Methodology for the preparation and defence of the dissertation

Dissertation defence

We ask students to follow the instructions given on the website of the Second Faculty of Medicine, Charles University (see methodology below) when creating the dissertation and the summary. The information provided on the website of the Doctoral Study Programmes in Biomedicine (DSPB) is not updated in accordance with the current accreditation of individual doctoral study programmes and faculty requirements. We offer students to send the dissertation and the summary in electronic form to the Department for PhD Study for review before binding. We are repeatedly led to this step by numerous shortcomings, due to which dissertations and summary are returned to students for reworking by subject area boards. The correctly prepared dissertation and the summary can be viewed here.

  • Dissertation – essential information

    The requirements of individual subject area boards (hereinafter referred to as "SBA") for the dissertation and for the defence may be different. You will find them here. In general, however, there applies the following:

    • The defence is held in Czech or English (according to the language of instruction).
    • The student who is enrolled in a doctoral study program accredited in the English language must conduct a defence in the English language. The defence in Czech or another foreign language is not claimable; in such case, the student must submit a duly substantiated request (with the opinion of the supervisor), which will be assessed by the SAB. Defence in a foreign language is only possible in exceptional and justified cases.
    • The number of the examination board members present must not be less than three. The chairman and vice-chairman of the examination Board for defence are appointed by the dean of the relevant faculty at the suggestion by the SAB.
    • The examination board shall appoint two examiners. The examiner can only be a full or associate professor, or a bearer of the Ph.D., CSc., DrSc. or Dr. degree. The supervisor, or a person who took part in compilation of the dissertation or was a co-author of any of the student’s papers submitted, cannot be an examiner.
    • The chairman of the examination board shall send the dissertation to the examiners via the respective department of the dean office, together with notification of the appointment as an examiner, not later than within one month following the application for defence.
    • Opponents are required to send an opinion to the Department for PhD Study no later than two months after receiving the work or to announce that they cannot prepare an opinion no later than two weeks. If the opinion has not been submitted within the specified period even after a reminder or if the opponent has announced that he / she is unable to prepare the report, the committee shall appoint a new opponent. Prior to the defence, the relevant department of the dean's office sends the opinions to the chairman of the examination committee. Appointed opponents may be members of the defence board.
    • Opponents' reviews are entered into the SIS (see “How to find opponent reviews for the dissertation in the SIS”). Here they are available for viewing. The student is informed about their insertion in the form of a notification, which he/she receives by e-mail.
    • If both opinions do not recommend the dissertation for defence, the student may withdraw from the defence before it takes place. The term of defence of the dissertation is forfeited to the student.
    • The due term, or the corrective date of the defence is set by the dean on the basis of the proposal of the SAB. This exact date shall be published at least two weeks in advance on the faculty’s website.
    • The defence of the dissertation is public. As a rule, it is held within three months following the submission of the dissertation.
    • The examination board decides on grading the defence in a closed session, held immediately after the defence; this is done by ballot. If there is an equal number of votes or the required majority has not been achieved, the student gets the more favourable grade. The grades of classification are “passed” or “failed”.
    • The result of the defence is communicated to the student by the chairman in public, immediately after the closed session of the examination board. In case of a failed defence, the examination board shall state whether the dissertation is to be rewritten or supplemented. The defence of a dissertation can only be repeated once, not sooner than six months following the original date of holding the defence.
    • If the student is unable to attend the defence due to serious medical or other reasons, the following instructions must be followed.
    • If, for serious reasons (epidemiological situation, quarantine, emergency measures ordered by the government), a student is unable to participate in the defence of the dissertation, he / she may request a distance form of the defence. The dean decides on the possibility of enabling the distance form in agreement with the guarantor of the relevant study programme. A duly filled in application for a distant form of the dissertation defence must be delivered to the Department for PhD Study.
  • How to apply for a defence
    The application for the defense of the dissertation is submitted by the student only after the passing of the SDE, but no later than six months before the expiry of the maximum period of study (see Dean’s Provision No. 15/2019, Article 5, paragraph 5).
    The thesis and other prescribed materials (see below) must be submitted at least three months before the planned defence date. This time is necessary to carry out the administrative tasks set forth in the Code of Study and Examination CU and Dean’s Provision No. 5/2018Student is notified by the Department for Ph.D. Study of the date of his/her Dissertation Defence only after submitting all requisite documentation.
    Submission of the dissertation for defence
    The thesis must be submitted both electronically and in paper. A precondition for submission the paper version of the thesis is the previous submission of the electronic version in SIS.

