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Rules on doctoral studies at the University of Ljubljana (UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION)

Rules on Doctoral Studies at the University of Ljubljana (PDF)

In accordance with the Statute of the University of Ljubljana (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 4/2017 with amendments, supplementations and corrections), the Senate of the University of Ljubljana adopted the following at its 18th ordinary session held on 28 May 2019:  
 

RULES ON DOCTORAL STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LJUBLJANA
 

I. General provisions 

Article 1

These rules represent a document that governs doctoral studies at the University of Ljubljana (UL) and that define the basic standards for doctoral studies.

The terms used in the masculine gender in these rules shall apply equally to men and women as gender-neutral terms.

Article 2

The individual terms used in these rules shall have the following meanings:

  • A doctoral candidate shall mean a person in the process of obtaining the academic title of doctor of science.
  • Committee shall mean a working body of experts appointed by the senate of a member faculty for the purpose of monitoring the process of obtaining a doctorate of science by doctoral candidates.
  • Competent body shall mean the body of a member faculty or programme council that adopts decisions in connection with doctoral studies.
  • Course unit shall be the expression used for subjects, seminars, tutorials and other organised forms of doctoral studies.

Drafting and content of doctoral study programmes

Article 3

Doctoral study programmes at the UL differ from one another primarily in terms of the level of interdisciplinarity, and the manner in which programmes are organised and implemented:

  • doctoral study programmes with an interdisciplinary approach and coordinated at the level of the UL;
  • doctoral study programmes with an interdisciplinary approach and coordinated by member faculties;
  • doctoral study programmes in fields that are implemented and coordinated by individual member faculties; and
  • combined doctoral study programmes.

Article 4

The minimum conditions for defining a scientific field within doctoral study programmes are as follows:

  • the existence of the relevant scientific research activity and relevant scientific research infrastructure;
  • the provision of a sufficient number of professors who are able to formulate at least one core and several elective subjects; and
  • the proven need for the development of a new scientific field.

Scientific fields shall not be duplicated in doctoral study programmes at the UL.

Article 5

Doctoral study programmes shall last three or four years, and shall comprise 180 or 240 credits.

One study programme year shall comprise 60 credits. The definition of a study semester is not required.

The value of a course unit shall be at least three (3) credits, while the recommended number of credits of a specific course unit shall be five (5) or a multiple of that number.

Article 6

The work of doctoral students shall comprise course units, individual study work, research work, preparations for examinations or other forms of verifying knowledge, a doctoral examination, a doctoral dissertation, and all obligations in connection with the writing, presentation and defence of the doctoral dissertation, as well as the publication of at least one original scientific article in accordance with Article 20.


Organised forms of study shall comprise 60 credits.

Organised forms of study in the scope of doctoral study programmes shall include course units that form theoretical, scientific and methodological sections, the presentation of research work for a doctoral dissertation, and the preparation and defence of doctoral dissertation.

Research work in the scope of studies shall comprise from 120 to 180 credits. The aforementioned credits shall also include research work required for one scientific article that has been published or accepted for publication, with the candidate as lead author. 

Article 7

In addition to the enclosures required for the accreditation of a programme by NAKVIS, an application for the accreditation of a doctoral study programme shall also include the following:

  • information regarding a member faculty’s research work, including the research programmes/projects in which it participates;
  • information regarding research capacities for the inclusion of doctoral candidates in research work; and
  • a special enclosure with a list of all professors included in a study programme (including lecturers) with 3–5 references. This information represents the basic selection of potential mentors for a new doctoral study programme.

Trustees of doctoral study programmes and the board of trustees 

Article 8

In the case of interdisciplinary doctoral study programmes, a member faculty’s senate or the relevant programme council shall appoint a trustee of a doctoral study programme.

The main tasks of a trustee of a doctoral study programme shall be the management, coordination and presentation of a doctoral study programme.

Article 9

The board of trustees shall serve as an advisory body of the Doctoral School and shall comprise the trustees of individual doctoral study programmes. The board shall be led by the Head of the Doctoral School.

In accordance with the Statute of the UL, the rules and work of the Doctoral School shall be defined by the University’s Senate via a founding resolution.

Call for enrolment

Article 10

Pursuant to the Higher Education Act and the Rules on the call for enrolment and enrolment in higher education, the UL shall publish a joint call for enrolment in doctoral study programmes.

Article 11

Candidates shall answer the call for enrolment in accordance with the Rules on the call for enrolment and enrolment in higher education.

Enrolment requirements and selection criteria

Article 12

In the case of restricted enrolment, enrolment requirements and selection criteria shall be laid down by an accredited study programme.

