The public defence

The doctoral theses must be defended publicly during a public defence.

Doctoral theses are to be defended in public and preferably in English, although Swedish is also allowed.

If there are digital elements in the public defence, read more about it here


The chairperson opens the public defence by introducing the respondent (you), the thesis, the opponent and the members of the Examination Board. The respondent is then given the opportunity to add any changes or corrections, after which either the respondent or the opponent is required to give a brief presentation of the subject field and thesis. It is common for the opponent to introduce the subject and for the respondent to present a concise summary of the thesis and its most important results.

The Opposition

The opponent now initiates a discussion with the respondent, after which the chairperson will invite the members of the Examination Board to question the respondent before opening the floor to the audience to ask questions and discuss the thesis further.

There is no time limit to a public defence, but if it takes longer than expected the chairperson may call for a recess. Proceedings may not be concluded until all questions and discussion points from the opponent, Examination Board and the public have been exhausted.

The Examination Board’s decision

After the public defence the Examination Board convenes for a meeting, the meeting consists of two parts. During the first part of the meeting, the defence chairperson, supervisor(s) and opponent may be present to discuss the respondent’s performance. During the second part of the meeting, only the members of the Examination Board may be present to decide whether the thesis is to be approved or rejected. The decision is taken by a majority vote. The examination board’s decision is registered and signed on a form, the form is then submitted to the departmental administrator. 

If it occurs extraordinary remarks during a public defence in which the examination board finds it necessary to carry out special investigations or consultations before being able to implement their decision, the examination board should adjourn the meeting. The adjournment should not last more than two weeks. 

The Public Defence chairperson

The role of the defence chairman is to be the coordinator and representative of KI at the public defence. They are expected to know the procedure of a public defence and be able to handle any complications in connection with the public defence. 

The chairperson is to ensure that all members of the Examination Board and the opponent have confirmed their intention to attend the public defence and that any travel plans that they are required to make are reasonable to avoid the risk of cancellation. 

The public defence cannot begin until the opponent and members of the Examination Board are present. 

If any of the members of the Examination Board and/or opponent participate digitally, it is important to ensure that the technology works throughout the public defence, both for those who participate digitally and for those who are on site. The chairman must interrupt the public defence if technical problems arise. 

If someone is to participate digitally, it is recommended that there is a technically responsible person in the room to assist the chairman.

Read more about digital participation in public defence


If the opponent is unable to attend the public defence, the Examination Board may assume his/her role. If an Examination Board member is unable to attend, the chairperson must contact the Dissertation Committee administrator at the University Administration.

It is possible to carry out a public defence if a member of the Examination Board or an opponent at a distance through digital solutions, which can be an alternative in the event of late cancellations or in the event of impediment to participating on site. 

Read more about digital participation in dissertations

The Dissertation Committee

Questions about the public defence application

Ruket Negasi

Administrative Officer