The faculty informs the university’s Corporate Communications unit about the time, Opponent(s), and Custos of the public examination as soon as the issue has been decided.

The Corporate Communications unit informs the media about the public examination. The Corporate Communications unit informs about public examinations also on the website of the University of Lapland. In addition, public examinations are also presented in Kide, the community magazine of the University of Lapland. The circulation of the magazine is 4,000 copies, of which approximately 3,000 are distributed outside the university (in 2010).


The Corporate Communications unit informs the media about the public examination. For this purpose the doctoral candidate must, at least two weeks prior to the examination, deliver a one-page draft press release introducing the dissertation. The Corporate Communications unit and the candidate use the draft to compose the final press release.

The new contribution is the most important issue, and it is therefore presented at the beginning of the press release. It is followed by the background, research methods, research targets, etc. You should bear in mind that it may not be feasible to report each and every research result in the draft press release. It suffices to include the most important or some of the most important ones.

In addition to results, the press release focuses on important, interesting, and newsworthy issues regarding research, practical applications, and the general public. You are advised to write the draft press release in such a way that it is understood by a person who is not familiar with the field.

A summary of the candidate’s biography must be appended to the draft press re-lease:

  • Name, date of birth, place of birth
  • Matriculation examination; year and school
  • University degrees; years and universities
  • The most important positions related to research work
  • Other important positions
  • General features of research activities
  • Current position and starting date
  • Current title
  • Contact information (phone and e-mail)

The draft press release and a photograph of the candidate must be delivered to the Corporate Communications unit by e-mail: tiedotus@ulapland.fi. If necessary, the photograph can be taken by the Corporate Communications unit.

The Corporate Communications unit distributes the press release to the media. The standard distribution covers the media in northern Finland and the most important national media. Depending on the research topic, the press release is also mailed to journals of the relevant field and to other interested parties. The candidate takes care of providing information to international publications. The extent of the distribution is agreed jointly with the doctoral candidate. The media decide independently on publishing the news.


If the research results of the thesis interest the general public, a separate press conference can be organized. The Corporate Communications Unit takes care of the necessary arrangements of the press conference.

The Corporate Communications unit assists and gives advice to candidates in matters related to press interviews and the media. Candidates are advised to pre-pare for contacts with journalists both before and after the public examination.


The administration unit sets two copies of the thesis on public display 10 days before the examination. One is placed on the official bulletin board and the other in the lobby of the university’s main building. The faculties also deliver a few press copies to the Corporate Communications unit. The communications unit delivers the thesis to interested journalists free of charge.


The public examination proceedings begin 15 minutes past the scheduled hour.

Dressing for the public examination

The candidate, Custos, and Opponent wear a black dress without a hat (ladies) or a full evening dress with a black waistcoat or a dark suit (gentlemen). Alternatively, the candidate, Custos, and Opponent may agree on wearing dark suits or jacket suits. Foreign Opponents may wear a doctor’s gown. If the Custos and Opponent are doctoral degree-holders, they will hold their doctor’s hats in their hand upon entering and leaving the room. During the examination proceedings the hats are placed on the table with the lyre facing the audience.

Public examination

The participants in the examination (the candidate, Custos and Opponent) enter the room in the following order: first the candidate, then the Custos (chairperson), and finally the Opponent.

When all are seated, the Custos opens the event by stating: "As the Custos appointed by the Faculty of Education, I hereby declare this doctoral public examination officially open." The Custos briefly introduces the candidate and the Opponent.

The candidate, standing, delivers the lectio praecursoria, which may not exceed 20 minutes. The presentation begins as follows: "Honoured Custos, my esteemed Opponent, ladies and gentlemen." Foreign Opponents will be provided with a translation of the lectio praecursoria.

Correction of misprints is not part of the proceedings of the disputation. Instead, the candidate may submit a written list of found errors to the Opponent, who may append it to his/her statement to be submitted to the faculty. On concluding the lectio praecursoria the candidate will address the Opponent with the following words: "Professor (or Doctor, etc.) NN, I request that you, as the Opponent of my thesis, duly appointed by the Faculty of Education of the University of Lapland, present your criticisms for which you consider my thesis to give cause."

The Opponent stands and delivers a brief statement concerning the scientific status and significance of the topic of the thesis, together with other issues of general nature. The candidate listens to the Opponent’s preliminary statement looking at the Opponent and standing in the position where (s)he gave the presentation. When the Opponent has finished his/her address, both the Opponent and the candidate resume their seats.

