Ph.D. dissertation and defence

Ph.D. dissertation and defence 

The dissertation is the final work for your Ph.D. studies at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University (FA CU). The dissertation demonstrates your ability and readiness to carry out independent activities relating to research and development as well as theoretical work. Hence, your dissertation must contain original and published results or results accepted for publication. In order to defend your dissertation, you are required to pass the State Ph.D. Exam and to complete all study obligations prescribed in the individual curriculum. 


Title, topic, and language of the dissertation 

Registering the dissertation 

The topic of the dissertation for newly accepted students is entered in the Student Information System (SIS) by the PhD Studies Office based on information from the student and their supervisor. The topic should be submitted during the month of September as a part of preparing the Individual Curriculum (IC). 

Required information: 

  1. Topic of dissertation in Czech 
  2. Topic of dissertation in English 
  3. Topic in the language of the dissertation (if this is different than Czech or English) 
  4. Language of the dissertation (if it is not Czech) 
  • The dissertation topic must always be entered in Czech and English and in the language of the dissertation; the title of the dissertation must be entered in the language in which the dissertation is to be submitted. 
  • The dissertation topic is assigned to the student at the time of IC approval by the respective subject-area board. 

Change of topic and title of the dissertation 

  • The dissertation title may specify the topic and can be changed with the consent of the supervisor so that the originally assigned topic of the dissertation remains the same. To change the title, it is sufficient for the supervisor to send an e-mail to the respective study officer with the new title in Czech and English (or also in the language of the dissertation). 
  • The dissertation topic need not be identical to the dissertation title. The topic may be changed only based on a written request of the student, with approval from the subject-area board and supervisor, usually when discussing and approving the evaluation of the IC by the subject-area board. The request must contain the versions of the dissertation topic in Czech and English (or also in the language of the dissertation). 

Language of the dissertation 

  • The IC must specify the language in which the dissertation is to be written (as a rule, a language in which the subject area is accredited). The dissertation may also be written in English or in another language which is justified by the topic of the dissertation. 
  • The language of the dissertation can only be changed based on a written request of the student, which is approved by the subject-area board and supervisor usually when discussing and approving the evaluation of the IC by the subject-area board.

Contents of the dissertation 

The following is a list of required items for your dissertation. The order of the items is set, if not specified otherwise for the specific item. Your discipline could have specific requirements. Please also verify this with your supervisor or department.

1.Title page: 

  • Name of the university and faculty where it was submitted (Charles University, Faculty of Arts; in Czech: Univerzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta), name of the basic unit, name of the programme of study/subject area 
  • The designation “Dissertation” (in Czech: Disertační práce) 
  • Name of the author of the dissertation, including titles 
  • Dissertation title in Czech and English (if the dissertation was written in a language other than Czech or English, the title in that language as well) 
  • Name of supervisor and any advisor 
  • Year of submission 
  • The template for the title page and declaration can be found here: Czech version / English version 

Optional: The university’s insignia may be used on the title page, but only if it complies with the valid rules of the unified visual style of Charles University. More information here. 


2. Declaration of the author on the originality of the dissertation: 

  1. The declaration should be on a separate page immediately after the title page. 
  2. Czech version: “Prohlašuji, že jsem disertační práci napsal/a samostatně s využitím pouze uvedených a řádně citovaných pramenů a literatury a že práce nebyla využita v rámci jiného vysokoškolského studia či k získání jiného nebo stejného titulu.” 
  3. English version: “I hereby declare that I have written this dissertation independently, using only the mentioned and duly cited sources and literature, and that the work has not been used in another university study programme or to obtain the same or another academic title.” 
  4. The declaration must be signed by the author; a valid electronic signature may also be used; if an electronic signature is used for the Czech version, the abbreviation “v.r.” should be added after the name. 

3. Abstract in Czech and English: 

  • If the dissertation was written in a language other than Czech or English, then the abstract may be in this language as well. 

4. Key words in Czech and English, 

5. Contents: 

  • The contents are clearly structured according to the division of the dissertation itself. The content pages are not numbered and do not count towards the overall scope of the dissertation. 

6. Introduction: 

  • The introduction contains the detailed scope of the objectives of the dissertation, the significance of the selected topic, the reasons for selecting the topic, and a description of the methodology. It may also contain a brief annotation of the individual chapters. 
  • The dissertation may also include a survey containing an annotated overview of the principal secondary (and if needed, primary) literature for the topic. The survey does not need to be a separate chapter and may be incorporated into the dissertation or the introduction. 

7. Main text: 

  • The main text of the dissertation should be clearly divided into chapters, sections, and sub-sections. 

8. Conclusion: 

  • The conclusion summarizes the findings and states whether the objectives of the dissertation set out in its introduction have been met. It can also suggest procedures and directions for further research. 

9. Bibliography and other sources: 

  • This contains all cited primary materials. If it is justified to include in the bibliography an overview of secondary literature, these items must be clearly marked. 

