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Preparing for your Thesis or Dissertation Defense

The Graduate College requires a final oral examination (also called a defense) for all master’s and doctoral students who are completing a thesis or dissertation as a culminating activity. Please consult the Graduate Catalog for a complete reference of regulations pertaining to the defense. This checklist is designed to be a helpful guide as you plan for your defense.

  • Members of the Defense Committee – Ensure that your Defense Committee is identical to your Supervisory Committee as listed on your Appointment of Supervisory Committee Form.
  • Set Time and Place –  Work with your advisor or program coordinator to set a time and place for your defense. Schedule your defense as soon as reasonable to ensure you are able to provide your committee enough time to review your work and to ensure you will be able to meet all deadlines from your department and the Graduate College.
  • Defense Notice – Complete and submit the Graduate Defense Notification Form.  Announcement of the public presentation to the university community is required and should precede the presentation by at least two weeks.
  • Remote Link – It is becoming more common for faculty members and external examiners serving on defense committees to participate using a remote link, such as via Skype.
  • Distribute Copies – Provide copies of your completed thesis/dissertation to the members of your committee as required by your department, typically at least two weeks prior to your defense. (Consult with your department for exact requirements regarding the time needed for review by the committee and advisor prior to the defense date.)
  • Approval Pages – Prepare the Defense Committee Approval to bring with you to your defense.  Use the appropriate template (Defense Committee Approval – THESIS OR Defense Committee Approval – DISSERTATION) to prepare the Defense Committee Approval page to exact specifications.  Print one copy on standard white paper and bring to your defense. Your committee must sign in blue or black ink.