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PhD defence ceremonies at the UvA during corona times

From 18 February onwards, a maximum of 90 guests are allowed in the Agnietenkapel during PhD defence ceremonies, a maximum of 450 guests in the Aula.

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. Do also feel free to get in touch with the Office of the Beadle by emailing

Frequently asked questions – PhD candidates

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

    A maximum of 90 guests are allowed in the Agnietenkael during PhD defence ceremonies, a maximum of 450 guests in the Aula. These numbers do not include the candidate and paranymphs/attendants, supervisors, doctoral committee, rector and organisation team.

    It remains possible for members of the doctorate committee to participate online, if they are not able to join the ceremony in person due to Covid-19 restrictions, or if they stay outside the Benelux. In case a committeemember cannot be present for other reasons, the supervisor will try to find a guest opponent. About one week before the date of your ceremony the supervisor will receive an email, with the request to inform us about the online participants. They will receive an email with the Zoomlink and instruction separately.

  • Is a reception possible afterwards in the Aula or Agnietenkapel?

    It is possible to have a reception following your ceremony. The catering measures will apply.

    To arrange the reception you are requested to get in touch with the catering via

  • Do we have to wear a facemask?

    Face masks are no longer required. If you prefer to keep wearing a face mask, you are of course free to do so. We ask everybody to respect each other's boundaries and concerns.

  • What if I cannot come to Amsterdam in the autumn to defend my thesis?

    From September onwards the aim is that the defence ceremonies take place on location. However, it is expect that we will still have to take the corona pandemic into consideration, which might limit people’s freedom of movement.You make the reservation for the defence ceremony for the Aula or Agnietenkapel. If in the run-up to your ceremony it becomes clear that you are prohibited from begin physically present due to corona related limitations, the defence ceremony can be switched to an online ceremony. The PhD candidate submits a proposal for this with the Office of the Beadle, supported by the main supervisor.  

  • Can my family members, friends and colleagues also follow the ceremony if I defend my thesis at a physical location?

    Family, friends and colleagues (and other interested parties) can watch the defence via livestream. The livestream link will be sent to you by the web lecture service ( approximately six days before your ceremony. The link will be made public in the events calendar on the UvA website. If you don't want this, please inform the Office of the Beadle. If you would like to receive a recording, send your request by email to the web lecture service.    

  • Are Beadle classes being organised?

    During the summer break there are no Beadle classes.

    From Monday, 29 August onwards the Beadle classes resume their usual schedule: online, every Monday at 12.00. These Beadle classes are intended for questions regarding the on-campus PhD defence ceremonies. If you're defending your PhD online, the Beadle will contact you.

  • 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. The supervisor submits a proposal by email to the Office of the Beadle, with the secretary of the Doctorate Board in the CC (

  • Do I have to print my thesis and submit it to the Office of the Beadle?

    You have to submit 3 copies. Send these by post to: University of Amsterdam, attn. Office of the Beadle, PO box 19268, 1000 GG Amsterdam. You can also drop them off at the office (Handboogstraat 6, 1012 XM Amsterdam) on Monday through Friday, between 10:00-16:00.

  • Will it suffice to send an electronic copy of my PhD thesis to the members and the chair of my doctoral committee?

    You will need to discuss this with your supervisor. The doctorate regulations stipulate that the members and chair of the doctoral committee must be in receipt of a printed copy. If everyone agrees to waive this requirement, then an electronic copy will suffice.

  • Does the text of the title page of my thesis change if I defend it online and not on location?

    Yes, in that case the location does not need to be mentioned on the title page.

  • 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.

    It is not intended that you organize the ceremony at a different location together with (a part of) the doctoral committee. 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.

  • 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?

    The PhD defences will be livestreamed. 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.

  • Will my ceremony be recorded if I defend online, and will I receive the recording?

    Yes, a recording will be made through Zoom. This will be emailed to you shortly after your defence ceremony. You will then be able to share the recording with your family and friends if you like.

  • How will I get my PhD certificate?

    A PhD statement will be emailed to you a couple of days 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. This constitutes an official document, with the same force as the PhD certificate. The extracts will be backdated accordingly.