Doctoral defense

Doctoral research at Flemish universities usually takes a minimum of 4 years. The end point is marked by the public defense of your doctoral dissertation or doctoral exam.

For legal background, consult Section VI of the Education and Examination Code.

Practical information

Some of the regulations for the doctoral examination have been changed for the academic year 2015-2016 onwards.

Take into account the following steps:

  • Submit your doctoral dissertation at your faculty. Every faculty has its own procedure and guidelines - make sure you follow them.
  • The Faculty Board will check whether all conditions are met and appoints an Examination Commission, which in its turn will appoint an Examination Commission, consisting of 5 to 8 members. Your supervisor may participate in this Commission without voting rights.
  • The members of the Examination Commission hold a first, closed meeting during which you will also be heard. After this first meeting they will decide whether you can be admitted to the second part of the examination: the public defense. in some cases adjustments to the thesis may be required. You will receive a copy of their deliberation.
  • In case you are admitted to the second part of the examination, a date for the public defense will be set.
  • The Central Student Administration is informed of all details of the defense so that your enrolment can be completed and a public announcement published on the website. You will be requested (via a bank transfer) to pay the PhD examination fee via bank transfer.
  • The second part of the doctoral examination is an oral defense in public. You can invite your own guests to attend. The Examination Committee will assess your knowledge and skills. The language for this event is usually Dutch or English.
  • The university will issue you with your diploma and (if applicable) a certificate for the Doctoral Training Programme.