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Final theses and final examinations

Terms and conditions for defence of final theses and sitting the final examinations

Defence of theses or sitting final examinations shall be carried out on dates specified in the academic calendar (except for Doctoral theses). The dates specified in the academic calendar are approximate and will be the basis for setting specific dates for defence of theses or sitting final examinations by the respective academic units.

Admission to defence of final theses or to sitting final examinations is granted when students have completed their entire curriculum, i.e. all lectures, seminars, practical work and any other curricular subjects must be completed before admission to defence of a final thesis or sitting a final examination.

Procedure and assessment of defence of final theses and sitting of final examination

The defence of final theses and final examinations shall take place in public before the defence committee. The room and times shall be announced by the respective academic unit a few days before the defence. In addition to the defendant the presence of the reviewer and supervisor is also recommended on the day of defence.

  • The defence of final theses and final examinations shall take place in public before the defence committee. The room and times shall be announced by the respective academic unit a few days before the defence. In addition to the defendant the presence of the reviewer and supervisor is also recommended on the day of defence. In a case where the thesis contains classified information, such as information intended for internal use under the Estonian Public Information Act, the defence of the final thesis may be closed.
  • The results of a final thesis (except for Doctoral theses) or a final examination shall be assessed by a defence committee or an examination committee, supervisor, reviewer and an assessment committee by using verbal assessments ‘excellent’, ‘very good’, ‘good’, ‘satisfactory’, ‘poor’ and alphabetically by using letters ‘A’ to ‘E’. A negative result is ‘fail’ (‘F’). The final result is determined as an average of assessments made by members of the defence committee. Students shall be informed of the results of defence of a thesis or an oral final examination on the day of the defence immediately after preparation of protocols. Students shall be informed of the results of a written final examination within three working days after the examination date. 

Absence from final thesis defence/sitting a final examination without good reason shall be equal to ‘fail’ (‘F’). When a student is absent with a good reason the protocol shall be marked ‘absent’ (‘MI’). Good reasons include an illness or accident. If the student fails to present a medical certificate within three working days, the head of the academic unit shall delete the ‘absent’ mark from the protocol, register a negative result in the protocol and shall confirm the correction with his/her signature.

  • Students absent with a good reason shall have the right to defend their final theses / sit their final examination on a date within the examination session established by the chairman of the committee. 

Students who have been given a negative grade on their final examination or defence of their final thesis shall be exmatriculated. A student has the right to graduate his/her studies as an extern. The second examination/ defence attempt shall be paid for.

  • A final examination may be retaken two times. When a student fails to pass a final examination on the second attempt, before the third attempt he/she shall repeat the studies of his/her major or area of specialisation through the Open University in the capacity prescribed by the respective academic unit.
  • A final thesis may be defended two times. In case of a second attempt the commission shall demand supplementation of the existing thesis or selection of another topic. 

When a student disagrees with the grade received at the defence or wishes to challenge the defence procedure he/she shall have the right to submit a written protest to the head of the academic unit within three working days after the results are announced. The head of the academic unit shall form a three-member commission which shall not include members of the defence committee. The appeal commission shall review the protest and shall submit its decision to the head of the academic unit within ten working days after the day the protest was submitted. The head of the academic unit shall inform the participants and the defence committee of the decision in writing.

Please read more about the process from the Study Regulation.