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Public defence, degree certificate and conferment

There are many things to think about and organise prior to your public defence of thesis, so it is a good idea for you and your supervisor to begin planning well in advance. This section includes information about planning meetings, publishing a doctoral thesis, announcing the public defence of your thesis, the public defence, degree certificate and conferment of your degree.

Meeting about the public defence

Once you have had your final seminar and have talked to your principal supervisor about how the final phase of your studies should be organised, it is time for a meeting about preparing your public defence. This meeting should be held without delay, as the external reviewer and examining committee generally need to be booked at least six months in advance. Contact your director of studies to find out what the routine for this meeting is in your research area. At the meeting, you and your principal supervisor, the director studies for the subject or area and the relevant administrator work together to coordinate the ceremony to announce the date of the public defence and the public defence itself.

The director of studies or the principal supervisor call the meeting and decide who does what ahead of and during the public defence. The meeting can cover issues such as planning time, the budget for the public defence, reporting courses in Ladok, decision-making paths, external reviewer, examining committee, booking rooms, announcing the date of the public defence, proofreading, printing the thesis, distributing the thesis, disseminating information, routines on the day of the public defence, etc.

At this meeting, you should also report the time you have spent abroad during your studies to the administrative officer. Every year, the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) and Statistics Sweden (SCB) collect data about the international mobility of doctoral students who graduate, and the university is obliged to supply this information.

The university’s checklist, Checklista inför disputation [Swedish only], for the public defence of thesis can be used as a basis for this meeting. Among other things, this says that you should start planning for the public defence of your thesis seven to eight months in advance. It also provides timings for the various things that need to be done and who is responsible for what. Your area may also have supplementary routines that your director of studies or administrative officer can inform you about.

Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations

All theses/dissertations are included in the Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations series (SDD), regardless of the publisher. You can publish your thesis either at Södertörn University or choose a commercial publisher. Where possible, theses published by the university are made available in the DiVA institutional repository.

The library provides information about how your manuscript becomes a published book, ensuring it fulfils the university’s formal requirements. The library is also responsible for registering theses in the Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations series. An ISBN cannot be registered in the Södertörn Doctoral Dissertation series until you have decided the title of your thesis. Before contacting the library, ask your academic school whether your thesis is to be included in any other series.

Publication via a commercial publisher

If you choose a commercial publisher, you are responsible for contacting and negotiating with them. Most publishers will require that you co-finance your publication. Funding from foundations and trusts is the most common means of financial support. Advance planning is important, both in terms of scholarship applications and contact with publishers.

Publication process with Södertörn University Library:

  • No later than four months before the defence of your thesis, contact the publications team to begin planning the publication of your doctoral thesis and scheduling the notification and defence of your thesis.
  • No later than six semester weeks before the doctoral defence, send your finished manuscript to the library. Your manuscript will then be laid out, sent to you for a final check and the publications team will then send it to be printed.
  • No later than four weeks before the doctoral defence, you must register information in DiVA about your thesis and the time and date of the defence. The notification of your doctoral defence will then be generated in DiVA.

Before publishing your thesis, you must sign an agreement with the university/library [template in Swedish]:

Guidelines for publishing doctoral thesis at Södertörn University [Swedish only]:

The university’s checklist for the public defence of thesis [Swedish only]:

Creative Commons licence

Södertörn University encourages all contributors, authors and editors to consider publishing their work using a Creative Commons licence External link, opens in new window.. This allows your work to be freely and legally used as part the university's drive towards Open Access publishing.

Formal notification of the date of the public defence

The formal notification (spikning) of the date of the public defence is the procedure for announcing that your thesis is finished. This is done digitally in the DiVA publication database; the Library helps you with this process. After the formal notification is complete, you can choose to have a notification ceremony, at which you give a short public presentation of your thesis.

The vice-chancellor has decided that all theses at Södertörn University must be formally announced, digitally, in the DiVA publication database. This must take place at least three weeks before the public defence, once the thesis has been printed. The Library will contact you prior to the deadline and guide you through the process. You are responsible for registering the information about your thesis and public defence in DiVA. After this, the Library does the formal digital notification and sends you the notification of submission (spikbladet). This states the time and place of the public defence and includes the thesis’ abstract.

Presentation of your thesis

The presentation of your thesis (spikningsceremoni) is usually held in the library’s lounge, where you nail up the notification of submission and make a concise, popular scientific presentation of your thesis; this lasts about 20 minutes. After the presentation, guests have the opportunity to ask questions. The academic school provides coffee and cake afterwards, in the library’s lunchroom. On this occasion, you can also hand out copies of your thesis.

You can also present your thesis digitally, so you hold your presentation via Zoom. This allows you to invite participants from abroad.

The Library organises the presentation in cooperation with your academic school. This presentation can be held Monday to Thursday at 15.00 and should be after the date of the formal notification. Please tell the administrative officer for research when and in what language you wish to present your thesis. The administrative officer checks that the proposed time works for the library and then confirms it with the doctoral student, supervisor and director of studies.

