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How to prepare an excellent thesis defense

Thesis defence

What is a thesis defense?

How long is a thesis defense, what happens at a thesis defense, your presentation, questions from the committee, 6 tips to help you prepare for your thesis defense, 1. anticipate questions and prepare for them, 2. dress for success, 3. ask for help, as needed, 4. have a backup plan, 5. prepare for the possibility that you might not know an answer, 6. de-stress before, during, and after, frequently asked questions about preparing an excellent thesis defense, related articles.

If you're about to complete, or have ever completed a graduate degree, you have most likely come across the term "thesis defense." In many countries, to finish a graduate degree, you have to write a thesis .

A thesis is a large paper, or multi-chapter work, based on a topic relating to your field of study.

Once you hand in your thesis, you will be assigned a date to defend your work. Your thesis defense meeting usually consists of you and a committee of two or more professors working in your program. It may also include other people, like professionals from other colleges or those who are working in your field.

During your thesis defense, you will be asked questions about your work. The main purpose of your thesis defense is for the committee to make sure that you actually understand your field and focus area.

The questions are usually open-ended and require the student to think critically about their work. By the time of your thesis defense, your paper has already been evaluated. The questions asked are not designed so that you actually have to aggressively "defend" your work; often, your thesis defense is more of a formality required so that you can get your degree.

  • Check with your department about requirements and timing.
  • Re-read your thesis.
  • Anticipate questions and prepare for them.
  • Create a back-up plan to deal with technology hiccups.
  • Plan de-stressing activities both before, and after, your defense.

How long your oral thesis defense is depends largely on the institution and requirements of your degree. It is best to consult your department or institution about this. In general, a thesis defense may take only 20 minutes, but it may also take two hours or more. The length also depends on how much time is allocated to the presentation and questioning part.

Tip: Check with your department or institution as soon as possible to determine the approved length for a thesis defense.

First of all, be aware that a thesis defense varies from country to country. This is just a general overview, but a thesis defense can take many different formats. Some are closed, others are public defenses. Some take place with two committee members, some with more examiners.

The same goes for the length of your thesis defense, as mentioned above. The most important first step for you is to clarify with your department what the structure of your thesis defense will look like. In general, your thesis defense will include:

  • your presentation of around 20-30 minutes
  • questions from the committee
  • questions from the audience (if the defense is public and the department allows it)

You might have to give a presentation, often with Powerpoint, Google slides, or Keynote slides. Make sure to prepare an appropriate amount of slides. A general rule is to use about 10 slides for a 20-minute presentation.

But that also depends on your specific topic and the way you present. The good news is that there will be plenty of time ahead of your thesis defense to prepare your slides and practice your presentation alone and in front of friends or family.

Tip: Practice delivering your thesis presentation in front of family, friends, or colleagues.

You can prepare your slides by using information from your thesis' first chapter (the overview of your thesis) as a framework or outline. Substantive information in your thesis should correspond with your slides.

Make sure your slides are of good quality— both in terms of the integrity of the information and the appearance. If you need more help with how to prepare your presentation slides, both the ASQ Higher Education Brief and James Hayton have good guidelines on the topic.

The committee will ask questions about your work after you finish your presentation. The questions will most likely be about the core content of your thesis, such as what you learned from the study you conducted. They may also ask you to summarize certain findings and to discuss how your work will contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

Tip: Read your entire thesis in preparation of the questions, so you have a refreshed perspective on your work.

While you are preparing, you can create a list of possible questions and try to answer them. You can foresee many of the questions you will get by simply spending some time rereading your thesis.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your thesis defense:

You can absolutely prepare for most of the questions you will be asked. Read through your thesis and while you're reading it, create a list of possible questions. In addition, since you will know who will be on the committee, look at the academic expertise of the committee members. In what areas would they most likely be focused?

If possible, sit at other thesis defenses with these committee members to get a feel for how they ask and what they ask. As a graduate student, you should generally be adept at anticipating test questions, so use this advantage to gather as much information as possible before your thesis defense meeting.

Your thesis defense is a formal event, often the entire department or university is invited to participate. It signals a critical rite of passage for graduate students and faculty who have supported them throughout a long and challenging process.

While most universities don't have specific rules on how to dress for that event, do regard it with dignity and respect. This one might be a no-brainer, but know that you should dress as if you were on a job interview or delivering a paper at a conference.

It might help you deal with your stress before your thesis defense to entrust someone with the smaller but important responsibilities of your defense well ahead of schedule. This trusted person could be responsible for:

  • preparing the room of the day of defense
  • setting up equipment for the presentation
  • preparing and distributing handouts

Technology is unpredictable. Life is too. There are no guarantees that your Powerpoint presentation will work at all or look the way it is supposed to on the big screen. We've all been there. Make sure to have a plan B for these situations. Handouts can help when technology fails, and an additional clean shirt can save the day if you have a spill.

One of the scariest aspects of the defense is the possibility of being asked a question you can't answer. While you can prepare for some questions, you can never know exactly what the committee will ask.

There will always be gaps in your knowledge. But your thesis defense is not about being perfect and knowing everything, it's about how you deal with challenging situations. You are not expected to know everything.

James Hayton writes on his blog that examiners will sometimes even ask questions they don't know the answer to, out of curiosity, or because they want to see how you think. While it is ok sometimes to just say "I don't know", he advises to try something like "I don't know, but I would think [...] because of x and y, but you would need to do [...] in order to find out.” This shows that you have the ability to think as an academic.

You will be nervous. But your examiners will expect you to be nervous. Being well prepared can help minimize your stress, but do know that your examiners have seen this many times before and are willing to help, by repeating questions, for example. Dora Farkas at finishyourthesis.com notes that it’s a myth that thesis committees are out to get you.

Two common symptoms of being nervous are talking really fast and nervous laughs. Try to slow yourself down and take a deep breath. Remember what feels like hours to you are just a few seconds in real life.

  • Try meditational breathing right before your defense.
  • Get plenty of exercise and sleep in the weeks prior to your defense.
  • Have your clothes or other items you need ready to go the night before.
  • During your defense, allow yourself to process each question before answering.
  • Go to dinner with friends and family, or to a fun activity like mini-golf, after your defense.

Allow yourself to process each question, respond to it, and stop talking once you have responded. While a smile can often help dissolve a difficult situation, remember that nervous laughs can be irritating for your audience.

We all make mistakes and your thesis defense will not be perfect. However, careful preparation, mindfulness, and confidence can help you feel less stressful both before, and during, your defense.

Finally, consider planning something fun that you can look forward to after your defense.

It is completely normal to be nervous. Being well prepared can help minimize your stress, but do know that your examiners have seen this many times before and are willing to help, by repeating questions for example if needed. Slow yourself down, and take a deep breath.

Your thesis defense is not about being perfect and knowing everything, it's about how you deal with challenging situations. James Hayton writes on his blog that it is ok sometimes to just say "I don't know", but he advises to try something like "I don't know, but I would think [...] because of x and y, you would need to do [...] in order to find out".

Your Powerpoint presentation can get stuck or not look the way it is supposed to do on the big screen. It can happen and your supervisors know it. In general, handouts can always save the day when technology fails.

  • Dress for success.
  • Ask for help setting up.
  • Have a backup plan (in case technology fails you).
  • Deal with your nerves.

master's thesis defense length

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Thesis Defense Steps: Full Guide How to Prepare and Present

Thesis Defense Steps: Full Guide How to Prepare and Present

How To Prepare For Your Thesis Defense

How To Prepare For Your Thesis Defense

If you are conducting post-graduate research within your discipline, you will come across the phrase “thesis defense”. A thesis defense is part of the things you will need to accomplish before acquiring a postgraduate degree. 

The thesis defense comes at the end of the graduate program. It is used to determine or define your education milestone while in the university. For this, you need a thesis defense comprehensive guide to be outstanding.

master's thesis defense length

You should do a thesis defense after you have completed the course work and attended practicum or internship programs.

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How Long does a Thesis Defense Take?

On average, a thesis defense takes somewhere between 30 minutes and one hour. However, the time it takes to do a thesis defense depends on the academic level you are in.

While there is no standard or general length for a thesis defense, post-graduate sessions will take longer compared to undergraduate sessions.

Yes, some institutions, professors, or some disciplines may require you to do a thesis defense at your undergraduate level. But the length of the presentation depends on your academic level.

What is Thesis Defense?

Defending your thesis

A thesis defense is an act of presenting your academic work to a panel or committee of professors and other involved scholars. From this, they can gauge or grade your abilities in presenting your work.

The arguments presented during the thesis defense are to ascertain that you have understood the course and your selected topic.

