17785 Options for organing a public examination

Alternative ways for carrying out a public examination

1. On campus: all participants on campus + streaming

A traditional way of organising a public examination. Please, see "Progression of the public examination" below. The streaming will be organised via MS Teams service.

2. Hybrid: opponent is online

The doctoral candidate and the custos participate in an auditorium that is videoconference-enabled, and the opponent participates via the MS Teams service. The progression of the public examination follows the course of the traditional public examination, where applicable. Please, see "Progression of the public examination" and "Preparations for remote connection" below.

3. Online: All participants are online

The doctoral candidate, the custos and the opponent participate either from their home or from the university's facilities, e.g. their own office via a MS Teams service. Please, see "Preparations for remote connection" below.

Please, note that the streaming requires a permission from all parties involved.

Preparations for remote connection

  • Book an auditorium for the public examination. Videoconference-enabled auditoriums suitable for public examinations of doctoral dissertations are:
    • Joensuu: AU100, E100, M100, N100, C2, AT100
    • Kuopio: MS300, MS301, MS302, MD100, SN200, SN201, CA101, and auditoriums of Kuopio university hospital
  • When organising a hybride or an online public examination, agree on the rehearsal meeting a week before the actual public examination at the latest with all the parties, and book an auditorium for it. If needed, invite the IT Services to join.
  • When selecting a date for the public defense or the rehearsal meeting, please, note that the technical service will be available during the office hours only.
  • Agree on who (a custos, you, or an assistant with UEF account) will create a MS Teams meeting for the public examination
  • Make a link to the event available for the audience as well as for the UEF Communications and Media Relations well in advance of the event, so that it can be included in the doctoral dissertations press release on the university’s website.
Preparations for the public examination

When the public examination is approaching

  • Make sure that the doctoral dissertation is on public display, as a link to the electronic publication or as a printed copy in the library, 10 days before the public examination.
  • Read more in “Checklist for the public examination”.
  • Check the valid restrictions on public gatherings in News- UEF Kamu!

Introductory lecture, lectio praecursoria

Prepare a short (max. 20 min) introductory lecture, lectio praecursoria, in which you introduce the background of the dissertation and its connections to scientific or practical problems.

Dress code

Decide the dress code and inform the custos and the opponent about it well in advance. Possible options include

  • a tailcoat with a black waistcoat or a suit with long sleeves
  • a dark suit, or a dark dress


Find out your department's habit on organising beverages for the public examination. Facilities Management Officers will equip the facility with tables and chairs for custos, doctoral candidate, and opponent.  The tables will be equipped with required notepads and AV remote controls. Please check with your supervisors, if it is customary to have flowers on the table during the public examination.

Coffee service

Order coffee to be served after the public examination from the nearest campus restaurant. Alternatively, it is possible to drink a toast to the opponent instead of a coffee service, for instance.

Meeting with the opponent

Find out if your department has a habit to offer the opponent a dinner in the night before the public examination.

Also, agree with the custos and the opponent on when and where you are going to meet before the public examination.

Progression of the public examination

The public examination begins 15 minutes past the hour, by which time the audience will have arrived in the room. When you, the custos and the opponent enter the room,  the audience will stand up. Usually the doctoral candidate will enter the auditorium first, followed by the custos and the opponent.

The public examination includes the following protocol:

  • opening of the public examination
  • the candidate's introductory lecture, lectio praecursoria
  • the opponent's opening statement
  • public examination of the doctoral dissertation
  • the opponent's final statement
  • the candidate's concluding words
  • closing of the public examination.

Opening of the public examination

When everyone has taken their seats (you on the left to the custos), the custos will open the public examination by saying: "As the custos appointed by the Faculty of xx of the University of Eastern Finland, I declare this public examination open." After this, the custos and the opponent sit down.

The candidate's introductory lecture, lectio praecursoria

After the public examination has been opened, you stand up to give a short introductory lecture, lectio praecursoria, in which you introduce the background of the dissertation and its connections to scientific or practical problems. The lectio praecursoria may not last more than 20 minutes. You should begin the introductory lecture with the following words: "Mr/Madam custos, Mr/Madam opponent, ladies and gentlemen." The introductory lecture is usually given in the language of the dissertation. After the introductory lecture, you'll say: "I now call upon you, Mr/Madam opponent/Professor/Adjunct Professor/Dr NN as the opponent appointed by the Faculty of xx to present your critical comments on my doctoral dissertation."

The opponent's opening statement

The opponent stands up to give his/her opening statement on the dissertation under examination. The opponent then concludes the opening statement and begins to examine the dissertation in detail. After the opponent has given the opening statement, the opponent and you will sit down. If there is more than one opponent, the opponents will have to agree on a division of tasks and announce this in their opening statement.

Public examination of the doctoral dissertation

In the actual examination of the dissertation, the opponent first provides a general overview by discussing the choice of the topic, methods and data, and then moves on to a more detailed examination. At the end of the examination, the opponent makes a summary of the results of the dissertation to the discipline in question. The opponent may use approximately four hours for the examination and leave some time for possible questions from the audience. If the examination seems to take long, the custos may announce a break in between.

The opponent's final statement

After having examined the dissertation, the opponent stands up to deliver the final statement. You will also stand up to listen. The opponent then takes his or her seat.

The candidate's concluding words

You thank the opponent and then face the audience and say: "If anyone present wishes to make any comments concerning my dissertation, please ask the custos for the floor."

Conclusion of the public examination

Finally, the custos stands up to announce that the public examination is completed.

The custos and the opponent hold their doctoral hats in their hand when they leave the room. Often, the doctoral candidate will leave first, followed by the custos and the opponent but there are faculty-specific differences in this. The audience should not applaud or cheer during the public examination. Congratulations should be extended to you only after you have left the room and have had the opportunity to thank the opponent and the custos.

Coffee service

After the congratulations, you invite the audience for coffee (or for a toast).