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Thesis defence

N.B.: Thesis defences can be conducted virtually or in person.

Definition of terms

  • The defence of a final thesis consists of two phases:
    • The student’s presentation of a summary of the content of their final thesis. 
          • It is recommended that the presentation of the final thesis should be no longer than 25 minutes in the case of a bachelor's thesis or 30 minutes in the case of a master's thesis.
          • Final theses completed by more than one student must be jointly presented and defended, with each student participating equally.
          • If a bachelor's thesis is intended to demonstrate the generic competency “foreign language”, the thesis must be written in that language and the defence must be conducted in the same language. (This point only applies to students admitted to their bachelor's degree before the 2018-2019 academic year.).
    • The student’s defence of their thesis in response to questions from the examiners.
  • Although its use is not mandatory, it is recommended that the assessment rubric for final theses be considered while preparing a thesis and when it is defended.
  • Master’s thesis presentations are always public (unless this is not possible due to confidentiality restrictions). In the case of bachelor's theses, it is up to the examination committee to decide whether a presentation will be public.
  • Theses completed during a period of study abroad will be defended at the host university in accordance with the regulations that apply to thesis supervision and presentation at that institution.

Organisation of the thesis defence

  • Final theses will be presented remotely by videoconference
    • The chair of the examination committee will notify participants of the videoconference details in advance. It is recommended that this information be sent at least 48 hours before the defence is scheduled to take place
    • Examiners, thesis supervisors, internal examiners and students presenting their final thesis must familiarise themselves with the tools available for the remote defence ahead of time. It is recommended that Google Meet (part of G Suite) be used.
    • It is recommended that all participants join the videoconference five minutes before the scheduled start time. Before the defence starts, the chair of the examination committee must ensure that the student and all of the examiners have joined the meeting.
    • The chair will moderate the videoconference.

Other attendees

  • Anyone who wishes to attend a thesis defence as an audience member must request permission from the chair of the examination committee at least 48 hours before the defence is scheduled to take place. Bear in mind that master’s thesis presentations are always public (unless this is not possible due to confidentiality restrictions). In the case of bachelor's theses, it is up to the examination committee to decide whether a presentation will be public.
  • Audience members will be reminded that they do not have the right to speak or vote and that the chair may expel them from the thesis defence if they do not conduct themselves in a respectful manner. 

Conduct of the thesis defence (in case of virtually defence)

  • Video or sound recording of any part of a thesis presentation is strictly prohibited. In accordance with current data protection and copyright laws, no part of a thesis defence may be published in print, video or audio format. Neither the UPC nor the company subcontracted to provide the videoconferencing service may record any part of a thesis defence.
  • Before a thesis defence starts, the examiners must be able to see the student and all of the audience members (i.e. video must be on for all participants). After the presentation has begun, audience members may turn off their cameras. The chair will decide whether to accept anyone joining the meeting after a thesis defence has started.
  • During the presentation, all of the examiners and audience members must keep their microphones turned off. Only the chair may turn on their microphone to address a particular matter or circumstance (e.g. to modify the time limit, deal with technical problems, etc.).
  • Presentations must be live (i.e. students may not record them in advance). However, at the chair’s discretion, students may use some previously recorded video material to demonstrate practical aspects of their work.
  • At the start of a thesis defence, students must position themselves in front of the camera and introduce themselves. They may then continue the presentation using the audiovisual tools available to them (screen sharing). It is recommended that slides be used for presentations and that students explain their content in an orderly manner, just as they would for an in-person presentation.
  • When a presentation ends, students must position themselves in front of the camera again before the start of the phase in which examiners pose questions.

 Questions from examiners

  • Once a presentation has ended, the examiners will ask questions in an orderly manner and listen to the student’s answers. During this part of the defence, the student should be in front of the camera whenever possible..
  • Audience members may not speak or vote in a thesis defence. Therefore, only examiners may ask questions.

 Conferral among examiners

  • Since discussion among examiners must be secret, they must have a means of conferring confidentially. Two possible solutions:

      • Use Google Meet to set up a second videoconference that is only accessible to the examiners (and to the thesis supervisor concerned at the start of the conferral phase; see below). (1).
      • Remove the student, audience members and thesis supervisor (as the case may be) from the videoconference being used for the thesis defence (2)

  • The thesis supervisor may clarify specific points at the start of the conferral phase. Once the examiners have listened to the thesis supervisor, the latter must leave the videoconference. The examiners will then deliberate in private on the quality of the thesis and the mark to be awarded. 
  • Once they have agreed on a mark (including the recommendation to award a distinction if warranted), the thesis defence will again become public. Depending on the approach used to ensure secrecy in the conferral phase, the examiners will either rejoin the videoconference being used for the thesis defence or instruct the student, thesis supervisor, internal examiner and audience members to rejoin the meeting.
  • With at least the student and the examiners present on screen, the chair will announce the mark awarded.
(1)  It is possible to have two or more Google Meet sessions open – at the same time and on the same computer and browser – with completely independent management of access to the microphone and webcam of the user's computer. It is therefore imperative to check that the microphone and camera are turned off on the public meeting that includes the student and audience members while the examiners are conferring in a separate meeting.
(2) In this case, the examiners must have an alternative method for communicating with the student (phone, instant messaging, e-mail, etc.) so that they can tell them when to rejoin the meeting. Examiners will also need an alternative method for communicating with the thesis supervisor, internal examiner and audience members. . 

For any queries: please contact the EEBE's assistant director of Studies.

Processing of assessment documents

See the section on Duties of the examination committee secretary

 

NOU: adherence to the confidentiality commitment is done through the signature of the Official record of final thesis examination results.