10. List of abbreviations: 

  • If abbreviations are used in the dissertation (for journals, texts, etc.), this list must be provided. 

11. Attachments 

12. Method for including notes: 

  • Notes and additional information should be added as footnotes at the bottom of the respective page, not at the end of the text. 
  • When referencing, we recommend citing the first full reference and abbreviating the second and other references. Only in cases where it will be significantly more advantageous, due to the nature of dissertation, should the method of author/year of publication be also used (Freud 1905: 13). 
  • Whatever citation method the student uses, it must be consistent throughout the entire dissertation. 

Scope of the dissertation 

The minimum length of a dissertation is not established. The standard scope recommended for a specific discipline may be consulted with your supervisor. 

Graphic design of the dissertation 

The recommended formal design for dissertations can be found here.  

Dissertation summary  

  • This is a brief summary of the primary results of the dissertation, describing its contribution. 
  • The student submits it in SIS together with the dissertation. 
  • The structure of the summary corresponds to the dissertation: 
  • Heading: Charles University, Faculty of Arts, programme of study, subject area 
  • Title: Summary of dissertation (in Czech: Autoreferát (teze) disertační práce) 
  • Name of the author (and any advisor) 
  • Title of the dissertation in Czech and English 
  • Name of dissertation supervisor 
  • Year of submission 
  • Summary text, including bibliography and references 
  • Student’s publication, academic, or teaching activities 
  • The content requirements for the summary are determined for the individual programmes of study by the respective subject-area boards.

Submitting the dissertation 

  • The dissertation is submitted no later than six month before the end of the maximum period of study. 
  • It is also possible to submit the dissertation during a period of interrupted studies. 
  • Prior to submitting the dissertation, the student is required to enter the keywords in SIS in Czech and English (see manual). 
  • If a student’s dissertation is co-supervised (“cotutelle”), the student is required before submitting the dissertation to check whether their Cotutelle Agreement is valid (i.e. whether the period for completing the studies has not expired) and whether any amendments to the agreement or other changes are valid (e.g. dissertation title, language of submission, place of defence, etc.). If the agreement is not valid or if it does not correspond in content to the submitted dissertation, the student may not be allowed to defend their dissertation as a part of the cotutelle arrangement. 
  • The dissertation in electronic form is uploaded by the student in SIS via the web interface. The date of submission is recorded as the date of submitting the last of the required parts of the dissertation. The procedures for submitting the dissertation in SIS is described in the manuals here or here. 
  • The student may submit corrections to the dissertation record within 15 days of the defence (in the same manner as submitting the dissertation). 
  • Prior to electronic submission in SIS, a preliminary plagiarism check may be performed using the systems and Turnitin. 

Electronic form of the dissertation 

  • The dissertation is submitted in SIS. (The manual is available here) 
  • The submission consists of the following parts: 
  • Dissertation text (in a searchable PDF file, 1a or 2u), 
  • Abstract in Czech 
  • Abstract in English 
  • Dissertation summary, including an overview of publication and professional activities 
  • Any attachments (these may also be included in the dissertation text file) 
  • Other file format besides PDF are permitted; see Rector’s Measure 16/2019. 
  • If an attachment is more than one file. You should save them in a ZIP file and upload it to SIS. 
  • If an attachment exceeds the maximum size, please contact your study officer. 

Exclusion from publication 

  • We highly recommend not including any unpublishable or sensitive personal data in your dissertation. 
  • Only the supervisor may request that the entire dissertation not be published via SIS no later than the date of the defence. 
  • The maximum period of exclusion from publication (or a part thereof) is three years. 

Applying for the defence 

  • After submitting the dissertation in SIS, the student must apply for the defence. We can print out the application for you at the PhD Studies Office. If you cannot pick up the application in person at the office, please send us an e-mail and we will send you the application for signing electronically. 

Physical copies of the dissertation 

  • The submission of physical copies of the dissertation is regulated by the Rules for the Organization of Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Article 32, paragraph 6. 
  • The maximum number of copies is two, and a soft cover ring binder is sufficient. 
  • Submitting physical copies is required based on the instructions of the chair of the subject-area board. If the chair of the subject-area board does not require copies, you do not need to submit them. 
  • With regard to hygienic recommendations, the PhD Studies Office does not require physical copies from students. Students may bring the copies directly to the institute or department. (according to agreement).

Dissertation defence 

Prior to the defence 

After submitting the dissertation, the dean, based on a proposal of the chair of the subject-area board (following a discussion of subject-area board), appoints a committee for the dissertation defence, which then assigns two examiners. The evaluations of the examiners and the supervisor’s statement are available in SIS no later than 15 days before the dissertation defence (SIS will automatically notify the student of their submission). The date of the defence (including the venue) is set by the dean based on a proposal of the chair of the subject-area board. The student is notified electronically of the date and place of the defence via the e-mail address provided in SIS at least 15 days before the defence. 

Students are entitled to one re-sit term. 

