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Trial lecture and defence

This is a page for PhD candidates. You must pass a trial lecture and defence in order to complete your PhD. (Guide to completing a PhD).

På norsk - Prøveforelesninger og disputas

Defences at NTNU | RSS feed of defences

Trial lecture #

The trial lecture is held on a topic chosen by the evaluation committee. You will receive the topic 10 days before the lecture is held. Usually, the lecture will be held the same day as the defence. The language of the defence and trial lecture are decided by the faculty.

Defence #

Once you have passed your trial lecture, you have to complete your defence. During the defence, you publicly present and defend your thesis against academic critics.

  1. Start by presenting your thesis.
  2. Next the first opponent with describe the thesis’ strengths and weaknesses. This is followed by a discussion between you and the first opponent. The defence may then continue in several manners, the most normal of which is to take a break and continue with:
  3. The second opponent mentioning sides of your work that the first opponent did not cover. This is usually followed by a shorter discussion.
  4. Questions from the audience are presented to the defence leader during the break.

Other forms of defence:

  • The evaluation committee’s third member asks questions after the second opponent (this is agreed upon before hand).
  • All audience members are allowed to ask questions after the second opponent is finished. This will go on for a predetermined amount of time.
  • Instead of a second opponent, a round table debate is arranged where the candidate and his/her supervisor discuss the work with the committee.

After the defence, the committee reports to the faculty and concludes as to whether or not you have passed your trial lecture and defence.

Rules #

Handbook for PhD candidates #

PhD Handbook (pdf) - the handbook outlines the regular manner of organisation, although this may differ between faculties.

Legislation #

When can I complete my defence? #

The defence can be completed when the evaluation committee approves your thesis and decides that it is good enough to be publicly defended.

To complete the defence, the faculty needs to:

  • Make the thesis available at least 3 weeks before the defence.
  • Get the topic from the evaluation committee at least 3 weeks before the defence.
  • Make sure that the topic of the trial lecture is related to the thesis, but not a central theme in the thesis.
  • Inform you of the topic for the trial lecture 10 days before the defence.
  • Get the written evaluation of the thesis, trial lecture and defence from the evaluation committee.
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