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Thesis defence

This section contains information about the rules that apply to your thesis defence at the University of Gothenburg Faculty of Science. Click to enlarge picture.

Doctoral degree, step by step:

  • Book time for your defence as early as possible, but no later than three months ahead of the defence.
  • Three month before: Contact the printing company
  • Seven weeks before: Apply for dissertation.
  • Seven weeks before: Send the PDF originals to the printing company.
  • Five weeks before: the examiner should sends in documentation about the defense.
  • Five to three weeks before: A public announcement and e-publishing will take place.
  • At least five to three weeks before: contact press officer Carina Eliasson regarding press release.
  • Three weeks before: The public announcement (nailing) takes place, do not forget to get a signature of your thesis before the public announcement, please contact disputation@science.gu.se
  • After defence: Send in the application for a PhD degree (if the course requirements are fulfilled)


  • Before you book your thesis defence

    Before you book a date to defend your doctoral thesis, it is important that you and your supervisor and examiner discuss the format and presentation of your thesis.

    Doctoral theses at the Faculty of Science are usually “composite” theses, but the thesis may also be published as a monograph. In composite theses, for which papers have been co-authored with others, it may be appropriate to describe in the thesis which of the co-authors did what for the various papers. Otherwise, you may write this document separately, which will serve as the basis for the examining committee’s deliberations.

    Completed course credits
    When you meet with your supervisor and examiner, it is also important to review your completed course credits. It should be emphasised that you are not required to have completed all taught courses prior to the thesis defence examination.

    The decision is up to the doctoral student
    It should also be emphasised that the examiner does not have the right to prevent a doctoral student, duly admitted to a third-cycle programme, from applying to defend a thesis. However, the examiner does have the right to encourage or discourage the application.

  • Book a thesis defence date

    The public defence must take place while the semester is in session, meaning between 1 September and 22 December or between 8 January and the Friday that falls one week before Midsummer. The public announcement ("spikning") must take place between 16 August and 22 December or between 8 January and the Friday that falls one week before Midsummer.

    1. Notice
    After you have discussed the defence with your examiner and supervisor, you notify the Faculty Office (see contact details at the right) and check that the date you want to book your defence has not already been taken by another third-cycle student at the department.

    2. Book premises
    The doctoral student is responsible for booking premises for the public defence. You should do this immediately after the date is set.

    3. Book time at the printer
    It is also a good idea to book time at the printer well in advance, especially for public defences at the end of the spring semester. The thesis must be printed far enough in advance to allow it to be publicly announced at least three weeks before the defence will take place. A shorter period for the public announcement will be permitted only in special circumstances and must be approved in writing by the dean.

    We recommend you to cantat the printing company three months in advance.

  • Apply to defend your theisis

    Apply to defend your thesis

    You must apply to your examiner for permission to defend your thesis at least seven weeks before the thesis defence date.

    Fill in the Application to defend a thesis and send it to the Faculty Office. As soon as you click the “Send” button, you will automatically notify the University Library (UL). The UL creates an account that will be sent to you for e-publication of your thesis in Gupea. The application also creates a case for your dissertation at the Registrar, in which all of your related documents will be collected and filed.

    Proposed opponent and examining committee

    The examiner is responsible for proposing an opponent, examining committee, alternate member of the examining committee and the chair of the public defence. This must be done at least five weeks before the thesis defence date. The Faculty’s rules for selection of the opponent and examining committee for public defences must be observed.

    The examiner’s form must contain complete contact details and academic titles of all members of the examining committee, the opponent and the examiner, as well as the date, time and place of the defence. The Faculty’s template for permission to defend a thesis must be used for this purpose. The form must be sent via e-mail to the Doctoral studies officer at the Faculty Office. Permission to defend the thesis is given by the Pro-Dean.

    Information to the opponent

    The examiner and supervisor are responsible for informing the opponent of the set requirements and expectations. The Faculty has produced “A Guide to the Procedure for the Public Defence of a Doctoral Thesis” for this purpose, you find it under heading Forms.

  • Printing your thesis: Submission of thesis for printing

    Submission of thesis for printing

    Contact the printing company three month before your dissertation day. and send the printing company your print originals seven weeks before dissertation day.

    Title page and selection of printer

    Students who will be publicly defending a doctoral thesis or licentiate thesis at the University of Gothenburg, Faculty of Science must use a title page designed especially for the purpose.

