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Pointers to Defending a Ph.D. Thesis or Dissertation

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Handbook of Graduate Supervision

What is a thesis?
Thesis defense rehearsal
Thesis & Dissertation . Defense

Each professor from the Committee asks questions on average which means that you will be hit by questions. Here comes the best part. And here we go again. After that you forget what your name is but instead of going to sleep for 5 days you have to go for an official dinner that you pay for with all 9 members of the Committee and continue the chit-chat for like forever.

All mentors become douchebags in our eyes at one point or another during our doctorate, it is their job. With that said, I present in 21 days.

I really want to reread my thesis, but every-time I do I find errors. Ack it is soooo discouraging, just silly typos! It is already turned in. It is driving me nuts, I reread the thing a million times and still more typos!!!

Not a confidence builder at this point. I am defending in three days. I am freaking out! I have a committee of four and two of them read and approved my last few chapters and suggested that I move forward.

As soon as I set up a defense date, another committee member suggested that I had not gone deep enough and would be hesitant to sign off on my defense for graduation. Needless to say, my three allotted weeks turned into just four days because I had to rewrite the last three chapters. And I have the same problem of re-reading my thesis and finding errors. It is a necessity though. Omg I totally know the feeling. I dread re-reading that thing!

God knows what other dumplings of stress will unveil themselves. Hi all, Thanks Ryan Raver a lot for your tips.

I am preparing for the defense in 1 week. You tips help me forcus on sometihings important. I really appreciate it. Victoria, you hit the nail on the head about how re-reading the dissertation is such a confidence killer because of the typo errors that never seem to go away.

I will be presenting my final defense in exactly four days from today. I am not fully ready but hope to be ready by that day.

The reason I came across this blog is to find out defense presentation tips because I have a problem with losing my train of thoughts whenever I panic and I think it is because I am not used to public speaking. I agree with some of the tips here but to read through the dissertation to prepare for the defense seems unnecessary unless you did not use it to create your PowerPoint or unless you completed it a long time ahead of your defense.

I think the best thing is to create your PowerPoint, notes and go over those over and over rather than your dissertation. I did not realize how time-consuming it is to complete the dissertation. The last few months were the busiest and one can continue to add, delete, change something for years and still find errors. Thanks for the write-up. The tips are well structured and appear to be very useful. It helps me a lot in my presentation. I actually wore an adult diaper in case I had to …..

But the day before my defense I do not at it. This give me time to let it settle and I can relax. Remember, YOU are the expert on your subject. Someone mentioned use cartoons, I did exactly that, drove home the point, and everyone remembered it. I always, in teaching, speaking, strictly adhere to the K. Leave them wanting more.

Yes this is the culmination of years of work. Work you did, and no one knows you subject as well as you. Be relaxed and prepared. Also, your mentors job it to bring out the best in you, and have you prepared as much as possible. Be professional and present well.

Thank you so much for this post. I learned a lot. I am about to have my proposal defense for my doctoral dissertation on Saturday. This article helped me back in October when I defended my proposal and now I find myself here again just two days before my final defense. Thank you for the helpful tips!! Thanks for the post. I am writing my thesis for defence in March.

I was confident in presentation but this time my heart beats faster and faster when thinking about Mar. I will keep these tips in mind and well-prepare my defence. Really encouraging and useful. My defense is later this month. I just heard tonight. Definitely going to read and re-read my thesis — and hit the gym!

God, how I want this to be over with!! Time limit is exhausted. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Grad Student Advice Series. Comments Hally-Joe Zak says: August 11, at August 13, at August 12, at 5: May 14, at 3: July 2, at 8: October 24, at 4: November 3, at 7: December 19, at 6: You might actually be asked to demonstrate certain details on a blank transparency, to support your arguments. Likewise, you may not have to say, "Is there a pen somewhere?

I wish I can write it all out for you. The old adage "Practice makes perfect" still holds. Gather some friends and classmates to do the "mock orals" for you. Allow any of them to depict the questioning style of your committee members, and do the practice as realistically as possible.

Your final hints to your potential performance can be gauge from here. When permissible, request for two or three sessions and consider the suggestions and key improvements each time. To a large extent, your own group can best decide on whether or not you will eventually succeed.

From this point onward, you are on your own. After all, the decision to succeed or not still is your own. Now, it is the right time to work out on you psychological conditioning. The following pointers may serve as your inspiration to manage any remaining fear and ensure a smooth defense:. Do you have any reason to expect what can possibly go wrong? You had years of studying your subject. You have addressed many issues and queries along the way.

And, you know you are still in command of your thesis. What then can be more assuring on your part? Did you complete your preparations from planning to "mock orals"?

Did you receive a final nod from your friends and classmates? Was your main advisor happy about this? If so, do you have further reasons to harbor any fear? Remember what failure means. Your years of stay in school have been expensive. You will not like paying for the same real estate twice.

You would rather like a job that earns you a better livelihood or push you to a higher degree or accomplishment. Simply, you cannot afford to be ruined by mere fear of one examination! Finally, all humans fear- yes, your committee members included!

By delivering your thesis to colleagues or trusted friends, you can obtain feedback that helps you improve upon your presentation abilities. To accomplish this objective, the dry run audience needs to be proficient in:. When you defend your thesis, examiners will ask questions based on the information you present. To ensure that you perform well during this portion of the presentation, it is important that you try to anticipate the types of questions that will be asked.

For example, if you are defending a thesis regarding why meat consumption is unethical, an examiner might ask you whether the presence of humane factory farms delegitimate your primary arguments.

By anticipating the questions that examiners are likely to ask, you gain the opportunity to formulate clear, articulate responses that will strengthen your presentation. While there are several aspects of graduate-level learning that can facilitate personal growth and intellectual development, defending a thesis can be particularly effective in generating these outcomes. Now that you have a basic understanding of what defending a thesis involves and how to do it well, you can move forward with confidence in the completion of this academic project.

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Defending a real thesis is hard. If you think you have a lot of theses, you probably just have a bunch of undefended claims. One good thesis, or two so-so theses, with adequate description and defense, is more than enough to fill up a dissertation.

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Thesis writing is one of the most important and challenging tasks you will encounter as a graduate student, and the thesis defense is the culmination of that process. The thesis defense procedure may vary from college to college but generally you will be expected to announce your thesis defense appointment in your graduate department, and your committee is likely to meet before and after your .

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The thesis is typically the final aspect of attaining a master’s degree while individuals who complete a dissertation do so to obtain a doctoral degree. Defending a Thesis-The Basics. Individuals who write a graduate-level thesis will almost always be required to defend a thesis. All doctoral programs and some master's programs require students to defend their theses before they can graduate. If you are a master's student, you should check with your graduate program to find out whether you are required to defend your thesis.

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Rather, the thesis defense is designed so that faculty members can ask questions and make sure that students actually understand their field and focus area. Defending a thesis largely serves as a formality because the paper will already have been evaluated. However, the most important defense is the dissertation defense which comes at the end of a long and arduous process and which may have unfolded over a number of years. The dissertation defense is a significant milestone signaling closure on your graduate student career.