After years of doctoral training, the oral examination, which is the thesis defence, enables PhDs in the making to speak to an audience and a jury of specialists. The opportunity to address with them a few topics addressed at the University of Liège.
State of the art, experimentation, project management, international exhibition, scientific publications, communication and dissemination are just some of the expected stages...
he doctoral path is a colourful one. During this, the researcher will be confronted with many challenges: expectations that are gradually transformed into a beautiful palette of skills mastered by the researcher: autonomy, curiosity, perseverance ...
Once a year, the progression of the doctoral student's work is evaluated by the thesis committee, which reports to the doctoral college. On this basis, the college authorises or not the re-enrolment of the doctoral student.
Although each path is different, certain stages are similar to all PhD students; thus, the first year is often a phase of discovery and appropriation of the research subject, but also of acquisition of a working method and management of exchanges with the sponsor, the thesis committee and the professional entourage. We can point out the following stages:
- Managing your thesis project: the PhD student is responsible for planning their project, meeting deadlines, and reporting progress regularly. It also sometimes happens that they have to manage a budget or some members of the team (technicians, undergraduates).
- Managing partnerships, including international ones: a thesis is done under the supervision of the sponsor and the thesis committee, but often also in connection with other people (research colleagues, industrial or public sector partners, co-authors of articles, etc.)
During co-supervision of the thesis, mobility is subject to an agreement between two universities, the doctoral student being in the end a doctor of both universities. This strengthens the international anchoring of the PhD student, which is a nice added value. For example, some PhD students will have the advantage of completing their thesis in a European Network of Excellence; top-level research relies on bright, creative and ambitious individuals.
- Making a bibliography, maintaining a scientific watch: all original research work requires a thorough knowledge of the state of the art. Much of the work therefore consists of keeping abreast of scientific advances in the field of research.
- Collecting data: whether through bibliographic research, archival consultation, taking measurements, setting up experiments or conducting surveys, etc.
- Analysing/interpreting data: The collected data must be synthesised, processed, analysed and finally interpreted to draw conclusions.
- Presenting your results: Communication is an important part of research, and it is done in written form (articles, reports, summaries, various publications) as well as orally (participation in conferences, seminars, presentations before the team or the accompanying committee).
- Writing/defending the thesis: all theses end with the writing of a manuscript, its reading by a jury of experts and the oral defence of the thesis by the candidate. The final stage of the PhD is to write a thesis exposing the research and its results in a document of high scientific quality. It is presented before a jury which, on the basis of this (text and oral defence), grants the title - and diploma - of Doctor to the young researcher.
Next thesis defences
Planning your post-thesis: Most often, doctors practice their skills in a non-academic environment. A reflection to be planned from the start.