    You must use one of the printers contracted by the University of Gothenburg for thesis printing.

    More information about title page and selection of printer

    Summary of the thesis and public announcement sheet

    In cases where a doctoral thesis is written in a language other than Swedish, a Swedish summary is to be included.

    Public announcement sheet (nailing sheet)

    The public announcement sheet is printed at the same time as your thesis.

    More information regarding nailing (Public announcement sheet (nailing)

    This is how it works

    1. Contact the printing company three month before dissertation day.
    2. Choose which one of the covers in the templates you prefer. The printing company will design it for you.
    3. The printing company will send the cover to the Communications Officers at the Faculty for approval
    5. Do a request for proposal (RFP). Read the checklist to learn more about what it must contain.
    6. Send the PDF originals (the inlay and the notification of submission (nailing sheet)) to the printing company, seven weeks before dissertation day.
    7. The printing company will do a proof of your thesis and send it to you by mail.
    8. You approve of any of the changes
    9. The printer will print your thesis
    10. The delivery is sent 

  • Printing your thesis: Thesis cover design and printers

    Thesis covers

    Students who will be publicly defending a doctoral thesis or licentiate thesis at the University of Gothenburg, Faculty of Science must use a title page designed especially for the purpose.

    The printing company will edit and design your thesis cover

    The printing company will design the cover for your thesis or licentiate thesis. If you want to print your licentiate thesis on your own printer, please contact the Communicator Officers at the Faculty and they will help you with the cover.Omslagsmallar för doktorsavhandlingar.

    Here, next to this text you have samples of the covers for the thesis. You can click on the pictures to download the samples as pdf files.

    You choose the draft that you want to use for your cover, and then you choose whether or not you want to have an illustration on your cover.

    Please note that you can have an illustration on all versions of the cover.

    You have to choose one of the samples suggested by the University, you are not allowed to design you own cover. The printer is responsible to do the cover based on the sample you have chosen.


    The University of Gothenburg has contracts for printing theses with two printers.

    You must always ask the first printer first (Stema). If they don't answer you in reasonable time or if they don't have the ability to print within your demands you ask the second printer (Aidla Trading/Kompendiet).

    1. Stema
      Tender request and production schedule:
      Daniel Larsson
      +46 70-810 35 17

      Contact person for doctoral students, print original and proof:
      Annelie Grimm
      +46 76-175 06 21

      Edit Johansson
      +46 76-175 06 22
    2. Aidla Trading AB/Kompendiet
      Anneli Aidla, +46 31-83 20 40, anneli@kompendiet.se


    Order printing

    Things to keep in mind when you order printing:

    • Number of copies - how many copies of the thesis should be printed
    • Number of pages you believe the thesis will comprise
    • Number of pages with color illustrations in the thesis
    • Is it a composite thesis or monography?
    • Do you want to have “false thumb tabs” between the sections?
    • Do you want to have special “opponent copies”? If so how many?
    • Will you print thesis defense announcement sheets (spikblad) at the same time? If so, how many?
    • How many defense announcement sheets will be inserted in the thesis?
    • The number of pages in color affects the price, for example, it is less expensive to have four pages with eight colors than eight pages with one color illustration each.


    Doctoral theses are printed in a format corresponding to about 80 procent of A4 size. If you need a title page for a licentiate thesis, please state whether you intend to print it in the same format as a doctoral thesis or in A4 format.


  • Printing you thesis: ISBN- och ISSN-number

    An ISBN for a doctoral thesis is not mandatory, although an ISBN does facilitate retrieval of a document.

    PhD students at Gothenburg University request for ISBN at Publication and Bibliometry Services, Gothenburg University Library. This information applies to ISBN for Doctoral Theses, the print version and the digital version. Equally applicable for the digital version is also the permanent link from GUPEA, known as handle.

    For ACTA documents, ISBN are continuously issued at the University Library section for ACTA administration

    Theses are normally printed in editions of 200-300 copies. Please note that it may take a day or two to get the ISBN number.

    About ISSN

    If the thesis is part of a departmental series, you will also be assigned an ISSN through your department.

    More information

  • Printing you thesis: A notification of submission

    A notification of submission of a doctoral thesis (nailing)

    A notification of submission of a doctoral thesis, a so-called “spikning ” or "nailing", should be printed at the same time as the thesis.

