Stages in the doctoral process
The doctoral process contains four or five stages: the optional pre-admission, the admission, the confirmation, the private defense and the public defense. Note that admission (pre-admission or permanent) is necessary to undertake activities in the doctoral programme, credit is not awarded for activities prior to admission (pre-admission). This chapter is devoted to describing these stages in some detail from a process viewpoint.
The pre-admission is an optional step, primarily intended to allow for qualified candidates to define their project and supervisor, while pursuing courses and integrating in the doctoral programme. Below we review the objectives, application process and appeal provision for this step.
The optional pre-admission stage (DR art 2.1) is intended to provide the candidate with the necessary time to accomplish the administrative, financial and social stages involved in the integration in a research environment (e.g., the application for scholarships, the organisation of project funding, receipt of visa and work permits if applicable). The decision to pre-admit a candidate is made by the LSM Doctoral Bureau. A pre-admission is valid for at most 12 calendar months and authorizes the candidate to
An application for pre-admission can be made any time and should be made on a specific form to the local LSM Doctoral Bureau member for a site in the Académie where the temporary supervisor (mentor) is active. The LSM Doctoral Bureau member can act as a source of information to find a potential supervisor unless such contacts are already taken. The pre-admission process contains two stages (i) application for pre-admission to the coordinator, and (ii) administrative registration at the local institution within the Académie.
The pre-admission application file must contain the following information:
The LSM Doctoral Bureau validates the information in the application with respect to admissibility as a PhD student and writes a decision (accept/reject) that is sent to the candidate and the local doctoral administration.
Pre-admission administrative registration
Following the approval by the local LSM Doctoral Bureau member, the candidate will receive an authorization to register as a doctoral student in pre-admission for up to 12 months. The candidate registers locally at the institution (contact information in Table 4) and pays the annual administrative fees that are due. Note that no tuition is payable for pre-admission.
The admission to the doctoral school constitutes the first mandatory step in the doctoral process. The admission application is to be sent to the LSM Doctoral Bureau through its administrator (email@example.com) in electronic format (PDF, preferably in a single file).
The following elements must be contained in the electronic admission file (documents marked by * may be omitted for candidates already pre-admitted).
An LSM senior faculty member (professor or permanent scientist) with a doctoral degree obtained after the public defense of a thesis is eligible to supervise doctoral research within a given scientific domain. A thesis may be supervised by two faculty members (co-supervision), provided both are eligible to supervise doctoral students and that at least one is a faculty member in the Académie. A retired faculty member (emeritus) may continue supervision for already admitted candidates, but cannot act as supervisor for a new candidate. The thesis supervisor(s) must write and sign a Letter of Support to confirm the commitment to supervise the proposed candidate and project until completion. Without a Letter of Support from an eligible supervisor in the file, the application will be rejected by default.
The research proposal
The research proposal is a document edited in English or French (using the form to download ), 5-7 pages long with the following contents:
Projects that are insufficiently specified, too ambitious or inadequate in terms of methodology or literature are rejected.
The supervisor panel
The supervisory panel is proposed by the supervisor(s) and contains at least two other eligible faculty members, whereof at least one member is external to the research group of the supervisor(s). The voluntary members of the thesis committee are committed to provide continuous guidance to the candidate during the project, meeting at least once annually with the supervisor(s) and the candidate to discuss the progress. The prior contentment of the proposed members to serve on the supervisor panel must be solicited by the supervisor. The LSM Doctoral Bureau may approve the proposal or change the composition of the supervisory panel to better suit the project and candidate.
The research training programme
The proposal for the training programme is elaborated jointly by the candidate, the supervisor(s) and the supervisory panel with the objective to conceive a package that is tailor-made for the scientific needs of the candidate and the project. The part necessary to be specified in the admission folder concerns the courses (24 ECTS) and the identity of the chosen DSM reading seminar (18 ECTS).
