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PhD Defense

Regulations and forms, procedures, printing of thesis and CentER Dissertation Series

This page will guide the PhD candidates through all the steps of the PhD defense trajectory. You can find information on the PhD regulations and forms that a candidate needs to fill our during the PhD program. Also you can read all about the procedures and the printing of the PhD thesis.

Forms and PhD Defense Time Planner

Overview of the PhD Regulations and forms

Please see the PhD Regulations and forms that a PhD candidate needs to fill in during the PhD program.

A tool to help you plan your defense is the PhD Defense Time Planner. In this form you can fill out the date you would like to have your formal defense. In an instant you will be able to see at what dates prior to your defense you will need to take certain steps.



The following procedure will guide you through the complete PhD defense trajectory. Please start the procedure at least six months before the preferred defense date. For the official regulations, please go to this page.

General acknowledgements

  1. The terms ‘supervisor’ and ‘promotor’ are interchangeable. Officially, the term ‘supervisor’ is used.
  2. The terms ‘thesis’ and ‘dissertation’ are interchangeable. Officially, the term ‘dissertation’ is used.
  3. Link to the Graduate Office staff.
  4. Link to the Doctorate Board.
  5. There is no official CentER template for the layout of the dissertation, except for the cover. The dissertation needs to be written in English. You are allowed to use a full color picture on the cover.

Step 1: Appointing of supervisor 

During second year of your PhD program

  1. Please fill out the application form for the appointment of your PhD thesis supervisors during your first year as PhD candidate. All PhD candidates must have at least two supervisors of which one full professor from Tilburg University.
    Important: your supervisors have to be appointed officially before you can book a provisional PhD defense date at the secretariat  of the doctorate board.
  2. Please make sure that the supervisors sign the form on the back side. The Graduate Office arranges the signature of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  3. Hand in the form at the Graduate Office (T702) including:
    • A copy of a legalized birth certificate or an extract from the municipal basic administration (‘Gemeentelijke Basis Administratie’), or a copy of your passport.
    • A certified copy of your diploma (MSc or MPhil). If you do not have a certified copy, you must hand in the original document at the Graduate Office for certification.
    • A certified copy of your grade list. If you do not have a certified copy, you must hand in the original document to the Graduate Office for certification.
    • A short description of your thesis, about one A4, or the table of contents.
  4. After approval by the Director of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Office sends all the documents to the Doctorate Board.

  5. If the Doctorate Board approves the appointment, they will send a confirmation email to the PhD candidate and (co-)supervisor(s).

Step 2: Appointment of a Committee

At least 6 months before your public defense

      1. The supervisor decides whether your PhD manuscript is ready to be sent to the committee members. If so you must arrange the official appointment of your PhD committee. This needs to be arranged before the pre-defense can be arranged.
      2. Together with your supervisors, you need to compose a PhD committee. If possible you can also already arrange a tentative date for your public defense with the secretary of the Doctorate Board.
      3. The supervisor checks with the committee members when they are available for the pre-defense. The practical arrangement of the pre-defense will be done by the (co-)supervisor or the secretaries' office of the department involved. The manuscript will be sent to the committee via the Graduate Office.
      4. Fill out the form: application form for fixing a date for the defense of a PhD thesis and the appointment of the PhD committee. Please make sure that the supervisors sign the form on the back side. The Graduate Office arranges the signature of the Director of Graduate Studies. If you do not know when your public defense will be held but your supervisors have decided upon the composition of the PhD committee. You can leave the field with the date of the public defense blank.
      5. Hand in the form to the Graduate Office.
      6. The Graduate Office sends all documents to the Doctorate Board.

      Step 3: Pre-defense

      At least 4 months before your public defense

        1. At the pre-defense, the committee first appoints a chairman (this can be the supervisor).
        2. Present the main ideas of your thesis in about 30 minutes.
        3. The committee members ask questions.
        4. Committee members who cannot be present at the pre-defense, will inform the supervisor of their questions and comments before the pre-defense. The supervisor will then ask the questions and give the comments.
        5. At the end of the pre-defense, you leave the room and the exam committee discusses the quality of your thesis and the defense.
        6. The committee then decides whether or not and under which conditions you can be admitted to the public defense. The thesis can be accepted (i) without revisions, (ii) with minor revisions, (iii) with major revisions, or (iv) can be rejected. The committee can distinguish between revisions that are necessary to improve the thesis, and revisions that are advisable but can be left for the postdoc period when you will prepare your papers for submission to journals.
        7. You are called in and the chairman announces the decision of the PhD committee. The chairman then announces the required changes.
        8. During the pre-defense, you and your supervisor take note of all the questions and suggestions and/or collect the remarks from the committee if these are written out. You or your supervisor bundle all remarks and suggestions in a to-do list with the required changes to the thesis. This list is sent to the committee members for approval.
        9. If you have not set a date for your public defense, you can arrange this now. If you already set a date, depending on the outcome of the pre-defense, it may be necessary to set a new date for the public defense. If this is the case, the supervisor needs to contact the Graduate Office and the Doctorate Board.
        10. When the thesis has been revised, you are required to send the thesis and a detailed list of changes to the thesis - which is your response to the PhD committee members - to the supervisor.

