PhD Dissertation

The dissertation has a minimum length of 150-200 pages (43 000 words). This range does not include the summary (“autoreferát”, in English, 10 standard pages / 2 500 words) and bibliography. References and bibliography should be formatted according to the Notes and Bibliography Chicago style (please consult the DALC essay guidelines). The dissertation solves a wider literary historical or theoretical problem using all available specialized literature. It demonstrates an independent creative and scholarly approach and a thorough knowledge of preceding scholarly approaches to the phenomenon or problem in question. It must especially contain a clear formulation of its method and of its relation to other methods used in solving similar problems. It must make a contribution to the knowledge of a specific literary (cultural) problem or propose a new and substantiated interpretation of a literary (cultural) phenomenon.

The director of the dissertation supervises the work of the candidate from the first outline until the examination. He writes a report on the dissertation concluded by a statement whether the dissertation can or cannot be examined. The candidate must be acquainted with the full text of this report. If the dissertation is not recommended for examination, the director usually suggests substantial changes in the structure, theme and method of the dissertation. This may for instance happen in the case of infrequent contact of the candidate with the director or if the dissertation is submitted in an unfinished state.

Two readers of the dissertation are chosen by the chairman of the board of examiners (the candidate’s preference is usually taken into account). One of the opponents must be from another faculty or university. They submit written reports on the dissertation to the board of examiners. The reports must be concluded by a statement whether the dissertation can or cannot be examined. The candidate must be acquainted with the full texts of these reports before the examination.

The dissertation is examined by a board of examiners which consists of representatives of several Czech and/or international universities. The director and the readers of the dissertation do not have to be the members of the board, but they always play the most important part in the examination, and their conclusions and recommendations are fully respected by the board.

The examination of the dissertation (called “defence” or obhajoba in Czech) is public and consists of

  • the candidate’s introductory presentation of the dissertation (this presentation must be prepared in the form of written summary of approximately 2500 words and made available in 10 copies)
  • the director’s and the reviewers’ reports (the director’s report must also contain a statement about the course of the candidate’s studies and her/his scholarly qualities)
  • discussion in the course of which the candidate must first respond to all the questions raised and comments made by the director and the reviewers and then answer all questions of the members of the board
  • the concluding part which is closed to the candidate, the public and academics who are not the members of the board of examiners (except the director and the reviewers, if they are not members of the board). The worth of the dissertation is proved by a ballot whose results are publicly announced.

Submitted and defended theses are stored in UK Digital repository.