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Public defences at the Faculty of Health Sciences

This document provides practical information about the public defence, as it is held in the Faculty of Health Sciences. It also contains information for the leader of the defence.

The public defence marks the end of the doctoral programme and qualifies the student for research at an international level. It is an important arena for dissemination of research activities at the University. UiT The Arctic University of Norway therefore emphasises that the public defence shall take place in a dignified setting and manner.

Choice of premises

The ph.d.-team books appropriate premises for the trial lecture and public defence. The Auditorium Cortex iat MH West is as a main rule booked for public defences at campus Tromsø.

The premises will be decorated with candles and flowers on the tables in the morning of the day of the public defence. The announcement about the public defence is hung on the door to the premises.

External public defences (link being prepared)

Dress code

Both the candidate and the members of the evaluation committee are expected to dress formally.

The leader of the defence wears the Dean's gown during the public defence but not during the trial lecture.

Picking up gown and Portfolio - The Leader of the Defence

You will get an email when the portfolio and the gown is redy to be piked up. The portfolio includes a form describing everything the leader of the defence shall say, the announcement,  evaluation and preliminary diploma. The latter must be signed by the committee. If the evaluation has not been signed, this too must be signed by the committee.

Trial lecture

The trial lecture lasts for 45 minutes, including any questions from opponents and the introduction by the leader of the defence.

In connection with the trial lecture, the leader of the defence decides, in consultation with the candidate and the adjudication committee, whether to walk in procession in and out of the trial lecture, as well who is to introduce the candidate. Further, the leader of the defence must assess whether there is time for questions and comments after the trial lecture.


After the trial lecture, lunch is served for supervisors, the leader of the committee, the leader of the defence, and the candidate. Lunch is served in the MH cafeteria. If the ceremony is held in Tannbygget, the lunch will also be served there.

Public defence

At the public defence, the general public is expected to be seated and to stand up when the candidate and party arrives in the premises. Order of entry: the leader of the defence, candidate, 1st opponent, 2nd opponent and the leader of the committee (the order reverses when leaving the premises). Members of the committee sit down on reserved seats in the first row. The leader of the defence stands in front of the podium, facing the audience (where the premises allow this).

The leader of the defence introduces the candidate, who provide a brief overview of the most important contributions the dissertation makes to research. The presentation should ideally last about 30 minutes, and must not exceed 45 minutes.

The first opponent opens the discussion. This sequence takes about 45 minutes, maximum one hour.

The leader of the defence assesses the need for a 10 minute break before the second opponent takes over. The second opponent gets 45 minutes for their discussion.

After both discussions, the leader of the defence announces that whoever wants to speak as opponents ex auditorium must raise their hand. There is only time for brief comments/questions.

The leader of the defence shall intervene if opponents exceed the time allotted significantly or do not let the candidate speak. The leader of the defence shall also intervene if the language used clearly violates academic propriety or the general public disturbs the public defence.

Festivities after the public defence

After the public defence, the Faculty, on behalf of the candidate, invites up to 20 people for light refreshments.

During this event, the leader of the defence may choose to thank the opponents and the members of the expert committee for their work. It is then natural to direct attention to the candidate, thanking them for their work and presenting them with flowers from the Faculty.

Gift from the Faculty of Health Sciences

The new doctoral degree holder gets a hand blown glass vase as a recognition from the University. They also receive flowers from the Faculty. The gift from the department is the hand blown glass bowl. The leader of the defence presents these, as well as gifts for the opponents, during the festivities after the public defence. The gift for the opponents is a hand blown glass bowl.

The contact person for the defence sends out information about practical matters ahead of the public defence.

Page administrator: Monica Karlsen
Last updated: 30.10.2019 13:40