Possibilities for holding the dissertation defence 

As a part of the extraordinary measures, it may not be possible to hold your exam completely in person. An alternative to an exam in person is a partially remote exam or a remote exam. The chair of the subject-area board determines the form of the exam according to the current regulations. 

Remote and partially remote exam

  • Takes place in MS Teams 
  • You usually express your consent to a remote exam in the application for the exam. 
  • Partially remote exams are held especially in the following situations (pursuant to Article 9
    of the Code of Study and Examination of CU):

    • a) When the student is present remotely and the board and the public are in person,
    • b) When the student is in person, a part of the board is present remotely, and a part of
      the board and the public are in person, or
    • c) When the student is present remotely, the board is in person, and the public is present
  • Methodology for remote and partially remote state final exams: 

Withdrawal and excuse 

  • If both evaluations of the examiners do not recommend the dissertation for defence, the student is entitled to withdraw from the defence no later than 10 days prior to the date. The withdrawal notice must be sent electronically by this deadline to the supervisor and the chair of the subject-area board. The signed physical copy must be sent to the PhD Studies Office no later than by the date of the defence. Based on this declaration, the defence does not receive a grade. The term of the defence expires. 
  • If, for serious reasons, the student does not show up for the defence and duly justifies the absence and excuses oneself within three days, the dean will allow the defence to take place at the next available term; this term is considered regular. The student sends the excuse to the chair of the committee via the PhD Studies Office. The dean decides on the credibility of the excuse. 
  • If the student does not show up for the defence without withdrawing from it due to non-recommendable evaluations, the student does not have the opportunity to rework the dissertation and must defend it in the same form at the next date of the defence. 

Organization of the defence 

  • The terms for defending dissertations are published on the official notice board. 
  • Defences may take place throughout the year. 
  • Defences are public in nature. 
  • The chair of the committee commences and runs the defence. 
  • The supervisor presents the student and familiarizes the people present with the student’s Ph.D. studies. 
  • The student presents a brief summary of their dissertation lasting approximately 15 minutes (which may also be in the form of a PowerPoint presentation). 
  • The examiners (or the chair of the committee) present the main points of their evaluations. 
  • The student responds to the examiners’ evaluations. 
  • This is followed by a discussion, during which the student answers all questions and reacts to all suggestions from members of the committee, the supervisor, and the examiners. 
  • Following this, the non-public part of the defence is held (without the presence of the student and the public), including voting by the committee on grading. 
  • The results of the defence is publicly disclosed. 
  • If not members of the committee, the supervisor, examiners, and any advisors are always invited to participate in the defence and may participate in an advisory capacity in the discussions of the committee, including its non-public parts. 
  • The minutes-taker is arranged by the Chair of the Board of Examiners. The minutes are entered in SIS, module State final exam – protocols. 
  • In the event of the grade “fail”, the dissertation defence committee justifies this grade so that the reasons are clearly presented and so that the grade may be reviewed. The committee also notifies the student of the possibility to comment on the grade and its justification in the defence protocol and records the student’s statement in the protocol. The student has the right to modify or supplement this statement within three days of the defence. 

After the defence 

  • The day of completion of studies is considered to be the day of the dissertation defence, and from that day, graduates have the right to use the university title “Ph.D.”. 
  • Diplomas are awarded at graduation ceremonies, which could take place even several months after completing one’s studies. At the request of the graduate, the PhD Studies Office will issue a confirmation of completion of studies as a temporary document. 
  • As part of preparing materials for printing the diploma, graduates are invited by the PhD Studies Office to send information on publishing activities that they wish to be included in the diploma supplement. 
  • Information on graduation ceremonies is published on the university’s website. 
  • After a successful defence, the dissertation (including attachments), evaluations, and minutes of the defence are published in Charles University’s repository of theses, unless postponement of publication has been approved. 
  • If the defence received a grade of “fail”, the student has the opportunity (taking into account the maximum period of study) to rework the dissertation according to the recommendations of the defence committee and the examiners’ evaluations and to re-apply for the defence. A repeated defence may take place at the earliest six months after the previous defence.

Additional information 

Providing contributions to travel expenses in connection with dissertation defences  

  • A contribution is provided to the supervisor of the Ph.D. student, the chair and members of the committee for the dissertation defence, the dissertation examiners (who do not have an employment contract with the Faculty of Arts, Charles University). The rules are valid from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2021. 
  • The rules for providing a contribution are regulated by dean’s measures. 
  • Dean’s Measure no. 2/2015 – Rules for providing a contribution to travel expenses to students and other people not employed by the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague 
  • Dean’s Measure no. 1/2019 – Rules for providing a contribution to travel expenses to certain persons contributing to Ph.D. programmes of study, procedures for the granting of associate professorship, and procedures for the appointment of a full professor at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020 
  • Administration is handled by the PhD Studies Office. 



Ph.D. Studies Office

nám. Jana Palacha 1/2, 116 38 Praha 1


 Office hours

Outside of office hours only by appointment

Tuesday 09:00 – 12:00
Wednesday 14:00 – 17:00
Thursday 14:00 – 16:00

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