Public Defences of Doctoral Dissertations

​The public defence of a doctoral dissertation always begins a quarter past the hour, and that is when the audience needs to be present. This is when the Candidate, the Custos and the Opponent enter the hall.

The Custos opens the ceremony, after which the Candidate holds the lectio praecursoria. Finally, the Candidate asks the Opponent to present the remarks that he or she considers the doctoral dissertation gives reason for.

The Opponent presents a brief statement that deals with the position and significance of the dissertation’s topic for science as well as other general questions. Then the Opponent and the Candidate sit down.

After the methodical and general questions, it is time for the detailed examination that can last for a maximum of four hours. Having finished the examination, the Opponent stands up to present the final statement.

The Candidate thanks the Opponent, after which he or she asks those present that have any remarks about the doctoral thesis to ask the Custos for permission to take the floor.

After the remark and the answer, the Custos stands up to end the ceremony.

The Candidate, the Custos and the Opponent are usually dressed in a dress coat or corresponding black suit. Guests are also dressed in a dark suit, but the audience may dress up as they wish.


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