The Fourth Year

In their fourth year, PhD students typically finish their PhD dissertation. Some information and hints about the process and the procedures of completing your dissertation.


In their fourth year, PhD students typically finish their PhD dissertation. On this page we provide information and additional references about the process of completing the dissertation. If you have more questions, don't hesitate to contact the LUCL Office and/or your promotor or supervisor.

Obtaining the your PhD degree involves a number of formal steps:

  • finishing the manuscript and obtaining approval by the reading committee;
  • publishing your dissertation;
  • the actual defence.

The website of the Faculty of Humanities provides a complete description of all steps leading to the PhD defence (in Dutch).

Publishing your dissertation

All LUCL dissertations are eligible for publication in the LOT Dissertation series, which provides maximum exposure and easy ordering for linguistic dissertations defended at one of the institutes participating in LOT. Interested people can read your dissertation on the web and order a relatively cheap copy online. If you have other plans for publishing your dissertation, you may be eligible for a grant from LUCL for doing so; contact the LUCL Office well in time.

If your dissertation appears in the LOT Dissertation series, LUCL pays the bill for 105 copies of your dissertation (but not for other costs, such as extra copies, colour print, and schijndissertaties) provided this has been approved within six months after your contract expired. If you wish to order extra copies of your dissertation, the cheapest way is to do this with the first batch.

Note that you are required to hand in a number of copies in various places:

  • 27 copies to the pedel (minus the copies you have already sent to the promotor(s) and committee members);
  • 5 copies to the University Library (inter-university exchange of dissertations);
  • 3 copies to the LUCL Office (representational copies);
  • an electronic version of your dissertation to the University Library (see the instructions).

In exchange for paying the bill for 105 dissertations, LUCL claims the subsidy (EUR 500) from the library for the electronic version of your dissertation. You should indicate this on form VI, or ask LUCL to send in this form for you. Your dissertation will be accessible online, in the Open Access repository. If your dissertation might be published with a commercial publisher, you can block (parts of) the dissertation from being publically accessible.

When the text of your dissertation is approaching the final version, contact LOT to set the process in motion, and notify the LUCL Office. You can also contact LOT earlier to get information about the optimal layout of your dissertation, or to discuss special wishes. They will send you a contract in which you can read the particulars of publishing your dissertation in the series, which you need to sign and return to them.

You will be required to provide the camera-ready version of your dissertation (in PDF format) yourself. LOT has prepared guidelines in a document which they will send you on request; you can also look at earlier dissertations in the series. For the cover, you can select a picture of your own choice, respecting the LOT guidelines. You will be asked to approve an online and a hardcopy version of the dissertation before production starts and the books are delivered. You can ask the books to be delivered to the LUCL Office.

It is very important to allow ample time for the production of the dissertation. The office of the pedel requires copies of your dissertation to be there three weeks before the actual defence date. LOT needs to receive the final and complete PDF version of the dissertation 25 working days before this pedel date to produce the online version, and to check, print and deliver the books.

The actual defence

The actual defence is a 45-minute ceremony in the Academy Building (Rapenburg) in which the PhD candidate is asked questions about the dissertation by members of the defence committee. The candidate is allowed to have two assistants (paranimfen), who have a largely ceremonial function, but would theoretically also be allowed to answer questions. Formal dress is customary. After the defence has taken place, the candidate receives the PhD diploma and the promotor gives a short speech on the qualities of the dissertation. The ceremony is videotaped and you receive a copy of the tape. After the defence, there is usually a short reception and/or a party.

The official Doctoral regulations and procedure give a full desciption.

Last Modified: 16-11-2015