Final steps

General information | Workshop | PhD title and diploma

General information

Each faculty has its own regulations concerning stages of the thesis, and they can vary widely. It is thus very important to find out about your faculty’s requirements.

In SSP, FBM and IDHEAP, the first important stage is the submission of the thesis proposal. In other faculties, an important stage is the mid-thesis exam – known differently from one faculty or institution to another (mémoire de these in ESC, pré-colloque at IDHEAP, première étape at the HEC). Law is the only discipline which does not have any required step before the thesis defence.

Concerning the final stage of the thesis, each faculty has its own procedures and deadlines for:

  • Appointment of members of the jury (proposal and approval);
  • Submission of the different manuscripts (number, where, by which deadline);
  • Jury examination (colloque);
  • Public defence;
  • Award of the title of Doctor.

With the exception of Law, the final thesis exam at UNIL includes two steps: the private and the public defence.

The private defence is a discussion conducted behind closed doors lasting several hours between the doctoral researcher, members of the jury and thesis supervisors. It allows in-depth discussion of all aspects of the thesis. Generally the candidate is asked to make certain changes at the end of the examination.

The public defence is organised some time after the private defence, once the candidate has made the corrections requested. Thus the public defence is unlikely to give rise to major differences between the candidate and the thesis jury. The thesis defence is a public event, intended to allow the candidate to present their work.

In order to obtain the title of Doctor, a final essential step is to submit the thesis to the UNIL library (BCU).


To help you prepare for this important moment in your career as a doctoral researcher, the University of Lausanne offers a one-day interactive workshop (9am to 5pm), which addresses the following points:

  • The different expectations between the jury examination (private defence) and the public presentation (public defence)
  • Preparing your presentation
  • Communicating effectively in the context of the defence
  • Preparing for the jury's questions

More information and registration here


PhD title and diploma

Once you have successfully defended your thesis and made any required corrections to the manuscript, a few steps are still necessary before you receive your diploma. You need to pay the defense fee, follow all the specific steps required by your Faculty, and deliver the correct amount of copies to the library . Until those steps are taken, you are required to stay enrolled as a PhD candidate and pay the semester fees.



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