In the event of any inconsistency between the Danish and English language versions of the document, the Danish version prevails
Ministerial Order on Doctoral Degrees
Ministry of Education Order no. 750 of 14 August 1996 on Doctoral Degrees. Link to retsinformation.dk (Danish legal information system)
The Danish University and Property Agency Order no. 1321 of 5 December 2008 amending the Ministerial Order on Doctoral Degrees (repeal of right to complain etc.). Link to retsinformation.dk (Danish legal information system)
Part 1 General provisions on doctoral degrees and honorary doctoral degrees
Part 2 The doctoral degree
Part 3 The honorary doctoral degree
Part 4 Exemptions and complaints
Part 5 Entry into force etc.
Ministerial Order on Doctoral Degrees
Pursuant to section 2(2)(ii) of the Act on Universities (the University Act) (universitetsloven), cf. Consolidation Act no. 334 of 27 May 1993,it is stipulated that:
General provisions on doctoral degrees and honorary doctoral degrees
1.-(1) The institutions of higher education covered by the University Act may award doctoral degrees and honorary doctoral degrees in accordance with the provisions stipulated below and the provisions otherwise applicable, including the provisions of the individual institutions’ statutes.
(2) The institutions may lay down detailed rules within the framework of this Order.
2.-(1) To the extent that the individual disciplines with the corresponding Master’s degrees are represented at the institution, the institution may award the doctoral degrees listed below, and the person to whom the degree is awarded is entitled to use the following titles:
doctoral degree in theology – doctor theologiae (dr.theol.)
doctoral degree in philosophy – doctor philosophiae (dr.phil.)
doctoral degree in anthropology – doctor scientiarum anthropologicarum (dr.scient.ant.)
doctoral degree in pedagogy – doctor paedagogiae (dr.paed.)
doctoral degree in psychology – doctor psychologiae (dr.psyk.)
doctoral degree in professional language – doctor linguae mercantilis (dr.ling.merc.)
doctoral degree in law – doctor juris (dr.jur.)
doctoral degree in economics – doctor politices (dr.polit.),
doctoral degree in political science – doctor scientiarum politicarum (dr.scient.pol.)
doctoral degree in economics – doctor oeconomices (dr.oecon.)
doctoral degree in economics and business administration – doctor mercaturae (dr.merc.)
doctoral degree in administration – doctor scientiarum administrationis (dr.scient.adm.)
doctoral degree in sociology – doctor scientiarum socialium (dr.scient.soc.)
doctoral degree in social sciences – doctor rerum socialium (dr.rer.soc.)
doctoral degree in medical science – doctor medicinae (dr.med.)
doctoral degree in odontology – doctor odontologiae (dr.odont.)
doctoral degree in veterinary science – doctor medicinae veterinariae (dr.med.vet.)
doctoral degree in natural sciences – doctor scientiarum (dr.scient.)
doctoral degree in pharmacy – doctor pharmaciae (dr.pharm.)
doctoral degree in agronomy – doctor agronomiae (dr.agro.)
doctoral degree in technology – doctor technices (dr.techn.).
(2) The institutions may award the corresponding honorary doctoral degrees. In this case, the following is added to the title: ‘honoris causa’ (h.c.).
(3) Persons who have been awarded a doctoral degree or an honorary doctoral degree will receive a diploma from the institution. They are entitled to wear a ring, obtainable at the institution, with a disc and engraved with a head of Minerva surrounded by a laurel wreath. Holders of a doctoral degree in theology are entitled to wear silk cassocks with velvet on the front, and shoulder pieces and caps of velvet.
The doctoral degree
General provisions on the doctoral degree
3.-(1) The doctoral degree is awarded based on a dissertation which is defended at an oral public defence. In exceptional circumstances, the institution may agree to forego the oral defence.
(2) The doctoral degree must be awarded in acknowledgement of the author’s considerable scientific insight and maturity and of the author having contributed substantially to the advancement of science with the dissertation, see section 5(2).
