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Doctoral defences and corona virus situation

12.3.2020
Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies
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This bulletin is updated as the situation evolves. (Last updated June 29, 2020: remote access events possible until the end of fall semester 2020; other small adjustments to instructions)

The corona virus situation in Finland and around the world affects also the arrangements of public defences.

  • Because of the exceptional situation, it's possible until the end of fall semester 2020 to arrange defences so that the doctoral candidate, opponent and/or other members of the grading committee participate the event through remote access.
  • Defences organized in part through remote access can also be streamed for outside audience.
  • If a remote access is not needed for anyone, defences can be arranged in the usual fashion. If a defence is held without remote access, it will not be automatically streamed for an outside audience.

Independent of whether your defence is a remote access event or a "regular" defence, always start by contacting the doctoral student services of your faculty before making any other arrangements.

When is remote access needed?

You should prepare for the likelihood of a remote access event for example in the following situations:

  • Your opponent resides abroad.
  • You / one of the members of the grading committee belong to a risk group of the pandemic.
  • You need an audience video stream for your event.

The restrictions in place at the university are based on the decisions of the Finnish government: for example, for as long as restrictions and quarantine requirements are in place for those arriving to Finland from abroad, these rules and restrictions also apply to opponents.

The health and safety of all participants are a first priority when arranging the event. Participants belonging to the risk groups of the pandemic or displaying even slight symptoms of a respiratory illness should never participate the event on location. If your opponent does not want to travel to Finland, even should the restrictions allow it, their wishes must be respected.

Audience participation

Audience can participate on location both in regular defences and in defences organized partly through remote access. However, restrictions apply:

  • In addition to the doctoral candidate, opponent, custos, other members of the grading committee, and the possible IT-support, a maximum of 40 people can for now attend the event (the exact maximum audience capacity depends on the size of the lecture hall and can be substantially smaller).
  • If possible, we try to book you venues big enough to accommodate at least 20 people, taking into account the required safe distances. If a defence is booked into a room that does not allow for the minimum of 20 audience places, it must be made available to audience through a video stream.
  • The doctoral candidate can, should they so wish, reserve 5-10 seats in the audience in advance for the people of their choice. The remaining seats will be filled in order of arrival. The portiers will make sure that the allowed audience capacity of the lecture hall in question will not be exceeded. If you wish to reserve seats for chosen guests, please arrive early and let the portier know how many places you want reserved.
  • The seats in the lecture halls will be clearly marked to make sure safe distances are followed. Hand sanitizer and a recommendation to use it both before and after the defence are always available outside the lecture halls used for doctoral defences.

How should I proceed?

  • Once the date of your defence has been decided, always start by contacting your home faculty’s doctoral student services – not the university’s events team or the booking services. The doctoral student services will establish if remote access is needed and will then guide you forward in the process.
  • Until further notice, it's strictly forbidden to reserve a lecture hall for the defence before receiving a green light from the doctoral student services of your home faculty. The arrangements for both remote access and regular defences take an unusual amount of coordination during the exceptional situation (audience restrictions, safety distances, cleaning, IT-support) and making independent arrangements without permission complicates matters for everyone involved.
  • If remote access is needed, the timing and execution of the event will, for now, be coordinated by the university’s events team. The events team will take care of booking the venue, arranging IT-support and creating the needed remote access links. Events requiring remote access are held at the City Centre Campus.
  • Only a limited number of remote access defences can be held on any given date. If the planned date has already been fully booked, it’s possible that your event will have to be moved to a different date / start time. Fridays are especially popular, so when deciding on the date, please consider all weekdays flexibly. August Fridays and Friday September 4 are already fully booked and new remote access defences can't be set for those dates.
  • If remote access is not needed, you can book the venue directly from the university’s booking services after you have been in touch with the faculty doctoral student services. Please note that not all university buildings and lecture halls are in use in June / August and restrictions apply also in the fall semester. On Saturdays, Porthania is the only building open.
  • Please note that if you have planned to have a regular defence and you, your opponent or a member of the grading committee is unexpectedly unable to participate in person, you should be in touch with your faculty’s doctoral student services as soon as possible. In these cases, your event might have to be moved to a later date, as changing a regular defence to a remote access event at a short notice cannot be guaranteed.

Distribution and public display of printed copies during the exceptional situation

During the exceptional situation, upcoming theses will not be publicly displayed at the University Main Building. Please note that the required printed copies, public display copy included, must nevertheless be distributed as usual. While the restrictions continue and the buildings are closed, the printed copies must be distributed by post.

During the disruption to the public display of theses, it's especially important to remember to fill the dissertation form available on the E-thesis website no less than three weeks before the public examination. Through the form, information on the event will be picked up to the University's event calendar. The dissertation form will also be used to store the abstracts to be published on the E-thesis website.

Don't forget to acquaint yourself with the detailed instructions on publishing, distributing and publicizing the thesis.

Defence coffee services & post-doctoral parties

The restaurants on university premises are closed until the end of August and traditional defence coffee services on university premises are not allowed during this time. Should you like, you can arrange for a coffee service to take place at a nearby restaurant. As in normal times, the doctoral candidate is responsible for the costs of the possible coffee service.

The post-doctoral party (karonkka) is not an official event of the university and each doctoral candidate is responsible for decisions concerning their own event. However, the university strongly recommends that if you arrange a post-doctoral party, you keep in mind the restrictions in place on large gatherings and attend to safe distances and hygiene recommendations.

Contact information to the faculty doctoral student services:

More information