At the beginning of the actual examination the Opponent usually focuses on methodological questions and general research results, which is followed by a more detailed analysis. The Opponent may not use more than four hours for the examination. If the examination is likely to take longer than two hours (including the lectio praecursoria) an interval can be held. It may last from 15 to 30 minutes and its start and end are announced by the Custos. The public examination event may not last longer than six hours.

At the conclusion of his/her examination of the dissertation, the Opponent stands and delivers the final statement, which the candidate listens to, standing and looking at the Opponent.

The candidate, still standing, then thanks the Opponent.

The candidate turns to the audience and states, "I now respectfully invite any member of the learned audience who wish to offer criticism of my thesis to request Mr/Mrs Custos for permission to speak."

The Custos functions as the chair and makes sure that the doctoral candidate is allowed an immediate reply to each criticism and that the discussion does not stray from the subject.

Finally, the Custos stands up and ends the proceedings as follows: "This public examination is now concluded."

The candidate takes care of the costs of coffee served after the disputation.

Practical issues

The room where the examination takes place must be reserved well in advance. The faculty office takes care of the reservation. About the practical arrangements please contact Secretary of Administrative Affairs, Helena Juntunen tel. +358 40 484 4111.


After the public examination of the doctoral dissertation, the doctoral candidate may invite the Opponent and the Custos to lunch. Instead of or in addition to the post-doctoral party, which takes place in the evening, the doctoral candidate may also offer coffee and refreshments after the public examination.

The post-doctoral party is an academic tradition. The Finnish word for the celebration, karonkka, derives from the diminutive form (koronka) of the Russian word korona, which means ‘crown’. The Finnish term karonkka is thus related to the Russian word koronovanije, signifying ‘coronation’. The post-doctoral party marks the end of the thesis process and is arranged by the doctoral candidate to thank the Opponent, the Custos and others who contributed to the work. Nowadays, doctoral candidates may invite friends and family along with members of the academic community to this party.

In the following, some traditions related to the post-doctoral celebration are explained.

Invitations to the post-doctoral party

As formal decisions on the doctoral thesis are not made until the conclusion of the public examination, invitations to the post-doctoral party were traditionally not sent in advance. Nowadays, however, doctoral candidates send invitations in advance.
Permission to defend the thesis in a public examination, given by the Faculty, is sufficient indication of the quality of the dissertation. The doctoral candidates themselves formulate the wording of their invitations, but it is recommended that the invitations contain information on the dress code, especially if the doctoral candidate prefers the guests not to wear tailcoats and evening dresses, as is the custom, or wishes to suggest alternative styles of dress.

In addition to the Opponent and the Custos, the invitees to the post-doctoral party should include professors working in the field of the dissertation and others who have aided in the thesis work.


The post-doctoral party may be arranged at home, in a restaurant or in the facilities of one's own department.

Dress code

Men usually wear a tailcoat and a white waistcoat (a black waistcoat at the public examination), while women wear an evening dress. The doctoral candidate wears a black evening dress. The traditional colour used in academic celebrations is black, but other colours have also become common. Instead of a tailcoat, men may wear dark suits, in which case women wear a short formal dress. Should the doctoral candidate wish the guests to wear some other style of dress, this should be stated in the invitation.

Seating arrangements

The doctoral candidate is the host or hostess of the party, and the Opponent is the guest of honour, seated immediately to the right of the doctoral candidate. If there are two Opponents at the public examination, they will be seated on both sides of the doctoral candidate. The next guest in the seating order is the Custos, seated to the left of or opposite the doctoral candidate. The other guests then follow, usually in the order of their academic achievements.


The doctoral candidate offers food, drinks and possibly other forms of entertainment to the guests invited to the post-doctoral party. The candidate starts by welcoming all those present before dinner is served.

Speeches are made after the meal when coffee has been served. The doctoral candidate thanks the Opponent and others who have aided in the work. The Opponent's answer is usually light-heartedly dignified rather than too solemn or formal. Next, the Custos may address those present. After this, other guests may speak in the order in which they were mentioned in the doctoral candidate's address. If the doctoral candidate wishes to thank his or her family members, this should be done at the conclusion of the candidate's address.

Informal after party may follow and the doctoral candidate may invite more friends and family. Formal dress codes are not required. The programme can be light and cheerful.

Contact Information
The Corporate Communications

Sari Väyrynen, Communications Officer,
tel. +358 40 571 1960, sari.vayrynen@ulapland.fi

Olli Tiuraniemi, Communications Manager, tel. +358 400 695 418, olli.tiuraniemi@ulapland.fi,

Faculty Office
Helena Juntunen,
Secretary of Administrative Affairs, 
tel. +358 40 484 4111

Restaurant Felli
Tel. 040 484 4487