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Thesis defence ceremonies at the UvA during corona times

From 16 December 2020 until 23 April 2021, all PhD defence ceremonies will be online.

Are you a PhD candidate or otherwise involved in a doctorate? If you have any questions, you might be able to find an answer to these in the frequently asked questions below. Do also feel free to get in touch with the Office of the Beadle by emailing or with the secretariat of the Doctorate Board by emailing

Frequently asked questions – PhD candidates

  • If I defend my thesis online, do I have to be physically present in the Agnietenkapel or the Aula? And who can be present with me in the room?

    All participants will take part in the defence ceremony online from their home or their workplace.

    Your attendants/paranymphs can be in the same room as you, as long as they keep enough distance.

    It is not intended that you organize the ceremony at a different location together with (a part of) the doctoral committee, even when you can keep enough distance. When multiple attendants use the same AV connection it has consequences for the sound, and the speakers, especially the candidate, are not fully in the frame. The moving around of speakers to use the microphone and using separate rooms will make the defense process and video stream chaotic.

    Friends and family, outside of the domestic circle, should also not be present in the same room.

  • Are Beadle classes being organised?

    You can read the Beadle class information here. These Beadle classes are only meant for question regarding the defence ceremonies on location. When you will defend online, the Beadle will contact you.

  • Can online defences also include a layman’s talk?

    Yes, there will be. You can also give a PowerPoint presentation in Zoom if you so choose. Give this a trial run in advance when testing your connection to Zoom. You will receive an email on this from the Office of the Beadle.

  • Can my family, friends and colleagues follow the ceremony if I defend online?

    From Friday, 15 May, UvA PhD defences will be livestreamed on the university’s YouTube channel. This means that friends, family and colleagues of the PhD candidates, as well as other interested parties, can attend the ceremonies, which are currently taking place online via Zoom.

    The livestreams are ‘unlisted’ on the UvA YouTube channel; that is, you need a direct link to follow a livestream. Doctoral candidates will receive the link from the Office of the Beadle and can then share it with friends, family and colleagues. In addition, the links are added to the defence ceremony announcements (in Dutch) on the UvA’s website, so that other interested parties can also take note.

    The link to a livestream will only be added in the web announcement if the doctoral candidate has agreed to this (the Office of the Beadle will ask each doctoral candidate for explicit permission in advance). Immediately after the ceremony ends, the link will be deactivated and the stream will be removed. Of course, the consultations of the defence committee will - as always – be held in private and therefore not visible in the livestreams.

  • How will I get my PhD certificate?

    A PhD statement will be emailed to you the day after you successfully defend your thesis. This statement will serve as evidence that you have been awarded your PhD. The Office of the Beadle will send the extracts in English and Dutch from the doctoral register to your home address from 6 April onwards. This constitutes an official document, with the same force as the PhD certificate. The extracts will be backdated accordingly.

  • In what circumstances can a defence ceremony be postponed?
    • If you have a long-term and/or serious illness or other, unique personal circumstances.
    • If the situation surrounding the coronavirus has caused a delay in terms of finalising your PhD.
    • If it will not be possible for you to proceed with the defence ceremony in the short term because you have to be available for a challenging, corona-related duty in the medical arena.

    In all cases, postponement is to be agreed in consultation between the Office of the Beadle, the PhD candidate and the supervisors.

  • How many people can I invite/can be present if I can defend my thesis at a physical location?

    The maximum number of attendees allowed is set at 30 for the Aula and 25 for the Agnietenkapel. These concern the directly involved (you and your paranymphs, the chair, supervisors and members of the doctoral committee) and your guests. When committee members participate through Zoom, you are allowed to invite more guests. You can inform the Office of the Beadle of this.

  • What if one or more members of my doctoral committee cannot come to the physical location of my defence ceremony?

    Members of defence committees who cannot be present on location due to travel restrictions or cold/flu symptoms can still participate via Zoom. Technical support will ensure a logical on-site setup for the interaction between the live and online attendees. For the ceremony to take place on location the candidate, one of the supervisors, the rector (chair) and at least one of the committee members have to be present. If this is not the case the ceremony will take place online.