Article 13

By the end of the enrolment deadline, a candidate shall reach an agreement with a higher education professor or scientific researcher to serve as mentor/co-mentor and, upon enrolment at the latest, submit their consent with respect to the mentor/co-mentor and a short conceptual design of the research work.

As the providers of doctoral study programmes, member faculties shall publish a list of potential mentors who meet the relevant conditions prior to the call for enrolment. That list shall also be published on the Doctoral School’s website.

Article 14

The competent body shall adopt resolutions on the selection of candidates for enrolment in a study programme. In the event of failure to fulfil mentorship requirements, the competent body shall inform the candidate and the rejected mentor, and set a deadline for the doctoral candidate to find a new mentor. 

Enrolment

Article 15

Enrolment in doctoral study programmes shall be carried out in accordance with the Rules on the call for enrolment and enrolment in higher education.

Article 16

In agreement with their mentor, a doctoral candidate shall formulate a curriculum that shall be signed by the mentor, doctoral candidate and the trustee or coordinator of the scientific field in question.

At the time of enrolment, a doctoral candidate may also select subjects and/or other organised forms of study from other doctoral study programmes. A member faculty or programme council shall inform a member faculty or other university immediately after a doctoral candidate’s selection of subjects has been approved.

In the event of a change to the curriculum, the doctoral candidate shall obtain the consent of their mentor and subject lecturers, and of the trustee or coordinator of the field in question. The competent body shall make decisions in this regard.

Article 17

At the time of enrolment, doctoral candidates shall sign a researcher’s declaration of commitment to comply with ethical principals in accordance with the Code of Ethics of UL Researchers.

Article 18

At the time of enrolment in a specific study year, the doctoral candidate and UL or UL member faculty shall enter into an education contract, under which the contracting parties shall agree on the mutual rights and obligations arising from doctoral studies, and the amount of tuition and payment method.

Article 19

Tuition for doctoral studies shall be paid separately for each academic year in which a doctoral candidate enrols, and shall be specified in the UL price list adopted by the UL’s Governing Board for an individual academic year.

Study Regulations

Article 20

Doctoral study programmes are implemented by the UL’s member faculties in accordance with accredited doctoral study programmes. The conditions for completing a study programme and acquiring the academic title of doctor of science shall be the doctoral candidate’s successful completion of all of the study requirements from a programme and the successful defence of their doctoral dissertation. In accordance with the study programme in question, the doctoral candidate shall also be the lead author of at least one original scientific article with content from their doctoral dissertation that has been accepted for publication and that is deemed important work in specific scientific fields according to the UL’s habilitation criteria.

Doctoral candidates enrolled in four-year doctoral study programmes shall have a scientific article accepted for publication before the doctoral dissertation is submitted for evaluation, at the latest.

Doctoral candidates enrolled in three-year doctoral study programmes shall have a scientific article accepted for publication before the defence of their doctoral dissertation, at the latest.

If it is not possible for a doctoral candidate to serve as lead author (for example, in international research projects or for other justified reasons), the mentor shall issue a statement confirming that the doctoral candidate’s contribution is significant.

Reference shall be made to the University of Ljubljana in all publications in connection with research work in the scope of doctoral studies. This shall also apply when the doctoral candidate, mentor and co-mentor are employed by another organisation.

Article 21

The lecturers and professors of course units shall be persons with a valid teaching title (assistant professor, associate professor and full professor) and who have demonstrated scientific relevance, with the requisite references from the area covered by a course unit.

Article 22

The University of Ljubljana’s Study Regulations shall be applied mutatis mutandis for the verification and assessment of knowledge and competences acquired through the fulfilment of the requirements set out in doctoral study programmes.

Article 23

Examination and other forms of the verification of knowledge are carried out in the scope of doctoral studies by deadlines that are not necessarily linked to examination periods. A doctoral candidate and the administrators of examinations or other forms of the verification of knowledge may mutually agree on the deadline for the fulfilment of requirements. The consent of the competent body is therefore not required.

Article 24

A doctoral candidate shall register for an examination by the announced deadline via the study information system, if announced in this way, or in agreement with an examination administrator.

An administrator shall enter their report on the verification of knowledge in the study information system or submit it to Student Affairs Office, if the doctoral candidate did not register for an examination via the study information system.

Article 25

A doctoral candidate may take examinations from course units of higher years following approval by the competent body of a member faculty or programme council in the case of interdisciplinary doctoral study programmes.

Article 26

A doctoral candidate who failed an examination may retake it once. An examination shall be taken for the third time in front of a commission comprising at least three members.

A doctoral candidate who fails in their final attempt to pass an examination in accordance with the Statute of the UL may not continue in the same study programme.

Article 27

The competent body shall determine the number of course units in which a doctoral candidate may improve a grade and the period in which they may improve a grade.