        Step 4: Manuscripts

        10 weeks before your public defense

          1. After approval of your manuscript by your supervisors, your supervisors send your manuscript and your detailed list of changes to the Graduate Office.
          2. The Graduate Office sends the manuscript and your comments to each committee member including the assessment form. The committee members need to return the assessment form to the Graduate Office within two weeks. Only assessment forms with an original signature can be accepted.
          3. In case one or more members vote against your admission to the public defense, a new pre-defense needs to be arranged. At least 50% of the members of the committee need to be present at this pre-defense. The department secretary needs to arrange this pre-defense. After the pre-defense, you are required to adjust your manuscript. The Graduate Office then sends it together with the comments of the pre-defense and an adjusted form to the members of the committee. The members do not have to give comments again but only need to indicate if they vote for or against your admission to the final PhD defense.
          4. When all committee members agree upon admission to the final defense, the Graduate Office sends a copy of the outcome, including the assessment forms of the committee members and to the Doctorate Board.
          5. The Doctorate Board sends a letter stating the admission to the public defense to you, the Director of Graduate Studies, your supervisors, and the committee members.

          Step 5: Printing the dissertation

          About 7 weeks before your public defense

            Start printing procedure (see below)

            Step 6: Preparing the defense

            Start at least 1 month before your public defense

            1. The ceremony takes place in the large auditorium or the Ruth First room. The reception afterwards can take place in the 'Kleine Foyer', which can accommodate a maximum of 125 guests. Please contact DFB Servicedesk for catering during the reception. Note that you pay for the reception costs yourself.
            2. Prepare the official defense with your supervisors. The procedure of the defense can be found in this document, Chapter 7.


            CentER Thesis Series

            Nearly all dissertations written at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management are part of the CentER Thesis Series. The series has a distinct cover and is nationally acknowledged.

            CentER series

            Printing Office

            Printing is arranged via the CentER Graduate Office. For internal candidates, CentER refunds the printing of 85 copies of the thesis, external candidates need to pay for the printing costs themselves. The actual printing takes place at PrismaPrint, the university’s printing office.

            Printing procedure

            1. E-mail the first pages (as a DOC file or PDF file) (see Article 20) to the secretary of the Doctorate Board for approval (
            2. Email the Graduate Office with:
              a) a PDF file of your thesis,
              b) a text for the back cover and invitation as a DOC file
              c) propositions in a DOC file, if applicable.
              The text of the back cover should include information or a summary of the dissertation and some lines on the author. Please state in the email whether you want the invitation in bookmark or postcard format.
            3. The Graduate Office will request an ISBN number, arrange proof prints of the thesis, cover and invitation, and add the list of previous dissertations. The proof print of the cover and invitation are sent via email; the proof print of the thesis is a hard copy and can take up to 48 hours (working days) to be made.
            4. Approve the cover and invitation via email or request changes. If you request changes, the Graduate Office will arrange a new proof print that you must approve or disapprove.
            5. Approve the thesis via signing the proof print. If changes are necessary, you must send a new PDF file of the thesis. The Graduate Office will then arrange a new proof print. You must approve the proof print once again or send a new document.
            6. The Graduate Office sends the approved documents to the printing office. The printing office will send 85 copies of the dissertation to the Graduate Office. Printing takes at least 6 working days after you approved the proof print.
            7. The Graduate Office informs you when the thesis is ready. 35 copies will be taken to the doctorate board automatically. They will send these copies to, for instance, your committee members. The other 50 copies will be delivered to the Graduate Office where you can pick them up. The thesis needs to be printed at least 21 days prior to your PhD defense.

            CentER Disseration Series

            PhD dissertations

            PhD dissertations from TiSEM are published in the CentER thesis series. The series started in 1995. In principal all dissertations by CentER PhD's are published in the CentER thesis series, however the Vice-Dean of Research can decide otherwise. The theses are published with the CentER logo. The printing takes place at PrismaPrint.

            CentER Dissertation Series

            The complete CentER thesis series can be found here. Via this page you can also find the online versions of the thesis, which are only accessible if you are a Tilburg University student or employee. If you are interested in a hardcopy or the digital version of one of the theses you can contact the CentER Graduate Office: