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Digital PhD defense

Physical or online defense

Due to the current restrictions due to COVID-19, it is not recommended to plan your PhD defense with physial presence only. 
Instead, we recommend that you plan your defence via Zoom, where you and the assessment committee particpate equally in the online session, but still be in the same room, if possible.

This setup does not require much equipment, except from a  projector and a computer for you and each of the members of the assessment committe. An additional computer can be used for questions from the audience.

If you plan to book a room, please be aware to follow the current rules regarding distance and number of particpants (currently no more than 10 people), and allow room for outside opponents to participate, as all PhD defenses must be public. 

Planning your digital PhD defense

When planning your digital PhD defense, we kindly ask you to follow the procedure mentioned below: 

  • Find time and date for your defense including a preparatory meeting AND a time and date for a test meeting, involving all members of the assessment committee and you, to make sure the system works – a Zoom supporter will participate in both sessions. 
  • Here you can see when a Zoom supporter is available
  • Contact to book a Zoom supporter
  • You will receive two separate links; one for the test meeting and one for the preparatory meeting/defense session. 
    Please note that the link for the preparatory meeting and the defense is the same.
    A Zoom supporter will make sure to let in the different members to the rooms at the right times.
    As a backup solution, in case of technical difficulties, it is possible to dial into the meeting using a telephone. You will be given the phone number and meeting id to do so. 
  • Once you receive the link for the preparatory meeting/defense , please send it to the Graduate School, as we need to include link and other information in the invitation, on our website, and on Facebook.


Conducting your digital PhD defense

On the day of the defense, please follow these steps: 

  • The assessment committee will login to the meeting room and have the preparatory meeting. The PhD student is allowed to access the room for the last half hour and can stay as long as they wish. 
  • Shortly before the defense starts all participants must have accessed the link, and all microphones aside from the PhD student and the members of the assessment committee will be muted. 
  • The chairman will introduce the participants and will start the session. 
  • The PhD student will give a presentation of 30-45 minutes, sharing their presentation on the screen. 
  • The external members of the assessment committee will question the student (max. 30 minutes pr. assessor). 
  • Members of the audience can ask questions by sending a chat to the moderator with the question. The moderator will then open the individual microphone. 
  • There will then be a break while the assessment committee enters a confidential break out room and conferrer.
  • The PhD student and the audience will wait in the meeting room. 
  • The assessment committee will return to the meeting room and give their verdict. 
  • The defense is completed. 
After the digital defense

After the digital defense session has been completed the chairman of the assessment committee will have to organize the signing of the protocol. 

The PhD school accepts scanned and e-mail signatures, but if this is impossible the individual members of the assessment committee can also send an e-mail with their approval of the defense session to the chairman, who will then send a pdf-file with all signatures and e-mails to the PhD School.  

Using other systems than Zoom
If it is not possible for you to use Zoom for your digital defense, you may choose another system, but please note that the Graduate School cannot offer any IT-support.

We recommend that you follow the guidelines stated in “planning your digital defense” with you own IT-support instead of

When you have a link for the preparatory meeting and defense, please send it to the Graduate School immediately, as we need to include link and other information in the invitation, on our website, and on Facebook.

The defense must follow the guidelines stated above in “Conducting your digital PhD defense” and “After the digital defense”.
Digital defence held in WP25

If you choose to have your PhD defense in WP25, please be aware that the area outside of the auditorium can only be used if

  • there is no more people than allowed in the auditorium
  • all participants are informed about SDU's current regulations
  • hand sanitizers are available