Skip to main content


The defense must take place no earlier than two weeks after the assessment has made its recommendation and within three months after submission of the thesis, see PhD Order § 20 paragraph 2. The chair of the Assessment Committee agrees on a time for the defense with the committee members, the principal supervisor and author, and notifies the PhD School Secretariat.

If special circumstances exist, the Head of the PhD School can decide to postpone the defense. A postponement of the defense requires an agreement between the author, the hair of the Assessment Committee and the Head of the PhD School, including an agreement on the time period of the postponement of the defense, see PhD Order § 20 paragraph 3.

The defense is held at SDU. In exceptional circumstances, the Dean may allow the defense to take place elsewhere than SDU.

It is the duty of the chair of the Assessment Committee to ensure that a room of adequate size is reserved for the defense. This is arranged with the departmental PhD secretary. The Department is in charge of the practical tasks associated with the defense (reservation of a room for the defense, the sending of any invitations and reception, etc.).

The PhD School secretariat sends notification of the defense and possibly the lecture topic to the author and the members of the Assessment Committee and Department.

The Department has the responsibility of advertising the defense under Upcoming events on the SDU website. The PhD School Secretariat is responsible for the popular scientific abstract of the thesis being announced on the PhD School web pages. The PhD thesis  must be publicly available at the PhD School Secretariat in good time before the defense.

Procedures for the defense of the PhD thesis

At the defense the author should present his or her work and defend the PhD thesis to the members of the Assessment Committee. Prior to the defense, the Assessment Committee has notified the author about the lecture topic.

The defense may not exceed 3 hours, of which 30-45 minutes are devoted to the author's lecture.

The defense will be based on the following plan:

  1. Introduction by the chairman of the Assessment Committee (moderator), with a presentation of the PhD student as well as the members of the Assessment Committee. The moderator conducts the defense proceedings.
  2. A 30-45 minute presentation by the PhD student.
  3. The moderator may allow questions from the audience with specific reference to the lecture given.
  4. The members of the Assessment Committee comment on the thesis and put questions to the author. The moderator shall ensure that this opposition is limited to 1 hour and 30 minutes divided among the members according to internal agreement. The opposition must include specific questions on key topics in the thesis.
  5. The moderator concludes the defense proceedings. Before the conclusion, he or she may allow the student to make a brief comment.

It should be noted that it is not expected that the principal supervisor or the co-supervisors should make a contribution. The moderator may waive this rule upon the request of the committee. In such case the speech of the supervisor(s) will be limited to 30 minutes.

Last Updated 11.10.2018