Arranging the public examination

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Once you have been granted permission to defend your doctoral dissertation in a public examination, it is time to start to arrange the event. Agree on the public examination date and other related matters together with the members of the grading committee well in advance.

On this page, you will find practical instructions on the things you need to take into account when arranging the event. For more information on the proceedings and protocol of the actual event, please see the article At the Public Examination.

Time of the event

As the grade proposal takes into account both the scientific value of the dissertation and the success of your public defence of your dissertation, all members of the grading committee must without exception be present at the public examination. The doctoral candidate and members of the grading committee must together set the time of the public examination. The custos is responsible for seeing to it that the candidate and the members of the grading committee (opponent, custos and faculty representatives) agree on the public examination time as soon as possible after permission for a public defence has been granted.

Even though the official responsibility of arranging the date lies with the custos, it's a good idea to be active yourself – once you've been granted the permission to proceed to public examination, be in touch with the custos to start the discussion on suitable dates.

Traditionally, public examinations have been held on Wednesdays and Fridays (at noon, beginning actually at 12.15), as well as on Saturdays (at 10, beginning actually at 10.15). However, it's quite ok to arrange the event on some other date or at a different time; this can sometimes also make it easier to find a suitable venue. Please note that the public examination must be held within 12 months of receiving permission for a public defence.

After agreeing on the public examination date, it's your job to book a hall and see to other preparations. The public examination must be held at University premises. When you want to book the venue, be in touch with the University's booking services either by phone (tel. 02941 24500, calling hours on 12.00–13.00 during weekdays) or by email (

The staff at the booking services will help you find the best possible venue for your event. When you are in touch with the services, always provide at least the following information:

  • Date and time of the event
  • Name of the custos
  • Name of your home faculty
  • Your wishes related to the venue (e.g. the size and location of the room)

The booking costs will be covered by your home faculty. Once you have made the reservation, the booking services will bill the faculty directly. Please note that even should you be employed by the University, you must never book the venue for example through the Optime Portal service.

The renovations of the University Main Building started in the summer of 2019 and will last approximately two years. During the renovation, the use of the Main Building is very limited. As a lot of public examinations have traditionally been held at the building, the renovations will effect the arrangements of public examinations quite a bit. For more information on the effects of the renovation, on other locations available and on the so-called "super defence dates", on which the Main Building will be temporarily opened, please see here.

Unioninkatu Banqueting Rooms have been opened for University events in conjunction with the Main Building renovations. The rooms can also be used for public examinations. The venues at the Banqueting Rooms are reserved through a separate booking system and the Banqueting Rooms also have a catering service of their own. If you want to have your defence in the Banqueting Rooms, read more about booking these venues in Flamma. When making the booking, always provide the following information: date and time of the event, name of the custos, name of your home faculty.

Opponent's travel arrangements

Faculty of Medicine

The travels and accommodation of the opponent can either be taken care of by the doctoral candidate, the custos, the department's secretary or the opponent him/herself.

Other faculties

Doctoral candidates don't, as a rule, need to participate in the opponent's travel and accommodation arrangements. The Faculty doctoral student services or the custos will give the opponent instructions on how to proceed with the arrangements.

Coffee service and water

It's customary (but not at all obligatory) to provide a coffee service in conjunction with the public examination. Typically, the service includes coffee, tea, and cake for the participants. If you want to arrange a coffee service, you can order the service from the Unicafe of the relevant building – or, if the building does not have a Unicafe of its own, from the nearest Unicafe location.

When placing the order, please give Unicafe an estimate on the number of participants as well as an estimate on when the event will end (Unicafe is, of course, aware of the fact that giving an exact end time to a public examination is not possible). For contact information to the Unicafe restaurants, please see Unicafe's website.

Don't forget to include in the order a jug of water and drinking glasses for yourself, the Custos and the Opponent. Ask Unicafe staff to bring these to the lecture hall before the event starts.

Please note that the University does not cover the costs of public examination coffee services, so if you decide to have one, you must cover the costs yourself.