With the positive assessment of the doctoral thesis and when all demands of the curriculum have been met, a registration for the public defense is possible. This has to be done at the respective StudyServiceCenter.

The public defense consists of

  • a 25-30 minutes presentation of the central findings by the PhD candidate,
  • followed by a general discussion about the research subject with the examination committee.

The examination committee is nominated by the study programme leader and shall consists ideally of four persons, but at least of three persons: the chairperson, usually the two thesis reviewers and a third professor from the dissertation research area. In most cases, the study programme leader serves as chair, but this role may be delegated as needed. However, the candidate also has the right to suggest appropriate members, and the reviewers and the examiners do not necessarily need to be the same people. It is the candidate's responsibility to arrange a suitable date for the defense with all parties involved.

At the end of the presentation, each member of the committee assigns a grade for the entire examination (1-5). If a majority decision can be achieved, meaning that the majority of the members of the committee award the same grade, then this decision states the grade (e.g. 1,1,2 -> majority decision is 1 = “very good”). If all members award a different grade, then the mean average is awarded (e.g. 1,3,5 -> mean average 1+3+5=9 divided by 3= 3). The grade of the defense is a numeric grade.

If you have any questions regarding the evaluation procedure of the doctoral thesis, the composition of the examination committee or the examination dates, please contact the responsible StudyServiceCenter

After the positively assessed public defense the academic title is awarded.

The doctoral candidate has the possibility to celebrate his/her completion of the doctoral study with a conferring ceremony. For more information please follow this link.


We recommend to visit public defenses prior to the own defense to get an impression of the atmosphere and the procedure of defences at your department. Defences are open to the public.

Public defenses