PhD Plan and Pre-Defense

PhD Plan and Pre-Defense

The 2 month phd plan

The PhD plan is a crucial step in any PhD study and its importance must not be overlooked. It is a requirement that the PhD plan follows the provided template since it contains information regarding the scope and the content required in the PhD plan - link to the template at the bottom of this page. The Phd plan must be submitted through PhD manager no later than 2 months after the enrollment date.

updated phd plan 

The updated PhD plan must ensure a feasible and realistic research approach in line with fulfilment of general rules such as course portfolio and external collaboration. The updated PhD plan requires a great deal of attention from the PhD student and supervisor and unfortunately experience shows that the updated PhD plan is often delayed. This makes it significantly harder to adjust the research strategy for the remainder of the PhD project. The pre-defense seeks to adress this issues by involving external opponents. 


Before the deadline for the updated PhD plan (11 months after enrolment), it should be presented (pre-defence) at a suitable meeting in the various research groups (e.g. internal research meetings). The form is a 20 min presentation followed by 20 min discussion. If it is not possible to present the PhD plan at a suitable scientific forum due to logistics, the supervisor must organize a meeting where the presentation and discussion can take place.

The supervisor appoints an internal opponent (eligible as PhD supervisor, but not directly involved in the project) with expertise within the field. The intention is not to invite externals.Based on the presentation and the written Phd plan, the opponent should challenge the PhD plan with focus on scientific content, feasibility, novelty, flow of studies, etc. Questions and comments from the participants of the meeting are also encouraged. If required, the updated PhD plan is revised accordingly.

A short written evaluation (5-10 lines) is prepared by the opponent and must accompany the updated PhD plan when it is submitted for approval to the head of the doctoral programme. A positive recommendation is a prerequisite for further processing. In case revisions are requested the PhD student also submits a cover letter describing the revisions done based on the suggestions from the opponent.


  • PhD student submits the PhD plan no later than after 2 months of enrollment - must be approved by supervisor and head of program via PhD manager - deadline cannot be extempted from.
  • Updated plan is uploaded along with comments from the predefense after 11 months of enrollment - must be approved by supervisor and head of program via PhD manager.- extemption from the deadline can only be granted by the PhD Study Director.

Download template here - Same template is applied to both 2 and 11 month plan

Login PhD manager here

Contact Information


Kroghstræde 1, 2nd floor, Room 3021

9220 Aalborg East

Phone: +45 9940 9638