    Via SIS, the student submits:
    • Text of the dissertation (in the pdf format as one file)
    • Alternatively, a separate annex to the thesis – in the pdf format as one file (in the case of multiple separate attachments in zip format).
    • Abstract in Czech (in the pdf format as one file).
    • Abstract in English (in the pdf format as one file).
    • Dissertation summary – if it is required by the SBA (in the pdf format as one file).


    A student who is enrolled to study in a Czech study programme submits an abstract in Czech and English. A student who is enrolled to study programme in English submits an abstract in English only. These abstracts must be identical in content with the abstracts listed in the dissertation thesis and dissertation summary.

    The electronic version of the dissertation (identical to the printed version) is submitted via SIS in the application Select work.
    Before submitting the dissertation, the students must check carefully whether the language and the title of the thesis in SIS match the language and the title of the thesis in the printed version. If there are any discrepancies, the student must correct all titles of the thesis in SIS (title in the thesis’ language, English title of the thesis and Czech title of the thesis). In case of discrepancies, contact the Department for PhD Study, which can edit these fields.

    Then the student checks, or. edits the data in the "Edit" section. It is necessary to add key words in Czech and English.
    The student is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the submitted electronic version of the thesis and its appendices and for ensuring they are identical to the printed version (especially the content).
    The thesis is considered to have been submitted if the student submits both versions of the thesis before the deadline. The submission date of the electronic version of the thesis is recorded by SIS automatically. The authorized employee of the Department for Ph.D. Study records the submission date of the printed version and enters this date in SIS.
    After the defense, the student can enter into the SIS:
    • errata (corrections of the thesis after the defense) – the whole thesis is inserted again as errata (not only corrected parts) – in pdf format as one file
    The technical requirements for submitting final qualification theses are regulated by the Rector’s Directive No. 72/2017 on Accessibility of Electronic Database of Final Theses. A thesis must be submitted in a PDF/A version 1a or 2u format. This directive also changes the requirements pertaining to the formatting of appendices and supplements.
    At the Department for PhD Study, the student submits:
    • Filled in and signed Request for Defence of Dissertation on the prescribed form. The application must be signed by the supervisor.
    • Dissertation – four (4) printed copies bound with a fixed binding (two-sided printing is recommended). The fixed binding means that it is not possible to remove (or replace) pages. The panels will be printed according to the prescribed instructions (see Methodology for creating a dissertation – identification on the binding).
    • If required by the SAB, five (5) copies of the dissertation summary (booklet in A5 format, stitched sheets). The requirements of individual SAB are listed in the section “Doctoral study programmes”. The structure of the summary is specified in the Methodology for creating the summary.
    • Offprints of at least two publications in scientific journals with an impact factor. 
    • Structured list of all candidate´s publication (the number and share of authorship is set by the respective SAB).
    • Evaluation of supervisor on the candidate´s work during his/her study and on the defence (signed by the supervisor). No form (usually on the supervisor's letterhead) or scope is prescribed (a summary of 2-3 sentences cannot be accepted). The sample can be viewed here (see the supervisor's report).
    • Proposal of two opponents from non-faculty workplaces (including postal contact addresses) signed by the supervisor. No form or scope is prescribed (usually on the supervisor's letterhead). The opponent cannot be anyone from the supervisor's workplace or an employee who participated in the elaboration of the dissertation or was a co-author of some of the submitted works of the student.
    • Professional curriculum vitae (dated and signed by the student).
    All appendices must be in legible form. Images taken with a mobile phone cannot be accepted.
  • Request for non-publication of the dissertation or part of it
    • It is submitted via the SIS.
    • It must be submitted no later than on the day of the defence.
    • The request for non-publication of attachments is submitted by the student, or supervisor. It is approved by the vice-dean of the faculty.
    • The request for non-publication of the whole work is submitted only by the supervisor. It is handed over to the vice-dean of the faculty, then it is transferred to the Rectorate CU (University Board).

    Instructions for submitting an application are available here. More detailed information is available in the Rector's provision No. 13/2017, Art. 7 and Dean's provision No. 5/2018, Art. 4, para. 12 and Art. 7, para. 5–8

  • The course of the defence
    • The defence will usually be opened by the chairman of the commission, who will welcome all present and acquaint them with the course of the meeting. He/she introduces the individual members of the commission and gives the floor to the supervisor.
    • The supervisor introduces the doctoral student.
    • The doctoral student will present the main thesis of his dissertation (15, max. 20 minutes).
    • Opponents will present the opinions (in the absence of the opponent, the opinion will be read by the chairman or another appointed member of the defence committee).
    • The doctoral student takes a stand on the opinions of opponents, answers their questions.
    • The chairman will open a public debate in which everyone present can take part.
    • The doctoral student answers all questions from participants in the plenary and from the commission (the discussion is closed by the chairman of the commission).
    • After closing the public debate, the chairperson will exclude all guests, including the doctoral student, from the meeting and open a closed session of the commission, which may be attended by members of the dissertation defence committee, opponents and the supervisor (if members of the examination commission).
    • The commission will evaluate the course of the defence and decide on the outcome by secret vote.
    • Subsequently, the chairman of the commission will announce the result of the voting publicly to the doctoral student.
    • The chairman thanks everyone present and closes the meeting.

