The chairperson opens the dissertation by presenting the respondent, the title of the thesis, the Faculty Opponent and the members of the examination committee (this part is usually in Swedish). The respondent continues by accounting for errata, and other corrections or information, if any.

General presentation

The respondent gives a presentation (typically 15 minutes), summarizing his/her work. Then the Faculty Opponent gives a brief presentation (typically 15 minutes), giving some general background and, thus, putting the thesis into a larger perspective.

After these presentations the chairperson will give an opportunity for those in the audience who wish to leave before the main discussion to do so.


Then the opposition follows. The Faculty Opponent offers questions and views on the scientific relevance, methods and results, and the respondent then orally defends his/her thesis in relation to the questions raised by the Faculty Opponent. While the time spent is up to the opponent and there is no formal time limit, an overly long defence should be avoided.

Before the Faculty Opponent closes the discussion, he/she may summarize his/her opinion of the thesis.

Question session

The members of the examination committee then have the opportunity to ask the respondent questions. After that the chairperson invites questions from the audience.

If it appears that the whole procedure will last considerably more than about two hours, there should be a short break after two hours. This is decided by the chairperson.

The examination committee

The three (or five) members of the examination committee, selected by the Board of the Faculty, meet afterwards to decide whether the thesis and the defence should be approved. The Faculty Opponent and the supervisor are allowed to participate in this meeting, but have no vote and must leave when the committee takes the decision.

The respondent, friends and family and other members of the department wait for the decision in MISU’s lunch room. Finally, if the defence has taken place in the morning (as is customary), the respondent, the supervisors, the opponent, the examination committee and the chairperson of the defence are all invited to lunch, usually at the Faculty Club.