You will have to first hand in your work or paper to the professor for grading. Thereafter, you will be summoned for thesis defense.

When summoned for a thesis defense, you will be required to answer all the questions presented to you by the panel of professors. After this, you will be required to leave the room. The panel is to decide whether your paper or thesis is ready for publication. In addition, the panel checks whether your work needs corrections. 

In other words, a thesis defense is a forum that allows postgraduate students to defend the topic of their thesis before a panel of professors. Therefore, the thesis defense is part of the requirements that postgraduate students must accomplish to receive advanced degrees in whichever academic disciplines they pursue. 

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Factors that Determine the Length of a Thesis Defense

Just like a dissertation that you have to write a thesis , it is important that you will have to present it. The time is taken to do this varies. The following four factors determine the length of a thesis defense

Determining the length of thesis defense

  • As noted earlier, the level of education will determine the length of your thesis defense.
  • The second factor is the institutional requirements. Some institutions will have a specified amount of time allocated for a thesis defense. In some institutions, that time is longer than and vice versa.

Very recognized institutions of higher learning will have the autonomy to decide on the length of a thesis defense.

  • The third factor that will determine the length of a thesis defense is the consensus of the panel of professors. Some will give students very limited time to do a thesis defense while others will give more time to their students.

Some institutions, scholars, applaud limiting the amount of time for thesis defense and educators because it gauges the student’s ability to accurately defend their work within a short time. If they succeed, then they are good learners.

  • Another factor determining the time of a thesis defense is the academic discipline that is explored by the topic.

While every academic discipline deserves respect, they are not the same in terms of the complexity of the concepts and what the student covers.

Some disciplines will require students to come up with much longer papers. This means that the time it could take to do a thesis defense will be longer. 

From the aforementioned factors, it is evident that it would be difficult to predetermine the standard length of a thesis without holding some parameters or factors constant such as the academic level of the thesis. 

Also, the length of your dissertation or thesis determines the time you will take to present it at your defense session. Longer documents will take you longer to defend.

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How to Defend a Thesis – 5 Comprehensive Steps

Some steps can help you defend your thesis effectively. You should follow the steps below if you are summoned by a panel of professors to defend your thesis. 

1. Adequate Preparation

preparing for thesis defense

When you are required to defend your thesis, you will be given a specific date you will appear before the panel of professors for the actual exercise.

As long as you have submitted your paper to the professor for grading, you should always be aware that you will have to defend your thesis.

Therefore, between the period of submitting your paper and the date provided for thesis defense, you should do adequate preparation.

Students will have several months to prepare for a thesis defense. This is because the institutions themselves want their students to be well prepared before they meet the panel of professors.

After all, they would wish their students to excel in their studies. As noted, there will be a specified date for the thesis defense. Therefore, it will not surprise their committee members or students when the time comes for defending the thesis. 

Adequate preparation entails knowing or rather anticipating what is required of you. You should be prepared for the kinds of questions your thesis topic will provoke from the panel and practice on them.

When you have the right attitude and have adequately prepared for the thesis defense, it would be nearly impossible to fail. Also, be prepared to wear decently during the defense. 

2. Carry an In-Depth Knowledge of the Thesis

This is a very important step when defending your thesis. Since you are the one who has written the paper, you should be fully aware of the topic and the contents of your paper. What this means is that you should adequately research the topic of your thesis so that you can be ready for any question you are asked by the panel of professors.

For a postgraduate student who wishes to master their discipline, it would be a shame if you do not know about your topic.

For example, if you are within the field of environmental sciences and have written your paper based on the discipline, you should narrow down the scope of your knowledge to that of your topic, the topic of your paper should act as the guide to the amount of knowledge you are supposed to give for the sake of the thesis defense.

Avoid too much knowledge because it may overwhelm you. At the same time, do not narrow down the scope of your topic too much because you will have limited knowledge during the thesis defense.

Your instructor or professor can help you in terms of giving you direction on the type and scope of knowledge you are required to have during a thesis defense. 

3. Prepare an Introduction

writing resources for thesis defense introduction

Have you ever heard of the first impression and its significance?

The first impression of a person will determine how the other person will perceive them.

If it is terrible, the other person may consider them a terrible person and even dislike them.

An introduction plays the same role as the “first impression” of your thesis defense to the panel of professors.

You should prepare a good introduction that should summarize the contents of your paper, the reasons why you selected the topic and its relevance to the discipline, and any other detail that you will anticipate to be asked during the thesis defense.

Make sure that the thesis is crystal clear and concise to avoid making any contradictions of your topic and confusing the panel.

Since you will be given several months to prepare for your thesis defense, take time to refine your introduction.

Make adjustments or corrections whenever necessary so that you will have a perfect introduction for your thesis defense. You may recite the introduction or carry it with you if the panel will allow it. 

4. Making the Actual Presentation

The action presentation of the thesis defense is quite scary to many students. This is because you will have to face a panel of professors to defend your paper. Based on your paper’s content, you will answer several questions.

Therefore, if you fail during the actual presentation, your paper may not be published and you will have to do further revisions. 

During the actual presentation, you should be well dressed because grooming tells a lot about the character of a student. Carry the necessary equipment you will require during the presentation. Such equipment can include a laptop that contains a PowerPoint presentation, a pen, and a notebook.

The PowerPoint presentation should be legible, objective, and strategically written to maximize the time used to defend your thesis. Ensure that you arrive early to the place where you will face the panel of professors to give you time to reflect and lessen your anxiety.  

As aforementioned, adequate preparation, understanding your topic or thesis, and a good attitude will guarantee success. Therefore, if you adhere to the aforementioned guidelines during the presentation, there is a high probability that your paper will be published. 

5. Do a Good Conclusion

Doing a good introduction and effectively presenting your defense is not enough without an equally good conclusion. Just like you took a good time to write your thesis , you will also need a good time to write a presentation and a good conclusion.

A good conclusion of your presentation leaves the panel of professors with a good impression of you and your overall ability to defend your work within the academic community. 

A good conclusion will sum up your work. What this means is that you should include a summary of the topic’s background, the literature review, the methodologies, the findings, and the discussions. Make sure that the conclusion compresses the details of your paper logically. It should be brief and straight to the point.

Finally, the conclusion of your thesis defense should clearly describe the limitations or setbacks encountered while you were conducting the study.

Even though you are trying to show that you are a good post-graduate student, it is important to be clear about the limitations. This will demonstrate your academic integrity and ability to conduct actual research in the field. 

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Tips on How to do a Good Thesis Defense

A good score

1. Anticipate the Questions 

As aforementioned, you should anticipate the questions you may be asked by the panel and prepare for them.

The questions’ base is on your thesis. As such, you should go through your paper and list the possible questions.

At the same time, the academic expertise of the committee members determines the types of questions you may be asked.

Try to have an informed idea, based on your paper, on the areas to receive much focus. 

2. Dress for Success

Do you remember that we have talked about first impressions? Well, your dress code and overall grooming will have a degree of impact on the outcomes of your presentation. Dress well.

Mostly, you are required to dress in an official attire because you are going to do a presentation to a panel of academic experts. You should try as much as possible not to wear casual or provocative clothes. 

3. Delegate

To avoid being overwhelmed during the day of your presentation, you can delegate some of the less complicated activities to a trusted person or friend.

The activities that you can delegate include setting up the equipment you will use for your presentation or distributing handouts to the panel. 

4. Create a Backup Plan

This especially involves the mode of presenting your defense. Since you will be using your laptop and a projector, they may fail during the presentation. It is therefore important to have a plan B. such can include having printed handouts. 

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FAQs on Thesis Defense

Can you fail a thesis defense.

The answer to this question is yes. Though it is rare, it is possible to fail a thesis defense if you are not adequately prepared and you don’t know much about the topic. This would indicate that you haven’t understood the course or you did not write the paper. You hired someone to do it for you. 

How long is a Ph.D. thesis defense?

A Ph.D. thesis defense is about 2 hours long. However, it may differ from one country to the other.

How long is the master’s thesis presentation?

A master’s thesis is usually one-and-a-half hours long. It takes a lesser time compared to a Ph.D. thesis. 

Josh Jasen

When not handling complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.

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Graduate Center | Home

Defending Your Dissertation: A Guide

A woman in front of a bookshelf speaking to a laptop

Written by Luke Wink-Moran | Photo by insta_photos

Dissertation defenses are daunting, and no wonder; it’s not a “dissertation discussion,” or a “dissertation dialogue.” The name alone implies that the dissertation you’ve spent the last x number of years working on is subject to attack. And if you don’t feel trepidation for semantic reasons, you might be nervous because you don’t know what to expect. Our imaginations are great at making The Unknown scarier than reality. The good news is that you’ll find in this newsletter article experts who can shed light on what dissertations defenses are really like, and what you can do to prepare for them.