4.-(1) Holders of Master’s or PhD degrees within the most relevant academic field are entitled to submit a dissertation for consideration for the doctoral degree, cf., however, subsection (2). The institution may allow others to submit a dissertation.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the institution may refuse to consider a dissertation which has been submitted, if:
1) it is evident, considering the form or content of the dissertation, that the doctoral degree cannot be awarded; or
2) the institution has no experts at professor level within the subject area of the dissertation; or
3) the dissertation has previously been subjected to assessment for the doctoral degree at an institution of higher education without the degree being awarded. If this is the case, the author must state this when submitting the dissertation.
5.-(1) A doctoral dissertation may consist of one dissertation or several dissertations related in subject matter or method. If a doctoral dissertation consists of several dissertations, a compressed account describing the results that the author claims to have achieved on the basis of his or her research must form part of the dissertation. If the doctoral dissertation comprises work already been assessed, see section 2, the account must also state the nature of the new research results relative to such work.
(2) If the doctoral dissertation comprises dissertations or research results from dissertations which have already been successfully submitted for an academic degree in Denmark or abroad or as a prize thesis, this must be indicated in the doctoral dissertation. The degree can only be awarded if the doctoral dissertation demonstrates that the author has obtained new research results which in themselves have contributed substantially to the advancement of science relative to those submitted earlier, see section 3.
(3) An abstract must be submitted with the doctoral dissertation.
(4) If a doctoral dissertation or parts of it are the result of a collaboration, a declaration must be submitted, signed by the collaborators and the author, setting out the scope and nature of the author’s contribution to the work.
6.-(1) The individual institutions decide on the languages in which a doctoral dissertation and the dissertation abstract may be written. However, if the dissertation is written in a foreign language, the abstract must be in Danish.
7.-(1) The institution may, on the recommendation of the assessment committee, allow the author to make minor alterations or additions to the dissertation before it is made publicly available prior to the defence, see section 16.
The assessment committee and consideration of the committee’s recommendation
8.-(1) For the assessment of a doctoral dissertation, the institution appoints an assessment committee as soon as possible and normally not later than three months after submission. It must consist of two or three members who are experts within the subject area of the doctoral dissertation and either are professors or possess comparable expertise. Only the members of the assessment committee may participate in the assessment.
9.-(1) Immediately after the composition of the assessment committee has been determined, the author must be notified of the composition and that objections to the composition of the committee must be submitted within a specified deadline of not less than eight and not more than 14 weekdays, excluding Sundays. Any objections will be considered as soon as possible after receipt thereof. If it is decided to change the composition of the assessment committee, the author must be notified in the same way and be given the opportunity to object.
(2) When the institution has made its final decision on the composition of the assessment committee, the author must be notified of this and that objections to the composition of the committee must be submitted within a specified deadline of not less than eight and not more than 14 weekdays. After the expiry of this deadline and until the assessments committee’s final recommendation is received, the dissertation may only be withdrawn from assessment if allowed by the institution in special circumstances.
10.-(1) The assessment committee provides a reasoned written recommendation on whether the dissertation should be accepted for defence for the doctoral degree or should be rejected. If there is a difference of opinion in the committee about the recommendation, the members will provide their recommendation individually or in groups. The recommendation must be written in a suitably objective tone and provide a sufficient basis for a decision.
(2) Unless a different deadline has been set in individual cases, the recommendation must be submitted within eight months of the appointment of the assessment committee.
11.-(1) If the recommendation contains insufficient guidance or material defects, the recommendation will be returned to the assessment committee for revision or correction of formal errors. When the final recommendation is available, it must be sent to the author as soon as possible.
(2) If the recommendation or, in case of a dissenting recommendation, one of the recommendations recommends rejection of the dissertation, the author must be notified of the right to submit written comments for the recommendation or withdraw the dissertation from further consideration within three weeks.
(3) If the author submits comments for the assessment committee’s recommendation without withdrawing the dissertation, such comments must be submitted to the assessment committee for comments and possibly revision of the recommendation. The author must be notified of the assessment committee’s reaction to the objections.
