Skip to content

Act of public thesis defence

The Academic Committee must ensure that mechanisms are in place for hosting the thesis defence on its own premises or in other UPC facilities. If a location outside the UPC is chosen, express authorisation must be received from the Standing Committee of the Doctoral School and the Academic Committee must ensure that the arrangements comply with doctoral studies regulations and standard thesis assessment procedures.


The thesis defence must be held on a teaching day and is open to the public.

Reading and defence

The thesis defence consists in presenting the research carried out, the methodology used, the results obtained and the conclusions, focusing particularly on novel contributions to the field arising from the research.


In specific cases determined by the Academic Committee, such as company involvement or the possible generation of patents from the content of a doctoral thesis, the Doctoral School will ensure that confidential aspects of the thesis are not made public, as established in the section on theses subject to confidentiality agreements and/or intellectual property agreements.


Once the general presentation has been made, the examiners will ask questions and may seek clarification of particular aspects of the work. In addition, PhD holders attending the defence may ask questions when invited to do so by the chair of the examination panel.


The examination panel has access to the doctoral training log, which lists the principal activities carried out during the doctoral programme. The training log is not graded but the examiners will use it as a qualitative indicator to complement their assessment of the doctoral thesis.


Once the defence and discussion of the thesis have been completed and the public has left the room, each examiner draws up an assessment report using a standard template. The completed reports are attached to the doctoral training log.


Finally, the examination panel will award the overall mark that it considers appropriate from the following: Fail, Pass, Good and Excellent. The mark is recorded on the assessment certificate, which must be signed by all of the examiners in attendance.


Before closing the session, the chair of the examination panel will notify the student and the public of the mark awarded.

Cum laude distinction

If the overall mark awarded is Excellent, the examination panel may award a cum laude distinction by secret ballot.




When the examiners have awarded the mark of the thesis, they may award a cum laude distinction individually and by secret ballot. To do so they must select "yes" or "no" on the form that they have been given.


If the answer is "yes", they must also state the reasons for this decision:


  • A significant advance in the state of knowledge accredited by publications in indexed journals of proven importance in the field (e.g. JCR-indexed journals).
  • Approval of the contributions by the scientific and academic community, accredited by the dissemination of results at leading conferences in the field.
  • Other reasons related to scientific importance, socio-economic impact and obtaining of patents.


After voting individually, the examiners must each place the form in an envelope and seal it.

The examination panel secretary will collect the envelopes and place them inside a larger envelope that must be signed by all the members of the panel.


The votes will be counted at another session by the Standing Committee of the Doctoral School, which will delegate the following tasks to its president and secretary:


  • Counting the votes. The cum laude distinction will be awarded only if all votes are in favour.
  • Recording the result in the official examination results.
  • Recording the result on the copy of the thesis.
  • Notifying the doctoral candidate, the department and the examiners of the result.
  • Recording the result in the Doctoral Student Activity Report.
  • Signing the official examination results.

When the votes have been counted, if the result is unanimously "yes", the doctoral student will obtain the cum laude distinction.


The secretary or delegate (UPC member of the examination panel, coordinator or administrative officer in charge of the doctoral programme) will submit all of the documentation for the defence to the Doctoral School within 5 business days. The documents may also be sent to the Doctoral School by certified post.


Students may request a full copy of the assessment reports.


The Doctoral School is responsible for storage of the doctoral thesis and for sending a copy to the General Archive.  It also sends an electronic copy of the thesis and all accompanying documentation to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, in accordance with applicable legislation.