Doctoral education

Doctoral defence and post-doctoral party (School of Business)

Both the public defence and the post-doctoral party are academic events which follow a predetermined protocol. During the public examination of the doctoral thesis, or the defence, the doctoral student defends the results of their doctoral thesis against public criticism and answers questions presented by the opponent, who has been appointed to evaluate the thesis. The course of the public defence is supervised by a custos, who usually is the supervising professor of the doctoral student. The post-doctoral party, or "karonkka" marks the end of the doctoral thesis process and is arranged by the doctoral student to thank the opponent, the custos and others who contributed to the work.

Practical instructions

For information on the practical arrangements and IT support, date, place and language of the defence, please see the common instructions for public defence at Aalto University.

Also check out:

Public defence announcement and public display of thesis ( of thesis ( (

Doctoral hat floating above a speaker's podium with a microphone

Public defence at Aalto University

Instructions for planning and arranging public defences (for doctoral student and custos)

Doctoral education

The public examination

Please contact [email protected] to reserve the venue for public examination. The public examinations are usually held on Fridays at 12 o’clock, however, other days and later times are fine too.

The following auditoriums’ have suitable audiovisual devices: 

  • Ekonominaukio 1
    • U006 (64 seats) this is the main defense hall
    • V001-V002 (120 seats)
    • Please note that there can only be one defence at the time at Ekonominaukio 1. If there already is a booking for the same day, please consider later time or another building.                    

Check the microphones and learn to use them well in advance. 

Contact the facility and audiovisual services (IT Service Desk) at an early stage before the public defense, so that the desired technical arrangements can be made in time. 

You can arrange for coffee service to be available during the examination proper and at the end of the event at their own expense. Order coffee and refreshments outside the public examination hall from Sodexo: [email protected] 

Copy your lectio praecursoria to be handed out outside the public examination hall if you want to.  

Practice in loud voice your lectio praecursoria to your friends and ask them if they understand it. Check the duration (max 20 min).

Write down the pre-examiners’ comments on your doctoral thesis copy in advance. 

Proceedings at the public examination

Here you can find detailed information on the course of events in the public defence.

Dress code

Male doctoral students, the chairperson and the opponent(s) wear a tailcoat and a black waistcoat. They may also wear full academic dress or a military uniform, but without decorations. Female doctoral students, the chairperson and the opponent(s) wear a black, long‐sleeved dress with a small neckline and without a hat. They may also wear full academic dress or a military uniform, but without decorations. The chairperson and the opponent are requested to carry their doctor’s hat when entering and leaving the auditorium.

Post-doctoral party, karonkka

The post-doctoral party, karonkka, takes place in the evening of the public examination. It is an old academic tradition. The karonkka party is held in honour of the opponent. The doctoral student acts as the host or hostess.

Even though many traditions are involved in a karonkka party, the doctoral student may follow his/her taste and preferences in the arrangements.

Agree on the post-doctoral party place and menu well in advance. It is possible to organize Karonkka at Ekonominaukio 1, you can get more information from Sodexo.

  • Prepare and send an invitation and a map to your guests. 
  • Prepare “thank you” speeches to opponent, chairperson, family etc.
  • Buy a gift for opponent and chairperson.

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