Article 28

In accordance with the Statute of the UL and valid study programmes, the competent body may recognise the fulfilment of requirements by a doctoral candidate outside of the study programme in which they are enrolled. Requirements recognised as such shall be added to the sum of credits required to obtain a third-cycle education.

Article 29

Studies shall be deemed completed on the day a doctoral candidate’s scientific article is published or accepted for publication, and when the assessment of the final fulfilled requirement is entered in official records.

Article 30

Preliminary schedules shall be published by no later than the start of the academic year.

Article 31

In addition to the provisions of these rules, the provisions of the UL’s Study Regulations shall also apply mutatis mutandis to doctoral study programmes.

Mentorship

Article 32

Mentors and co-mentors in doctoral studies shall be university teachers with the title of assistant professor, associate professor or full professor, or academic worker with the title of scientific associate, senior scientific associate or academic counsellor, and shall demonstrate their research work, with the requisite bibliography, from the broader field covered by the doctoral dissertation. The minimum condition for the demonstration of research work shall be set out in a resolution adopted by the Senate of the UL, which shall be published on the website of the UL Doctoral School.

Mentors and co-mentors may also be persons with the appropriate habilitation of another institute (domestic or foreign) and who have references from the broader field covered by the topic of a doctoral dissertation, and who work in a study programme or are employed by an institute with whom the UL or a member faculty of the UL has concluded an agreement or entered into a cooperation agreement.

Mentors and co-mentor may be members of the committee, but shall not participate in the assessment process.

A mentor may serve in that role for a maximum of six doctoral candidates in a four-year doctoral study programme and for a maximum of five doctoral candidates in a three-year doctoral study programme, provided that candidates are enrolled in a doctoral study programme and are making regular progress in that programme. That number shall not include doctoral candidates who have submitted their dissertation for assessment. The aforementioned restriction shall not apply to co-mentors.

A doctoral candidate and their mentor or co-mentor may, for valid reasons, make a request for the replacement of the mentor or co-mentor with the competent body.

Mentors and co-mentors shall be appointed by a member faculty’s senate. When approving the topic of a doctoral dissertation, the Senate of the UL shall verify the fulfilment of conditions for mentorship or co-mentorship, and shall call on a member faculty to make a replacement if those conditions are not met.

Article 33

Mentors and co-mentors shall:

  • monitor the work of a doctoral candidate during the drafting of the research work concept, the doctoral dissertation proposal and the doctoral dissertation itself, and participate in the work of the committee in all phases of the process, except assessment;
  • provide the doctoral candidate instructions and participate in the definition of the content, and work method and standards associated with the doctoral dissertation and in the planning of research, and raise awareness regarding known facts in the field of research;
  • introduce the doctoral candidate to the immediate and broader research community in which they work (invitations to meetings, conferences at home and abroad, etc.);
  • be accessible to the doctoral candidate for regular consultations by mutual agreement;
  • participate in the presentation of the doctoral dissertation proposal, in the presentation of the results of research work and in the defence of the doctoral dissertation;
  • facilitate the doctoral candidate’s inclusion in research work;
  • regularly request from the doctoral candidate oral or written reports on the progress and results of research work, and provide advice regarding the possible publication of the partial results of the doctoral dissertation or the presentation thereof at academic events; and
  • serve as an example of ethical research work through their own actions.

In addition to the competent bodies of the member faculty, the sectoral coordinator, study programme trustee and Head of the UL’s Doctoral School may help in the resolution of potential disagreements between the doctoral candidate, mentor and co-mentor. 

Article 34

The doctoral candidate shall:

  • regularly fulfil their study requirements and perform research work;
  • register their doctoral dissertation topic in accordance with the study programme, and publicly present the dissertation proposal and the results of research work, draft their doctoral dissertation, publish at least one scientific article in accordance with Article 20 and publicly defend their doctoral dissertation;
  • work at all times with the mentor and co-mentor, and consult on the content and work method and standards in connection with their doctoral dissertation;
  • report regularly to their mentor and co-mentor on the progress of their work;
  • perform research work in accordance with the ethical norms of the UL;
  • respect and publicly acknowledge the contributions of their mentor and co-mentor, and other co-workers, and maintain fair relationships with those persons; and
  • reach agreement with their mentor and co-mentor and other co-workers on the publication of the results of research work in connection with the doctoral dissertation.

Registration of a doctoral dissertation topic

Article 35

A doctoral candidate shall register the topic of their doctoral dissertation in accordance with the instructions of the member faculty where they are enrolled, or of the member faculty responsible for the process of obtaining an academic title in the case of interdisciplinary study programmes.

A doctoral candidate may register the topic of their doctoral dissertation a maximum of twice in the same field of the doctoral study programme prior to submitting their doctoral dissertation for assessment. A doctoral candidate may re-register a new topic or an updated topic that was previously registered.

