using the currently available tool (e.g., Urkund) before the thesis is published in the TalTech Digital Collection. In accordance with the requirements for doctoral theses at TalTech, the student is responsible for formatting, ensuring the validity of copyrights, and organizing language editing.
  10. In case of a doctoral thesis based on research papers, the doctoral candidate must be a single author of at least one of the research papers, exceptions are granted only by the joint-decision of PhD programme managers. Research papers that constitute the core of the thesis cannot be published in journals that do not follow good academic practice. See more in Appendix 1.
  11. The doctoral candidate submits a defence application to the dean in the study information system (ÕIS), which is approved (signed) by the supervisor(s) and the PhD programme manager. The main supervisor shall inform the director of his/her institute of the defence application. If, exceptionally, the candidate submits an application that has not been approved, the dean after consulting with a programme manager shall request the thesis supervisor’(s´) and the PhD programme manager’s judgement and arrange an independent peer review of the thesis before granting permission for defence.
  12. The dean, in compliance with the Regulations of Tallinn University of Technology for Doctoral Studies, shall make the decision to grant permission for the defence of the doctoral thesis. The dean shall consult with the members of the Pre-Defence Committee, if needed.
  13. The defence of the doctoral thesis will be conducted in accordance with the Regulations of Tallinn University of Technology for Doctoral Studies. As a rule, the PhD programme manager or his/her deputy will be the substantive organiser of the defence procedure and the person responsible for resolving any disputes. Administratively, the defence is usually organized by the main supervisor’s institute.
  14. Opponents are required to hold a PhD degree and have a solid research background in the field of the doctoral thesis that is being defended. As a rule, at least one of the opponents must meet the requirements of a full professor at the university regarding publishing. The PhD programme manager consults with the supervisor and the director of the institute when selecting opponents and members of the defence committee The student shall not participate in the selection of opponents and peer reviewers.
  15. Throughout the entire process, the principles of Good Scientific Practice and research ethics are followed, and all parties who become aware of any violations are obliged to promptly inform the dean, who then initiates the investigation process.
  16. The qualifications of the professionals supervising doctoral students who study via the Open University must meet the requirements set by TalTech. Exemption from tuition fees for completing courses takes place before the start of each semester. For this, the doctoral candidate must submit an application to the dean, which has been coordinated with the supervisor and programme manager.