    The notification must contain information on time and place of the dissertation as well as the thesis title and ISBN number. The back of the notification must contain:

    • An Abstract
    • Keywords
    • The dissertation's ISBN number

    The notification is official information from Swedish Authority and should therefore be written in Swedish. The title of the thesis can be in original language. If the thesis only have an abstract in English, the abstract, on the back of the notification ought to be in Swedish.

    The public announcement

    The public announcement takes place in the main building of the University (Vasagatan 1). The public announcement that will take place at the department is only ceremonial.

    In conjunction with your public announcement, you need to visit Postgraduate studies officer Gabriella Olshammar at the faculty office for a signature. When you visit you need to bring:

    • 2 copies of your dissertation
    • 1 receipt for submitted copies of the duty from the Biomedical Library

    Templates for a notification of submission

    Templates for the notification of submission of a doctoral thesis
    The Templates for the notification of submission of a doctoral thesis are examples of what the finished notification might look like.
    Choose the template for you department and fill in the information in the square bracket. Please note that these templates are just examples of what the notification might look like.


  • E-publication

    E-publication in GUPEA is mandatory.

    You must upload the same files that  you send to the printer to GUPEA via the account you have been allocated. These files will be reviewed by the person appointed by the Faculty (see information at the right). Also other information that is asked for should be inserted, for example a list of papers in the dissertation and keywords.

    Please remember that timely submission is important, in case revisions are required. It's a good idea to upload your files the same day as you send your final version to the printer. The thesis will be e-published on the public announcement day, after it has passed the review. Please note that you should not include data in the introductory chapter of a compilation thesis that you don't want to publish electronically.

    Usually published articles have doi or PMID links. To make the links work, it's essential to use the sign ::doi:: or ::PMID:: (see instruction from the University library).

    Read more about e-announcement and e-publication (information from the University Library)

  • Permission to defend your thesis

    A decision giving permission to defend your thesis is sent by e-mail from the Faculty Office to the doctoral student, opponent, members of the examining committee, the chair and the examiner.

    The pro-dean takes the decision, which is based on whether the chair finds that the composition of the examining committee meets legal requirements for representation from another faculty, the Faculty of Science’s rules and that the committee’s composition otherwise precludes any doubts about conflict of interest or bias. The members of the examining committee, opponent and chair of the public defence are set in conjunction with the decision to grant permission.

    In conjunction, the doctoral student needs to fill in a Degree Application [Swedish only]

  • Public announcement day

    A public announcement must be made at least three weeks (21 days) before a doctoral thesis defence. 

    Remember that your thesis must be printed well in advance of the public announcement day!

    The time period of 21 days in between the public announcement day and the public defence day cannot include days during periods when public defences can not be held (for example dates around Christmas and  Midsummer).

    For details please read the webpage Rules

    The public announcement takes place 9.00-15.00 Monday to Friday. To book your time, please contact Service Center Vasa: 031-786 6502.

    The first thing you do is to make an appointment at the Faculty Office of Science, see step 2 below.

    When you book your day and time for public announcement, you can also book a small party package. It consists of sparkling/non-alcoholic wine and snacks. The package costs 80 SEK per person and is booked through the reception in Vasaparken. Payment is made by card before the public announcement procedure.


    1. Deliver six legal deposit copies of the thesis to the Biomedical Library, Medicinaregatan 4. Note: Phd Students at the Department of Earth sciences and Department of Conservation must deposit seven legal deposit copies of the thesis.

      Thesis copies are accepted at the circulation desk on level 5. You do not need an appointment. After you have turned in the copies, you will be given a receipt that you must turn in to the Faculty Office.
    2. Take two copies of the thesis to the Faculty Office (call Postgraduate studies officer Gabriella Olshammar, 031-786 9875, and make an appointment a day or two in advance) at level 5, Guldhedsgatan 5 A. One copy will be kept on file there and the other copy will be signed to give you permission to post the public announcement. The electronic publication of the date of the defence of your doctoral thesis will be done the same day and your thesis is then available for the public.
    3. Continue to the University’s main building in Vasaparken. You will be given more information at the main information desk about public announcement procedures, and can borrow a hammer and nail. If your thesis is relatively thick, it is a good idea to pre-drill a hole for the nail. The posted thesis and the nail will be returned to you by post after your thesis defence.
    4. Deliver one copy to the department secretary, who will file it in the department archives. It is also appropriate to provide one or more copies to your examiner, supervisor, colleagues and friends.