The first thing you should know is that your defense has already begun. It started the minute you began working on your dissertation— maybe even in some of the classes you took beforehand that helped you formulate your ideas. This, according to Dr. Celeste Atkins, is why it’s so important to identify a good mentor early in graduate school.

“To me,” noted Dr. Atkins, who wrote her dissertation on how sociology faculty from traditionally marginalized backgrounds teach about privilege and inequality, “the most important part of the doctoral journey was finding an advisor who understood and supported what I wanted from my education and who was willing to challenge me and push me, while not delaying me.  I would encourage future PhDs to really take the time to get to know the faculty before choosing an advisor and to make sure that the members of their committee work well together.”

Your advisor will be the one who helps you refine arguments and strengthen your work so that by the time it reaches your dissertation committee, it’s ready. Next comes the writing process, which many students have said was the hardest part of their PhD. I’ve included this section on the writing process because this is where you’ll create all the material you’ll present during your defense, so it’s important to navigate it successfully. The writing process is intellectually grueling, it eats time and energy, and it’s where many students find themselves paddling frantically to avoid languishing in the “All-But-Dissertation” doldrums. The writing process is also likely to encroach on other parts of your life. For instance, Dr. Cynthia Trejo wrote her dissertation on college preparation for Latin American students while caring for a twelve-year-old, two adult children, and her aging parents—in the middle of a pandemic. When I asked Dr. Trejo how she did this, she replied:

“I don’t take the privilege of education for granted. My son knew I got up at 4:00 a.m. every morning, even on weekends, even on holidays; and it’s a blessing that he’s seen that work ethic and that dedication and the end result.”

Importantly, Dr. Trejo also exercised regularly and joined several online writing groups at UArizona. She mobilized her support network— her partner, parents, and even friends from high school to help care for her son.

The challenges you face during the writing process can vary by discipline. Jessika Iwanski is an MD/PhD student who in 2022 defended her dissertation on genetic mutations in sarcomeric proteins that lead to severe, neonatal dilated cardiomyopathy. She described her writing experience as “an intricate process of balancing many things at once with a deadline (defense day) that seems to be creeping up faster and faster— finishing up experiments, drafting the dissertation, preparing your presentation, filling out all the necessary documents for your defense and also, for MD/PhD students, beginning to reintegrate into the clinical world (reviewing your clinical knowledge and skill sets)!”

But no matter what your unique challenges are, writing a dissertation can take a toll on your mental health. Almost every student I spoke with said they saw a therapist and found their sessions enormously helpful. They also looked to the people in their lives for support. Dr. Betsy Labiner, who wrote her dissertation on Interiority, Truth, and Violence in Early Modern Drama, recommended, “Keep your loved ones close! This is so hard – the dissertation lends itself to isolation, especially in the final stages. Plus, a huge number of your family and friends simply won’t understand what you’re going through. But they love you and want to help and are great for getting you out of your head and into a space where you can enjoy life even when you feel like your dissertation is a flaming heap of trash.”

While you might sometimes feel like your dissertation is a flaming heap of trash, remember: a) no it’s not, you brilliant scholar, and b) the best dissertations aren’t necessarily perfect dissertations. According to Dr. Trejo, “The best dissertation is a done dissertation.” So don’t get hung up on perfecting every detail of your work. Think of your dissertation as a long-form assignment that you need to finish in order to move onto the next stage of your career. Many students continue revising after graduation and submit their work for publication or other professional objectives.

When you do finish writing your dissertation, it’s time to schedule your defense and invite friends and family to the part of the exam that’s open to the public. When that moment comes, how do you prepare to present your work and field questions about it?

“I reread my dissertation in full in one sitting,” said Dr. Labiner. “During all my time writing it, I’d never read more than one complete chapter at a time! It was a huge confidence boost to read my work in full and realize that I had produced a compelling, engaging, original argument.”

There are many other ways to prepare: create presentation slides and practice presenting them to friends or alone; think of questions you might be asked and answer them; think about what you want to wear or where you might want to sit (if you’re presenting on Zoom) that might give you a confidence boost. Iwanksi practiced presenting with her mentor and reviewed current papers to anticipate what questions her committee might ask.  If you want to really get in the zone, you can emulate Dr. Labiner and do a full dress rehearsal on Zoom the day before your defense.

But no matter what you do, you’ll still be nervous:

“I had a sense of the logistics, the timing, and so on, but I didn’t really have clear expectations outside of the structure. It was a sort of nebulous three hours in which I expected to be nauseatingly terrified,” recalled Dr. Labiner.

“I expected it to be terrifying, with lots of difficult questions and constructive criticism/comments given,” agreed Iwanski.

“I expected it to be very scary,” said Dr. Trejo.

“I expected it to be like I was on trial, and I’d have to defend myself and prove I deserved a PhD,” said Dr Atkins.

And, eventually, inexorably, it will be time to present.  

“It was actually very enjoyable” said Iwanski. “It was more of a celebration of years of work put into this project—not only by me but by my mentor, colleagues, lab members and collaborators! I felt very supported by all my committee members and, rather than it being a rapid fire of questions, it was more of a scientific discussion amongst colleagues who are passionate about heart disease and muscle biology.”

“I was anxious right when I logged on to the Zoom call for it,” said Dr. Labiner, “but I was blown away by the number of family and friends that showed up to support me. I had invited a lot of people who I didn’t at all think would come, but every single person I invited was there! Having about 40 guests – many of them joining from different states and several from different countries! – made me feel so loved and celebrated that my nerves were steadied very quickly. It also helped me go into ‘teaching mode’ about my work, so it felt like getting to lead a seminar on my most favorite literature.”

“In reality, my dissertation defense was similar to presenting at an academic conference,” said Dr. Atkins. “I went over my research in a practiced and organized way, and I fielded questions from the audience.

“It was a celebration and an important benchmark for me,” said Dr. Trejo. “It was a pretty happy day. Like the punctuation at the end of your sentence: this sentence is done; this journey is done. You can start the next sentence.”

If you want to learn more about dissertations in your own discipline, don’t hesitate to reach out to graduates from your program and ask them about their experiences. If you’d like to avail yourself of some of the resources that helped students in this article while they wrote and defended their dissertations, check out these links:

The Graduate Writing Lab

https://thinktank.arizona.edu/writing-center/graduate-writing-lab

The Writing Skills Improvement Program

https://wsip.arizona.edu

Campus Health Counseling and Psych Services

https://caps.arizona.edu

https://www.scribbr.com/

Grad Coach

Preparing For Your Dissertation Defense

13 Key Questions To Expect In The Viva Voce

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) & David Phair (PhD) . Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2021

Preparing for your dissertation or thesis defense (also called a “viva voce”) is a formidable task . All your hard work over the years leads you to this one point, and you’ll need to defend yourself against some of the most experienced researchers you’ve encountered so far.

It’s natural to feel a little nervous.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the most important questions you should be able to answer in your viva voce, whether it’s for a Masters or PhD degree. Naturally, they might not arise in exactly the same form (some may not come up at all), but if you can answer these questions well, it means you’re in a good position to tackle your oral defense.

Dissertation and thesis defense 101

Viva Voce Prep: 13 Essential Questions

  • What is your study about and why did you choose to research this in particular?
  • How did your research questions evolve during the research process?
  • How did you decide on which sources to include in your literature review?
  • How did you design your study and why did you take this approach?
  • How generalisable and valid are the findings?
  • What were the main shortcomings and limitations created by your research design?
  • How did your findings relate to the existing literature?
  • What were your key findings in relation to the research questions?
  • Were there any findings that surprised you?
  • What biases may exist in your research?
  • How can your findings be put into practice?
  • How has your research contributed to current thinking in the field?
  • If you could redo your research, how would you alter your approach?

#1: What is your study about and why did you choose to research this in particular?

This question, a classic party starter, is pretty straightforward.

What the dissertation or thesis committee is assessing here is your ability to clearly articulate your research aims, objectives and research questions in a concise manner. Concise is the keyword here – you need to clearly explain your research topic without rambling on for a half-hour. Don’t feel the need to go into the weeds here – you’ll have many opportunities to unpack the details later on.

In the second half of the question, they’re looking for a brief explanation of the justification of your research. In other words, why was this particular set of research aims, objectives and questions worth addressing? To address this question well in your oral defense, you need to make it clear what gap existed within the research and why that gap was worth filling.

#2: How did your research questions evolve during the research process?

