No doctorate after defence

No doctorate after defence



A Tilburg external PhD student has to undergo a resit. Her thesis had already been approved, but during the public defence – normally a formality – things went wrong. Emeritus professor Jan Vranken strongly criticises (in Dutch) the Dean of the Faculty of Law, who presided over the graduation ceremony. He allegedly undermined the legal position of the doctoral candidate in a ‘rude way’.


However, according to the regulations, it can happen that a dissertation is rejected after the defence, because only then does the doctoral committee decide on awarding the doctorate. The Tilburg University kept quiet for a while, but now recognises (in Dutch) that the course of events is very unusual and disappointing. The university promises that the PhD student will be carefully supervised when she is given a second chance.


In Tilburg, there is a lot of commotion surrounding PhDs. The university has just concluded the case of former dean Arie de Ruyter. He had to answer in court for his lucrative promotion factory’ (in Dutch) and was given community service this summer. This factory ran on the promotion bonus of tens of thousands of euros that universities receive from the government for each doctorate awarded. External PhD students, who are not employed by the university and write their thesis in their own time, were a source of income. Doubtful dissertations were reportedly approved. (HOP, Bas Belleman)


Editor in chief Saskia Bonger

Do you have a question or comment about this article?

Comments are closed.