12.-(1) In order to clarify any doubts in connection with the recommendation, members of the assessment committee, who are not also members of the relevant collegial body, may be summoned for consideration of the case in the body, giving at least 14 days’ notice. They will not take part in the vote. If, during the consideration, information of relevance to the decision comes to light, which information has not previously been made known to the author, the author must be notified in writing and be given the opportunity to comment on such information before a decision is made.
13.-(1) Voting in the collegiate body on the assessment committee’s recommendation is governed by the provisions below. Voting members are all members of the relevant decision-making body. When decisions are made by a simple or qualified majority of votes cast, blank votes will not be counted. If it is decided not to follow the assessment committee’s recommendation, the case must be considered by an extended assessment committee.
(2) A unanimous recommendation to accept the dissertation for defence is adopted if at least two-thirds of all voting members vote in favour. A unanimous recommendation not to accept the dissertation for defence may be adopted by a simple majority of votes cast.
(3) A majority recommendation to accept the dissertation for defence may be adopted by a simple majority of votes cast. A majority recommendation not to accept the dissertation for defence is adopted if at least two-thirds of all voting members vote in favour.
(4) If the assessment committee only consists of two members, and if they have submitted dissenting recommendations to accept or reject the dissertation, the dissertation must be considered by an extended assessment committee.
The extended assessment committee and consideration of the committee’s recommendation.
14.-(1) If the original committee consisted of two members, the extended committee must consist of either three or five members. If the original committee consisted of three members, the extended committee must consist of five members. Members of the original committee will normally be members of the extended committee. Otherwise, the provisions in sections 8-12 also apply.
15.-(1) Voting in the collegiate body on the recommendation from the extended committee is governed by the following provisions, see section 13(1), second sentence:
1) A unanimous recommendation to accept the dissertation for defence is adopted if four-fifths of all voting members vote in favour. A unanimous recommendation to reject the dissertation may not be overruled.
2) A majority recommendation to accept the dissertation for defence is adopted if at least two-thirds of all voting members vote in favour. A majority recommendation to reject the dissertation is adopted if at least four-fifths of all voting members vote in favour.
The defence and the official opponents’ report
16.-(1) When a dissertation is accepted for defence, the author must ensure that copies of it are obtainable. It must be available no later than four weeks before the defence, as decided by the institution.
17.-(1) The defence is public and conducted by the chairman of the responsible collegiate body or another member of the academic staff appointed by the chairman. The institution must ensure that the defence can subsequently be documented sufficiently.
(2) The defence must be conducted in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, unless the institution grants permission to use another language.
(3) Not later than four weeks before the defence, the institution must announce the time and place for the defence, and state where the dissertation may be obtained as well as detailed rules on the defence, including information about registering as an unofficial opponent.
18.-(1) Two of the members of the assessment committee will be appointed as official opponents. In special circumstances, other experts may be appointed as official opponents.
(2) Any unofficial opponents must register with the chair of the defence before its start. However, the chair may allow contributions from opponents who registered at a later time, giving priority to those who registered earlier.
19.-(1) The doctoral candidate must be given the opportunity to start the defence with a lecture of up to 30 minutes, comprising a review of the dissertation’s subject and the research results that have been submitted for assessment.
(2) Each official opponent will normally be allotted a maximum of 1½ hours and each unofficial opponent a maximum of 45 minutes. This time includes the time that the candidate will need for response. The time allotted to opponents may be reduced or increased according to circumstances. The entire defence must not exceed six hours, including any breaks.
20.-(1) As soon as possible after the defence, the official opponents must submit a report stating whether they consider the defence satisfactory, see, however (2). If one or both opponents do not consider the defence satisfactory, this must be substantiated in the report.
(2) If the defence has caused one or both opponents to doubt whether a positive report can be submitted, they may recommend to the responsible collegiate body that the institution obtain written comments, including, according to circumstances, comments from unofficial opponents to clarify the issue in doubt. The institution must allow the doctoral candidate to comment on statements made by others before the material is sent to the opponents for the completion of their report.