Good research generally follows a long and winding path . It’s seldom a straight line (unless you got really lucky). What they’re assessing here is your ability to follow that path and let the research process unfold.

Specifically, they’ll want to hear about the impact that the literature review process had on you in terms of shaping the research aims, objectives and research questions . For example, you may have started with a certain set of aims, but then as you immersed yourself in the literature, you may have changed direction. Similarly, your initial fieldwork findings may have turned out some unexpected data that drove you to adjust or expand on your initial research questions.

Long story short – a good defense involves clearly describing your research journey , including all the twists and turns. Adjusting your direction based on findings in the literature or the fieldwork shows that you’re responsive , which is essential for high-quality research.

You will need to explain the impact of your literature review in the defense

#3: How did you decide on which sources to include in your literature review?

A comprehensive literature review is the foundation of any high-quality piece of research. With this question, your dissertation or thesis committee are trying to assess which quality criteria and approach you used to select the sources for your literature review.

Typically, good research draws on both the seminal work in the respective field and more recent sources . In other words, a combination of the older landmark studies and pivotal work, along with up-to-date sources that build on to those older studies. This combination ensures that the study has a rock-solid foundation but is not out of date.

So, make sure that your study draws on a mix of both the “classics” and new kids on the block, and take note of any major evolutions in the literature that you can use as an example when asked this question in your viva voce.

#4: How did you design your study and why did you take this approach?

This is a classic methodological question that you can almost certainly expect in some or other shape.

What they’re looking for here is a clear articulation of the research design and methodology, as well as a strong justification of each choice . So, you need to be able to walk through each methodological choice and clearly explain both what you did and why you did it. The why is particularly important – you need to be able to justify each choice you made by clearly linking your design back to your research aims, objectives and research questions, while also taking into account practical constraints.

To ensure you cover every base, check out our research methodology vlog post , as well as our post covering the Research Onion .

You have to justify every choice in your dissertation defence

#5: How generalizable and valid are the findings?

This question is aimed at specifically digging into your understanding of the sample and how that relates to the population, as well as potential validity issues in your methodology.

To answer question this well, you’ll need to critically assess your sample and findings and consider if they truly apply to the entire population, as well as whether they assessed what they set out to. Note that there are two components here – generalizability and validity . Generalizability is about how well the sample represents the population. Validity is about how accurately you’ve measured what you intended to measure .

To ace this part of your dissertation defense, make sure that you’re very familiar with the concepts of generalizability , validity and reliability , and how these apply to your research. Remember, you don’t need to achieve perfection – you just need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your research (and how the weaknesses could be improved upon).

Need a helping hand?

master's thesis defense length

#6: What were the main shortcomings and limitations created by your research design?

This question picks up where the last one left off.

As I mentioned, it’s perfectly natural that your research will have shortcomings and limitations as a result of your chosen design and methodology. No piece of research is flawless. Therefore, a good dissertation defense is not about arguing that your work is perfect, but rather it’s about clearly articulating the strengths and weaknesses of your approach.

To address this question well, you need to think critically about all of the potential weaknesses your design may have, as well as potential responses to these (which could be adopted in future research) to ensure you’re well prepared for this question. For a list of common methodological limitations, check out our video about research limitations here .

#7: How did your findings relate to the existing literature?

This common dissertation defense question links directly to your discussion chapter , where you would have presented and discussed the findings in relation to your literature review.

What your dissertation or thesis committee is assessing here is your ability to compare your study’s findings to the findings of existing research . Specifically, you need to discuss which findings aligned with existing research and which findings did not. For those findings that contrasted against existing research, you should also explain what you believe to be the reasons for this.

As with many questions in a viva voce, it’s both the what and the why that matter here. So, you need to think deeply about what the underlying reasons may be for both the similarities and differences between your findings and those of similar studies.

Your dissertation defense needs to compare findings

#8: What were your key findings in relation to the research questions?

This question is similar to the last one in that it too focuses on your research findings. However, here the focus is specifically on the findings that directly relate to your research questions (as opposed to findings in general).

So, a good way to prepare for this question is to step back and revisit your research questions . Ask yourself the following:

  • What exactly were you asking in those questions, and what did your research uncover concerning them?
  • Which questions were well answered by your study and which ones were lacking?
  • Why were they lacking and what more could be done to address this in future research?

Conquering this part dissertation defense requires that you focus squarely on the research questions. Your study will have provided many findings (hopefully!), and not all of these will link directly to the research questions. Therefore, you need to clear your mind of all of the fascinating side paths your study may have lead you down and regain a clear focus on the research questions .

#9: Were there any findings that surprised you?

This question is two-pronged.

First, you should discuss the surprising findings that were directly related to the original research questions . Going into your research, you likely had some expectations in terms of what you would find, so this is your opportunity to discuss the outcomes that emerged as contrary to what you initially expected. You’ll also want to think about what the reasons for these contrasts may be.

Second, you should discuss the findings that weren’t directly related to the research questions, but that emerged from the data set . You may have a few or you may have none – although generally there are a handful of interesting musings that you can glean from the data set. Again, make sure you can articulate why you find these interesting and what it means for future research in the area.

What the committee is looking for in this type of question is your ability to interpret the findings holistically and comprehensively , and to respond to unexpected data. So, take the time to zoom out and reflect on your findings thoroughly.

Discuss the findings in your defense

#10: What biases may exist in your research?

Biases… we all have them.

For this question, you’ll need to think about potential biases in your research , in the data itself but also in your interpretation of the data. With this question, your committee is assessing whether you have considered your own potential biases and the biases inherent in your analysis approach (i.e. your methodology). So, think carefully about these research biases and be ready to explain how these may exist in your study.

In an oral defense, this question is often followed up with a question on how the biases were mitigated or could be mitigated in future research. So, give some thought not just to what biases may exist, but also the mitigation measures (in your own study and for future research).

#11: How can your findings be put into practice?

Another classic question in the typical viva voce.

With this question, your committee is assessing your ability to bring your findings back down to earth and demonstrate their practical value and application. Importantly, this question is not about the contribution to academia or the overall field of research (we’ll get to that next) – it is specifically asking about how this newly created knowledge can be used in the real world.

Naturally, the actionability of your findings will vary depending on the nature of your research topic. Some studies will produce many action points and some won’t. If you’re researching marketing strategies within an industry, for example, you should be able to make some very specific recommendations for marketing practitioners in that industry.

To help you flesh out points for this question, look back at your original justification for the research (i.e. in your introduction and literature review chapters). What were the driving forces that led you to research your specific topic? That justification should help you identify ways in which your findings can be put into practice.

#12: How has your research contributed to current thinking in the field?

While the previous question was aimed at practical contribution, this question is aimed at theoretical contribution . In other words, what is the significance of your study within the current body of research? How does it fit into the existing research and what does it add to it?

This question is often asked by a field specialist and is used to assess whether you’re able to place your findings into the research field to critically convey what your research contributed. This argument needs to be well justified – in other words, you can’t just discuss what your research contributed, you need to also back each proposition up with a strong why .

To answer this question well, you need to humbly consider the quality and impact of your work and to be realistic in your response. You don’t want to come across as arrogant (“my work is groundbreaking”), nor do you want to undersell the impact of your work. So, it’s important to strike the right balance between realistic and pessimistic .

This question also opens the door to questions about potential future research . So, think about what future research opportunities your study has created and which of these you feel are of the highest priority.

Discuss your contribution in your thesis defence

#13: If you could redo your research, how would you alter your approach?

This question is often used to wrap up a viva voce as it brings the discussion full circle.

Here, your committee is again assessing your ability to clearly identify and articulate the limitations and shortcomings of your research, both in terms of research design and topic focus . Perhaps, in hindsight, it would have been better to use a different analysis method or data set. Perhaps the research questions should have leaned in a slightly different direction. And so on.

This question intends to assess whether you’re able to look at your work critically , assess where the weaknesses are and make recommendations for the future . This question often sets apart those who did the research purely because it was required, from those that genuinely engaged with their research. So, don’t hold back here – reflect on your entire research journey ask yourself how you’d do things differently if you were starting with a  blank canvas today.

Recap: The 13 Key Dissertation Defense Questions

To recap, here are the 13 questions you need to be ready for to ace your dissertation or thesis oral defense:

As I mentioned, this list of dissertation defense questions is certainly not exhaustive – don’t assume that we’ve covered every possible question here. However, these questions are quite likely to come up in some shape or form in a typical dissertation or thesis defense, whether it’s for a Master’s degree, PhD or any other research degree. So, you should take the time to make sure you can answer them well.