Application contact and deadlinesThe electronic application file is to be sent by email to the LSM Doctoral Bureau through its administrator (see above) with a copy to the local LSM Doctoral Bureau member (if the candidate is pre-admitted).
The LSM Doctoral Bureau reviews the admission applications monthly, candidates can inquire to the Bureau secretary for the dates of the upcoming meetings. Regular deadlines for registration per academic year apply.
The LSM Doctoral Bureau reviews the admission applications continuously. An acceptance decision of the LSM Doctoral Bureau is sent to
In the case of a rejected admission, a motivated decision of the LSM Doctoral Bureau is sent to
The LSM Doctoral Bureau may judge that the application should be improved in order for the Bureau to come to a positive decision and ask the candidate to submit an updated version.
Following the approval by the LSM Doctoral Bureau, the candidate will receive an authorization to register as a PhD student. The candidate registers locally at the institution of his/her supervisor and pays tuition as well as the annual registration fees that are due. For successive registrations up until the academic year for the final thesis defense, the candidate must pay the annual registration fees prior to Dec 1 each year to stay in the programme.
The confirmation procedure is a mandatory intermediate step in the doctoral process with the purpose to assure adequate progress towards the thesis defense in order to meet the statutory objectives in terms of time and quality. The confirmation serves several objectives.
Within 24 calendar months from the definitive admission to the doctoral programme by the LSM Doctoral Bureau, the candidate should pass the confirmation stage. The LSM Doctoral Bureau may extend the delay if justified with exceptional circumstances. Note that for FNRS fellowships, the renewal report after two-years requires a passed confirmation stage.
The confirmation step is organized between the candidate and the supervisory panel at a time and
site ofmutual agreement and involves several elements:
The report is submitted in original to LSM Doctoral Bureau (administrator). The LSM Doctoral Bureau validates the confirmation report and disseminates the result of the confirmation to
In the event of failure (DR art 2.3.3), the LSM Doctoral Bureau can define a period of maximum 12 months within which the candidate may retry the confirmation.
When the supervisory panel considers that the candidate’s work and doctoral research training have been satisfactorily completed, it proposes a composition of a doctoral jury (DR art 2.4.1). The private defense can be done earliest one year after the passed confirmation.
A doctoral jury includes the thesis supervisor(s) and at least three other members selected for their scientific competence in the field of the thesis. At least two of the jury members should be external to LSM, thereof at least one external to the Académie, and all members should possess a doctoral title earned through a public defense of a thesis or equivalent expertise. Normally, the members of the supervisory panel form part of the jury, exceptions to this rule should be validated with the LSM Doctoral Bureau prior to submission of the proposal.
Process for the designation of a jury
The written and signed proposal by the promotor on behalf of the supervisor panel is to be sent to the LSM Doctoral Bureau for validation. After validation of the status of the confirmation, the valid registration of the candidate in the institution, full payment of fees, and the full documentation of the completed doctoral training programme of 60 ECTS, the LSM Doctoral Bureau transmits the proposal to CDD Economics and Management. After approval by the CDD Economics and Management, the proposal is transmitted to the Dean of the faculty concerned by the LSM Doctoral Bureau. The members of the jury are (formally) appointed by the Rector of the university concerned.
Upon receipt of the designation of the jury, the LSM Doctoral Bureau transmits a copy to :
The administrative requirement for the minimum time between the date of the appointment of the jury by the Rector and the date of the private defense is defined by the member institutions in the Académie. E.g., at UCL, the requirement is to allow six weeks between the appointment of the jury and the private defense.
The private doctoral defense (DR art 2.4.2.)
The jury comes to a joint decision on the date of the private defense, in agreement with the candidate. One month at the latest before the chosen date, the candidate forwards the provisional text of the thesis to the jury members; this text must consist of either an original thesis, or an essay accompanied by a coherent set of publications and work of which the candidate is either the author or the co-author. These documents can be submitted in French or in English.
The entire jury should be present for the private defense (videoconference is authorized). If this is not possible for some reason, the absent member must send a written report before the defense to the chairman of the jury, giving his/her reasoned opinion on the value of the thesis and a list of the questions to be put to the candidate.
