Defence

If the committee’s assessment of your PhD dissertation is positive, the dissertation is accepted for public defence.

The defence must take place no later than three months after submission of the PhD dissertation. The date for the defence is agreed with the assessment committee at the time it is composed.

The date of defence can be postponed if necessary due to special circumstances, for example to protect intellectual property rights.

You are responsible for booking the room and ordering catering, if applicable.

The defence is a public ceremony that can be attended by anyone, and the defence should therefore be publicly announced, just as the dissertation needs to be available to the public in reasonable time before the defence.

Conducting the defence

The defence is chaired by the chairman of the assessment committee and the defence must be conducted in accordance with the provisions specified in the PhD order.

The course of events at the defence is as follows:

  • After a brief welcome by the chairman of the assessment committee, the PhD student gives a lecture of 35-45 minutes on the topic of the dissertation.
  • The other members of the assessment committee then examines the student. The subsequent examination must comprise an in-depth discussion and critical analysis of selected parts of the dissertation and the lecture. This part of the defence usually lasts approximately one hour.
  • The audience is then invited to participate in the discussion of the dissertation and can ask the PhD student questions
  • When no more questions arise, the assessment committee deliberates in private and thereafter announces its recommendation on the dissertation and the defence.

Final recommendation and award of the PhD degree

Immediately after the defence, the assessment committee makes a recommendation to the Academic Council as to whether the PhD degree should be awarded.

The PhD degree is awarded if the assessment committee finds that the PhD education and the defence have been completed in a satisfactory manner, cf. §3 of the PhD Order. The recommendation must include an overall assessment of both the dissertation and the defence.

On the basis of the final recommendation, one of the following decisions can be made:

  • All three members agree on a positive recommendation. The recommendation is forwarded by the chairman to the graduate school, which then requests the Academic Council to make the final decision on award of the PhD degree.
  • Two of three members agree on a positive recommendation. The recommendation is forwarded by the chairman to the graduate school, which then requests the Academic Council to make the final decision on award of the PhD degree.
  • Two or three members agree on negative assessment. The recommendation is submitted to the graduate school which informs the author. Before then, the Head of the Graduate School will determine whether the dissertation may qualify for assessment by a new committee. 

The graduate school forwards the final decision to the author together with the PhD diplomas.