(3) If a report contains insufficient guidance or material defects, the report will be returned to the opponents for revision or correction of formal errors. When the final report becomes available, it must be sent to the doctoral candidate. Unless both opponents have found the defence satisfactory, the doctoral candidate must be given the opportunity to submit comments for the report within a deadline of at least 14 days. The comments are submitted to the opponents for comment and possibly revision of the recommendation. The doctoral candidate is notified of the opponents’ reaction.
Final consideration of the case etc.
21.-(1) The official opponents who are not also members of the collegiate body may be summoned for consideration of the case by the collegiate body. The provisions in section 12 also apply.
(2) Unless the collegiate body in extraordinary circumstances decides to seek further information before making a decision, see (3), the following applies, see section 13(1), second and third sentences:
1) If both opponents have considered the defence satisfactory, the doctoral degree will be awarded to the doctoral candidate.
2) If both opponents have considered the defence unsatisfactory, the doctoral degree may be awarded only if at least two-thirds of the participating members vote in favour. However, this decision can only be made when further information has been obtained, see (3).
3) If the opponents have submitted a dissenting report, the doctoral degree must be awarded to the doctoral candidate if at least two-thirds of all the voting members vote in favour.
(3) If a majority of the participating members find that, due to extraordinary circumstances, a decision should not be made only on the basis of the report from the opponents, and that further information should be sought, such information must be obtained in written form. The doctoral candidate and the opponents must be notified and given the opportunity to comment on material provided by others before a decision is made. Unless the collegiate body decides with a simple majority of votes to apply for exemption under section 25, the provisions in (2) will apply to the decision to award or not to award the doctoral degree.
22.-(1) If, in extraordinary circumstances, the institution has agreed to forego the oral defence, the decision whether to award the degree must be made according to the provisions governing the decision to accept the dissertation for defence.
23.-(1) One copy of the dissertation must be submitted to The Royal Library (Det kongelige Bibliotek), one copy to the State Library in Aarhus (Statsbiblioteket) and one copy to the awarding institution’s main library.
The honorary doctoral degree
24.-(1) The honorary doctoral degree may be awarded to scientists who have achieved such outstanding scientific results that it is considered natural to honour them with the highest academic degree.
Exemptions and complaints
25.-(1) The Ministry may allow institutions to award other doctoral degrees than those listed in section 2, and to deviate from the provisions of this Order, if justified by extraordinary circumstances.
26.-(1) Only complaints of a legal nature pertaining to decisions made under this Order may be brought before the Ministry.
Entry into force etc.
27.-(1) The Order enters into force on 1 October 1996.
28.-(1) Ministerial Order no. 410 of 2 June 1987 on Acquisition of the Doctoral Degree is repealed.
(2) Holders of the doctor of philosophy degree awarded earlier within natural sciences are entitled to use the title of doctor scientiarum (dr.scient.), if they wish.
Danish Ministry of Education, 14 August 1996
Ole Vig Jensen
/ Birgit Andersen
The corrected text has been inserted after the reprint of Official Gazette A, no. 129, on 16 September 1996.
Ministerial Order amending the Ministerial Order on Doctoral Degrees
(Repeal of right to complain etc.)
Ministerial Order no. 750 of 14 August 1996 on Doctoral Degrees is amended as follows:
1. The introduction is worded as follows:
‘Under section 6(2) of the Act on Universities (the University Act) (universitetsloven), cf. Consolidation Act no. 1368 of 7 December 2007, it is stipulated that:’
2. In section 25, ‘The Ministry’ is replaced by: ‘The Danish University and Property Agency’.
3. Section 26 is repealed.
(1) The Order enters into force on 1 January 2009.
(2) Complaints of a legal nature, cf. section 26 of Ministerial Order no. 750 of 14 August 1996 on Doctoral Degrees, submitted before 1 January 2009 will be considered by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
The Danish University and Property Agency, 5 December 2008
Jens Peter Jacobsen
/ Anders Jørgensen