Article 36

If the registration of a doctoral dissertation topic is incomplete, the competent body of the member faculty shall call on the doctoral candidate to supplement the topic by a specific deadline that shall not exceed one year. If the doctoral candidate fails to supplement their topic by the aforementioned deadline, their registration shall be rejected by way of decision. 

Appointment of a committee

Article 37

At its first session following the registration of a topic, the senate of a member faculty shall appoint a committee to monitor the doctoral candidate from the registration of the doctoral dissertation topic until the assessment and defence of the dissertation. 

The committee shall comprise at least three assessors selected from higher education teachers or academic workers who are experts in the broader field covered by the doctoral dissertation topic, with a valid teaching or academic title. At least one assessor shall be from another university or another research organisation, and exceptionally from another member faculty of the UL. If the mentor and co-mentor serve as members of the committee, the number of members shall be increased accordingly.

The members of the committee, mentor and co-mentor shall avoid situations that represent or could represent conflicts of interest in accordance with the Rules on avoiding conflict of interest and on conditions for performing work outside the UL.

The chair of the committee shall coordinate the work of committee members and draw up an assessment of the suitability of a topic.

The senate of the member faculty shall issue a decision regarding the appointment of the committee, and inform the members of that committee, the doctoral candidate, mentor and co-mentor in writing accordingly.

Presentation of a doctoral dissertation topic

Article 38

A doctoral candidate shall present their topic to the committee and the research public.

The committee shall draw up and sign a report on the presentation. That report shall include any comments and a deadline for the supplementation of the proposed doctoral dissertation topic. 

Confirmation of doctoral dissertation topic

Article 39

Within one month following the presentation of the doctoral dissertation topic or following the submission of a supplemented doctoral dissertation proposal, the committee shall submit an assessment of the suitability of the doctoral dissertation topic to the senate of the member faculty that conducts the procedure. A joint assessment is usually issued, but committee members may also issue separate opinions. When a committee member is a foreign national who does not understand Slovene, the report in Slovene shall be accompanied by a report in English (which may be shorter) that shall be signed by the foreign committee member.

Article 40

The relevance of the topic and its expected contribution to science shall be evident from the written assessment of the suitability of the doctoral dissertation topic.

That assessment shall include:

  • the title of proposed doctoral dissertation topic in Slovene and English;
  • an assessment of the suitability of the proposed title of the topic and the area covered by the dissertation with the planned content, as well as a proposed change to the title if required;
  • an assessment of the proposed doctoral dissertation topic and justification of its scientific relevance;
  • an assessment of the suitability of hypotheses and research questions;
  • an assessment of the suitability of planned research methods and the feasibility thereof;
  • an assessment of whether the literature cited in the proposal for the approval of the topic appropriately supports the proposed research that the doctoral candidate intends to perform in the scope of their dissertation;
  • a decision in which the assessment and field in which the title of doctor of science will be obtained are stated and justified;
  • the clearly stated opinion of members of the committee as to whether the proposed doctoral dissertation topic is composed in such a way that an independent and original contribution to the field of science can be expected;
  • an assessment of the appropriateness of the mentor and potential co-mentor; and
  • the date and signatures of members of the committee.

Article 41

The assessment of the suitability of the doctoral dissertation topic shall be discussed by the competent body of the member faculty within two months. That body shall propose that the senate of the member faculty:

  • confirm the positive assessment of the committee regarding the suitability of the topic; or
  • set a deadline by which the doctoral candidate shall change or supplement the proposed topic or otherwise take into account the comments of the committee; or
  • reject the proposed topic in the event of a negative assessment.


After the deadline set by the senate of the member faculty for the amendment or supplementation of the proposed doctoral dissertation topic by the doctoral candidate expires, the committee shall review the amended/supplemented proposed topic, and submit a new written assessment regarding the suitability of the topic at the next meeting of the senate. Even if the doctoral candidate fails to submit an amended proposed topic by the aforementioned deadline, the committee shall submit an assessment of the proposed doctoral dissertation topic.

If the senate of the member faculty approves a negative assessment from the committee, it shall reject the proposed topic and the procedure shall be concluded. The doctoral candidate may not resubmit a topic that received a negative assessment.

Article 42

When the senate of the member faculty approves a positive assessment of the suitability of a doctoral dissertation topic, the member faculty shall send the proposed topic (the doctoral candidate’s application, curriculum vitae, bibliography, proposal with main sources cited, the assessment of the committee, the decision of the member faculty’s senate and any other enclosures) to the Senate of the UL for approval.

