Norwegian version of this page

Trial lecture and public defence

The purpose of the trial lecture is to do demonstrate your ability to present research-based knowledge targeted towards advanced students in the subject field.

The trial lecture for the PhD degree

After the Faculty have judged the thesis worthy of public defense, you must hold a trial lecture. The trial lecture is an independent part of the PhD defence. The purpose is to test your ability to acquire academic knowledge beyond the topic of your thesis and to present this in a lecture setting. The trial lecture is usually held the same day or the day before the public defence.

The title of the trial lecture is decided by the evaluation committee and will be sent to you 10 working days before the lecture date. The length of the trial lecture is 45 minutes, and unless otherwise agreed upon it should be held in the language used in the thesis.

Approval of the trial lecture

The trial lecture is evaluated by the evaluation committee and must be passed before the public defence can be held.

The public defense of the thesis

  • The evaluation committee responsible for evaluating your thesis, also evaluates the public defence. Your opponents will consist of two of the committee members
  • The public defence should be an academic discussion between the opponents and the doctoral candidate regarding research questions, methodical and theoretical foundations, documentation, and presentation.
  • In your preparations for the public defence you should take great care to know the details of the evaluation committee's report, and consult your supervisor with regards to possible topics that might be brought up by the opponents during the public defence.
  • Your defence during the public defence should be attentive and active, demonstrating the ability to reflect on critical remarks. You should make an effort to create a positive atmosphere during the defence, and to deliver your defence in a clear and precise manner.
  • Carrying out the public defence

  • The public defence is chaired by the Dean or an appointed deputy for the Dean
  • The public defence should normally last three hours.
  • The public defense is, unless otherwise agreed upon, held in the language of the submitted thesis.

Order of the public defence:

  • The chair of the defence, the candidate, and the evaluation committee enters the room in a procession.
  • The chair of the defence opens the ceremony and designates seating spaces.
  • The first opponent summarizes the research question and main findings in the thesis before engaging the candidate in discussion
  • After both opponents have finished their opposition, others present in the audience are allowed to make comments
  • One of the opponents concludes the opposition, before the chair of the defence concludes the public defence
  • You will provide some brief concluding remarks, thanking for the opportunity to defend your thesis, as well as the committee for its work.

The evaluation committee will present its report to the faculty on whether the public defence should be accepted. If the committee rejects the public defence, this should be justified in the report.

Practical information

  • Formal attire is required at the public defence is
  • Normally, a lunch in honour of the candidate is hosted by the department, attended by the candidate, evaluation committee, public defence leaders, and supervisors
  • The public defence is a public event, so feel free invite friends and family. Supervisors do not have any formal role during the defence, but feel free to invite them as audience
  • After the public defence the you might choose to host a doctoral dinner

Did you find what you were looking for?
Published Apr. 22, 2015 8:22 AM - Last modified Jan. 6, 2016 3:44 PM