If you need assistance preparing for your dissertation defense or viva voce, get in touch with us to discuss 1-on-1 coaching. We can critically review your research and identify potential issues and responses, as well as undertake a mock oral defense to prepare you for the pressures and stresses on the day.

master's thesis defense length

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This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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12 Comments

Jalla Dullacha

Very interesting

Fumtchum JEFFREY

Interesting. I appreciate!

Dargo Haftu

Really appreciating

My field is International Trade

Abera Gezahegn

Interesting

Peter Gumisiriza

This is a full course on defence. I was fabulously enlightened and I gained enough confidence for my upcoming Masters Defence.

There are many lessons to learn and the simplicity in presentationmakes thee reader say “YesI can”

Milly Nalugoti

This is so helping… it has Enlightened me on how to answer specific questions. I pray to make it through for my upcoming defense

Derek Jansen

Lovely to hear that 🙂

bautister

Really educative and beneficial

Tweheyo Charles

Interesting. On-point and elaborate. And comforting too! Thanks.

Ismailu Kulme Emmanuel

Thank you very much for the enlightening me, be blessed

Gladys Oyat

Thankyou so much. I am planning to defend my thesis soon and I found this very useful

Augustine Mtega

Very interesting and useful to all masters and PhD students

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Theses and Dissertations

Defense and submission.

Sign on door that says "Dissertation in Progress"

Below is an overview of the main steps in preparing, defending, and submitting your thesis or dissertation. For detailed instructions on each step, see The Graduate School's  Guide for Electronic Submission of Thesis and Dissertation (PDF) , in addition to this video recording from a workshop given on the subject. 

  • Schedule your defense and apply for graduation in DukeHub ( defense and graduation deadlines ).  
  • At least 30 days before your defense: Confirm or update your defense committee.  
  • Give your thesis/dissertation to your advisor for inspection, and prompt your advisor to send a letter to [email protected] stating that it is complete and ready to defend. Note: For students in School of Medicine Ph.D. programs, their advisor letters are generated through T3.  
  • Request your DGSA to send a departmental defense announcement to  [email protected] . Note: For students in School of Medicine Ph.D. programs, their departmental defense announcements are generated through T3.  
  • At least 2 weeks before your defense: Submit your complete, correctly formatted dissertation/thesis to ProQuest (initial submission). Also provide it to each member of your committee.  
  • Optional: After you receive an email through ProQuest from the Graduate School administrator who reviewed your thesis/dissertation format, you may make an appointment for a brief, virtual meeting with the administrator to discuss any questions you have about the defense process or the recommended formatting revisions.  
  • A few days before your defense, The Graduate School will generate your final examination certificate and email it to the chair/co-chair(s) of your examination committee and the DGSA of your department. Note:  For students in School of Medicine Ph.D. programs, their final examination certificates are generated and released through T3.  
  • Defend your dissertation. After your final examination, your committee members will vote on whether you passed or failed. Your chair and DGS will record the votes on your final examination certificate, sign it, and submit it to The Graduate School. Your committee may vote that you passed but still require minor edits or corrections before final submission.  
  • As soon as possible after your defense, submit to [email protected] the Non-Exclusive Distribution License and Thesis/Dissertation Availability Agreement (“embargo agreement”) signed by yourself and your thesis/dissertation advisor.  
  • Within 30 days after your successful defense, or by the established final submission deadline (whichever is first): Submit the final version of your dissertation/thesis to ProQuest.

Guide for Electronic Submission of Thesis and Dissertation (PDF)

We provide the following templates for your convenience and to help you eliminate common formatting errors. However,  all submitted theses and dissertations must meet the specifications listed in the ETD guide . The manuscript must be a completed document, formatted correctly, with no sections left blank.

  • Word Template for Thesis/Dissertation (Word)
  • LaTeX Template for Thesis/Dissertation (ZIP)

Notes about the LaTeX Template

  • This LaTeX template is for both master's and Ph.D. students. Master's theses must also have an abstract title page.
  • Neither The Graduate School nor OIT supports LaTeX beyond providing this template.

Ph.D. and master’s students are required to apply for graduation in  DukeHub  by the established application deadline for the semester in which they plan to graduate.

Review the full graduation guidelines on the  Graduation Information and Deadlines  page. 

When you submit your thesis or dissertation electronically, you will also permit Duke University to make it available online through  DukeSpace  at Duke Libraries. See the pages below for more information about ETDs:

  • ETDs Overview
  • ETD Availability
  • ETD Copyright Information 
  • ETD Technical Help 

Check out the writing support  offered by The Graduate School, such as writing spaces, consultations, and access to online writing workshops, communities, and resources.

/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="master's thesis defense length"> Cornell University --> Graduate School

Defending your thesis or dissertation.

Certain special exams are required to earn an advanced degree in the research-based programs at Cornell. Often, these exams need to be taken with consideration of anticipated completion dates.  Enrollment in future semesters after the date a student passes their M or B exam is not permitted. See Taking Exams for more information.

All exam forms are available on our Forms  page.

Exams Required for M.A. and M.S. Degree Defense

If you are enrolled in an M.A. or M.S. degree program, you must pass the final examination for the master’s degree. You can take this after all degree requirements have been fulfilled, but no earlier than one month before completing the minimum number of enrolled semesters.

To pass the exam unconditionally and receive a degree, all regular, proxy, and field-appointed members of the examining committee must assent that the exam was passed unconditionally. If you are enrolled in an M.S./Ph.D. degree program where the M.A. or M.S. degree is a prerequisite for your Ph.D., you may petition your special committee to approve combining the final examination for the master’s degree with the examination for the admission to candidacy.

Exam forms required for the master’s degree include “Schedule Master’s Examination” and “Master’s Exam Results Form and Instructions.”

Exams Required for Ph.D. Degree Defense

The B exam is an oral defense of your thesis or dissertation. This exam can be taken after completing all degree requirements, but not earlier than one month before completing the minimum number of enrolled semesters. At least two semesters of successful registration must be completed between the passing of the A exam and the scheduling of the B exam.

Exam forms required for the Ph.D. degree include “Schedule A Examination and Research Compliance Form,” “Schedule B Examination,” “A Exam Results Form,” and “B Exam Results Form.”

The qualifying exam, or Q exam, is required in some fields for Ph.D. applicants. This exam helps the special committee determine your ability to pursue doctoral studies, continue in a program, and tailor an appropriate program of study.

master's thesis defense length

How Long Is a Master’s Thesis? 5 Tips on Writing and Structuring Yours

  • Natasa Pantelic
  • November 10, 2023

How Long Is a Master’s Thesis? 5 Tips on Writing and Structuring Yours

Writing a Master’s thesis is a significant academic endeavor. It marks the culmination of graduate studies, showcasing your ability to conduct comprehensive research and present your findings coherently , also be sure to check out best places for you where to study abroad .

Knowing about the typical length of a Master’s thesis and how to structure it effectively is crucial for a successful submission. This article will guide you through understanding the expected length, how to structure your thesis, and tips to manage your writing process efficiently.

Typical Length Variations

Typical Length Variations

The length of a Master’s thesis can vary significantly depending on the subject matter, the specific requirements of your academic institution, and your research topic. 

Generally, a Master’s thesis is between 40 to 80 pages in humanities and social sciences but can be longer in more technical fields like engineering or natural sciences. It’s crucial to check with your department for specific guidelines. 

For expert guidance and tailored assistance in crafting your master’s thesis, consider exploring the resources available at thesisrush.com , a platform dedicated to helping students excel in their academic writing endeavors.

Factors Influencing Thesis Length

Several factors can influence the length of your Master’s thesis:

  • Research Depth: More complex research projects may require a more detailed explanation and analysis.
  • Academic Field: Technical fields often have longer theses due to the inclusion of data, formulas, and extensive experimental details.
  • University Guidelines: Some universities have strict length requirements for theses.

The Importance of Conciseness and Clarity

While length is a consideration, the quality of your work is paramount. A concise, clear thesis is often more impactful than a longer, less coherent one. Prioritize presenting your research and arguments in a clear, concise manner without unnecessary elaboration.

Structuring Your Master’s Thesis

A well-structured thesis is critical for effectively presenting your research. Here’s a standard structure to follow:

Introduction

  • Context and Background: Set the stage for your research by providing relevant background information.
  • Research Problem and Objectives: Clearly state the problem your research addresses and your objectives.
  • Thesis Statement: Present your main argument or hypothesis.

Literature Review

  • Current State of Research: Discuss existing research related to your topic.
  • Identification of Gaps: Highlight where your research fits into the existing body of knowledge.
  • Relation to Your Research: Explain how this literature informs your research question.

Methodology

  • Research Design: Describe the framework and design of your research .
  • Data Collection: Explain how you collected your data.
  • Analysis Methods: Detail the methods used to analyze the data.

