The completion of the thesis and the ceremony require the necessary preparations. Start in time and read the following tips.


The promotion costs a lot, but can also produce money. Some costs are tax-deductible. The total cost of your promotion depends on a number of factors, including the amount of dissertations, the number of pages in your thesis, the number of people you invite to the reception, party or dinner etc.

Below are some indicative amounts:

  • Dissertation: € 2.000 to € 3.500
  • Clothing: € 150 to € 450
  • Reception: € 350 to € 700
  • Dinner / buffet: € 20 to € 40 per person
  • Party: € 1.200 to € 4.500

The promotion also supplies several benefits. From the university you get a fee for dissertations they received through the ‘Pedel’. Often there is an additional fee because a number of theses should be sent to other universities, etc., the so-called ‘mandatory lists’. Furthermore you can try to obtain subsidies from certain foundations or industry, for example by notifying the companies name in your thesis or by sending them some copies of your thesis. First however inform at you own university whether these kind of alliances are allowed because at some university’s this is explicitly forbidden.

From this year on, the costs of the promotion are tax deductible as training costs. This is because the promotion leads to improvement of the financial position of the PhD candidate. The costs for the ceremony are also deductible, such as the rental of formal wear for yourself and ‘paranimfen’ (Source: Ministry of Finance, 10.02.2004, No CPP2003/2833M). The costs of the reception are no longer deductible starting in 2013. For more information see the website of the IRS.

Before the actual defense of your thesis, there is large number of things that must be arranged. Read here what you should arrange before your defense:

6 months to promotion

  • Read the doctoral regulations and other information related to graduating from your university
  • Fill out first form regarding the promotion (‘declaration of intent’)
  • Establish a commission for reading, evaluating the thesis and opposing, together with your supervisor
  • Gather information from different printers
  • Think about how you want to organize the promotion day, and request information for dinner and / or party

3-4 months to promotion

  • The thesis must be submitted to the reading committee
  • Make an appointment with the ‘Pedel’ and set a date, in consultation with your supervisors, co-supervisor and any foreign opponents (sometimes the date may only be established after approval of the reading committee)
  • After approval of the reading committee a form must be filled out (by the supervisor)
  • Make an appointment with the printer and discuss the layout and possibilities of your thesis
  • Request an ISBN-number for your thesis
  • Obtain funding for your dissertation
  • Around the thesis, including cover, title page (often the approval of the Registrar is required), summaries and acknowledgments
  • Finalize your thesis; cover, title pages, summary.
  • Who are your ‘paranimfen’?
  • Go look at locations for the party and make the final reservation
  • Arrange the reception (information can be gained at your university)

2-1 months to promotion

  • The thesis must go to the printer!
  • Create an address file for the dispatch of your thesis (supervisors, co, opponents, funding agencies, colleagues, contacts outside university, people working in the same field, friends, family, etc.) The ‘Pedel’ often takes a few theses for the professors of your faculty
  • Circulation of theses
  • Buy suitable clothing
  • Arrange a photographer, video recording, sound recording, etc.

The last weeks

  • Reconfirm the arrangements made for the reception, dinner, party and photographer and discuss the details
  • Prepare for your defense by; reading the regulations again (how should you address your opponents?); organize a ‘trial-defense’ with colleagues; read recent and classic articles; read the reviews on your articles; make a list for each chapter of your thesis with strong and weak points; think of possible questions for each chapter

Tips for PhD Candidates

Following a low-point in his own doctoral research, Herman Lelieveldt wrote a book about his experiences promotion, full of tips and warnings for new PhD candidates.

‘‘Promoveren, een wegwijzer voor de beginnend wetenschapper’ (Doctoral research, a guide for the starting scientist’) was published by Aksant Amsterdam (ISBN 90 5260 002 3).