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Practical matters concerning the PhD ceremony

If you are granted permission to defend your thesis at Leiden University, please take into account the rules concerning the PhD ceremony. Below you find an overview of the practical matters.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

PhD ceremonies are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, at 10.00, 11.30, 13.00, 14.30 and 16.00 hours.


Invitations to the ceremony and copies of your dissertation

You as the candidate and your paranymphs (assistants) are responsible for:

  • sending out invitations to the PhD ceremony (regardless of whether it is taking place in person or online), and reception (if permitted), and for enclosing a copy of the invitation in the copies of the thesis
  • sending out copies of your dissertation (to people other than members of the University/faculty and the University Library)

There is very little parking near the Academy Building. Please direct your guests to one of the car parks close to the centre.

Name on the certificate and English translation

  • The name on the certificate must correspond with the name in the Gemeentelijke Basis Administratie (GBA), the municipal records. This also applies to translations provided by the University. An English translation of the text on the certificate will be added to the degree certificate.
  • The beadle checks that the name on the certificate corresponds with the name on your master’s degree certificate (which corresponds with the GBA) or a statement from the faculty that you have been admitted to the graduate school. The graduate school has to refer to the GBA or your passport when it admits you.

The ceremony

Your supervisor will explain the ceremony to you beforehand. The beadle may provide additional information.

Venue for the ceremony

All promotions will take place in the Great Auditorium.


You can contact Rob Buis from the University Services Department for information on arranging a reception. If you are holding the reception elsewhere, it is customary to first give the members of the committee the opportunity to congratulate you before leaving.

Late arrivals

Once the ceremony has begun, guests will only be permitted entry while the committee has retired to deliberate.


Children under the age of six are not allowed to attend the PhD defence, but they are allowed to attend the conferral of the PhD, i.e. when the committee returns and the ceremony resumes. Small children are permitted on the ground floor of the Academy Building, where there is a video link to the ceremony.

Children over the age of six are allowed to attend the ceremony if they are able to remain quiet and still for three-quarters of an hour, so that the ceremony can proceed without interruption. One of your guests is expected to keep an eye on any children and intervene if necessary.

Rules for the PhD candidate and assistants

You must adhere to the following rules:

  • Paranymphs: The PhD candidate must be accompanied by two assistants (paranymphs).
  • Dress code: PhD candidates and assistants must wear a tailcoat with a black waistcoat, white bow tie and black socks, or appropriate attire for the ceremony.

Forms of address

During the ceremony, the candidate must use the following forms of address: 

  • Rector/acting Rector: mijnheer/mevrouw de Rector Magnificus
  • supervisor: hooggeschatte promotor
  • member of the committee who is a professor: hooggeleerde opponens
  • member of the committee who is not a professor:
    - but who does have a PhD: zeergeleerde opponens
    - who does not have a PhD: weledelgeleerde opponens

No words of appreciation

The defence and the preceding words must not contain any words of appreciation for the opposition committee on the nature and quality of the opposition.

Photography during the ceremony

Photography or filming are not permitted during the defence of the dissertation, but they are permitted once the ceremony resumes after the committee returns.


The university will arrange a public livestream of the entire defence ceremony, which will also be available after the ceremony.


You can ask the communication department(s) at Leiden University to alert the media to the publication of your PhD dissertation.

If the media (radio or television) wish to record the ceremony, the University’s Strategic Communication and Marketing Department must request permission from the Rector Magnificus. Those present must provide their written consent to such recordings. 

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