    Distribute the thesis

    The doctoral student is responsible for ensuring that the opponent, members of the examining committee and the alternate member of the examining committee are provided copies of the thesis without delay. The opponent will normally have received a thesis manuscript and offprint in advance so that he or she can prepare.

    There is also a distribution list at every department that includes sister departments in Sweden and other recipients, since the thesis must be distributed and available for review by the broader academic community. This is also a quality aspect, since this provides peer review by scholars in your discipline and at sister departments of the thesis and its scientific rigour.


  • Press release

    Press release about your thesis

    The Faculty of Science often issues press releases to the mass media in Sweden in connection with public defences. Most of these result in articles in the daily papers, trade papers, national and local media, as well as radio and television coverage. The University is obliged to spread the information to the public and it is important that you also share your research findings! As a result, you should be prepared to answer questions from journalists in connection with the press release.


    Well in advance of your public defence, we ask that you write a brief text that reports your thesis findings in terms understandable to the general public. This text will be edited by the Press Relations Officer to conform to press release conventions, but we will discuss all changes with you until we arrive at a final version together.

    Writing the popular text

    • Write clearly and simply. Avoid jargon and explain difficult concepts (most of the people who will be reading the text are not scientists…)
    • If possible, ask your supervisor to help you write a Swedish text. If that is not possible, send an English text.
    • The text should preferably be no more than 2,500 characters in length (including spaces)
    • Try to answer the following questions: What is novel in your findings? What are the potential applications of your findings? Please refer to previous press releases, available to the right, for guidance.
    • To help you in formulating your text, read previous press releases

    Also state

    • Your cell phone number and e-mail address
    • The thesis title
    • Your supervisor’s name and title 
    • Your hometown/where you grew up, and where you conducted your research.

    Please let us know if there are any “hometown newspapers” or other media you would like us to send the press release to!


    You should append a photograph of yourself, preferably along with a picture that illustrates your research, which the media can use for any coverage or articles. Pictures must be high-resolution and you must state the name of the photographer.

    Contact details and publications

    You and the Press Relations Officer will be listed as contact persons on the press release. We will jointly decide on an appropriate date for the release, when you should be available for interviews and questions (usually by phone).

    In addition to distribution to the media, the press release is published as news on the Faculty website and the Swedish Research Council’s media service, “Expertanswer.” If the thesis is judged to be of international interest, it will also be translated into English if necessary and published on international scholarly web services such as Eurekalert, Alpha Gallileo and IDW. This allows distribution of your research findings to get international attention as well.

    Text submission

    You must send the basis for the press release to the Press Relations Officer at the Faculty by e-mail as an attached Word document. If you want the press release to be distributed before the public defence, you should send the textthree weeks in advance.

    About fifty doctoral students defend their thesis every year at the Faculty of Science and we sometimes have to do a selection among the text submissions. If your text doesn't end up as a press releaese it could instead be used as a news text on our website.

    Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this or if you would like some advice on your text.

  • Thesis defence

    Preparing for the public defence
    To do on the morning of the defence

    During the defence
    Opening of the public defence of the doctoral thesis
    Carrying out the public defence of the doctoral thesisy
    Closing of the public defence of the doctoral thesis
    Meeting of the examining committee

    After the defence
    To do after a successful defence
    Doctoral award ceremony
    Doctoral award banquet

    To do on the morning of the defence

    On the day of the public defence, the doctoral student, who is called the “candidate” in this context, must arrive at the department in good time and smartly dressed. The candidate is responsible for making sure that at least 20 copies of the thesis are provided in a prominent place in the room where the defence will be held. Friends and colleagues usually provide floral arrangements in the room.

    Opening of the public defence of the doctoral thesis

    Thesis defences are public – in other words, anyone who wishes to has the right to attend. When the ceremony is opened, the chair will begin by welcoming the audience. The chair then declares that the candidate, who is mentioned by name, has been given the permission by the Faculty of Science to publicly defend his or her thesis (called the viva voce examination in some countries), and states the title of the defence. The chair then introduces the opponent, the members of the examining committee and the chair (that is, himself or herself). The chair then yields the floor to the candidate.

