Dissertation defence process

The Dissertation: Defense and Approval Process | Division of Graduate Studies

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Preparing for Dissertation Defense

Box , Jackson, MS The Dissertation: Defense and Approval Process Students in doctoral programs must demonstrate evidence of a high degree of scholarship, competence in scholarly exposition and ability to select, organize and apply knowledge through a dissertation.

Scheduling The chairperson of the committee for the candidate for a doctoral degree, in concurrence with the other members of the committee, shall adhere to the following process. The chairperson then allows other members of the committee to direct questions to the candidate concerning the defense.

First Submission One unbound copy of the dissertation must be presented to the committee. The student will be notified if any revisions are necessary, in a timely manner. If revisions of the manuscript are necessary, the student must incorporate the changes and resubmit.

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Second Submission Submission of a dissertation should not be interpreted as approval. Each section of the proposal meets goals critical not just to a successful proposal defense but to the success of the entire dissertation research endeavor. When you and your faculty advisor agree that the dissertation proposal is complete, you will schedule a proposal defense.

Ideally, your academic program will inform you in advance of the expected timeline. Within this timeline, you will then work with your advisor and committee members to determine a day and time for the defense.


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Institutional norms and policies likely require that the finished proposal be provided to the committee a specific number of days or weeks in advance of the defense. Typically, you should expect to provide at least two weeks lead time prior to the proposal defense Butin, The proposal defense serves two functions. First, the defense allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic and the research process. Second, the defense ensures that you move forward with the dissertation in the strongest possible position. Your chair and committee should make sure you are prepared to complete the study, and that the study is feasible in terms of research design and timeline Lei, In effect, a successful proposal defense and the resulting faculty signatures of approval constitutes an agreement between the student, the chair, and the committee.

For the committee, the agreement codifies that you have done the proper due diligence and can produce a quality dissertation; for you, the approval provides the security of knowing that the committee supports the intended research design and direction.

How To Defend Your Thesis? Top 10 Tips For Success

After setting the defense date and providing a copy of the proposal to the committee, you should prepare for the defense. In most cases, you should not make edits or changes to the proposal after sending it to the committee, even if you notice typographical errors or other small issues.


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The committee takes care and time to read and prepare questions based on the document they receive; making changes after the document is sent defeats this purpose. While you should not change the document itself, you do need spend time preparing your oral remarks for the proposal defense. The final examination must take place no later than eight days prior to the last day of classes of the semester in which the student expects to graduate.

General information

Final examinations may not be scheduled during the period between semesters or between the end of the eight-week summer session and the beginning of the fall semester. Dissertations must be received by your committee two weeks prior to your exam. Your thesis will be checked to ensure that it meets format requirements of the Graduate School.

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