Results

  • Presentation of Data: Present your findings in a clear, logical order.
  • Data Interpretation: Interpret the results in the context of your research question.
  • Visual Aids: Use tables, graphs, and charts for clarity.
  • Interpretation of Results: Discuss what your results mean in the broader context.
  • Limitations: Acknowledge any limitations in your research.
  • Implications: Discuss the implications of your findings for future research or practical applications.
  • Summary of Findings: Briefly summarize your main findings.
  • Concluding Remarks: Provide final thoughts and potential future research directions.
  • Contribution to Field: Highlight how your research contributes to the field.
  • Include all sources cited in your thesis in an appropriate format as per your department’s guidelines.
  • Include any supplementary material that supports but is not central to your thesis.

5 Writing Tips for a Master’s Thesis

5 Writing Tips for a Master's Thesis

1. Planning and Time Management

  • Develop a Timeline: Set realistic goals and deadlines for each section of your thesis.
  • Regular Reviews: Schedule regular meetings with your advisor for feedback.

2. Research and Analysis

  • Thorough Research: Conduct comprehensive research to ensure your thesis is well-informed.
  • Critical Analysis: Critically analyze your data and research findings.

3. Writing and Revision

  • Structured Writing: Follow the structure outlined to maintain a clear narrative.
  • Editing and Proofreading: Regularly revise your work for clarity, coherence, and grammatical accuracy.
  • Peer Feedback: Seek feedback from peers to gain different perspectives.

4. Overcoming Challenges

  • Writer’s Block: Take breaks, change your environment, or discuss ideas with others to overcome blocks.
  • Stress Management: Engage in stress-relieving activities and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

5. Utilizing Resources

  • University Resources: Utilize writing centers, libraries, and software provided by your university.
  • Academic Conventions: Adhere to the academic conventions and citation styles required by your field.

Enhancing Your Thesis with Effective Language Use

Enhancing Your Thesis with Effective Language Use

A Master’s thesis requires not just research and structure but also a mastery of language to convey complex ideas effectively. The following tips can help enhance the clarity and impact of your writing.

Explore the linguistic challenges of mastering some of the most difficult languages in 2024 , broadening your horizons in the process.

The Power of Clarity and Simplicity

  • Simple Language: Use simple, direct language to make your thesis accessible to a wider audience.
  • Avoid Jargon: While some technical terms are necessary, explain jargon where possible.

Crafting a Compelling Narrative

  • Storytelling in Research: Frame your thesis as a story, with a clear beginning (introduction), middle (research and findings), and end (conclusions).
  • Connecting Ideas: Ensure each section flows logically into the next, maintaining a clear thread throughout your thesis.

Precision and Accuracy in Language

  • Be Precise: Choose words that precisely convey your research and findings.
  • Accuracy is Key: Ensure all data, references, and quotations are accurate and correctly cited.

Leveraging Technology and Tools in Thesis Writing

Leveraging Technology and Tools in Thesis Writing

In the digital age, a range of tools can aid in the research and writing process. Utilizing these can save time and enhance the quality of your thesis.

Research and Data Analysis Tools

  • Digital Libraries: Use online libraries and databases for comprehensive research.
  • Data Analysis Software: Utilize software like SPSS or R for complex data analysis.

Writing and Editing Software

  • Writing Tools: Use tools like Scrivener or Google Docs for writing and organizing your thesis.
  • Editing Software: Tools like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor can help polish your writing.

Time Management and Organization Tools

  • Project Management Software: Use tools like Trello or Asana to manage your thesis timeline.
  • Digital Calendars: Keep track of deadlines and appointments with digital calendars.

Navigating the Thesis Defense

The thesis defense is a crucial part of the Master’s program. Here’s how to prepare effectively.

Know About the Defense Process

  • Know the Format: Familiarize yourself with the format of the defense at your university.
  • Preparation is Key: Prepare a presentation summarizing your thesis and practice your defense speech.

Anticipating Questions and Feedback

  • Expect Questions: Be prepared to answer detailed questions about any aspect of your thesis.
  • Receiving Feedback: Be open to feedback and ready to discuss or defend your research choices.

Presentation Skills

  • Effective Communication: Practice clear and confident speaking.
  • Visual Aids: Use slides or other visual aids to support your points during the defense.

Closing Thoughts

Writing a Master’s thesis is a challenging but rewarding process. Understanding the typical length and structure, combined with effective planning and writing strategies, can greatly enhance the quality of your thesis.

Remember, the key is not just in the length but in the clarity, coherence, and depth of your research and writing. With these tips and strategies, you can craft a thesis that not only meets academic standards but also makes a significant contribution to your field of study.

  • Conciseness , Education , Length , Master’s Thesis , Structuring , Thesis Defense , Tips , Writing

master's thesis defense length

My name is Natasa Pantelic, and I work as a content editor at southwestjournal.com. By profession, I am a business administrator and a professional makeup artist. I enjoy taking care of my appearance and health through strength training, cardio, and a healthy diet. I also have a passion for music, socializing, adventures, and embracing new challenges.

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How to Start a Thesis Defense Presentation

How to Start a Thesis Defense Presentation | Quick Tips & Tutorial for your presentations

After months and years of hard work, the moment to wrap things all up is finally here—your thesis defense presentation.

Whether you’re pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate, it’s the final step to that much-deserved achievement. 

A thesis defense requires a lot of prior research and preparation. And as important as its content is, so is how you present it because a stunning design with clear data and text hierarchy plays an immense role in comprehension.

In this article, we’ll explore how you make your thesis defense .

The organization is the key to success. Establishing some previous steps before any project or work is essential for the result to be very positive. And the defense of a thesis could not be less. 

Below, we will develop all the necessary steps to make a thesis defense presentation and we will give you some tips on how to carry them out.

How to Make an Amazing Presentation

Defining the concept of your thesis presentation, structuring your thesis defense presentation, how do you welcome the audience, tell them why you did this thesis, go into the content by explaining your thesis part by part, how to end the defense of the thesis.

After a long time of research and study, the content of your thesis is ready. Now, you have to find the best way to reflect all that effort behind your work. The information comes across more clearly if you use a visual format, as it attracts the attention of the audience. To present your thesis information in a clear, concise, and ultimately amazing way, you can use one of our unique thesis defense templates , available at Slidesgo.

As an example, in this article, we are going to use the Ecology Thesis template . With it, we will show you what to include in your presentation and how to make an attractive design.

After choosing the Google Slides and PowerPoint template that best suits the needs and subject matter of your thesis, it is time to define an overarching concept.

This is the main theme on which your designs are based. It must be relevant to your thesis as its purpose is to guide your selection of colors, typography, images, style, etc. 

These must be portrayed in a way that supports the main message of your slides and should be aligned with your concept both visually and sociologically.

Once you have defined the concept, you will have to move on to the next step: structuring the content of your thesis. A good structure will show that there is a good organization behind the work, but most importantly: it will highlight your content.

In this article, we are going to show you a structure that could be a good example of how to structure a thesis, but you can adapt it to what your specific content requires.

Before you begin your thesis defense, you should welcome your audience. A good presentation will make you connect with your audience, which will result in more general interest in your work.

Use an appropriate language register (avoid informal language), but be approachable and natural.

"Welcome to the thesis defense on [the title of your thesis]". Next, introduce yourself with your name and give a short description of your background and occupation.

Don't forget to say “thank you for attending!”

To continue establishing that connection with your audience, explain the reasons that led you to do this thesis. Tell the professional reasons, and you can even say some personal ones, which will denote closeness, and your audience will appreciate it.

Now it's time to go into the content of the thesis ! After these preliminary steps, which are just as important as the thesis itself, it is time to explain part by part the structure (which you had previously established). We are going to propose a structure for your project, but the final decision is always yours!

master's thesis defense length

First impressions are very important. Because your title page is the very first thing viewers see, it must be striking and impactful. It also sets the stage for the rest of your slides.

In one glance, the following should be established:

  • Thesis defense topic
  • Design style

For instance, the ecology thesis’s title page uses illustrations of a natural landscape to represent the topic of nature and a striking shade of blue to set the tone.

The sans serif font used depicts clean-cut typography and style and the thesis topic is written in large and bold typography, which draws attention to it immediately.

master's thesis defense length

Right after your title page, include an introduction slide to provide more details about your topic. 

This means explaining what you hope to answer with your research, its importance to your field, and why you chose it.

Continue to incorporate design elements relevant to your concept. This example has done just that by using a different natural landscape and including animals. For coherence, stick to the same typography and style throughout your presentation.

master's thesis defense length

The aim of the literature review slide is to illustrate your knowledge of your thesis topic and any relevant theories.

