FAQ - Frequently asked questions - by M-ITI PhD students

Tabela de conteúdos

1. Revision history

1.1.1. This unofficial document created by M-ITI PhD students is an attempt to collect information regarding the graduation process in English. Generally, the academic services in UMa is the focal point for all PhD issues, as M-ITI is not responsible for the PhD program. Some questions will be directed to the Gabinete de apoio ao Estudante next to the academic services.

2. PhD Program Questions

2.1.1. What needs to be completed for the university to issue a doctoral degree certificate? I.e. total course requirements in ECTS, successful thesis defense, paid tuition fees, etc.

2.1.2. Is the number of publications we need to graduate defined? What happens if we don’t have the required number of publications?

2.1.3. Would the committee make any distinctions (in terms of graduation requirements) between journal papers and conference papers? Or between different tiers of conferences? Do workshop papers, posters or invited talks count at all?

2.1.4. When does a student get transcripts and final degree once the defense is over? Does the institute give a provisional certificate in the meantime?

2.1.5. What are the policies for attribution of work in case the thesis contains work done in collaboration with other PhD students, or if the student for any other reason is not first author on the paper?

2.1.6. Who holds copyrights to prototypes, technologies, etc.? Is it shared between the student and the institute? Can the student continue using the same in later work outside the scope of M-ITI, for instance to start an own company?

2.1.7. Where will the thesis document be available in electronic format after submission? Will it be behind a paywall or public? For how long will it remain available?

2.1.8. Can the student choose a publication format for the thesis document or is it standardised?

2.1.9. What are the expenses for printing / distributing final thesis?

2.1.10. What is the 600 euro fee to submit the thesis for? Can this be waived?

2.1.11. Is there any graduation ceremony? When?

2.2. CAT and Thesis Defense

2.2.1. What are the evaluation criteria for the CAT and thesis defense? Is there an instruction document for the committee members that can be shared with the students?

2.2.2. What happens if a student fails the CAT or PhD defense?

2.2.3. What is the time limit between enrollment in the PhD program and graduation/thesis defense?

2.2.4. What is the minimum and maximum time allowed between CAT and final defense?

2.2.5. What is the minimum and maximum time allowed between thesis submission and final defense?

2.2.6. Will M-ITI pay for travel / accommodation arrangements for the external juries?

2.2.7. Is it possible to give a defense (in an extraordinary situation) over video conference? Both for the student or any of the jury members? If yes, please provide examples of extraordinary situations.

2.2.8. What are the CAT defense grades for? Does the final defense also have grades?

2.2.9. Can the thesis committee consist of anyone who you have worked or collaborated with before? If “it depends”, please provide examples of when it is ok or when it is not ok.

2.2.10. How are the internal jury members chosen? Can a student request any of the internal jury members to be changed, if he / she has a genuine reason to fear a biased evaluation?

2.2.11. Can you access the Internet during the Q&A or ask your jury to access it while explaining something if it’s important for the argument?

3. Other[editar]

3.1.1. How are M-ITI planning to pay students’ tuition fees for this year now that the agreement between UMa and M-ITI to waive the fees has expired? What happens if a student does not manage to graduate by summer and enters the next academic year, even though their project ends in the current year?

3.1.2. Is it possible to “pause” the PhD program, so that expected unproductive time does not count towards the maximum enrollment time? This can be for instance due to one-year of external work, severe illness, personal injury or pregnancy. How does this affect payment of tuition fees?

3.1.3. Until what point does the student need to pay tuition fees?

3.1.4. What is the last date for defending the thesis to avoid having to pay tuition fees for the next academic year?

3.1.5. Is it possible to buy used hardware (e.g. personal laptops) from projects when graduating? If yes, what is the procedure for this?

Revision history

This unofficial document created by M-ITI PhD students is an attempt to collect information regarding the graduation process in English. Generally, the academic services in UMa is the focal point for all PhD issues, as M-ITI is not responsible for the PhD program. Some questions will be directed to the Gabinete de apoio ao Estudante next to the academic services.