The presentation usually includes the following:

  • The library’s representative welcomes everyone.
  • The supervisor talks briefly (a few minutes) about their cooperation with the doctoral student, the subject/thesis/any research projects the doctoral student has participated in.
  • The director of studies at BEEGS says a few words if you are a BEEGS’ doctoral student.
  • You nail up your abstract.
  • You talk about the content of the thesis in a popular manner for about 20 minutes, followed by a question and answer session.
  • The presentation fulfils one of the intended outcomes in the Higher Education Ordinance, that of an oral presentation for the public. You are welcome to share some of your personal reflections about working on the thesis – what was most fun/interesting/difficult, etc.
  • Refreshments in the library’s lunchroom on level 7.

The Library provides the premises, wall-mounted screen, nail and hammer. Bring your own computer and copies of the thesis to the presentation, so you can give them to listeners who have not received one in advance. The administrative officer books coffee and cake, or something else if you wish, in the library’s lunchroom after your presentation and is responsible for spreading information via the university’s calendar.

If another doctoral student from the same research area will have their public defence at around the same time, you can organise a joint presentation of your theses even if you are from different subjects.

Contact

The Library: publications@sh.se

Public defence of thesis

Your principal supervisor is your most important support ahead of printing your thesis and its public defence. More information about planning your time and what should be done can be found in the checklist for the public defence of thesis [Swedish only], which includes the university’s general routines and the library’s timetable for printing the thesis. You should also contact your director of studies or administrative officer to find out whether your academic school has other routines, unless you received them at the preparatory meeting.


It is also a good idea for both you and your supervisor to look at the university’s Regulations for Third-cycle Education, as they provide the formal rules for a public defence, e.g. when one can be held. Your supervisor and your subject are responsible for the composition of the examining committee and the choice of external reviewer, as well as contact with the secretary of the steering committee to obtain deadlines for the submission of the information necessary for decision-making by various bodies. The subject’s supervisory collegium must also consider conflicts of interest before proposals for the examining committee and external reviewer are submitted.


Contact with the library about printing your thesis is the most important part of the preparations when your manuscript is finished and has a pass grade – so make sure you contact them well in advance and follow their routines and planning!

Everything that’s covered under this heading can be discussed at the abovementioned meeting about the public defence, where you also go through who does what on the day itself and what happens at the public defence.

Archiving the thesis and supporting documentation

Your thesis is archived via the library. On completing your doctorate, you should contact an archivist to discuss how the supporting documentation for your thesis should be archived. Email arkivarie@sh.se and ask what you should do.

Degree certificate

Before you submit an application for your degree certificate, all your courses should be complete in accordance with the general syllabus and your thesis must be registered in Ladok. Visit www.student.ladok.se External link, opens in new window. to check your course registrations well before your public defence. Contact your director of studies and administrative officer to ensure that registration of the routine for “all courses complete” is entered in Ladok before your public defence.

In the week following the public defence, the relevant person at the academic school must certify that the thesis has a pass grade in Ladok in accordance with the research area’s routines. The title of the thesis is then entered in Ladok and will be written on your degree certificate along with the courses you have taken. More information is provided below about any translation of the thesis title.

Doctoral students admitted to Södertörn University apply for their degree via Student Support Services once they have completed their studies. Apply by submitting this form: Ansökan om examensbevis, forskarnivå External link, opens in new window.. You can also apply for your degree digitally, in Ladok – log in to www.student.ladok.se External link, opens in new window. and follow the instructions provided.

Translation of the title of your thesis in Ladok

Thesis in English

The English title of your thesis can be written in both language fields that are necessary in Ladok, i.e. the title does not need translating to Swedish. However, the drawback is that the title will then appear twice in English on your degree certificate because the information is transferred straight from Ladok. If you wish to avoid this, it is perfectly acceptable to translate the title into Swedish. If so, you must ensure that the translation is correct in relation to the English title and inform the principal supervisor, director of studies and Ladok administrator before your public defence, and no later than when the relevant person certifies the thesis in Ladok.

Thesis in Swedish or another language

Enter the Swedish title or one in another language in the Swedish field in Ladok; you should get a proofreader/translator to approve your suggested English translation, which is then entered in Ladok in the English field for the thesis title. Do not forget to inform the principal supervisor, director of studies and Ladok administrator of the translated title before your public defence, and no later than when the relevant person certifies the thesis in Ladok. Not translating the title to English is okay, but remember that this means an English title will be missing from your degree certificate if you are going to need it in international contexts in the future. The title in Swedish will also appear twice on the degree certificate.

Doctoral degrees are conferred at a commencement ceremony that the university holds annually. It may therefore take a while after your public defence for you to be invited to your conferment by the Communication & PR unit. Send your new email address to event@sh.se if you know that you will not be employed by the university after you complete your doctoral studentship. You can also write to this address after you complete your studies if you want to know when the conferment will take place.

More information at: Installering och promovering.

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Last updated: 2021-09-06 by Elisabet Möller

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