Make the oral bachelor defense on CBS 2021 on campus! Sign the letter to the management of CBS

Make the oral bachelor defense on CBS 2021 on campus! Sign the letter to the management of CBS:


Dear Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, President of Copenhagen Business School, and Gregor Halff, Dean of Education and Bitta Nielsen, Director of Studies

On behalf of the undersigned CBS bachelor students defending their bachelor’s theses in June 2021, we ask the CBS management to reconsider the decision that the oral bachelor defense should take place online. Not only is it feasible to carry out the defense physically on campus in a responsible manner, it would also have major adverse consequences for the students not to do so. 

Below we state the precautions and measures that would enable us to carry out the exams on site and the reasons why this should be of the highest priority. 

  • An on-campus oral bachelor defense constitutes a better method of assessment than an online defense for several reasons. There is a reason, after all, that bachelor defenses are normally carried out in a physical setting. Perhaps most obviously, effective communication is more difficult online. One major reason is that non-verbal language, which is essential in communication, is considerably impaired in an online setting. With the heightened risk for e.g. missing nuances in a question and having one’s statements and responses misinterpreted, we as students will struggle to feel as comfortable in the exam situation. As a result, we strongly believe that the bachelor defense will take place under significantly inferior conditions than usual, leading to worse outcomes for this student cohort.
  • The recent political agreement regarding the reopening effective from May 21st  permits “50 percent onsite attendance for students enrolled in higher education”. As we will have no other onsite teaching, an onsite oral defense would keep us way below this limit. 
  • Using the ‘corona passport’, the risk of contamination is reduced to a minimum, meaning that it should be responsible to have an onsite exam. If there is any doubt, we refer to all the other activities currently happening in our society, such as restaurant eating and large-scale indoor cultural and sports events.
  • An oral bachelor defense involves only very few people at a time, why the risk of contamination is minimal.
  • If needed, it would be possible to install necessary precautions such as a large plastic sheet as a shield between the student and the examiners. We also refer to the large class rooms of CBS which are ideal to accomodate any distance requirements.
  • If, for any reason, some students are unable to present the ‘corona passport’ on the exam day, it would be straightforward for them to shift their defense online as we are very familiar with the technical aspects of online teaching by now. Similarly, this option could still be available for students who, for whatever reason, prefer to hold the bachelor defense online.
  • Lastly, we believe that it is our turn to be prioritized. As you know, this lockdown has in particular affected our cohort of students at CBS as virtually half of our bachelor degree has been conducted online. Moreover, the bachelor defense is traditionally of high importance to students academically, symbolically and emotionally as the academic culmination of the degree. We would be incredibly grateful for the management recognising this unique opportunity for us to finish our bachelor’s degree in a proper way.


Thank you very much for your time. We look forward to hearing from you.


Signe Macholm Müller, Laura Birkegaard, Selma Babette Søgaard, Gabriella Marie Burns-Tang and Pernille Dyrby Thomassen.    Contact the author of the petition