A proposed doctoral dissertation topic sent to the Senate of the UL for approval shall include the following:

1. The form used for the registration of a doctoral dissertation topic, which includes:

  • information regarding the doctoral candidate;
  • information regarding the mentor and potential co-mentor, and regarding the composition of the committee;
  • the name of the study programme in which the candidate is enrolled and the scientific field;
  • the title of the proposed doctoral dissertation in Slovene and English;
  • a potential proposal on the writing of the doctoral dissertation in another language in accordance with the Statute of the UL; and
  • the date of the decision of the member faculty’s senate regarding the suitability of the doctoral dissertation topic.

2. Enclosures:

  • a statement of the mentor and co-mentor that they agree with the proposed topic, and a list with their 3–5 references from the broader field covered by the doctoral dissertation topic and the SICRIS researcher code, if they have one;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • the bibliography of the doctoral candidate (list of the doctoral candidate’s published academic, scientific, project and other work);
  • the doctoral dissertation proposal (from 3 to 5 pages, excluding literature);
  • the assessment of the committee regarding the suitability of the topic; and
  • the consent of the ethics committee, if required.

The doctoral dissertation proposal shall include:

  • the proposed title of the dissertation in Slovene and English;
  • the scientific field covered by the doctoral dissertation topic;
  • a review of the narrow scientific field and a description of the content that the doctoral candidate will address;
  • a definition of the research problem, which shall encompass:
  • a presentation of previous research in the topic area;
  • clearly presented hypotheses and/or research questions with a brief explanation;
  • the research concept and a description of research methods;
  • the definition of expected results and the original contribution to science; and
  • a list of references from the topic area.

The proposed doctoral dissertation topic shall be written in Slovene. If the doctoral candidate is a foreign national, the doctoral dissertation proposal and the candidate’s curriculum vitae, which are attached to the documentation for confirmation of the topic, may be written exceptionally in English.

Before being discussed by the Senate of the UL, materials are discussed by the UL’s Committee for Doctoral Study, which may be authorised by the Senate to approve proposed doctoral dissertation topics. The UL’s Committee for Doctoral Studymay request that a member faculty set a deadline by which the doctoral candidate shall supplement or amend the doctoral dissertation topic, or propose a different mentor and co-mentor in agreement with the doctoral candidate, and request that the committee supplement or amend its assessment of the suitability of the topic.

The Senate of the UL shall make a decision regarding the proposed topic within two months, and inform the member faculty accordingly.

The decision regarding the confirmation of the doctoral dissertation topic shall include the name and surname of the doctoral candidate, the name of the study programme, the scientific field/module/major, the title of the doctoral dissertation topic, the names of the mentor and potential co-mentor, and the possible approval of the writing of the dissertation in a foreign language.

The member faculty shall inform the doctoral candidate, mentor and co-mentor and members of the committee about the decision of the Senate of the UL regarding the doctoral dissertation topic.

Presentation of the results of research work prior to the defence of the doctoral dissertation

Article 43

During the final phase of research work and when it is already possible to draw conclusions in accordance with established hypotheses and research questions, the doctoral candidate shall submit a draft of the doctoral dissertation to the members of the committee, mentor and co-mentor, and present the results of their research work, with an emphasis on the main findings and contribution to science.

A report shall be drawn up on the presentation and shall include the written questions of members of the committee and the decision regarding the success/failure of the presentation. If corrections to the draft doctoral dissertation are required, the committee shall set a deadline by which the doctoral candidate shall resubmit their draft. That deadline shall not exceed one year.

As a rule, presentations shall be public. The mentor, co-mentor and doctoral candidate may propose that a presentation not be public, particularly in the event of data of a confidential nature. In such cases, the presentation is only made to the members of the committee, mentor and co-mentor.

A presentation of the results of research work that is deemed unsuccessful may only be repeated once. 

Doctoral dissertation

Article 44

A doctoral dissertation shall be a written final study assignment that represents an independent and original contribution to the scientific field covered by the doctoral dissertation topic.

As a rule, the doctoral dissertation shall be written in Slovene. It may be written exceptionally in a foreign language in accordance with the Statute of the UL.

The doctoral candidate may request the writing of their dissertation in English if they are a foreign national, if their mentor or co-mentor is a foreign national or if a foreign national is a member of the committee. In the event of the study of foreign languages and literature, the dissertation may also be written in another language. In such cases, the doctoral candidate shall also write the introduction, conclusion and an extensive summary in Slovene using the appropriate scientific terminology.

The dissertation shall be written in accordance with the member faculty’s instructions on the formulation of doctoral dissertations.

Article 45

A doctoral candidate enrolled in a four-year doctoral study programme shall submit their doctoral dissertation to the member faculty in electronic and written form, together with the consent of the mentor and co-mentor, within two years following enrolment in the final year of the study programme or following enrolment in an additional year. When there are justified reasons (e.g. motherhood, fatherhood or a documented extended (at least six months) sick leave) that arose in the period between the last enrolment in the programme and the deadline for submission of the dissertation, the member faculty may exceptionally extend the doctoral candidate’s deadline for submission of their dissertation for one year.

