Steps to Get Ready for a Dissertation Defense

When the dissertation committee leader is happy with your dissertation and gives you the go-ahead to prepare for the final presentation, they will give a copy of your manuscript to the rest of the committee members. It normally happens at least 14 days before the final defense. The chair will also schedule the defense hearing with the committee members. These committee members should be flexible enough to allow time for your presentation. You should submit your final dissertation results and exam grades at least 14 days before the graduation day in most institutions. Now, the final defense entails many processes, and you must do everything required of you.

The final defense steps include:

  1. Sit with your chair and set a convenient time and date for the final defense. Then the chair will submit the dissertation abstract and title to the program office for campus announcement.
  2. The program office will allocate and reserve you a location for the defense. The office will also book an appointment with the committee members and give notice of defense to the graduate school.
  3. The chair retains the responsibility to have a private session with you to prepare for the final defense. The rest of the committee members will also contribute to your final defense presentation. The institution will provide you with all the equipment such as internet access, a projector, and a computer.
  4. During the final defense, the program advisor/director outlines the defense process, and the chair will introduce the committee. If you are wondering how long is a dissertation defense, it should take approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes for your oral defense. It should not exceed forty-five minutes. Your family members and friends can attend your dissertation defense.
  5. After you present your defense, the committee will open up the opportunity for questions concerning your dissertation. The chair remains the moderator of the entire proceedings.
  6. After addressing all the questions, the guest will be asked to leave. Then you and the committee will have a private session.
  7. After the private session, you will leave the committee member to deliberate on the defense. After the deliberation is complete, they will call only you for feedback.

Defense final evaluation

There are only three outcomes that you will get, and they fail, re-examined, or pass. You will pass if most committee members agree that your defense meets all the dissertation proposal requirements. However, even with a pass, you might need to make some slight modifications to your final copy of the dissertation if need be.

The re-examination result shows that a couple of the members have some reservations about your dissertation. The committee members will provide you with a list of all the improvements and modifications they need you to do and set a date to come and do the defense again. The re-examination can happen within the same or subsequent semesters, but it is up to the graduate school dean and the dissertation committee to decide.

The fail result implies that majority of the committee member was not impressed and your dissertation is of low quality. It also indicates that your dissertation does not meet the doctoral level academic performance standards. If you fail, you might request a re-evaluation of your dissertation through the program director and the dissertation committee chair.