Methodology for creating a dissertation

  • Rules for writing a dissertation

    A student who has been accepted to study in a English study program should write a dissertation in English. The elaboration of the dissertation in other languages is not automatic. The student must submit a request for a dissertation elaborated in a foreign language, which will be assessed by the subject area board.

    The student cannot change the topic or title of his/her dissertation. If the title / topic does not suit him for any reason, it is necessary to submit a request to change the title / topic of the dissertation, which must be recommended by the supervisor and will be submitted to the SAB for assessment. If the application is approved, the name / topic in the SIS will be changed by the Department for PhD Study.

    A student can elaborate his dissertation in the regime of “cotutelle” (under dual supervision). This approach, founded on cooperation with foreign universities, enables the student to elaborate a part of his dissertation in a workplace abroad under the supervision of experts of both universities. For more details, see “The guidelines for preparation of an agreement for a bi-nationally supervised dissertation (“cotutelle”) between Charles University and a foreign university”.

    A prerequisite for submitting a dissertation are two original works (related to the topic of dissertation) accepted to publication in internationally reputable scientific journals of an aggregate defined “impact factor” higher than 1,0. Of one publication at least, the student shall be the first author, if stipulated so by the individual study plan or internal regulation of the faculty. The dissertation shall be submitted to the SAB via the division of dean’s office, either in the classical form or in the form of a mono-topical anthology of at least four scientific publications related to the subject (two of that as a minimum with “impact factor”), if stipulated so by the individual study plan or internal regulation of the faculty. The dissertation shall be filed in four hardback exemplars for approval with the deans and simultaneously in electronic form (see Rector´s Directive No 6/2010).

    Along with doctoral dissertation, the SAB is submitted the summary of dissertation in Czech or English language (with the summary / abstract paper in Czech or English), elaborated in accordance with the guidelines published on the faculty web pages. The summary of dissertation shall facilitate, for the members of the board for the defence of dissertation, their orientation in the scientific work of the student, and must comprise the aim of the work, the methodology, main results, summary and list of publications of the author (see methodology for creation of the summary). Department for Ph.D. study of dean’s office shall send the reproduced texts to the chairman of the SAB, members of Board for Defense of Dissertations and opponents.

    The rules for registering, submitting and publishing of dissertation (inclusive doctoral dissertations) are determined by the Code of Study and Examination of Charles University in Prague, Rector’s Directive No. 6/2010 and Rector’s Directive No. 8/2011, and directive of the dean of the faculty the student enrolled with.

    Dissertation has paper format of A4, suggested margins are of 2,5 cm. Recommended line spacing is 1,5. The font should be proportional serif 12pt (Times New Roman). The font for headings should be slightly larger.

    Tables and figures should be numbered and labeled. All tables and figures are referenced in the text (see Fig. 3…). Under the table or figure, the proper source should be mentioned (including the author, if necessary). Tables and figures should be directly related to the text. Otherwise, they should be located in appendices at the end of the dissertation.

    The dissertation can be printed on both sides on the paper. The referencing style has to be consistent. It is inappropritate to put references to footnotes. The list of references  at the end of the dissertation should be sorted in alphabetical order.

    The dissertation is submitted in four printed copies of A4 size and must be bound in book binding. It must conform in terms of language and form. 

    Electronic version of both the dissertation and its extended abstract, registered in the SIS, must be identical with the printed originals.
  • Prescribed structure

    The structure of dissertation given below is a generally valid basic scheme. 

