Doctorate with a free foot

Doctoral studies (third-cycle) last usually in Europe for four years and are conducted in full-time and part-time. During them, a doctoral dissertation is opened, the effect of which is to defend and award the doctor’s degree.

For those wishing to obtain a doctoral degree on a “free hand / foot” basis, the entry in art. 11 of the Act, which stipulates that the doctoral degree is awarded through a doctoral thesis, initiated at the request of the person applying for the award of a degree. Regardless of how long doctoral studies last or in what mode the doctoral student conducts them, the procedure of opening the wire “launches” his application to the faculty council (administration council) in the form of an application. It contains a request for:

  • opening of the doctoral program,
  • approval of the topic (enter the proposed topic),
  • appointing a dissertation promoter (give the name of the promoter).

The remaining necessary documents for the request to open the cable are:

  • copy of the master’s diploma,
  • the future promoter’s opinion about the candidate and his consent to undertake the role of the dissertation promoter,
  • short concept of the dissertation,
  • a curriculum vitae and a list of publications,
  • information about the PhD course, if the candidate applied for the doctor’s degree,
  • personal questionnaire.

The type and form of the necessary documents do not require a comment here (usually this information and available on the university website), but you should stay with the promoter.

In the practice of doctoral studies, whether stationary (assistant) or extramural, the promoter works with a PhD student (by mutual consent) from the beginning of these studies, formal recognition is obtained through the consent of the faculty council to open the cord. There are rare cases when the head of the doctoral seminar is one independent researcher, and the promoter is different. The assistant supervisor does not matter here either.

Assuming that we already have a chosen discipline from which we want to obtain a doctorate, the formulated thesis, and preferably already written in whole or in part and at least one publication, in order to obtain a doctorate in “free hand” should find an independent scientist who wants and he can become a dissertation promoter. You can read the legal requirements for the promoter in the listed legal acts, here we are looking for a promoter in a specific field of science. If we do not know a university (scientific institution) that has the right to confer doctoral degrees in the field of interest in our field, the Central Commission for Degrees and Titles publishes a list of organizational units authorized to award academic degrees and names of degrees awarded. Currently, these are public and non-public units.

It is therefore necessary to reach an appropriate independent research worker (full professor, associate professor, professor of a given university) and convince him to undertake the promotion of our dissertation. If we are not known to this person as, for example, his student or seminarian or otherwise promoter is not informed about our achievements and scientific potential, it should be convinced.

There are several ways and preferably if you combine them: 1) an interesting topic of the dissertation; 2) a dissertation written in whole or in a significant part; 3) interesting publications in magazines, monographs, etc .; 3) scientific and social activity in societies, museums, galleries – development of catalogs, inventories, archives, etc.

An advantage for the promoter is the remuneration for the promotion, but probably more – adding to the achievements of another promoted doctoral student. The professor, who agrees to undertake the role of promoter, prepares a positive opinion for the faculty council. This written consent and opinion consists of the above-mentioned documents in the dean’s office. Usually at the next meeting of the faculty council a decision (preceded by a discussion and voting) regarding the opening of the wire is made. When the dissertation is ready and initially accepted by the promoter (because it is not him who decides to accept it), the faculty council accepts the review for next meetings, appoints reviewers (two or three), sets the exam and defense dates.

Regardless of the extent to which the work on the dissertation is advanced, consultations with the promoter are necessary. A “free hand” doctoral student does not participate in seminars, so he arranges dates and places agreed with the promoter. The amount and quality of the written work depends, of course, on the number of meetings, and thus the time to present the dissertation to the faculty council.

Costs. In public universities, full-time studies are free (especially when you are an employee of this institution), extramural – paid or not, for example in the London University free, University of Silesia paid.

In non-public higher education institutions, extramural doctoral studies are usually carried out and are paid (administrative fees, tuition fees, later fees for activities related to the doctoral thesis.) We enter here on the internal university regulations adopted on the basis of the laws and executive acts mentioned in the introduction. administrative costs, doctoral examinations (exam in basic discipline, exam in additional discipline, modern language exam, promoter’s fee, reviewers’ fees (two or three), costs of delegation of reviewers (also possible promoter), diploma fees. a regulation on the amount and conditions of payment to the supervisor, as well as reviews and opinions in the doctoral dissertation, postdoctoral proceedings and proceedings for granting the title of professor, administrative costs, exams, diploma, etc. determines the appropriate resolution of the university; rationality of establishing amounts by university authorities is regulated by art. 99 par. 2-4 Laws on Higher Education. The cost of opening the wire varies between 8.5 and 10 thousand. PLN (mainly depends on fees for reviews, delegations, administrative activities). In practice, you have to reckon with the fact that you will be required to pay for doctoral studies and the fee for the wire increased by 2-4 thousand. Due to the fact that a PhD student does not pay tuition fees for doctoral seminars, and the university wants to compensate for this.

In summary, when deciding to make a doctorate in a “free hand” the most important and the most difficult is to find a promoter. The faculty council does not interfere in the form or amount of consultations. However, he can make comments to the topic of the dissertation, the concept of research; after passing the exams and receiving positive decisions, the council accepts the dissertation by voting, approve the defense and grants the doctor’s degree; the decision is final.

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