A doctoral candidate enrolled in a three-year doctoral study programme shall submit their doctoral dissertation to the member faculty in electronic and written form, together with the consent of the mentor and co-mentor, within four years following confirmation of their topic by the Senate of the UL. A doctoral candidate unable to submit their doctoral dissertation within four years from the day their doctoral dissertation topic was confirmed may, with the consent of their mentor, request an extension prior to the expiration of the aforementioned deadline. The decision in this regard shall be made by the senate of the member faculty, which may extend the deadline for the preparation of the doctoral dissertation for one year.

A doctoral candidate may also submit their dissertation for assessment without the prior consent of their mentor and/or co-mentor. However, the mentor and/or co-mentor shall provide the member faculty’s senate a written explanation as to why they disagree with the submitted work.

If the Senate of the UL confirms a change to the doctoral dissertation topic prior to the expiration of the deadline for the submission of the final doctoral dissertation, the deadline for the submission of the doctoral dissertation that was set by the Senate of the UL during the approval of the original doctoral dissertation topic shall remain unchanged.

When submitting their doctoral dissertation, the doctoral candidate shall submit a written statement confirming that the dissertation is the result of their independent work and that the printed copy is identical to the electronic copy, and shall give their consent to the use of the electronic version of the dissertation for the purpose of the software-supported checking of content for plagiarism. The doctoral candidate shall also transfer to the University the right to reproduction, including the right to electronic storage and the right to make the doctoral dissertation available to the public on the internet via the UL’s Repository, free-of-charge, and without limitations or spatial or time restrictions.

In accordance with the Rules governing the checking of the content of the electronic form of the written final study assignment for plagiarism and the conditions for the temporary inaccessibility of the content of the written final study assignment, doctoral dissertations in electronic form shall be checked in terms of the similarity of content to other works, using the plagiarism software linked to the study information system.

Article 45a

If a doctoral candidate fails to submit their doctoral dissertation by the deadlines set out in the first and second paragraphs of Article 45, they may submit a request to the member faculty for the continuation or completion of their doctoral studies. Based on the doctoral candidate’s request and the opinions of the mentor and potential co-mentor, the competent body of the member faculty shall make a decision regarding justification of the continuation or completion of studies. In the event of a positive decision regarding the continuation or completion of doctoral studies, the competent body of the member faculty shall issue a decision in which it shall define the obligations that the doctoral candidate must fulfil to continue or complete their studies, including the deadline for the registration of a doctoral dissertation topic, which shall not exceed two years, as well as the deadline for the completion of studies.

A doctoral candidate shall register their topic by the deadline set by the member faculty, and issue their final doctoral dissertation within two years following confirmation of their doctoral dissertation topic by the Senate of the UL. If a candidate does not re-register their doctoral dissertation topic, the Senate of the UL does not confirm their doctoral dissertation topic or they do not issue their final doctoral dissertation by the deadline set by the member faculty after their topic has been confirmed by the Senate of the UL, the candidate may not complete this particular doctoral study.

If a doctoral candidate has a break in studies exceeding two years and their doctoral dissertation topic has not yet been confirmed by the Senate of the UL, the possibility of continuing or completing those studies shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the UL.

A doctoral candidate whose request to continue or complete studies has been approved shall complete their studies according to the currently valid study programme.

Article 46

A doctoral dissertation may comprise a doctoral candidate’s original scientific articles that have been accepted for publication (with evidence, such as an editor’s letter stating that an article has been accepted for publication) or that have already been published.

Original scientific articles shall be connected in terms of content (i.e. complementary) and shall be the result of work on an approved doctoral dissertation topic.

In addition to the aforementioned articles, a doctoral candidate shall also write an introduction and conclusion to their dissertation, in which they shall present the theoretical and methodological basis of their research and key findings.

The author of a doctoral dissertation written in the form of articles shall obtain consent from publishers, to whom they have first exclusively transferred material copyrights to articles, for the inclusion of such articles in printed and electronic forms of dissertations.

Article 47

If a portion of the content of a doctoral dissertation is of a confidential nature (e.g. a patent, the confidential documentation of a specific company, etc.), a doctoral candidate may, prior to submitting their doctoral dissertation, request the temporary inaccessibility of the content thereof in accordance with the UL’s Rules governing the checking of the content of the electronic form of the written final study assignment for plagiarism and the conditions for the temporary inaccessibility of the content of the written final study assignment. The requests of the doctoral candidate and mentor shall be handled individually. Part of the dissertation shall be published, as only in this way may a doctoral candidate write a relevant article, which is a precondition for the defence of their doctoral dissertation.

