Small Defense of the DBA Dissertation

During the third year (for start of studies in winter semester: February at the latest recommended; for start of studies in summer semester: June at the latest recommended), the student submits the complete final thesis to the DBA Support Center in electronic form and the supervisor submits a protocol on checking the originality of the work using the Validator program. In case the DBA Center requires it, the student will also submit a paper version. The finished doctoral thesis is to be submitted at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date of the small defense.

The small defense is usually attended by faculty representatives (academic staff and other DBA students, Ph.D. students), the appropriate supervisor and opponents, and faculty representatives with advanced knowledge of research methodology. Small defenses are organized by the relevant Department, incl. finding a suitable date, and informing the participants.

In the course of a small defense, there are usually two opponents: at least one should be an expert in research methodology and at least one an expert in the given research area. Opponents are proposed by the director of the DBA Center/Academic Director in cooperation with the supervisor.

The small defense is basically a practice run for the final thesis defense; hence a finished final dissertation is to be submitted. The aim of the small defense is to evaluate whether the final dissertation meets the requirements of this type of works. The small defense also assesses the ability to present the results of the final work, meeting the objectives, defending the scientific methods used, including a convincing case for the benefits of the work.

A record (Report) is made of the small defense (for the template, see bottom of the page), stating the conclusion whether the work is recommended for a main dissertation defense after the recommended amendments have been incorporated, or for revision and re-submission for retaking the small defense. If the work is returned for revision and modification, it is possible to retake the small defense in two months at the earliest.

Additional organizational arrangements:

  • Opponents and other academic staff addressed by the supervisor express their written comments on the student’s doctoral thesis and submit their comments and questions to the student at least one week in advance (the deadline for submitting comments can be individually adjusted by the DBA Center).
  • The minutes (Report; for the template, see bottom of the page) are usually prepared by the supervisor in cooperation with a faculty representative and approved by the director of the Center. Part of the minutes from the small defense is, among other things, a statement as to whether the submitted dissertation is thoroughly explored and defendable by evidence, what other modifications are necessary and the opponents’ proposals for the final big defense.
  • The student prepares a presentation (15 – 20 minutes); a discussion and evaluation follow.
  • Author: Marie Lopez Gutierrez
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