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university of tampere: sis/luo-coms: doctoral studies:
Faculties of Natural and Communication SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculties of Natural and Communication Sciences

The nine schools of the University of Tampere will become six faculties from the start of 2017.

The Doctoral programmes of the School of Information Sciences will be transferring to two new faculties:

Faculty of Communication Sciences

  • Doctoral programme in Information Studies and Interactive Media
  • Doctoral programme in Interactive Technology

Faculty of Natural Sciences

  • Doctoral programme in Information and Systems

The study-related instructions and curricula of the School of Information Sciences will continue to be used in connection with these Doctoral programmes.

Public examination of a Doctoral dissertation

All Doctoral dissertations in Finland must be examined in a public examination.

The procedure is roughly the same in all universities. Below we have provided general information for the audience and more detailed information for the Doctoral candidate and other persons with a role in the ceremony.

Detailed information for the Doctoral candidate, Custos and opponent is given below.

General information for the audience

Procedure at the public defence of a doctoral dissertation – Detailed information

The public defence of a doctoral dissertation has at least three functions:

  1. It allows an opportunity in a public and trustworthy manner to ensure that the doctoral candidate has him/herself written the dissertation and that the dissertation meets the set requirements.
  2. It gives the opponent(s) and all those who are interested a chance to learn more about the topic from the doctoral candidate through listening, asking and discussing.
  3. It offers an opportunity to disseminate the results of the research accomplished in a festive manner. 

These functions have generated certain forms and manners that are still in use. These are, however, liable to change over time, so it is possible for the participants of the public defence to agree on some alterations.

Dressing for the occasion

The doctoral candidate, the Custos and the opponent(s), when men, usually wear a tailcoat and black waistcoat, or a dark suit, or a uniform without medals. Ladies wear a black dress or suit and no hat. Alternatively the academic dress of other countries or the gown of the University of Tampere can be chosen. The gowns can be reserved through the Rector’s secretary, tel. (03) 3551 6203, and it is possible to see and try them on beforehand. The doctoral candidate should inform the other participants of his/her choice of dress, as the others will then choose their attire accordingly. If the Custos and the opponent hold the Doctor's degree, they carry their doctor's hats in their hands when entering and leaving the auditorium. The members of the audience are free to choose their attire.

Entering the lecture hall and opening the debate

The participants in the public defence enter the lecture hall in the following order: the doctoral candidate first, followed first by the Custos and then the opponent(s). The members of the audience rise when the participants enter.

When everyone has taken their place the Custos, still standing, opens the discussion saying:
"As the Custos appointed by the School of Information Sciences I declare the discussion open."

The doctoral candidate remains standing to deliver the introductory lecture (lectio praecursoria), which may not last for more than 20 minutes. The doctoral candidate may distribute to the audience the text of the lecture, the list of the printing errors or some other material connected with the dissertation.

After finishing the lectio praecursoria, the doctoral candidate says:
"I ask you, Professor (or Doctor, etc.), as my opponent appointed by the School of Information Sciences, to make the comments on my dissertation which you consider pertinent."

The opponent rises to give a short address on the position and significance of the subject matter of the dissertation as well as other matters of a general nature. If there are several opponents, only one of them will speak. After this, both the opponent and the doctoral candidate sit down.

Defence of the dissertation

The opponent generally begins the examination by focusing attention on general and methodological questions, after which there follows an examination of details. If there are several opponents, they may agree among themselves which parts of the dissertation they will concentrate on. The audience also has the right to participate in the discussion. The Custos will give the floor to the members of the audience. However, the Custos will ensure that in the discussion a clear preference is given to the doctoral student and the opponent.

One opponent may not spend more than four hours on the examination, since sufficient time is to be reserved for the possible other opponents. The whole procedure may not last for more than six hours. The examination may be interrupted by a short pause announced by the Custos.

The opponent finishes the examination by rising to give the final summary, and the doctoral candidate stands to hear it.

The doctoral candidate remains standing and expresses his/her thanks to the opponent.

The doctoral candidate then turns to the audience and says:
"If anyone here has any comments to make on my dissertation he or she is requested to ask the Custos for the floor."

The Custos presides over the discussion, giving the floor to those requesting it and ensuring that the doctoral candidate can respond immediately to each remark, and that the speakers do not digress from the subject.

The Custos stands up to announce the discussion finished by saying
"I declare this discussion closed".

The participants leave the lecture hall in reverse order: the opponent(s) first, followed by the Custos and then the doctoral candidate. The members of the audience rise as the procession leaves the auditorium.

Celebrating the dissertation

The public defence of the dissertation may be celebrated by offering the audience coffee or tea and for example cake immediately after the defence is over.

In the evening, the doctoral candidate may invite the participants, his/her academic supporters, friends and family members to a celebration banquet dinner. The dinner is called väitöskaronkka. The arrangements are made by the doctoral candidate. 

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Last update: 14.12.2016 15.03 Muokkaa

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