Walls of text kill a design. For clarity, we recommend presenting this with bullet points. Each one should be short and sweet and only touch on the basics; you can elaborate on them in your speech. 

Don’t forget to be consistent with your design. In our example, we’ve maintained the tone of blue chosen and added illustrations of leaves in the far corners of the slide. 

Also, address similar research that has been done. This is to showcase your topic’s originality and, if relevant, how it’s different and/or an improvement from previously done research. 

master's thesis defense length

This is one of the most important parts of a thesis defense presentation.

It allows your viewers to assess the rationality and validity of your approach and consequently, the accuracy of your results.

A great methodology slide explains the what , how, and why :

  • What method did you use for your research
  • Why did you choose it
  • How did you conduct it

Because this part of your thesis will be rather technical, the most effective way to aid understanding is by using graphics like charts and tables. 

master's thesis defense length

Keep text to a minimum to avoid drawing attention away from the graphics. If there is a text that must absolutely be included, consider using bullet points and keep them short.

Don’t forget to maintain color, style, and typography coherence.

master's thesis defense length

The results slides are easily the most quantitative part of a thesis defense. 

Here, your aim is to simply introduce your findings. Select the most impactful data and highlight them here.

Just as with methodology, use graphics like charts, tables, and graphs to portray the data in a clear way. And, once again, try not to write too much text. Let the visual content do the talking .

master's thesis defense length

After you’ve introduced your data, the next step would be to help your audience make sense of it. That means understanding what it means in the context of your thesis research topic and your discipline. 

Simply put, you should answer the question: What do the numbers mean?

The best way to approach this would be to do it as if you were creating an infographic . 

Illustrations like icons are a quick and simple way to represent your message. It also reduces the amount of text on your slide, which makes the information much more digestible. 

For a balanced thesis presentation, you should also address any outliers and anomalies.

To quote bestselling author Robin Sharma, “Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic.”

That’s exactly what to aim for in your conclusion.

Provide an overview of your thesis topic and remind your audience what you set out to answer with your research. In our example, we’ve used three icons accompanied by a short title and text. 

master's thesis defense length

Following that, reiterate the important points of your research results you want your audience to take away from your thesis defense presentation. 

You can do so by expanding the next slide to have more icons and points, for example.

master's thesis defense length

Don’t forget to address any shortcomings and limitations in your approach and extra points for suggesting possible improvements for future research.

We are going to give you a little tip to make your thesis defense a success. You can combine your defense with good public speaking techniques. Take a look at our article "How to become a great speaker" .

We hope this article has been of great help, have you already seen our templates to make the presentation of your thesis ? Choose the one that best suits your needs, we are sure that one of them will go perfectly with your thesis presentation! 

Good luck from Slidesgo.

master's thesis defense length

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Graduate School

Oral Defenses of Theses and Dissertations

Master’s students completing a thesis and doctoral students completing a dissertation are required to engage in a final oral defense of the document by their thesis or dissertation committee. 

Information on defense policies and procedures is available in the PSU Bulletin: Please review the thesis section for details about thesis defenses. Please review the dissertation defense section for details about dissertation defenses.

Preparation in advance of the defense

  • The thesis or dissertation committee must be approved by the Graduate School via a GO-16 prior to  holding a thesis or dissertation defense.  
  • Students must be registered for at least 1 graduate credit in the term of the defense.  
  • Defenses should be held during regular academic terms, i.e., not between terms. However, if there is a need to hold a thesis/dissertation proposal or final defense in the period between terms, and all faculty involved in the defense have agreed to participate at this time, graduate programs are allowed to schedule defenses between terms provided certain requirements are met. See Enrollment for Defenses/Exams Held Between Terms for details.   
  • Defenses may be held in-person, remotely via videoconferencing (e.g., Zoom), or in a hybrid format with both remote and in-person participation. Please review the Remote Thesis/Dissertation Participation guidelines for defenses in which the student or at least one committee member is participating remotely.   
  • Thesis  defenses are open to the University faculty and may be open to the public at the department’s discretion. Dissertation defenses are open to the public. Students should check with their department for internal policies regarding scheduling and announcing thesis and dissertation defenses.

The defense

  • All appointed committee members must participate in the defense, even if the committee has more than the minimum required members. Refer to the approved GO-16 or DARS audit to confirm committee membership or contact Graduate Academic Services at [email protected] . Any changes to committee membership must be made in advance of the defense. 
  • The student should not be expected to provide food or beverage for attendees of the defense. 
  • If a committee member is missing at the start of a defense, the student and committee must wait at least 15 minutes for them to join the meeting. In the meantime, the committee chair should contact the Graduate School at (503) 725-8410 for options in case the member cannot be located. 

Structure of the final defense

The master’s or doctoral candidate is expected to prepare and give an oral presentation on the research methodology and results. After the student’s presentation, they will defend the thesis or dissertation in a question and discussion session. 

  • The student's oral presentation should not exceed 60 minutes.
  • Defenses should be scheduled for 2 to 3 hours to allow enough time to accommodate all steps of the defense and a robust questioning and discussion session. Appointed committee members must participate in all the steps of the defense. The actual length of the defense will depend on how long each step takes.

Example structure of a defense:

  • Allow 10-15 minutes for attendees to arrive. Allow at least 15 minutes for all committee members to arrive.
  • Committee chair makes introductions and directs the defense meeting. 
  • Student presents for 30-40 minutes. (Individual programs may have specific requirements about presentation length.)
  • Questioning and discussion session. This session may be held publicly with all attendees and/or privately with only the student and the committee. (Depending on departmental practice, there may be both a public and private questioning and discussion session.)
  • Allow 10 minutes for the student and everyone except the committee members to leave the room. 
  • Committee members deliberate and discuss the result of the defense. Each committee member votes on the defense. (Votes will be captured via the GO-17 form.)
  • Student is called back to the room to receive the result of the defense and any revisions required by the committee in order to give final approval to the thesis or dissertation. 

Political Science

Graduate dissertation.

  • Graduate Program

The dissertation is a substantial work of original scholarship usually ranging in length from 200 to 450 double-spaced pages.

Once coursework and both preliminary examinations are passed, the student is considered to have Advanced to Candidacy and is officially a Ph.D. candidate.

Before commencing work on the dissertation, the Department requires you to write and defend a dissertation proposal, known as the prospectus. The prospectus is written and defended during the third year in the Ph.D. program. Further information pertaining to the prospectus will be disseminated in the prospectus writing seminar (POLS2050 and POLS2051). Students are required to pass at least one preliminary exam before registering for the prospectus course.  

Selection of the Dissertation Committee

Before beginning work on the prospectus, you should select a principal dissertation advisor to chair your committee. Oftentimes, students begin lining up their principal advisors during their second year in the program; in any event, you should wait no longer than the middle of your fifth semester to have yours in place. Prior to the prospectus defense (see no. 3 below), you must select two additional advisors to serve on your dissertation committee, for a minimum of three committee members. The principal advisor must be tenured and a second committee member must be tenured or tenure-track faculty in the Department of Political Science at Brown unless you obtain an exception from the DGS. One committee member may be from outside the Department of Political Science or outside Brown University.

Drafting of the Prospectus

In consultation with members of the dissertation committee, you must draft a prospectus that is consistent with the spirit if not the letter of the specifications outlined below ("Contents of the Prospectus"). Prospectus drafts (and later dissertation chapters) should be shared with the entire dissertation committee for consistent feedback and communication. The prospectus course (POLS 2050 and POLS2051) is designed to further explain the components of a prospectus and guide students through the creation of a prospectus. Students should be prepared to read and provide constructive feedback on each other's work in the class.

Defense of the Prospectus

Formal approval of the prospectus follows after a successful oral defense of the proposal, which shall be advertised in advance and open to Political Science Department faculty and graduate students.

In consultation with the three committee members and the DGS, you are responsible for scheduling the oral defense well in advance (a minimum of ten days beforehand); please do not forget to inform the DGS well in advance, so that the event can be publicized. Normally, the defense will proceed with the participation of all three committee members. In extraordinary circumstances, the defense may proceed with two examination committee members. If fewer than two committee members are able to attend, the defense must be rescheduled. Prospectus defenses are open to Political Science Department faculty and graduate students only.

The format of a typical oral defense is as follows: (1) introductory remarks by the principal advisor; (2) a brief overview of the proposed thesis project by you; (3) questions from the dissertation committee members; (4) questions from the general public, time permitting. The student will make a 10-15 minute presentation of the prospectus and then will be asked questions by any faculty members first and, time permitting, fellow graduate students in the room.

