Dissertation - Instructions for Doctoral Dissertation

Dissertation Public Examination of the Dissertation, Instructions for Doctoral Dissertation, Press Release.

Before the Public Examination of the Dissertation

Things to remember before the public examination of a dissertation

The progression and formalities of the public examination of the dissertation may vary between faculties, so remember to check the guidelines of your own faculty. The custos appointed by the faculty council is the official supervisor of the public examination and all details of the event should be arranged with him/her.

Things to remember before the public examination of a dissertation:

1. The faculty confirms the date and the place of the public examination, but the doctoral candidate is free to agree on the appropriate dates with the Custos in advance.

Confirm the hall reservation: Marita Heittola, Facilities, tel. +358 400 349 065.

It is useful to beforehand check the lecture hall where the dissertation takes place. Agree with the janitors about the media you might need in delivering your thesis, e.g. microphones, video, PC or multimedia applications. It is polite of you that everyone can hear the discussion held during the dissertation.

Have the material edited and ready for publishing no later than one month before the public examination. The dissertation is to be sent to the Publishing Services via email, before which a sciencific editor's written permission for printing is required.

The Publishing Services will finalize the layout of the dissertation as well as supervise its printing and delivery. The candidate is responsible for distributing copies of the dissertation only to the Rector, the chair of the public examination, the scientific editor (in the Faculty of Humanities the main supervisor) and the opponent (a total of 4 copies).

3. Should the doctoral candidate wish to hand in the dissertation to the Rector, he / she should schedule an appointment with the Rector by contacting the Rector's secretary, tel. +358 400 247 435.

4. Be prepared for a reception serving coffee or sparkling wine after the public examination of the dissertation. You can reserve the coffee and refreshment service for example from Semma, and the premises from the University's Facilities service. Remember to think about, who are you going to invite to the public examination and who to the reception, and find out whether the department will partly pay the bill.

8. Prepare yourself for the public examination of the dissertation by thinking about the questions the Opponent might possibly ask. Remember that the public examination is rarely an examination to the letter, and that dissertations are almost never rejected at this stage.

9. Make plans about the possible photographing at the public examination.


 The Custos is the chairman of the public examination of a dissertation and supervises the examination situation. The faculty council appoints the opponent or opponents and the custos. The custos must be a tenured professor or an emeritus professor of the University of Jyväskylä. It is a task of honour and should be given to the supervisor of the thesis. The Custos receives a copy of the faculty's decision, the experts' reviews attached.


Public examination of a dissertation is an occasion, to which anyone interested in science is welcome to attend. You are also free to invite your relatives and friends by using separate invitations. Inviting people both to the public examination and to the post-doctoral celebration is convenient. Remember to clearly express whether you are inviting them personally or avec. Invitation card can be for example like the following:

"Welcome to the Public Examination of My Dissertation 18th of December 2018, at 12 o'clock at the old grand hall (S212) of the University of Jyväskylä. I also wish you welcome to join the post-doctoral celebration arranged in honour of my Opponent at 19 o'clock at Lozzi restaurant."

The preferable costume for the guests at the public dissertation is an informal suit and to the post-doctoral celebration a dark suit or an academic ceremonial gown.

Lectio praecursoria/ Introductory lecture

The introductory lecture is exoteric presentation, which explains what new or interesting your thesis has to offer and how it is connected to the field of study and to the society in general. The recommended length of the lecture is no more than 20 minutes. In it, you can answer to such questions as: What conclusions or recommendations can be made on the basis of the research? Can current societal issues be answered to on the basis of the research? How does it contribute to our worldview? Remember that lectio praecursoria might be the only part of the public examination of a dissertation that is understandable to all the participants of the occasion. Lectio praecursoria can well be used also as the basis of your press release when it is condensed into fewer words.

How to write a press release

How to write a press release about your doctoral dissertation.

The University Communications publishes press releases of all doctoral dissertations at the University of Jyväskylä.

The aim of the press release is to convey your message in such a way that reporters will write an article on it, either on the basis of the release or after some further questions. The press release is written in a short and news-like manner and it contains the central issues of your research, focusing on the results and connecting them to the larger field of study.

The title of the press release is of great importance, since reporters use titles as the basis on which they make the decision whether to keep reading the press release. Use clear and understandable language and avoid jargon. You can structure the text and capture the reader's interest by adding inviting subtitles.

If your research is a part of a larger project, done in a research team or if it has been externally funded, remember to consult your supervisor on how these facts should be presented in the press release.

After sending your press release to the aforementioned email address we will revise it if necessary and send it back to you via email for you to comment on as soon as possible.

Please note:

In order to interest the Finnish media, the press release should be written in Finnish. If you do not speak Finnish, we suggest that you discuss the matter with your supervisor and try to find someone at your department to help you with the draft. However, should you find this difficult, please do not hesitate to contact us with your English version.

The Contents of the Press Release

2. The press release text
The press release should include the following information:

  • The aim and purpose of the research
  • The main result of the research
  • New information revealed by the research
  • How and to what the information provided by the research can be applied
  • Which fields/situations benefit from the information provided by the research
  • What conclusions can be drawn on the basis of the results

Begin the press release with the most important result of your research and describe where the results can be applied to in practice – these are the main issues that reporters are interested in. You can tell about the implementation and the methods of your research etc. at the end of the press release.

3. Background information
You should also add your education and working history in the press release, preferably presented coherently and concisely in the manner of a complete press release:

  • Upper secondary school/senior high: where and when you graduated
  • Institutions of higher education: your degrees, which universities, when
  • Former jobs or offices
  • Current job or office

Finally, give your contact information: the phone number(s) (give all possible phone numbers, including home number) from which to reach you, your email address and information on when you are available for interviews.

4. Publication information
Attach the publication information to the press release in the following manner: the name of the publication/series, the number code of the publication, the number of pages, ISSN and ISBN numbers, the seller of the publication.

An example: The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research, number 154, 256 p., Jyväskylä 2009, ISSN:0075 4625, ISBN: 951 39 0374 5. It is available at the University Library’s Publications Unit, tel. +358 (0)40 805 3825, myynti@library.jyu.fi.

5. Abstract
Send us also the English abstract and title of your dissertation. The abstract is not sent to the media, but it is published in the University’s website.

6. Press release photo
We are committed to providing the media with photos of the doctoral candidates if requested. Thus, we need a colour photo of you. You can send us a photo, a file large enough for print use (300 dpi). Some medias prefer horizontal pictures (eg. Yle).

It is also possible that you use a photo service by K-S Foto paid by the JYU. You can make an appointment by calling in advance tel. 014 214 026. Please, remember to mention the "Dissertation photo for JYU" to get it free for you. The photographer delivers the photo to the University Communication the following day. K-S Foto is located Kauppakatu 19, (Kirkkopuisto, Jyväskylä). Open on Mon-Fri,  9.30 am -5 pm, Sat 10 am - 2 pm. Contacts: tel. 014 214 026, k-s.foto@elisanet.fi

Media contacts

In the case of media interest prepare to be available and ready for interviews before the public examination of your dissertation.

Always ask to see and revise the texts about your dissertation before their publication. You also have the right to ask for the possible factual errors to be corrected.

Remember the autonomy of science – you are the only person who has the right to correct or ask to revise a text written about your research.

Procedure at Dissertation

The progression and formalities of the public examination of the dissertation.

The progression and formalities of the public examination of the dissertation may vary between faculties, so remember to check the guidelines of your own faculty. The custos appointed by the faculty council is the official supervisor of the public examination and all details of the event should be arranged with him/her.

1. The doctoral candidate, Custos (the chairman of the doctoral dissertation/custos) and Opponent should all wear similar type of clothes. Men should wear either a tailcoat with a black waistcoat or a dark suit; women should wear a black, long-sleeved dress with a small neckline without a hat. All can also wear the ceremonial gown of the University. The doctoral candidate chooses the style of clothing after talking to the Custos. The opponent can also wear the ceremonial gown of his/her home university (not Finnish). The use of ceremonial gowns is agreed upon with the janitors, tel. 050 428 5237.

2. In the beginning of the public examination the doctoral candidate arrives into the hall first, then the Custos and then the Opponent. The audience remains standing up. During the entry and exit the Custos and the Opponent hold their Doctor's hats, if they have one, in their left hand so that the lyre is facing forward.

3. When all are seated, the Custos introduces the doctoral candidate, the title of the dissertation, as well as the Opponent. Then the Custos declares the public examination of the dissertation open by saying "As the Custos appointed by the faculty I declare this public examination opened."

4. The doctoral candidate delivers his/her lectio praecursoria (introductory lecture) standing, not exceeding 20 minutes, by first addressing the Custos, then the Opponent and then the audience. Traditionally lectio praecursoria has dealt with the issues of the doctoral thesis, but it is not merely a lecture about the thesis. The presentation must be started with the words "Mr./Mrs./Ms. Custos , Mr./Mrs./Ms. Opponent, Ladies and Gentlemen".

5. During the public examination a detailed and extensive discussion of misprints is to be avoided. Instead the doctoral candidate can prepare for the Opponent a typed list of errors, which the Opponent can attach to the statement given to the faculty and which can be also copied for the audience. The examination should be high-level conversation between two experts of the field, about the interesting themes of the doctoral thesis. Enlightened laymen should also be able to follow the conversation and it should give them things to consider. As a public occasion, public examinations are visible illustrations of the university life.

6. After the lectio praecursoria, the doctoral candidate will, still standing, ask the Opponent to present the critical comments. The request is done by saying: "May I ask you, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Professor (Docent etc.), as the Opponent appointed by the faculty, to present the comments to my thesis that you see justifiable."

7. The Opponent stands up and makes a short statement, in which he/she deals with issues such as the position and importance of the thesis within its field of study, and other general issues. After the statement both the doctoral candidate and the Opponent sit down.

8. In the beginning of the actual public examination the Opponent focuses first on the methodological and general questions. The general examination is followed by a detailed examination.

9. The Opponent makes a concluding statement after the detailed examination. The doctoral candidate listens to the statement standing up.

10. Still standing up, the doctoral candidate thanks the Opponent, who may then sit down.

11. The doctoral candidate turns to face the audience and solicits those people present (so called extra opponents) who might have some critical comments to step forward and ask for an address from the custos. Soliciting is done by saying: "After this I solicit those people, who have some critical comments regarding my thesis, to ask for an address from the custos." After this the doctoral candidate sits down. The Custos presides the situation by giving addresses and he/she also makes sure that the doctoral candidate gets the opportunity to answer all the questions. The Custos also attends to the fact the addresses given do not digress from the subject. Usually addresses are not requested.

12. The Custos closes the public examination, standing up, by saying: "The public examination has been concluded." At most, the public examination can last 4 hours. Usually the examination takes ca 2 to 2 ½ hours.

13. The doctoral candidate, the Custos , and the opponents leave the hall in the same order they arrived in.

After the Public Examination of the Dissertation

The reception with coffee or sparkling wine service is an unofficial and private occasion.

Coffee or sparkling wine service

The doctoral candidate presents an invitation before leaving the hall. The department may partly pay the bill.

Sparking wine is served either at the hall or at the walkway near the hall. Coffee can be served for example at a nearby cafeteria. The doctoral candidate is complimented and presented with bouquets before the refreshments are served. The doctoral candidate is no longer expected to perform, but he/she should be prepared to accept congratulations. Reserving a separate table for the most honoured guests, such as the Custos and the Opponent etc., is a good idea.

Post-doctoral party

It is usual that after the public examination the doctoral candidate arranges a post-doctoral party in honour of the opponent. The doctoral candidate can, before the public examination, inquire from the Opponent whether the preparations for the post-doctoral celebration can be started.

If there has been an extra opponent at the public examination, he/she should also be invited to the post-doctoral party. However, it is the custom that the extra opponent politely turns down the invitation. At for the very least, the post-doctoral party should be a dinner for the doctoral candidate, the Opponent and the Custos.

Today post-doctoral parties do not have as strict academic procedures as they used to have. The doctoral candidate can decide the type and size of the post-doctoral party. Male candidate dresses himself in a tailcoat and white waistcoat or in a dark suit for the post-doctoral party; a female candidate wears a black (long) dress.

At the post-doctoral party the opponent sits on the right of the doctoral candidate and the Custos sits to the left. The professors sit in order according to the length of their service and their position.

The post-doctoral party can proceed for example in the following way:

  1. People gather for a welcoming toast. Wish the guests welcome and express your joy about your accomplishments!
  2. Sit down to the table. Name cards will help people find their own seats.
  3. Dinner.
  4. Speeches: the doctoral candidate gives the first speech, in which he/she thanks
    1. the Opponent
    2. the Custos
    3. the Supervisors of his/her thesis and his/her supporters
    4. Rector, Dean or Head of department.
    After this the candidate possibly thanks other people. People replying speak in the order in which the doctoral candidate mentioned them in his/her speech. Only those who have been mentioned can speak.
  5. Coffee.
  6. Other programme.


Apply for a Doctor's degree from the faculty



Thank your relatives, friends etc. for possible gifts and congratulations. 

The Conferment of Degrees Ceremony

The Conferment of Degrees Ceremony for new Masters and Doctors from all faculties of the University of Jyväskylä will be held on 24–26 May 2019. In the ceremony, the new Masters and Doctors will be given their degree in the ceremonial act of conferment, and will receive a Master’s laurel and ring or a Doctor’s hat and sword as the sign of it.  Further information and registration: www.jyu.fi/degrees-ceremony If you would like to participate, please register by 15 February 2019.

Dissertation guidelines in Finnish

Väitösohjeet suomeksi


Further information:

You can have additional instructions from the e-mail tiedotus@jyu.fi and Communications Manager Liisa Harjula tel. +358 (0)40 805 4403,  liisa.harjula@jyu.fi and Communications Officer Anitta Kananen, tel. 358 (0) 40 805 4142, anitta.kananen@jyu.fi .