Information for External Academics
Committee members and external supervisors for our PhD students will find relevant information on this page.
For more information concerning our PhD programme, please see:
About the Public Defence at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society
If the assessment committee decides that a PhD thesis is worthy of being publicly defended, a public defence is organized at MF in Oslo. This includes both a trial lecture and a discussion of the thesis. The defence is chaired by MF’s rector.
The Trial Lecture
The purpose of the public trial lecture is to test the candidate's ability to acquire knowledge and discuss research beyond the topic of the thesis and the candidate’s ability to present this in a public lecture. The trial lecture will normally be conducted in the language of the thesis.
The assessment committee decides the topic for the trial lecture and submits this to the PhD-coordinator at MF together with the report from the committee.
Two weeks before the lecture, MF informs the candidate of the topic.
The trial lecture starts at 10.15 am on the set day. A written copy of the lecture will be sent to the assessment committee one day in advance.
The assessment committee must consider whether the lecture is “satisfactory” as an academic lecture. There is no further grading of the trial lecture. The assessment committee will also be invited to give the candidate a brief feedback in the break between the trial lecture and the public defence proper.
The aim of the public defence is to give the audience an understanding of what kind of research the doctoral candidate has undertaken and the contribution this research gives to knowledge production and contemporary research in the field. The discussion should highlight constructive and critical comments on the various aspects of the dissertation, for example concerning the research questions, hypothesis, design, methods, theoretical framework, material, analysis, and results. The good public defences is one where a real and interesting scholarly dialogue takes place.
The public defence starts at 12:15 pm on the set day.
After a brief, formal introduction by the rector, the doctoral candidate gets up to 10 mins to present their work, normally by giving a brief abstract of the PhD thesis.
This is followed by a discussion with the first examiner. This normally takes approx. 60 minutes, including responses from the doctoral candidate.
The committee usually has agreed in advance on which aspects and topics are to be discussed by the two examiners respectively. We suggest that the first examiner initially states the main themes that they are going to discuss, time allowing. Please make the entire exchange a good, stimulating, critical, and scholarly informative experience for the candidate as well for the audience. Decisive critical questions and inquiries as well as suggestions for alternative approaches are welcome. The candidate should experience the exchange as an opportunity to present and elaborate her/his work as well as to learn from others during this session.
After the short break (15 minutes), questions ex auditorio will be allowed. Those who want to pose such questions, must indicate this to the leader of the public defence before the end of the break. Comments or questions ex auditorio are short and pointed, and the doctoral candidate will give a short response.
The second examiner closes the public defence with a somewhat shorter discussion, approx. 45-60 mins. It is the second examiner’s task to decide when to finish the dialogue by thanking the doctoral candidate for the work and the discussions.
In a brief meeting the assessment committee will discuss whether the public defence is approved. As the PhD thesis has already been found worthy of being publicly defended, both the thesis and the defence will normally be approved for the doctoral degree.
If, however, during the public defence, the thesis’ central conclusions prove to be undoubtedly untenable or significant breaches of key norms of research ethics or good academic practice as discovered, the assessment committee may consider the public defence as not approved.
Normally the leader of the examination committee will announce the assessment of the defence: "The examination has heard the public defence by the candidate NN and finds the defence to be satisfactory".
The rector will then summarize the approved requirements for the PhD degree and award the PhD degree to the candidate.
This concludes the public defence (normally before 3 pm).