Please be aware that the answers here may not be up to date and subject to errors, and it is an unofficial guide not endorsed by UMa. If you have material that you would like to add, please contact the PhD Program coordinator sergi.bermudez@uma.pt mailto:sergi.bermudez@uma.pt

  • 4 January 2013 - Initial version with answers from Sergi and Nuno.
  • 8 January 2013 - Corrected by Sergi
  • 24 February 2013 - Corrected by Sergi

PhD Program Questions

What needs to be completed for the university to issue a doctoral degree certificate? I.e. total course requirements in ECTS, successful thesis defense, paid tuition fees, etc.

  • This is defined in the PhD Program. A student needs 180 ECTS credits to graduate:
  • Thesis 120 ECTS
  • Courses 60 ECTS
    • Five elective courses (7.5 ECTS each)
    • Research methods course (7.5 ECTS)
    • Planning course (concluded with the CAT presentation) (15 ECTS)

Maximum two of the five local courses can be waived based on the student’s professional experience and education. Experience (e.g. courses) which was included in a masters degree cannot contribute towards courses being waived.

No degree will be issued until all fees are paid.

Is the number of publications we need to graduate defined? What happens if we don’t have the required number of publications?

There is no fixed number. The student’s supervisor is responsible for assisting the student in interpreting the qualitative guidelines in the PhD Program, which will lead to a research plan that is evaluated in the CAT. Sergi recommends one contribution per year (first author full paper) meaning 3 full papers by the end of the PhD.

Would the committee make any distinctions (in terms of graduation requirements) between journal papers and conference papers? Or between different tiers of conferences? Do workshop papers, posters or invited talks count at all?

There are no formal requirements regarding tiers of journals or conferences, but workshop papers, abstracts, posters, demos or anything not peer reviewed are basically insignificant in terms of graduation requirements.

Your supervisor should help you select conferences and journals with sufficient impact factor. As a general guideline, target good journals in software engineering and good conferences in HCI.

While it is theoretically possible to defend a thesis without publications, in practice it will be difficult to convince the thesis committee to accept work that has not been peer reviewed.

When does a student get transcripts and final degree once the defense is over? Does the institute give a provisional certificate in the meantime?

The university can issue a certificate as soon as you defend your thesis, as the date of graduation will be the date of the defense. Note that no certificate will be issued until the student has no debt to the university, so make sure tuition fees have been waived (if applicable).

What are the policies for attribution of work in case the thesis contains work done in collaboration with other PhD students, or if the student for any other reason is not first author on the paper?

The thesis must clearly specify the contributions from each author if the work was published with multiple co-authors. All work by others must be acknowledged.

Who holds copyrights to prototypes, technologies, etc.? Is it shared between the student and the institute? Can the student continue using the same in later work outside the scope of M-ITI, for instance to start an own company?

Copyright and in general intellectual property is defined by the rules of the funding project and/or grant that supports the student. These change depending if the student is an independent FCT scholar, working under an FCT research grant on a project or working with a knowledge+ or any other industry grant. Check your work/grant contract and with your supervisor if needed.

Where will the thesis document be available in electronic format after submission? Will it be behind a paywall or public? For how long will it remain available?

The Portuguese national library will make the thesis available in electronic format for free.

Can the student choose a publication format for the thesis document or is it standardised?

Full details are available online from regulations of the Academic Services. It’s basically cover page abstract and keywords in both English and Portuguese and after that it’s up to the student.

What are the expenses for printing / distributing final thesis?

600 euro for submitting, plus printing costs (six copies).

What is the 600 euro fee to submit the thesis for? Can this be waived?

Unspecified administration fee that cannot be waived.

Is there any graduation ceremony? When?

There is no separate graduation ceremony other than the PhD thesis defense.

CAT and Thesis Defense

What are the evaluation criteria for the CAT and thesis defense? Is there an instruction document for the committee members that can be shared with the students?

Evaluation guidelines are available for the CAT exam (all relating to the quality of the research plan). The thesis evaluation is entirely up to the committee, which is selected by the thesis supervisor.

What happens if a student fails the CAT or PhD defense?

