PhD thesis - Université libre de Bruxelles
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Defending your thesis

The thesis is defended in two stages: a private defence, and a public defence.

The procedure is as follows (detailed information is available from your Faculty)

  • 1. You submit your PhD thesis to the Faculty

  • 2. The jury is formed in the months following submission. It comprises the supervisor, the co-supervisor (if any), and at least four other members, all of whom must hold the title of doctor obtained through the defence of a thesis, or the Belgian “agrégé de l’enseignement supérieur” qualification. At least three members of the jury must be on the university’s academic staff. At least two members must come from outside the ULB.

  • 3. The private defence takes place at least one month after selection of the jury and at least two months after submission of the thesis. The private defence takes place behind closed doors in the presence of of at least two thirds of all thesis jury members. After meeting, the jury either agrees to the public defence being held on the date scheduled or recommends that you rework it and grant you an extension of up to six months. Should the thesis jury determine that more than six months’ work is required to improve the thesis, it may also decide that a new private defence must be arranged.

  • 4. Before the public defence, it is mandatory for you to submit a digital copy of your thesis using DI-fusion, the ULB institutional repository.

  • 5. The public defence is held two to six weeks after the private defence, in the presence of at least half the jury. During the public defence, you support findings and originality of your thesis, while displaying your ability to explain your research in layman’s terms. The public defence last up to two hours.

  • 6. After the defence, the jury retires for deliberation, and then declares you a “Doctor” if your defence was successful.

  • 7. During the month that follows, the secretary of the jury drafts a report on the defence and you are forwarded a copy. This report includes both remarks on the quality of your presentation and general comments and critiques from members of the jury.

The above time constraints are suspended during the period 15 July - 15 August.