From registering for the defence, through your public defence and grading, to your graduation ceremony

As soon as your dissertation has been positively assessed, you can register for the public defence.

Registration for the public defence

  • The registration form for the defence "Registration for doctoral thesis defense (Defensio) (SL/P4)" must be received by the respective StudiesServiceCenter at least 14 days before the examination date.
  • Before registering, please check your u:account to ensure that your admission is valid and that your personal data (delivery address, telephone number, e-mail address, etc.) is correct and complete.
  • The programme director formally determines the composition of the examination senate. Get in touch with them (by email or during office hours) and submit a proposal. Then coordinate an appointment (date, time, examination location/room) with all examiners and the chair.

The public defence consists of

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

The examination committee

The examination committee is appointed by the director of studies and ideally consists of four persons, but at least of three:

  • The chairperson: In most cases, the director of studies serves as chair, but this role may be delegated if necessary.
  • Three examiners: normally the two thesis reviewers and a relevant professor from the dissertation field (the supervisor may not act as an examiner but should be present at the defence).
  • If one or both of the external examiners are unable or unwilling to travel, other examiners relevant to the field may be appointed, or the defence may be conducted online or in hybrid format.

Note: The doctoral candidate has the right to propose members of the examination committee. The thesis reviewers and examiners do not necessarily have to be the same persons.


At the end of the presentation, each member of the committee assigns a grade for the entire examination (1 (excellent)-5 (fail)). 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 defence is a numeric grade.

If you have any questions regarding the assessment of the doctoral thesis, the composition of the examination committee or the examination dates, please contact the responsible StudiesServiceCenter.

Following the successful completion of the public defence, the academic degree is awarded.

Travel expenses for external examiners

  • The University of Vienna will reimburse a maximum of EUR 500 for travel expenses for all external examiners travelling to the University. This will be determined when the examiners are appointed.
  • According to the guidelines of the Office of the Studienpräses, the University of Vienna will reimburse the travel costs either for a first-class train ticket or a flight (economy class). In order to avoid accommodation costs, the date of the defence should be scheduled so that arrival and departure are possible on the same day.
  • The external reviewer must send the proof of travel expenses (ticket, invoices, etc.) and bank details (form) to the Office of the Studienpräses after returning home.

Graduation ceremony