Article 48

A doctoral dissertation shall include:

  • the title in Slovene and English, or in another language in the case of the study of a foreign language;
  • a statement by the doctoral candidate that the submitted dissertation is their independent work and that the electronic copy is identical to the printed copy;
  • a summary in Slovene and English (maximum of 300 words) that shall be published in the repository;
  • a table of contents (contents, figures, tables and abbreviations);
  • a list of articles that have been published in connection with the content of the doctoral dissertation, including a declaration regarding publishing rights, if so required;
  • an overview of the field in question;
  • the purpose, hypotheses and research questions;
  • the research methodology;
  • results;
  • discussion;
  • conclusions;
  • an extensive summary in Slovene, if the dissertation is written in another language;
  • the author’s acknowledgements, which is not required and added if the doctoral candidate wishes to do so;
  • a list of references; and
  • any enclosures.

Assessment of a doctoral dissertation

Article 49

Members of the committee shall submit separate assessments of a dissertation to the senate of the member faculty within two months following the receipt of a dissertation.

If a member of the committee fails to comply with deadlines and does not respond to reminders that the deadline for the submission of their assessment is expiring or they discontinue their work on the committee for justified reasons (e.g. training abroad, maternity leave, etc.), the senate of the member faculty shall appoint a new member, and inform the doctoral candidate, mentor, co-mentor and members of the committee accordingly.

In the event of a four-year doctoral study programme, members of the committee shall also issue an opinion regarding the appropriateness of articles that have been published or accepted for publication.

Article 50

The assessment of a doctoral dissertation shall comprise:

  • the title of the doctoral dissertation;
  • the name and surname of the doctoral candidate;
  • the name of the study programme and field;
  • the composition of the committee and the date of appointment;
  • the date of receipt of a submitted doctoral dissertation; 
  • an analysis of the dissertation, in which the members of the committee shall assess the originality of the doctoral dissertation, taking into account the following points:
    • a brief presentation of the structure of the dissertation,
    • brief analyses and assessments of applied methods,
    • assessments of the approval or rejection of established hypotheses and research questions,
    • assessments of the originality of conclusions and the value of new findings,
    • possible special features of the dissertation, and
    • assessments of the stylistic and linguistic level of the dissertation;
  • detailed assessments of the originality of the contribution to science;
  • summary of the strengths and potential weaknesses of the doctoral dissertation – members of the committee shall send a decision to the senate of the member faculty proposing the approval, supplementation or rejection of a dissertation;
  • date of the report; and
  • the signature of the members of the committee.

A foreign member of the committee may write an abbreviated assessment of a doctoral dissertation that includes an assessment and reasoning as to whether a doctoral dissertation achieves the requisite level of originality or not.

Article 51

Members of the committee shall submit their separate assessments of a doctoral dissertation to the senate of the member faculty, which on the basis of those assessments shall approve or reject the dissertation, or call on the doctoral candidate to supplement or correct their dissertation by a specific deadline, taking into account potential comments.

In the event of dissenting opinions amongst members of the committee, the senate may appoint an additional member or members to the committee with the aim of drawing up an additional opinion or assessments. 

After a doctoral candidate submits their corrected dissertation and it is reassessed by the members of the committee, the senate of the member faculty shall discuss it again and make a decision regarding that dissertation. The senate of the member faculty shall approve or reject the dissertation.

If the doctoral candidate fails to correct their doctoral dissertation by the set deadline, the senate of the member faculty shall reject that dissertation. A doctoral candidate may not resubmit a rejected doctoral dissertation, and the procedure shall be concluded.

Article 52

When the senate of the member faculty approves a dissertation, a doctoral candidate shall submit to the member faculty the required number of bound copies of the dissertation, and submit an electronic copy of the dissertation in the member faculty’s study information system.

Public defence of doctoral dissertation

Article 53

A public defence is an academic discussion between the members of the committee and the doctoral candidate. The main purpose of the public defence is the presentation of the doctoral dissertation.

Article 54

A doctoral candidate shall defend their doctoral dissertation before the committee. That defence, which typically takes place in Slovene, is led by the chair of the committee, or the dean or vice dean of the member faculty.

The defence usually takes place within one month following the receipt of the dissertation by the senate of the member faculty.

Article 55

The defence of a doctoral dissertation shall be public, which is ensured by publishing an announcement on the website of the member faculty, as a rule seven (7) days before that defence.

The mentor, co-mentor and doctoral candidate may propose that the defence not be public, particularly in the event of data of a confidential nature.

The mentor and co-mentor shall also be present at the defence. A report shall be drawn up on the defence of the dissertation and shall include a decision regarding the success/failure of the defence. That report shall be signed by all members of the committee, whose roles on the committee shall be stated next to their signatures in the report.

