Thesis Defences in Distance Mode
Valid during the autumn term of 2020
As a consequence of the decision taken by the crisis management team at Linköping University on 4 June 2020 relating to a gradual transition from distance mode to physical presence on campus, LiU has decided that thesis defences, presentations of licentiate work and other components related to research education shall, where required, be carried out with physical presence according to established procedures or, in order to counteract the spread of infection, fully or partially using remote methods during the autumn term.
Against this background, the following procedures are to be applied for thesis defences carried out during the autumn term of 2020. The decision will come into force on 1 September 2020 and will be valid up to and including 31 January 2021.
A complete description of procedures and guidelines is given in the official decision text.
Time and location of the public defence
The choice of solution for the thesis defence is to be agreed with the doctoral student defending the thesis. Two alternatives are available:
- The defence is carried out fully, using standard procedures.
- The defence is carried out fully or partially using remote methods.
Special procedures for thesis defences carried out fully or partially using remote methods
The Higher Education Ordinance states that a doctoral thesis must have been defended orally at a public thesis defence. A “public thesis defence” implies that the occasion is to be open such that the general public can participate. For this reason, certain special measures are required to ensure that a digital thesis defence is also open to the general public.
✔️ Premises with video conferencing equipment must be provided in which the general public can participate in the thesis defence via video conferencing. The premises should be adapted such that participants and spectators can maintain an appropriate distance from each other.
✔️ The technology to be used should be tested well before the occasion of the thesis defence. It is the responsibility of the department to ensure this, with the aid of the IT Division. Contact the IT Helpdesk and specify “disputation” in the subject line of the case.
✔️ The chair of the thesis defence, the doctoral student and one of the supervisors should be physically present on site at LiU. If this is not possible due to the risk of the spread of infection, travel restrictions, or other similar circumstances, these actors may participate in the thesis defence via video conferencing.
✔️ Other members of the examining committee, other supervisors and the opponent may participate at the thesis defence via video conferencing.
✔️ If none of the actors at the thesis defence are physically present on the LiU premises, a host must be present who can receive the general public and manage the video conferencing. It is the responsibility of the department to nominate a host.
✔️ Everyone who participates in the thesis defence, either on site or via video conferencing, must be able to see and hear the other participants and the presentations shown.
✔️ The chair of the thesis defence is responsible for checking that the video conferencing equipment is functioning, and that the thesis defence is paused or cancelled if technical problems arise.
✔️ In order to ensure that the meeting of the examining committee after the thesis defence takes place without unauthorised persons being able to participate, a special invitation is to be issued for this meeting.
✔️ Announcing the assessment made by the examining committee of the thesis and the defence may be done using email. The minutes are to be circulated later to be signed.
Special procedures for thesis defences that are postponed
A decision that a thesis defence that has been announced is to be postponed is to be made by the dean of the faculty or area. The dean has the right to delegate this decision to the pro-dean, after consultation with the doctoral student and principal supervisor.
Replacements for opponents and members of the examining committee
✔️ If an opponent or a member of the examining committee is prevented from participating in the thesis defence, he or she may be replaced. The dean of the faculty or area will in this case select another opponent or member.
✔️ It is appropriate to nominate one or several deputies for members of the examining committee, well before the date of the defence.
✔️ If an opponent must be replaced, it is appropriate that one of the members of the examining committee takes over as opponent, and that one of the deputies becomes a full member of the examining committee.
✔️ At least one deputy should be present during the complete thesis defence in order to be able to replace any participant who cannot participate due to technical problems.
Notification of the date of the defence of a doctoral thesis
Each faculty/area has responsibility to examine the practical management of notification of the date of the defence of a doctoral thesis, and coordinate this with the university registrar.
Presentation of licentiate work
The procedures that are valid for thesis defences are to apply also to presentations of licentiate work during the autumn term of 2020, with a final allowed date of application of 31 January 2021.
Last updated: 2020-09-01