When putting together two, three and even more master's theses, it is not possible to form one doctoral thesis. Why?

It is quite enough to have a good mind, a semi-regular attendance of classes and a summary of things already known to specialists in the text of the master's thesis to be successful in the master’s study programme. To perhaps achieve not an excellent but successful mark in a master's thesis, the solution to a non-trivial problem, publications in recognised scientific journals, or presentation of research results at international scientific conferences is not required, but all these things are mandatory for a doctoral thesis.

The doctoral thesis is formally 100 credit points, five times more in comparison to the master's thesis.

Doctoral studies have a very high proportion of individual work, as well as an important aspect of originality and novelty. The following things need to be done:

  1. carry out a thorough study of literature sources in the chosen field of research, i.e. it must be ascertained what “progressive humanity” (the words of academician R.M. Freivalds) already knows in the given field;
  2. formulate a problem (i.e., which is not yet known to progressive humanity, or something progressive humanity is not satisfied with), that in the field is recognised as sufficiently non-trivial, difficult to solve;
  3. offer a solution to the formulated problem;
  4. justify that the problem identified has been resolved.

Theoretical directions in the doctoral thesis usually formulate problems as theorems and solutions – as proof of theorems, which also serves as a basis for solving the problem. The solution for a more practical direction in a doctoral thesis is usually a new approach, procedure, software, etc., but a comparison between the situation before the development of the work and the new situation using this developed approach, procedure, software can serve as justification. It is necessary to start thinking about this comparison very early, identifying and recording the current situation and thus creating a basis for future comparisons.

The results of the doctoral thesis should be communicated to the specialists of the field by publishing at least 2 articles in recognised international publications and speaking at 2 (at least) recognised international scientific conferences with a report. Both publications and conferences must have a covert review of articles/presentations. It takes a year at best from the submission of the article to the journal, and half a year in the case of a conference report; moreover, it is necessary to take the reviewer's negative opinions into account, which can significantly prolong the process. And at the end, a doctoral thesis text of about 120 pages has to be submitted, which cannot be completed in a few weeks or even a few months.

Thus, it can be seen that doctoral studies require a very significant investment of time and substantial diligence and perseverance. Adding plenty of talent and intensive collaboration with a scientific supervisor will produce a very good result. Even outstanding talent without personal investment, diligence and perseverance will result in nothing. We have enough examples of both.

Let's keep in mind that nobody is interested in a negative result of doctoral studies.

Prof. Juris Borzovs


The list of LCS experts is available on the website of the Latvian Science Council.

On 7 March 2012, the Computer Science Promotion Council of the University of Latvia decided to strongly recommend doctoral students to publish their works in the “Baltic Journal of Modern Computing”:

  • dissertation summaries in English (re-edited in accordance with the requirements of the BJMC format);
  • review type articles on the topic of a dissertation.

Regulations of the Computer Science Promotion Council of the University of Latvia (in Latvian)