A failure on the CAT means that the student has failed the planning course and will have to revise the plan and re-do the CAT. Repeated failure can lead to dropping out of the PhD program.

A failed thesis defense leads to dropping out of the PhD program. The committee can request minor changes to the thesis even if the student passes, but ideally this should all have been sorted out before the defense.

What is the time limit between enrollment in the PhD program and graduation/thesis defense?

Five years. Enrollment is counted from the beginning of the academic year when the student formally registered on the PhD program.

What is the minimum and maximum time allowed between CAT and final defense?

You cannot register for the thesis defense until all courses (including the planning course) have been completed. Since the CAT should take place at the end of the first year, this should not be a problem.

Students who expect to do the CAT and thesis defense in the same year should contact Sergi individually to get this sorted out with the academic services.

What is the minimum and maximum time allowed between thesis submission and final defense?

After submission, the committee members have 45 days to evaluate the thesis and request changes. If changes are requested, the student has three months to resubmit (else the student will drop out of the program). After acceptance (which can take multiple rounds), the student has 45 days to present and defend the thesis.

Sergi believes that it is the acceptance date of the thesis that counts for all enrollment-related purposes, e.g. tuition fees and time limit since initial enrollment.

Will M-ITI pay for travel / accommodation arrangements for the external juries?

Yes, if the student is employed in a M-ITI project at the beginning of the same academic year during which the defense takes place. If the student has no funding from projects or FCT during the relevant academic year, then no expenses will be covered (including tuition fees).

Is it possible to give a defense (in an extraordinary situation) over video conference? Both for the student or any of the jury members? If yes, please provide examples of extraordinary situations.

No. The student and all members of the jury have to be physically present during the final defense.

What are the CAT defense grades for? Does the final defense also have grades?

The CAT grades are the final grades of the planning course. The final defense has only pass/fail.

Can the thesis committee consist of anyone who you have worked or collaborated with before? If “it depends”, please provide examples of when it is ok or when it is not ok.

An opponent must not be a supervisor or co-supervisor. Opponents should generally not come from the same university and should not have co-authored papers with the student. If the student has multiple supervisors, normally only one is a member of the committee.

How are the internal jury members chosen? Can a student request any of the internal jury members to be changed, if he / she has a genuine reason to fear a biased evaluation?

All committee members are proposed by the supervisor to the PhD program director. The student can discuss the selection with the supervisor.

Can you access the Internet during the Q&A or ask your jury to access it while explaining something if it’s important for the argument?

Generally no (neither Sergi nor Nuno saw a point in this, the committee members should already have familiarized themselves extensively with the work).

Other

How are M-ITI planning to pay students’ tuition fees for this year now that the agreement between UMa and M-ITI to waive the fees has expired? What happens if a student does not manage to graduate by summer and enters the next academic year, even though their project ends in the current year?

If a student is employed in a M-ITI project at the beginning of an academic year, tuition fees will be waived for that year. FCT-funded students are covered by their own scholarships. If the student has no funding, the fees will not be waived, thus students, M-ITI and supervisors should strive to not put students in this situation.

UPDATE 24/02/2013: The Regulations have been changed so that only those students with a scholarship that were waived in the past will be in the following academic years. Only students with a work contract (not a scholarship) can request the waiving of tuition.

Is it possible to “pause” the PhD program, so that expected unproductive time does not count towards the maximum enrollment time? This can be for instance due to one-year of external work, severe illness, personal injury or pregnancy. How does this affect payment of tuition fees?

In some very particular cases yes. This is defined in the PhD Program.

Until what point does the student need to pay tuition fees?

Until the academic year during which the student’s thesis is approved for final defense.

What is the last date for defending the thesis to avoid having to pay tuition fees for the next academic year?

The defense date is not what matters, but the thesis submission date, and its deadline varies every year. The end of the academic year 2011/2012 was September 15. Any thesis submitted before that date does not pay the tuition of the following year.

Is it possible to buy used hardware (e.g. personal laptops) from projects when graduating? If yes, what is the procedure for this?

No. Discuss with your supervisor how and when to return equipment.

Última alteração: Quinta, 12 Setembro 2013, 12:43