    At this time, the candidate has the right to announce corrections to the thesis, either orally or in writing, in the errata list. It should be noted that errors acknowledged at this time cannot be held against the candidate in the subsequent deliberations of the examining committee. It is possible, at least hypothetically, that serious errors will be found in one of the papers included in the thesis. In this case, the candidate has the right to withdraw this section of the thesis.

    Carrying out the public defence of the doctoral thesis

    After the candidate has announced any corrections, the chair once again takes the floor. Thereafter, the opponent or the candidate usually summarises the contents of the thesis in an oral presentation of about 20-30 minutes. By tradition, the opponent offers to present the thesis, but nowadays the candidate often makes the presentation.

    The chair then yields the floor to the opponent, whose task is to review the thesis and pose questions to the candidate. The candidate must answer these questions as exhaustively as possible. You should speak loudly and clearly or use a microphone, since courtesy demands that you (the candidate) face the opponent when you answer (and thus your back will be turned to the audience).

    Closing of the public defence of the doctoral thesis

    When the opponent has concluded the questioning, the chair resumes the floor and invites further questions, first from the examining committee and thereafter from all those present, in a process known as “further opposition.” Once the chair notes that no one else wishes to ask further questions, or if he or she judges that the defence should be ended because the thesis is deemed to have been adequately discussed, the chair concludes the defence. The candidate thanks the opponent for his or her valuable remarks. Finally, the chair declares the defence ceremony closed.

    Meeting of the examining committee

    The examining committee meets immediately after the defence. The opponent and principal supervisor may participate in the deliberations, but not in the decision. Doctoral theses are given a grade of pass or fail. The chair of the examining committee must ensure that minutes of the examining committee meeting are recorded and signed by all members of the committee in blue ink. The minutes are thereafter submitted in original to the Faculty Office (see address at right).

  • After the defence

    To do after a successful defence

    Following a successful defence, the information is entered into Ladok by the person responsible at the department. At the same time, or immediately thereafter, the doctoral student (if course requirements have been met) sends an application to the University Degrees Office for a degree certificate. The former doctoral student, now Ph.D., will receive the degree certificate soon thereafter.

    Licentiate and doctor degree application form

    Doctoral award ceremony

    The doctoral award ceremony is the University’s most important celebration and is intended primarily for people who have recently finished third-cycle studies and been awarded a doctoral degree. At the University of Gothenburg, the annual doctoral award ceremony is held in the latter part of October. At the ceremony, the new Ph.D.s from the preceding year, “jubilee” Ph.D.s and honorary Ph.D.s receive their insignia as proof of their status at the University.

    To be included in the autumn award ceremony, it is important that you apply for your degree certificate as soon as possible, since the cut-off date for issuing certificates is 30 June. If you cannot participate in the year’s award ceremony, you may, if there is valid reason, be moved up to the following year. Valid reasons are work abroad, a post-doc position in another town, or childbirth.

    Invitations to the ceremony are sent out after the summer and those invited must thereafter register online. The ceremony is held in the Congress Hall at the Swedish Exhibition Centre in Gothenburg (Svenska Mässan). At the award ceremony, which is held partly in Latin, the Ph.D.s (on this day called “promovendi”) are given a diploma, for which there is no fee. Doctors who want a doctoral ring and cap or laurel wreath must order and pay for these separately.

    Formal attire is normally worn at the award ceremony. For more detailed information about attire and for answers to other practical questions, please refer to the External Relations Office at the University of Gothenburg.

    More information about the doctoral award ceremony

    Doctoral award banquet

    A doctoral award banquet is held on the evening of the day the doctoral award ceremony is held. Those who have been awarded doctoral degrees are permitted to bring a limited number of guests, one of them at free expense.

Contact at the Faculty Office

Gabriella Olshammar
Doctoral studies officer
+46 31-786 9875

Faculty Office of Science
Box 460
S-405 30 Gothenburg

Questions about Graphic design?

For questions regarding Graphic Design, please contact the Communications Officers at the Faculty Office.

Linnéa Magnusson
031-786 5125

Tanja Thompson
031-786 9886

Contact Information

Carina Eliasson, Communications Officer

Visiting Address:
Guldhedsgatan 5 A

+ 46 31 786 98 73

Page Manager: Linnéa Magnusson|Last update: 2/26/2020

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