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Thesis defence ceremonies at the UvA during corona times

Because of the coronavirus, PhD defence ceremonies will take place in an online form (via Zoom), and not physically in the Aula or the Agnietenkapel, until the end of this academic year (Friday, 3 July). From 1 September, all PhD defences can take place on site again in the Aula and the Agnietenkapel.

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

  • 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.

  • And what will happen to the printed copies that have already been submitted to the Office of the Beadle?

    In due course the Office of the Beadle will make amendments to the location and/or date & time specified in your thesis by means of a sticker. You will need to ensure you amend the location and/or date & time specified in the electronic version of your thesis yourself. Two copies of each PhD thesis sent to the Office of the Beadle will be retained, with any other copies being returned to the relevant PhD candidates.

  • Are online Beadle classes being organised?

    No, not for the time being. Prior to the defence, the Beadle will contact the doctoral candidate to answer any questions about the defence. Beadle classes will eventually be organised on location once more, depending on the situation then prevailing, but in any case not before the last week of August.

  • 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.

  • 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 70 for the Aula and 25 for the Agnietenkapel. 13 people are considered to be directly involved in a defence: you and your paranymphs (3), the chairperson and members of your committee (10). This means that you can invite 57 family members / friends to the Aula and 12 to the Agnietenkapel. The reason that the maximum number of attendees is limited is because the UvA has to comply with the government's 1.5 metre guideline.

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

    It is possible to arrange a brief congratulatory gathering in the Aula complex or the Agnietenkapel after the defence ceremony - with or without a drink and a small snack. This is possible for a maximum of 20 people and half an hour is available for this. (You can use this form to place a catering order.) A reception on location in the Aula complex or the Agnietenkapel for more people and longer than half an hour is unfortunately not yet possible. For such larger, longer gatherings you will have to look for an external location.