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Tampere University Student's Handbook

Appointing the opponent, custos and the evaluation board

The faculty council or the dean designated by the council appoints the pre-examiner(s), the possible evaluation board, the custos, and decides on the date of the public examination typically at the same time that the doctoral student is given permission to go ahead with the public defence.


The supervisor of the dissertation, the custos, represents the university in the public examination. He/she ensures that the opponent and the doctoral candidate understand the nature and procedures of the dissertation defence and that the event is conducted in accordance with established practices. The custos is usually a professor employed by the University or a person who has supervised the dissertation. In some doctoral programmes, an emeritus/emerita professor may also act as the custos if he/she has been an active supervisor of the dissertation. The faculties may have more specific instructions (see the faculty-specific pages).


The opponent(s) must be experienced and unbiased expert(s) not employed by the University who hold a doctoral degree. In the field of theatre arts, at least one of the pre-examiners and the opponent must hold a doctoral degree, and the other pre-examiner may be appointed based on artistic merits.

The experts must not have joint publications with the doctoral candidate within the past three years. Provisions on the disqualification of experts are laid down in the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003, Sections 27–29) (pdf). Check the faculty-specific instructions on the disqualification of experts.

For opponents unfamiliar with the conventions of the Finnish public defence, you may consider sharing a publication to support their preparation by Laajalahti and Virtanen (2024, Insights for Opponents on fostering interaction in the public defence of a doctoral dissertation. Prologi).

Evaluation board

The faculty council may appoint an evaluation board for each dissertation process. The faculty council approves and grades the dissertation on the basis of the opponent(s) written statements, possibile proposals by the evaluation board, pre-examination statements, and other written comments. Check out the instructions specific to your faculty.

Agreeing on the date and place of the public examination

The custos, opponent and the doctoral candidate agree on the date of the public defence and notify the faculty. The dissertation must be available for public viewing at least ten days before the public defence. The doctoral candidate should draft a press release about the dissertation well in advance of the public examination (at least three weeks before) and send/ask campus assistants to send the dissertation to the opponent(s).

The doctoral candidate must book a lecture hall for the public examination. The examinations are held in Tampere University’s premises. Reservations may be done with the help of campus assistants: campusassistants [at] (campusassistants[at]tuni[dot]fi) or Self-service portal (Helpdesk). In exceptional situations, if the research is closely connected with education and research in the relevant field in a University unit or organisation outside Tampere, the public defence may be organised there.

Published: 15.4.2019
Updated: 17.6.2024