I am wondering can a post doctorate researcher review a PhD thesis? I found many discussions in reviewing research articles. Reviewing articles for Journals is an integral part of research and very important for the career of a Post doc. But I did not find a discussion whether post doctorates are eligible to review PhD thesis?

So if a post doctorate receives a PhD thesis review request from a university, then should the postdoc researcher accept to review it if interested? Or must reply and inform the university to check his/her eligibility?

  • 2
    These kind of rules are different in different places. Maybe you would like to indicate in which geographical location you are interested.
    – Christian
    Jun 16 at 6:53
  • @Christian Thanks. Please check my updates
    – Kay
    Jun 16 at 7:05
  • If a postdoc receives a request to review a PhD thesis from someone they've never met, they should probably proceed rather cautiously: why are they asking you? Are they just googling for people in the right general field? Why aren't the supervisors asking people in their network to do it? Reviewing a good thesis is rewarding; reviewing a low-quality or misguided thesis can be a time-sink, emotionally draining, and of limited long-term benefit to your CV.
    – avid
    Jun 16 at 9:07

Rules concerning who can review theses or be on a theses committee depend on the country and probably on the university.

In my experience the university chooses the reviewers and should check whether they satisfy their requirements. I do not think that it is the reviewers responsibility to check this.

  • Thanks for the answer. So if interested, is it perfectly fine to accept such requests?
    – Kay
    Jun 16 at 8:19

As Christian mentioned above, rules vary per university, and there are even sometimes different rules within graduate schools in the same university.

What happens in the majority of cases, is that the supervisor of a PhD candidate (or the department) will invite people to become members of the PhD review committee.

In theory (remember, the rules vary from place to place!), anybody can be invited to be a member of a review committee, however in 90% of the cases, only full professors are invited. Generally, 2-3 people are full professors recruited from within the university, and another 2-3 people would be people from external institutions (also normally full professors).

The reason why the rules allow anybody to be invited is because there are people who, despite not having a PhD or Master degree, have had a long career in industry or in a certain field, and their career achievements are recognized as being significant, and very valuable.

Therefore, it would be highly unusual for a postdoc to be invited to become a member of such a committee. You would need to have some highly specialized knowledge (relevant to the PhD candidate's research topic) that could not be found in any other person. In fact, if a professor invited you to be a member, that person would probably have to write some text or report justifying the reason why you were invited (instead of someone else with a longer, established career).

If you are invited, it should be fine to accept the request, but personally I would feel a bit suspicious (ex: why they cannot find a person with more credentials?)...

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