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Defense of the Thesis

Disputation / Defense

Disputation / Defense
Image Credit: Marion Kuka

If the dissertation is recommended for acceptance, the doctoral student will be requested to make an appointment with the committee members. The doctoral candidate organises the defense in consultation with the chairperson of the doctoral committee.

Information on the different formats of the disputation (pure presence, hybrid, pure video format) and the requirements to be fulfilled in each case can be obtained from the doctoral office. Disputations generally take place in public, but you also have the option to exclude the public so that only you and your doctoral committee may attend the disputation.

Please first clarify possible appointments with the two reviewers because the two reviewers must participate at the disputation in any case. Individual members of the committee can be exchanged if no date can be found with the appointed members. Please note that the date should also be coordinated with the substitutes, as the disputation will only be valid if the committee (consisting of four university lecturers and one postdoctoral academic employee) is complete. The substitutes should also keep the date free, so that they can stand in at short notice if one of the main members should spontaneously drop out. It is advisable for each doctoral student to contact each member of the doctorate committee in order to enquire whether they would be interested in a copy or an PDF of the thesis.

As soon as the date, time and format of the disputation are fixed, please send an e-mail to the doctoral office to book a suitable room.

The doctoral office sends out the official invitation for defense to you and to all committee members approximately approx. 14 day before the date of your disputation and also announces the disputation on the FU's internal website (so far as the disputation takes place open to the public). The doctoral candidate confirms the date bindingly to all commission members in advance.

The doctoral committee meets 15 minutes in advance of the defense to jointly evaluate the dissertation and sets the written grade. The defense begins with a lecture of approximately 30 minutes, in which the doctoral student presents and discusses the results of his/her thesis in the context of the field as a whole. The doctoral student then defends the dissertation by responding to the doctorate committee members' criticism and questions. The discussion must take at least 30 minutes but no longer than 60 minutes. The use of additionally prepared slides during your defense (following the presentation) is not permitted. Only slides that have already been used in your presentation may be used. The recording of the disputation is expressly prohibited.

When determining the grade to be awarded, the outcome of the discussion is in principal more important than priority against the presentation. But the dissertation is also taken primarily in principal into account for determining the overall grade.

You can find an overview of current defenses here.

Read on for the next topic 'Publication of the Thesis'.