    1. A dissertation in the classical form includes the following parts:

    • title page – arranged to the given pattern
    • affidavit of independent producing the work alone and citations of all sources used; The text of the student’s binding declaration is always in Czech for theses submitted for Czech programmes of study, even if the student is permitted to write the thesis in a different language. If the thesis is submitted for a study programme taught in English, the binding declaration of the student is also in English.
    • acknowledgement – a separate page with acknowledgement can also be included. The acknowledgment is not mandatory.
    • bibliographic identification – abstract in English and Czech language (maximum 20 lines), presented according to ČSN ISO 214 standard: Documentation – Abstracts for Publications a Documentation. Abstract means a brief description of the dissertation in terms of its content, objectives and result. List of keywords in English and Czech language, keywords separated by commas (usually 5 to 10). The key word is also the term expressed in more words. A student who is enrolled to study in a Czech study programme submits an abstract in Czech and English. A student who is enrolled to study in an English study programme submits an abstract in English only. These abstracts must be identical in content to the abstracts, which the student then enters separately into the SIS.
    • content – the content contains the names of chapters and subchapters, i.e. parts of the work, the first and second level
    • introductory survey of literature and overview of the problem
    • outline of objectives of the dissertation, including formulation of hypotheses
    • description of the experimental methods used, including statistical ones
    • survey of own results, duly documented and adequately statistically evaluated
    • discussion of methodological procedures and results, including comparison to the literature
    • conclusion and evaluation of the objectives and hypotheses of the dissertation (summarizing relevant research results and particularly the personal contribution of the student with the justification of the originality of the solutions).
    • summary of dissertation findings (in English and Czech language); the summary is not identical with the abstract
    • list of literature used (in accordance with any current standards and uniformly)
    • enclosures (as needed – but not tables, figures and graphs showing the results of the study that are included in the dissertation text)
    2. Citations in the text should be given by the name and year (e.g. Author J., 1989). If there is only one author, then one author and the year is given; if there are two authors, both of them are given plus the year; in case of three or more authors it will say e.g. “Author J. et al., 1989”. The standard of citations should be as follows: year of publication, yearly volume of the journal, number of the journal, pages (from – to).
    Bibliographic references should be written according to ISO 690 norm – Documentation, ISO 690-2 Bibliographic references and citing, Electronic documents or their parts.

    3. A dissertation based on a set of at least four scientific publications that is consistent in terms of the topic must be compiled in the classical manner (see Paragraph 1, also including the summarizing discussion of all particular publications). Even the commented dissertation should include diagrams and visuals documenting the principal discoveries done in the thesis. Part of the dissertation are the previously published articles and the author’s abstract.

    4. A classical dissertation should consist in 60 – 80 pages as a minimum, excluding the list of literature and the enclosures. A dissertation based on a set of at least four scientific publications should consist in 60 – 80 pages as a minimum, excluding the list of literature and the enclosures.
Methodology for creating a Dissertation Summary
  • General information
    Summary of the dissertation is a short description of the main content of the whole dissertation, stating the objectives, results of the dissertation and the characteristics of the original research methodology, the literature used and concluded with an English, or other foreign language.
    Summary of dissertation is written in language of student´s study. It is written in the same language as the dissertation. Written previous consent of SAB is necessary for dissertation to be written in another language.
    The suggested size is 20–30 standard numbered pages, usually booklet in A5 format, lines spaced 1–1.5, font 12. Double-sided print, the shape of a brochure and be firmly bound (stapled sheets). The summary is printed from A4 format (printing to a booklet = automatic reduction to A5 format).
    Five prints of the summary should be submitted by the student together with the application for dissertation defence and other necessary documents at the Department for Ph.D. study of the faculty. The copies will be distributed by this department to the Board for Defense of Dissertations. 
  • Prescribed structure
    The next text part of extended abstract is structured as follows:
    Table of Contents 
    Abstract in Czech (maximum one page) – including the title of work in Czech, if the text of dissertation is in English
    Abstract in English (maximum one page) – including the title of dissertation in English
    A student who is enrolled to study in a Czech study programme submits an abstract in Czech and English. A student who is enrolled to study in an English study programme submits an abstract in English only. These abstracts must be identical in content to the abstracts, which the student then enters separately into the SIS.
    1. Background
    2. Objectives
    3. Material and methodology
    4. Results
    5. Debate
    6. Conclusions
    7. Summary of dissertation findings (in English and Czech language); the summary is not identical with the abstract
    8. Literature references
    Overview of own publications in following order:  
    1. Original scientific works in extenso, which are the basis of the dissertation.
    a) with impact factor (indicate IF value)
    b) without IF
    2. Original scientific works in extenso without relation to the topic of the dissertation (especially review, methodical, case studies).
    a) with impact factor (indicate IF value)
    b) without IF
    3. Lectures, poster presentations at professional meetings.
    4. List abstracts separately: similar to monographs, chapters in textbooks and anthologies, editorials, epilogues, prologues and obituaries, etc.
    In all above cases the publications in journals with impact factor, the IF value of journals must be given as well – e.gIF 2,376.
  • Summary – cover (front page)
Created: 23. 3. 2016 / Modified: 20. 12. 2021 / Responsible person: ThDr. Jitka Sýkorová, Ph.D.