Doctoral dissertation submission and defense

For the final stages in your PhD trajectory consult the information in this section.

You can write your thesis in the form of a monograph or as a collection of articles with an introduction and conclusion that links the articles in a coherent whole.

Each faculty may decide on additional regulations regarding the thesis and this should be stipulated in the training and supervision plans.

Your final version of the thesis will first have to be assessed and approved by your supervisor and co-supervisors. They will also suggest a Thesis Committee to the Dean to be formed to evaluate your thesis. Once the Dean has approved and appointed the members of the Thesis Committee, will assess, based on the supervisors’ assessment and their evaluation of the candidate’s dissertation, whether the candidate fulfils the final attainment levels, and should be allowed to defend the thesis. The individual members report their assessment in the Form “Assessment of PhD candidate –form for Thesis Committee”, which they submit to the assigned chair of the Thesis Committee. Based on the assessments in these Forms, the chair of the Thesis Commitee formulates a substantiated general advice in writing, which is, together with the completed Forms of the individual members, submitted to the Dean. The advice is unconditional (i.e. it is either yes or no), although individual members are allowed to complement their advice with suggestions and recommendations for improvement. The assessment is usually done within 30 days.

As a part of your final evaluation, and besides the thesis, your training component will also be evaluated.

If the assessment of both your thesis and the training compement are positive, Form II needs to be completed and submitted to the pedel office, which is signed by the Dean. By signing Form II the Dean confirms that all conditions are fulfilled and that the PhD candidate is allowed to defend the dissertation. Only after Form II is submitted, the candidate should contact the pedel office through pedel@vu.nl to plan a date and a room for the public defense. Take into account that there will be at least 9 weeks in between approval of the manuscript and the actual public defense.


The pedel will also give information that is important before printing the dissertation (e.g., strict rules for the title page). The candidate also needs to upload the dissertation in the VU-DARE repository.Once the upload has been done the VU Library will reimburse the candidates with 500 Euros following expenses of promotion.

The public defense ceremony is limited in time. The PhD candidate has 10 minutes to present his PhD dissertation and one hour for defense. The whole procedure is highly ceremonial and special procedures apply. You will be duly informed about these procedures by the Pedel Office.