The committee shall adopt a decision regarding the assessment of the defence (passed, passed with distinction or not passed).
The successful defence of a doctoral dissertation shall serve as evidence that the doctoral candidate has achieved research competences at a high academic and research level.

With the successful defence of their doctoral dissertation, the doctoral candidate shall receive the academic title of doctor of science, together with all of the rights that derive from that title.

Article 56

The defence of a doctoral dissertation that the committee assessed as unsuccessful may not be repeated and no appeal shall be possible.

Promotion of doctors of science

Article 57

Following the successful defence of a doctoral dissertation, the member faculty that conducted the procedure to obtain the title of doctor of science shall send the required documentation of the doctoral candidate to the University of Ljubljana for promotion, including confirmation of the publication of a scientific article.

The member faculty shall send to the UL’s Office for Doctoral Studies a report on the defence of the dissertation and the form ‘Applications for the promotion of doctors of science’. That form shall include data regarding the member faculty and doctoral study programme, data regarding the doctoral candidate, the title of the doctoral dissertation in Slovene and English, data regarding the mentor and co-mentor, the date of confirmation of the doctoral dissertation topic, the date of defence of the doctoral dissertation and the date of the publication of the original scientific article or articles.

Article 58

Based on applications for promotion, the UL’s Office for Doctoral Studies shall set a date for promotion in agreement with the Rector, draw up a list for the promotion of doctors of science and inform member faculties accordingly. Member faculties shall inform doctoral candidates, deans, mentors and co-mentors about the date of the promotion.

Article 59

Doctoral diplomas shall be prepared in accordance with the UL’s rules governing the issue of public documents and confirmations.

The member faculty shall order the printing of diplomas by an authorised printing company. Those diplomas shall be signed by the member faculty’s dean. Before being signed by the Rector, diplomas shall be reviewed by the UL’s Office of Doctoral Studies.

Article 60

Based on the proposal of the member faculty where a doctoral candidate completed all requirements set out in the study programme and successfully defended their doctoral dissertation, the Rector shall promote a doctor of science.

That promotion shall be a public ceremony. The promotion procedure shall be set out in a special protocol that shall be defined by the Rector and prepared in accordance with the tradition of promotions at the UL.

Article 61

Based on data that the aforementioned office receives from member faculties, and based on the presentation of doctoral candidates and their works (which are presented by the dean and mentor), the Rector shall carry out the ceremonial promotion of new doctors of science and award their doctoral degrees.

The ceremonial promotion shall be attended by doctoral candidates, the deans of the member faculties at which the doctoral candidates defended their doctoral dissertations, mentors and co-mentors, and invited guests.

Article 62

The University shall maintain a special book of doctors of science which, in addition to the newly promoted doctors of science, shall be signed following the promotion ceremony by mentors, the Rector and the deans of the member faculties that conducted the procedure of obtaining the title of doctor of science.

The UL’s Office for Doctoral Studies shall keep records of promoted doctors of science.

Article 63

A diploma supplement shall be delivered to a doctor of science by an authorised representative of the member faculty.

Article 64

The procedure of revoking an academic title shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the UL.

Transitional and final provisions

Article 65

Doctoral candidates enrolled in three-year doctoral study programmes, the duration of which was amended to four years, shall finish their studies under three-year study programmes under the condition of regular advancement, with a doctoral dissertation topic validity of four years from the confirmation of the doctoral dissertation topic by the Senate of the UL, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

Doctoral candidates who were or are enrolled in three-year doctoral study programmes, and who did not or will not advance regularly and who meet the conditions for the continuation or completion of studies shall complete their studies under a currently valid doctoral study programme.

A doctoral candidate who will submit a request to continue or complete studies shall complete their studies according to the currently valid study programme and in accordance with Article 45a of these rules, in the event of a positive decision from the member faculty regarding the continuation or completion of studies.

Article 66

The provisions of these rules shall be harmonised within six months following the accreditation of the doctoral study programme to obtain the title of doctor of arts.

Article 67

These rules shall enter into force on the day following their adoption by the Senate of the UL and following the publication of the change to Article 199 of Statute of the UL (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 4/2017 with amendments, supplementations and corrections) in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia. On the day that these rules enter into force, the Rules on doctoral studies at the University of Ljubljana of 27 June 2017 shall cease to be in force. As the providers of doctoral study programmes, member faculties shall harmonise their internal regulations with the provisions of these rules within six months following their entry into force. 

Article 68

The Senate of the UL shall evaluate the application of the provisions of these rules by 31 December 2020, and then every three years thereafter.

Reference no.: 014-1/2019
Date: 28 May 2019

Prof. Dr Igor Papič
Rector