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PhD defence ceremonies at the UvA during corona times

From 17 November onwards, 75 people can be present in the Aula and 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. 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?

    There can be 75 people present during the PhD defence ceremony. This includes:

    • the doctoral candidate and attendants (paranymphs)
    • supervisors
    • rector/chair
    • members of the doctoral committee
    • guests of the candidate

    Members of the organization (beadle, technician, security) and photographer do not count. You will receive an email from the beadle with the registration form for the guests a week in advance at the latest.

  • Do my (co)supervisors/committee members have to be present at the location?

    All participants are expected to be present on site, except committee members in the Benelux who cannot physically be present due to Covid-19 restrictions and/or committee members living outside the Benelux. They can participate online. Committee members who are not able to attend the ceremony on site for other reasons are to be replaced by guest opponents, if possible. The supervisor informs the Office of the Beadle of this beforehand. 

  • Is a reception possible afterwards in the Aula or Agnietenkapel?
    • No reception after 17:00 (which means that if a PhD defence takes place at 16:00 in the Agnietenkapel there cannot be a reception)
    • At the entrance of the reception area, you and your guests need to show your QR code.
    • All guests have to be seated; but you are allowed move from table to table so that your guests can congratulate you and have a few words.
    • During the reception face masks may be removed.
    • Due to the 1.5m rule, a maximum of 20 guests (in the Aula) and 30 guests (in the Agnietenkapel) may be present at the reception after the PhD defence.

    For all question about the reception you are requested to get in touch with the catering company via For a reception for more than 20/30 people you will have to look for an external location.

    It is also possible to arrange a brief congratulatory moment after your ceremony in the traditional way (without seating and QR code). In that case catering is not allowed, neither is it allowed to bring you own food/drinks. This moment can take a maximum of half an hour and face masks are obligatory.

  • 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.  

  • Are Beadle classes being organised?

    The Beadle classes are currently held online, Mondays at 12.00. These Beadle classes are only meant for question regarding the defence ceremonies on location. When you will defend 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 (

  • 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, as long as they keep enough distance.

    It is not intended that you organize the ceremony at a different location together with (a part of) the doctoral committee, even when you can keep enough distance. 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.

    Friends and family, outside of the domestic circle, should also not be present in the same room.

  • 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.

  • 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.