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Written statement by the supervisors

The new Doctoral Degree Regulations of 1 November 2017 specify the need for the student’s supervisors to compose a joint statement on the quality and merits of the doctoral thesis submitted by the student.

This joint statement must be submitted with the thesis and must be added to the other documentation required at the thesis submission stage. It will not be disclosed to the reviewers. The statement must, however, contain a clear recommendation (to the Doctoral Commission) which indicates that the thesis evaluation process should be started.

If at all possible, please use the template provided for this purpose, which is available for download here.

What must be included in this statement:

The statement should confirm that the thesis to be submitted is of sufficient quality and merit. This includes an assessment of:

  • issues pertaining to both the methodology and contents of the submitted work
  • the significance of results within the relevant field of research
  • the means of dissemination/publication chosen
  • the nature and extent of the doctoral candidate’s contribution towards the original research question(s), methodology, data collection and analysis, and critical evaluation

What may be included in this statement:

Section X of ‘Implementing Regulations to the Doctoral Degree Regulations 2017’ contains suggestions regarding additional issues you may wish to discuss in your statement, particularly in relation to data and statistics. A few aspects you may wish to take into consideration are:

  • Study design
  • Use of standardized protocols
  • Compliance with any relevant guidelines (ARRIVE, PRISMA, CONSORT, BRISQ etc.)
  • Use of adequate measures to reduce bias
  • Discussion of potential Type I and Type II errors
  • Quality of descriptive statistics used
  • Quality of test statistic used
  • Open Data (availability of raw data, analysis protocolls, codes etc.)
  • Open access availability
  • Statements of potential conflicts of interest
  • Gender-specific considerations


Individual statements

The supervisors usually produce a joint statement.

Should you wish to submit an individual statement, please ensure that this is stated explicitly and in an appropriate part of the document submitted by the doctoral candidate to the Office of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies.