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Defenses Around The World: A Defense In Denmark

Defenses around the world: a defense in Denmark

I recently attended a defense in Denmark, as one of my cosupervised PhD candidates defended. I wanted to travel to be present in person, but my passport renewal is taking forever, so I joined through Zoom instead.

For this particular case, the candidate had a team of five supervisors and the thesis was evaluated by three committee members: two international examiners and one internal examiner. I think I recall from the emails that in Denmark they also call these committee members opponents.

The defense started with a 45 minute presentation by the candidate, followed by a 10 minute break. Afterwards, the committee members had 2 hours to ask questions. The external committee members got more time to ask questions. In general, the questions tended to be detail-oriented and there were a lot of questions, broadly centered around the various chapters of the thesis. At the end, there was about 10 minutes more time, and the chair asked if the committee members would want to ask an additional question, and a few more points were raised.

The audience can in theory also ask questions, but they have to ask permission to the chair during the break. Nobody from the audience applied for this, and so there were only questions from the three committee members.

The thesis was printed, published, and distributed before the defense.

The dress code was business casual (?). The first examiner actually remarked that he was the only person with a tie. In that sense, the defense is less formal than in the Netherlands, where the committee members who are full professors use caps and gowns.

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