How to apply for your PhD defense

This page describes the steps that need to be taken to apply for your thesis defense (Pruefungsanmeldung). Disclaimer: This information is based on previous experience of Gabriela and Michele.

Preparing the Pruefungsanmeldung

Main source of information is the dedicated web page of the Dekanat:

  • You should check this webpage to know the deadlines you have to follow depending on when you think to do the thesis defense. These deadlines are quite restrictive, so check them early.
  • This page also lists all required forms and instructions for the thesis, including the "Antrag als Koreferent". This form has to be handed in to the Studienleitung, not to the Dekanat directly. The Studienleitung will then pass it to the Dekanat. To figure out who is responsible for the Studienleitung, see Furthermore, you have to provide CVs of the external examiner and reviewer (see below for a definition of "examiner/reviewer"). In case that the person is a professor from a not so well known university, you should also bring a confirmation that the examiner is really a professor.

External reviewer, examiner, and Vorsitz

You need an external examiner in your committee. He/she should read your thesis, suggest changes, and come to the exam. You must also have an external reviewer (Koreferent) for your thesis. He/she should read your thesis, suggest changes and write the review report, the so-called Koreferat (see also: How to prepare a Koreferat). This task is coordinated by your advisor(s). The external reviewer does not need to come to the exam. Normally, however, the external reviewer and the external examiner are the same person! The required forms are mentioned above (see "Antrag als Koreferent"). Note, the Koreferat must be signed and handed in as a hardcopy, i.e., calculate some time before you get it. The Vorsitzender der Pruefung is the president of your examination committee. This should be another INF professor (i.e., not your supervisor). Make sure someone suitable is willing and available for your PhD defense.

Antrag als Koreferent

"Antrag als Koreferent" form should be filled in as soon as you agree upon the date of the defense and book the room. Officially, it should be done one year before the defense.

Booking the date and the room

Please start early to book a date and a time when everyone (including the Vorsitz) is available. Be sure to book at least 90 minutes (the default is 60 minutes, which is not really enough). If possible, try to book room 001, Engehaldestrasse 8. Book a two-hour slot. Reservation does not go through Mr. Wyss anymore, but the Hörraumreservationszentrum HRZ Hauptgeaeude.

Registration at the Dekanat

You have to register for the PhD exam about six weeks before the defense. However, I suggest to do this much earlier to make sure that all forms are ok and to know the deadline to hand in the thesis and reviews. For the registration follow the instructions on the web page of the Dekanat (requires to fill in couple of forms and pay a fee of CHF 300).

Some remarks regarding the forms:

  • Angabe über den Modus der Doktorprüfung: In this document you have to fill in who are your Examinator/innen, but they have only 3 lines (and also they can only fill in 3 lines in the electronic form in the Dekanat system). Don’t laugh! If you have more than 3 people, use obviously each line for more than one person, and clarify this situation with the Dekanat secretary.
  • Immatrikulationsnachweis: For non Bernese diplomas, they will also ask you to pay the semesters that you were not an official PhD University Student but you have already started. Example: If you have arrived in october 2000, and after the equivalences process you are an ’official PhD student’ in october 2001 (and started paying WS 2001/2002), they will ask you also to pay the WS 2000/2001 and SS 2001.
  • Phil.-nat.-Diplom (Kopie) oder anderer als gleichwertig anerkannter Ausweis: For non-Bernese diplomas, the letter you once got that says that your diploma has been accredited as being equivalent to a Bernese diploma. (So, do not give the original of this letter away, not even to the Immatrikulationsdienste. However, if you don’t have it anymore, the Dekanat still has a copy of it in their administration anyway).

Electronic version of your thesis

Please follow these guidelines. (NB: cached versions are also here). To deliver your copy, go to Hochschulstrasse 6 and ask to talk to the person responsible for the library publications (office in the last floor).

Handing in your thesis at the Dekanat

The deadline to hand in the thesis and reviews usually is 3-4 weeks before the defense. Check with the Dekanat for the exact date! It has to be on a Tuesday and if this Tuesday is a holiday, it has to be on a (non-holiday ;) Tuesday before this Tuesday.

See the detailed schedule.

That day you have to hand in 4 copies of your thesis to the Dekanat. (NB: it used to be 5 copies; this changed in Oct. 2016.) Furthermore, the Dekanat requires the Beurteilung and Korreferat, which your advisor will directly hand in (these papers include a number of copies: 10 copies of the Beurteilung and 10 copies of the Koreferat). Make sure that you update the name of the dean on the title page of your thesis, it changes every now and then (the name of the current dean can be found on the Phil-Nat website).

Be sure to give a physical copy to the Chair (Vorstand) before the defence.

Providing a copy to the University library

You should also provide a hard copy to the ExWi library and you should give your consent to publish the electronic version on the University web site.


After your PhD has been granted, you should consider registering it with the SIGSOFT Dissertation list, Software Evolution PhD list, and the Softwaretechnik Dissertation list.

Last updated:

Last changed by oscar on 17 October 2017