Public Examination of a Doctoral thesis

An opponent’s role in the public examination of a dissertation is to inspect the paper and to discuss the varied themes of the work. At the beginning of the actual examination the opponent usually focuses on methodological and general questions. This is followed by a more detailed analysis. If there is more than one opponent, they can agree on their order of appearance and work allocation. They can also take part in discussing a topic introduced by any of the opponents. The public examination of a dissertation may last for a maximum of 6 hours.

The examination is opened and closed by the Custos. The Custos functions as the chair and makes sure that the doctoral candidate is allowed an immediate reply to each remark. The Custos ensures that the discussion does not deviate too much from the subject. If the examination lasts for more than two hours, the Custos must announce a break. The Custos also leads the discussion with the audience. The Custos may give the faculty a brief report on the proceedings of the public examination.