Doctoral Schools measures in response to COVID-19

Last updated: 12/09/2022, 09:30.

On-campus public PhD defences

On-campus public PhD defences can be held on campus following the guidelines set out on the university's "back to work safely" page (updated 09/08/2022).

Digital PhD defences: videoconferencing and live-streaming

The Rector has decided that PhD candidates will have the option to defend digitally (both internal & public defence) until the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. As such, a partial exemption from EECD art. 28, §2 is made.

From the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, doctoral candidates must once again be physically present for each part of their doctoral examination. Exceptions can be granted by the Dean, on the basis of an extensive and motivated application (cf. EECD art. 28 §2)

Videoconferencing (online internal defence)

Until the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, internal defences may take place as a regular video-conference. Ghent University provides support for videoconferencing through Microsoft Teams.

Other options such as Skype are available, but note that there is no UGent support for these options.

On the advice of Ghent University's IT department, its Data Protection Officer, and the chair of its Privacy and Data Protection Committee, the use of Zoom for internal doctoral defences is prohibited. This decision was made due to serious security and GDPR-related concerns.

Note: From the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, doctoral candidates must be physically present at their internal defence (unless an exception has been granted by the Dean of their faculty, cf. OERD art. 28 §2). This requirement does not apply to members of the examination board: they may attend deliberations and evaluations through video conferencing.

Live-streaming (public defence only)

Until the end of the 2021-2022 academic year public defences may take place as live-streamed video conferences. Note that online public defences must be live-streamed in order to preserve the public defence's (legally required) public character. Below is an overview of one way in which you can live-stream your public defence in a way that complies with that legal requirement, using the infrastructure that is available at Ghent University. Alternatives are available but note that there is no UGent support for these options.

The live-stream for an online public defence must be clearly advertised (e.g. in the invitation to the doctoral defence, or by requesting that includes the URL to the live-stream feed in the appropriate UGent agenda item).

Doctorates where limitations and/or confidentiality has been imposed to protect research results that can create value, cannot avail themselves of this option for their public defence (cf. Education and Examination Code for Doctoral Matters (EECD) art. 30 §9). If you are a PhD candidate working on a doctorate where limitations and/or confidentiality has been imposed, and wish to defend your work in the near future, please contact us at .

Note: From the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, doctoral candidates must be physically present at their public defence (unless an exception has been granted by the Dean of their faculty, cf. OERD art. 28 §2). This requirement does not apply to members of the examination board: they may attend deliberations and evaluations through video conferencing.

What Explanation Manual for organisers Manual for audience members
Microsoft Teams

Ghent University's Microsoft Teams environment, accessible via browser or via the app.

FAQ: English

More information and manuals can be found here. A Dutch-language video-tutorial can be found here.

Make sure that you include instructions in the invitation you send out, and/or in the relevant item in the UGent agenda so people know how they can attend your defence digitally (see next column).

Nb: make sure to test this out in advance!

The link to participate in the doctoral defence will be shared with you by e-mail.

After clicking on the link you will be placed into a waiting room.

Only the members of the Examination Committee are allowed to activate their microphone and camera. Other attendees will be on ‘mute’. Questions during the defence can be asked via chat.

COVID-related exemptions for (compulsory) doctoral training programmes

If you are scheduled to defend soon, and you are unable to complete the curriculum for your doctoral training programme because of the measures taken to help slow the spread of corona virus, you may be eligible for a (partial) exemption, provided that you can show that due to the corona virus measures,

  1. an activity for which you had registered has been cancelled or rescheduled to a date which is later than the date scheduled for the submission of your dissertation; and
  2. there are no suitable (digital) alternatives available to you.

If you meet those two conditions, you may submit your motivated request for a (partial) exemption using this form. Send the completed form to

Frequently asked questions 

  1. Do I need to comply with the latest government guidelines if my public defence was planned before a change was announced?
    Yes, irrespective of when the event was planned, the measures in force at that time must be respected. Plan for how you would manage a short notice change in room capacity or a format change (from on campus to digital or vice versa).

Questions?

 If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact us at .