You thought you had done everything but you forgot to get the bin out!

What to do when you think you have finished everything?

This works the same for your thesis. You are sure you have finished it – read you have submitted your last manuscript to your supervisors – however there is still a lot of work to do.

What still needs to be done

Fat chance you still have to check all your literature references, which will cost you a lot of time. Have you added the latest comments of your supervisors?

You have to make sure your printed manuscript is distributed to the right persons. And hopefully the reading committee doesn’t come back with lots of comments. Make sure you plan some time to integrate these comments.

Then the hard work commences: writing the summary, foreword or acknowledgements, design the cover of your manuscript. Maybe suggest some hypotheses. Arrange the final date. Prepare your manuscript for printing. Some printers are specialised in printing theses, they have some handy checklists. Request an ISBN number. And didn’t they mention a symposium once all the Committee members are present? To organise this will take up a lot of time. Do you have any influence on who will be appointed in the Committee? You will have to send the invitations sooner than later.

Make sure you know which procedures your University has for these last couple of months. Every University has more information on its website. Check the University of Amsterdam for instance. Or check the Beadle’s Office.

Last but not least the preparation of your defence. Check out if your University organises ‘test academic ceremonies’ or organise one yourself with your assistants. Check with your supervisor if you are not sure about something and talk with other PhD students who have just completed their defence ceremony. Make a visit to other defence ceremonies just to taste what is waiting for you. Make sure you know everything on the actual ceremony. This can vary per University.


 You are ready when you’re ready – what needs to happen prior to your doctorate


Last but not least the organisation of the actual day. Who are you going to invite? Perhaps you have to prepare your introductory speech, so called lay speech. Have you booked the ceremony rooms, made the reservations for dinner afterwards?

The costs

Ask PNN about the costs and maybe your University has some grants for certain costs. Don’t forget to inquire.

And now?

Open a new document on your computer and start with a script for this last phase of your PhD. It will be very beneficial for you.


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