The Date of the Public Defence | Formalities Concerning the Public Examination of the Doctoral Dissertation | Dress Code | Entrance and Opening of the Examination of a Dissertation | Examination of the Doctoral Dissertation
The Dean of the School determines the date of the defence at least 14 days in advance. The doctoral candidate contacts the Custos, the opponent(s) and the School Office and is responsible for reserving the lecture hall. The date of the defence should be determined so that the members of the Management Board and the Postgraduate Committee have the possibility to participate in the defence if they wish to do so.
There are customs and forms that are traditionally followed in the public examination of a doctoral dissertation. The main participants should negotiate on how to apply the following rules to the examination in question.
The candidate, the Custos, and the opponent usually wear a tailcoat and black waistcoat, ladies a black dress without a hat. Alternatively, the gown of the University of Tampere or a dark suit can be worn. Additional information on the usage and reservation of the university gowns is available in the following link: http://www.uta.fi/english/services/researcher/advice.html. The Custos and the opponent keep their Doctor's hats in their hands when entering and leaving the auditorium. For the duration of the examination, the hats are placed on the table, the lyre facing the audience. The Custos and the opponent must follow the dress code chosen by the candidate.
The participants in the public examination enter the auditorium in the following order: the doctoral candidate first, followed by the Chairman (Custos), and last the opponent. When everyone has taken his/her place the Custos opens the discussion saying: "As the Custos appointed by the School of Social Sciences and Humanities I declare the discussion opened." The candidate remains standing to deliver his/her introductory lecture (lectio praecursoria), which may not last more than 20 minutes. At this point, the candidate may hand out a list of printing errors or other material related to the dissertation.
After finishing the lectio praecursoria, the candidate asks his/her opponent appointed by the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, to make such comments on the dissertation, which the opponent considers pertinent. The opponent rises to give a short talk on the position and significance of the subject matter of the dissertation, as well as on other matters of general nature. After this, both the opponent and the candidate seat themselves. If there are several opponents, they will all give a brief statement, unless the opponents and the Custos have agreed upon another procedure beforehand.
The opponent generally begins the actual examination by focusing his/her attention on methodological and general questions, after which the details are examined. If there are several opponents, they may agree upon a running order and a division of tasks amongst themselves and take part in a conversation initiated by another opponent. Also participants in the audience who are interested in the subject may take part in the conversation and ask questions on subjects that the candidate and the opponent/s are discussing. The Custos presides over the discussion, giving the floor to those requesting it and at his/her discretion, even encourages the audience to take part in the discussion, however, always giving precedence to the candidate and the official opponent/s.
One opponent may not spend more than four hours on his/her examination and the whole procedure may not last more than six hours. The examination may be interrupted by a pause announced by the Custos. The opponent finishes the examination by rising to give his/her final summary, and the candidate stands up to hear it. After the summary, the candidate immediately thanks the opponent. If there are several opponents, they will all give a brief, final summary, unless the opponents and the Custos have agreed upon another procedure beforehand.
After the opponent/s have finished the examination, the discussion can be continued on subject matters that have not yet been dealt with. The candidate turns to the audience and says: "If anyone here has any comments to make on my dissertation he 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 candidate responds immediately to each remark, and that the speakers do not digress from the subject.
The Custos stands up to announce the discussion finished saying "I declare this discussion closed". The exit from the public examination will take place in a reverse order compared to the entrance order
Appendix: Procedure at the public examination of a doctoral dissertation in more detailed form