Procedure and Dress Code

​Dress Code

These guidelines are for the Doctoral Candidate, Opponent and Custos, who follow the rules of a dignified dress code that is appropriate for the event. The guidelines are traditional and do not have to be followed to the letter.

There is no special dress code for the audience.

Black tie

Men can wear a black, dark grey, or dark blue suit with a single or double-breasted jacket. The material can have faint striping and the suit can include a waistcoat of the same or similar fabric. A white shirt and a discreet tie or bow tie of a colour that matches the suit (but not white), dark socks and dress shoes can be worn.

Women can wear an elegant black or dark dress, a light jacket suit or a trouser suit. Light court shoes (pumps) and stockings that match, for example, the shoes can be worn.

White tie

Men should wear a black tailcoat, a black waistcoat, a white shirt with a stiff front and collar. The trousers should have satin strips on the side seams.  A white bow tie is always worn with a tailcoat. Dress shoes and black socks are always worn with a black waistcoat, no pocket square or wristwatch. At dinner and in the evening, a white waistcoat and patent leather court shoes are to be worn. With a white waistcoat, a pocket square can be used, unless there are medals. At the so-called gentlemen’s dinner, a black waistcoat is used also in the evening. Outer garments consist of a black coat or cloak and a white scarf and white gloves.

Women can wear a black full-length dress with long sleeves or a jacket or trouser suit and elegant festive shoes. The neckline of the dress should not be open. At dinner and outside, black gloves can be worn.

Doctor’s Gown

If one of the aforementioned attendants wears a doctor’s gown, the rest will decide among themselves whether black tie or white tie is the dress code used.


Beginning of the Public Defence of a Doctoral Dissertation

The first one to enter the hall is the Doctoral Candidate, the second the Custos and the last the Opponent.

If the Custos and the Opponent have a doctoral degree from a Finnish university, they hold their doctoral hat in their hands when entering the hall.

When everyone is in place, the Custos opens the proceedings with the words: “As the Custos appointed by the Faculty of …, I declare the beginning of this public defence of a doctoral dissertation.”

The Doctoral Candidate, standing, delivers his or her Finnish lectio praecursoria which may not exceed 20 minutes. A foreign Opponent will be supplied with a translation of the lectio praecursoria.

The Doctoral Candidate begins with the greetings: “Learned Custos, my esteemed Opponent, Ladies and Gentlemen…”

After the lectio praecursoria, the Doctoral Candidate states: “I respectfully beg you, esteemed Professor (Doctor etc.) … as the Opponent appointed by the Faculty of … for the public defence of my doctoral dissertation, to present your criticisms of my doctoral dissertation.”

The Opponent, standing, delivers a short statement concerning the scientific status and significance of the topic and other general questions. After this statement, both the Doctoral Candidate and the Opponent resume their seats.

Examination of the Dissertation

The Opponent should begin the examination of the dissertation by handling methodological and general questions and then proceed to a detailed scrutiny of the text.

The Opponent may not spend more than four hours on the examination of the dissertation, so that enough time remains for other speakers to present questions or criticisms. If the examination takes a long time, the Custos may announce an interval. The total duration of the public defence may not exceed six hours.

The correction of misprints is not part of the proceedings at the public defence. The Doctoral Candidate may submit to the Opponent a written list of errors which he or she himself of herself has found, and this list may be appended to the Opponent's statement submitted to the Faculty.

Conclusion of the Public Defence

At the conclusion of the Opponent's examination of the dissertation, the Opponent and the Doctoral Candidate stand, and the Opponent delivers a final statement.

The Doctoral Candidate, still standing, then thanks the Opponent.

Next, the Doctoral Candidate turns to the audience and invites their contributions as follows:
"I now respectfully invite any members of the honoured audience who wish to offer criticisms of my dissertation to request the Custos for permission to speak."

The Custos may then grant permission for members of the audience to speak and is responsible for ensuring that the Doctoral Candidate is able to reply immediately to each criticism offered and that the discussion does not stray from the matter at hand.

Finally the Custos stands up and terminates the proceedings as follows:
"This public defence of the doctoral dissertation is now concluded."

Afterwards, there is usually a coffee service at the front of the lecture hall.



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