Doctoral defence and post-doctoral party (School of Business)
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.
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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.
The audience enters the room and takes their seats before the proceedings begin. They stand up when the doctoral student, chairperson and the opponent(s) enter the room. The order of entering is this: first the student, second the chairperson and last the opponent(s). The chairperson and the opponent are requested to carry their doctor’s hat when entering and leaving the auditorium.
Opening of the examination
With the procession arrived, but the audience still standing, the chairperson opens the examination, saying "As the chairperson appointed by the Doctoral Programme Committee of the Aalto University School of Business, I declare the doctoral thesis proceedings open." After this the chairperson introduces the opponent. The audience is then seated.
Doctoral students stand while giving their lectio praecursoria. It may last for a maximum of twenty minutes. The presentation begins as follows: "Honored chairperson, honoured opponent(s), ladies and gentlemen." The candidate closes the initial presentation as follows: "I request that you, (professor, doctor xx), as opponent(s) appointed by the Doctoral Programme Committee of the Aalto University School of Business, present the comments you consider my doctoral thesis warrants."
Opponent's opening statement
Opponent(s) stand while making a brief statement touching upon the position of the subject of the doctoral thesis within the academic field, its significance for science and other issues of a general nature. The opponent and the doctoral student sit down.
At the beginning of the examination proper, the opponent first focuses attention on methods and general issues, and then undertakes a detailed examination. Opponents have a maximum of four hours for their examination, so that sufficient time will remain for any additional opponents. If the examination is lengthy, the chairperson may declare a recess. When the examination is finished, the opponent rises and presents the closing statement; the doctoral student stands while listening.
The doctoral student stands when presenting her/his thanks to the opponent. S/he then turns to the audience and says the following: "I now urge any members of the audience with comments against my doctoral thesis to request the floor from the honourable chairperson." The chairperson presides, seeing that the doctoral student is able to respond to each comment immediately and that the speakers do not depart from the topic in question.
Conclusion of the examination
The chairperson rises and concludes the public defence, which can last no more than six hours, as follows: "The doctoral thesis proceeding is hereby concluded." As the defence comes to a conclusion, the doctoral student, the chairperson and the opponent(s) leave the auditorium in the same order and manner as they came in.
Congratulations take place outside the auditorium. Doctoral candidates are sometimes given flowers and gifts after the public examination. The candidate should make advance arrangements for their transportation or should agree with the guests that flowers and gifts, if any, will be delivered directly to the candidate's home.
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.
Invitations to the post-doctoral party are sent in advance. It is polite for the candidate to contact the opponent before the public examination and ask whether s/he can start the party arrangements.
An invitation is sent to the opponent and the custos, supervisor and thesis advisors, pre-examiners and co-authors, as well as to anyone else who has contributed to the doctoral thesis. The candidate's companion, parents and close friends are usually included in the guest list. However, the karonkka is not a family party.
It is also customary to invite the persons from the audience who asked questions or made comments at the public examination to the post-doctoral party but, according to an unwritten rule, they are not to accept the invitation.
The doctoral student may formulate the wording of the invitation. It should indicate the dress code, especially if the doctoral student prefers the guests not to wear tailcoats and evening dresses, or wishes to suggest alternative styles of dress.
Men traditionally wear a tailcoat and women wear an evening dress. Men should also wear a white waistcoat. However, if the guests are exclusively male, the waistcoat should be black. Female candidates, as well as female guests arriving with a partner in tailcoat, should wear a long evening dress, either black or some dark colour. In the invitation, this dress code is expressed as 'dress suit'.
Instead of a tailcoat, men may wear a dark suit. In this case the female partner should wear a knee-length formal dress. In the invitation, this dress code is expressed as 'dark suit'.
The post-doctoral party in general is a festive occasion and everyone should dress accordingly, not too casually.
The doctoral student is the host or hostess of the evening and the opponent is the guest of honour. The guest of honour sits on the candidate's right. The custos, sits on the student's left. If there are two opponents, the younger will sit on the student's left and the custos on the next place to the left. Other guests are usually seated in the order of their academic achievement.
The doctoral student offers food, drinks and often some other entertainment as well. To start off with the student wishes everybody welcome and after that the dinner will be served.
Speeches are a special feature of a karonkka party and they are given after the dinner and before the coffee. The student should begin the speeches by first thanking the opponent and then the custos. After this, the student should thank everyone else who have contributed to the doctoral thesis, in the order of importance. Finally, the student thanks his or her partner or, in the absence of a partner, someone else really close to the himself/herself. The speeches of thanks given by the student should be rather short and given without paper.
The opponent will immediately reply to the students's speech. The opponent's response is usually light and informal, not too solemn or serious. Should the custos like to say a few words, he or she can do so after the opponent has finished. After this the guests may say a few words in the order they were mentioned in the candidate's speech.
After the speeches, the party takes a more informal turn and the guests can enjoy the music or other programme and each others' company.