The private defense will start with a short oral presentation (30 min), the jury will then discuss the text submitted as well as the research results with the candidate.
At the end of the private defense, the jury deliberates and comes to a conclusion about the admissibility of the thesis. The chairman of the jury documents the following decisions at the defense:
Form for the defense, signed by all present members declaring
The result of this deliberation is communicated orally immediately to the candidate and the written form is forwarded to the LSM Doctoral Bureau for validation and the compilation of an official transcript of the defense. This transcript is transmitted to:
Process prior to the public defense
The candidate prepares the new thesis draft along with a short document summarizing the implementation of the changes decided, resubmits it to those charged with the approval of the changes. Once the modifications decided in art 3.4.3c above are approved and a final date has been agreed among the members of the jury, the approving party transmits a written demand to the LSM Doctoral Bureau to organize a public defense at that date. The LSM Doctoral Bureau transmits this request to the concerned university administration and invites the jury and the public to the public defense.
The candidate prints the approved thesis version in the series of doctoral theses Académie Louvain/LSM and transmits the printed thesis at least two weeks prior to the defense to
An electronic copy must also be sent to the person responsible for electronic theses within the Académie member institution which will award the degree (DR art 2.5.2). The procedure for submission is detailed in "La gestion academique et administrative du doctorat au sein de l'Academie Universitaire Louvain, Annexe 4, Thèses électroniques : document à destination des gestionnaires de doctorates,approved by CODAL Feb 18, 2008 ".
The public doctoral defense (DR art 2.5.1.)
The public defense consists of an oral presentation given by the candidate of the results of the research work which have led to the thesis; on this occasion the candidate should lay emphasis on the qualities and originality of the work, and its relevance to the wider scientific public. This presentation is followed by a discussion between the candidate and the jury and then with everyone present at the defense.
At least two thirds of the members of jury should be present at the public defense, which may not last longer than three hours. Any member unable to attend the public defense must send a written report before the sitting, giving his/her reasoned opinion on questions that he/she wishes to put to the candidate to the chairman of the jury.
Administrative process after public defense
Immediately after the public defense, the jury members withdraw to decide on the outcome of the doctoral programme, awarding the 120 ECTS for the successful defense of the doctoral dissertation, and to certify that the candidate has obtained the minimum 180 credits required for the granting of the academic title of doctor (DR art 2.5.3). A member of the jury is designated to act as Secretary for the deliberation. The chairman of the jury prepares the following documents to be issued after the deliberation:
The chairman announces the result in public and the new doctor signs the degree certificate. The chairman then transmits the degree certificate to the Rector of the concerned university for signature. The official report and the official bulletin are transmitted to the LSM Doctoral Bureau for further dissemination to the Dean of the concerned faculty and CDD Economics and Management.
The degree certificate
The degree certificate specifies the name of the awarding institution and the Académie Louvain (DR art 3.1), it is also accompanied with a supplement in accordance with art 82 of the Decree (March 31, 2004).
A doctoral candidate may be subject to an agreement with a university outside the Académie. In such case, the model agreement with the external university should conform to the model agreement in DR appendix 1 of the "Règlement doctoral de l'Académie universitaire'Louvain ". Prior to signature by the Rector of the concerned universities, the proposed agreement should be validated by CDD Economics and Management, LSM Doctoral Bureau and the Dean of the faculty.
Any decision (pre-admission, admission, confirmation) made by the LSM Doctoral Bureau may be appealed to the CDD Economics and Management. CDD Economics and Management may also resolve conflicts between candidates, supervisors and supervisor panels when necessary. Appeals for admission should be done within three months of the date of rejection and may be subject to additional information requirements and/or an oral presentation, depending on the reasons for reject.
Decisions by the CDD Economics and Management may be appealed to CODAL, the interdisciplinary doctoral commission for the Académie.
| 10/11/2010 |