Immediately following the question session, the dissertation committee shall meet in executive session to determine whether the prospectus should be approved. There are three options available to the committee:

Once the committee has reached a decision in executive session, you will be called back into the room and informed immediately. The principal advisor will also inform the DGS of the committee's decision.

The purpose of what follows is to create a set of shared expectations among both students and faculty about the contents and organization of the prospectus. This statement is not meant to be compulsory, but it should work to the advantage of most students and their advisors.

The prospectus is typically 10-20 pages in length; indeed, the shorter the better, since it is then more easily converted into a formal proposal for external funding. The purpose of the prospectus is to pose a precise question, to set the proposed dissertation topic in an appropriate theoretical context, to allude to the relevant literature, and to describe the proposed research methods. The prospectus is not a legal contract, but a proposal. It is a beginning, the first step in a long journey. As your research progresses, you are almost certain to depart from your prospectus blueprint. Knowledge of this fact should make the exercise a less imposing hurdle. The goal of the prospectus is not to demonstrate that you know all the answers in advance. Rather, it is to establish that the question you intend to address is worth asking, and that your proposed course of action is feasible and potentially valuable in terms of its contribution to knowledge.

A satisfactory prospectus contains four basic components: a question; a statement of theoretical context; a research design; and a working bibliography.

The Question

"What is the dissertation about?" The prospectus should begin by stating the central question or puzzle that is to be addressed in the dissertation. The question should be phrased precisely, since it will determine what is or is not germane to the dissertation. Whether the puzzle is "Does Marx have a political theory?", "Why are some American regulatory agencies more effective than others?", or "What are the effects of the organization of worker training programs in Sweden, Germany, Japan, and the United States?", it should be stated within the first or second paragraph, and as clearly and succinctly as possible. This is also the appropriate place to identify the general approach adopted in the dissertation: historical, interpretive, quantitative, etc. It is also important to qualify the question in terms of geographical, temporal, and/or substantive scope: What country or countries will be examined, and over what time period? What range of an author's works will be evaluated? What kinds of bureaucratic agencies will be studied? What kinds of effects are at issue (social, economic, political)?

Treat this as an opportunity to state with clarity and conviction exactly what the core of the dissertation will be. Do not get carried away with the need to qualify here; there is plenty of time for that in Part C. This section should be no longer than two pages in length. If it feels like writing an abstract, then it's probably coming out right.

Statement of Theoretical Context

This part of the prospectus addresses the frustrating but important question, "so what?" In other words, why should one devote a thesis to the question set out in the preceding section? An effective answer requires two distinct arguments. First, you should provide a well-focused summary of the current debate(s) in your chosen subfield. This will allow your committee to see how you situate your project in the existing theoretical literature. Second, you should outline in precise terms the specific contribution(s) your dissertation will make to the subfield. If you believe you are studying a neglected yet significant subject, specify what of substance has been missed, and how your study will fill the gap. If you are building on an important literature in the field, say what has been achieved, and how your proposal adds to it. If your proposal is a case study or a comparison of multiple cases (countries, policy areas, etc.), this is an appropriate place to justify your selection of cases with reference to theory.

Five or six pages should suffice for this part of the prospectus, although in cases where the resolution of contending interpretations is an especially important part of the thesis, a bit more detail is appropriate. Whatever you do, do not set out to review the literature in depth here. Instead, write this part on the assumption that both you and your committee are familiar with the field.

Research Design

This part answers the question, "How will you answer the question set out in Part A?" Part B showed that the game is worth the candle; Part C must show that you will, in fact, finish the contest with some answers in hand. Depending on the field, this part will cover different elements, but all will need to address the following: What do you intend to do, and what does each step contribute to the project as a whole? In what order do you intend to proceed? If your investigation is empirical, what sort of evidence will you consider? If theoretical, what material will you cover and what will you do with it? Are you planning to do library work, field work, and/or quantitative analysis?

Obviously, you will not know everything you would like about this part at the time you have to defend your prospectus. But you should be able to provide your best, educated guess. In the end, your committee will be looking for evidence that (1) if everything goes according to plan, you will be able to complete a satisfactory dissertation, and (2) there is a reasonable chance that everything will in fact go well.

Six to ten pages should be enough to cover this material. You should try to provide the following sorts of information:

Working Bibliography

This is self-explanatory, but essential.

Extension of Candidacy

It is University policy that the dissertation should be completed within five years of advancing to candidacy. Since students often require more time, candidacy may be extended in cases where the faculty believes the student will finish and accepts the reasons for delay.

Annually the Graduate School will remind active students whose candidacy is about to expire that they must write to the DGS, explain why they are taking so long, and request an extension if they intend to finish. If the DGS, after consulting with the principal dissertation advisor, believes an extension is justified, s/he will make a formal request to the Graduate School. Extensions to seven years may be granted by the Graduate School; extensions longer than seven years require a vote of the Graduate Council.

Dissertation Defense and Submission

Graduate students are eligible to have degrees conferred, and to receive their diploma, at three different times over the course of the academic year. All deadlines are firm. Please review the Graduate School's Dissertation Guidelines for the most up-to-date information.

Students are required to submit a full draft of the dissertation to their dissertation committee four weeks prior to the expected defense date. If you anticipate problems meeting any of these deadlines, consult the Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate School .

A complete description of the format of the dissertation can be found on the  Graduate School website . All directions from the Graduate School must be followed exactly.

Once your dissertation committee has approved your thesis-in-draft in principle, you should agree on a date for the defense well in advance (a minimum of ten days beforehand) with your committee members and also inform the Graduate Program Coordinator so that the event can be publicized. You are responsible for scheduling the oral defense. You must complete a  Dissertation Defense Information Form  which must be submitted to the Graduate School at least 2 weeks prior to the defense. Normally, the defense will proceed with the participation of all three committee members in the room. In extraordinary circumstances, the defense may proceed with two examination committee members. If fewer than two committee members are able to attend, the defense must be rescheduled.

The defense is open to the public, which typically includes faculty members and other graduate students. The format of a typical oral defense is as follows:

  • introductory remarks by the principal advisor;
  • a brief overview of the dissertation by you;
  • questions from the dissertation committee members;
  • questions from the general public, time permitting.

Immediately following the question session, the dissertation committee shall meet in executive session to determine whether the dissertation should be approved. You will be called back in to hear the decision privately, as well as any further recommendations from the dissertation committee. The committee members may address the strengths and weaknesses of your dissertation, your future plans for it, and the direction you expect your work to take in the next few years.

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Thesis Defense – a guide to prepare best

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Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 Definition: Thesis Defense
  • 2 In a Nutshell
  • 3 Before the Thesis Defense
  • 4 What happens in a Thesis Defense?
  • 5 What to include?
  • 6 Tools for Thesis Defense
  • 7 Thesis Defense Anxiety
  • 8 Manage Thesis Defense Anxiety

Definition: Thesis Defense

A thesis defense is an act of presenting your work to a panel of professors so they can grade your presentation abilities. In retrospect, the argument is essential to ascertain that you understood the topic. You have to hand in your paper first so that the lecturer can grade it before you appear for the defense.

As a university student, you need to hand in a high-quality thesis paper and defend it before a panel of professors. So what is this that takes place during a thesis defense? Read along to find out.

In a Nutshell

So, there you have it. These tips should help you present your thesis defense and ace it. Remember that:

  • You should present facts that are in the paper. Do not add any new information
  • Make the thesis defense as enjoyable as possible
  • Arrive early enough
  • Do not exceed your allocated time
  • Confidence goes a long way

Before the Thesis Defense

Before the day of the thesis defense, the qualifying students receive a timetable that shows the chronology of how the day will be. You are required to keep time, or else you will have to wait until the next allocated defense to present your paper. To qualify as a defending student, you have to hand in your paper at least one month before the thesis defense date.

What happens in a Thesis Defense?

Once you get to the hall, you need to introduce yourself and your topic, then present your paper to the lecturers. The professors will allocate you ¾ of the allotted time for the thesis defense. The remaining time is used up in the question and answer forum. Prepare yourself to answer several questions, such as:

  • Your plans after completing the research
  • The limitations you faced
  • Things that you would change if given a chance
  • How you chose your target audience
  • How you intend to further your study on the subject
  • The reasons for choosing your topic
  • The most significant deductions you learned from the survey
  • Reasons for choosing your research methodology, etc.

In some cases, the board may ask you to summarize your deductions from the study. The questions asked are not standard, which means you have to be thoroughly prepared to answer whatever the panel throws your way during the thesis defense. Other things that take place during the thesis defense include:

  • Deliberations – At this point, the board of lecturers will ask you to leave the room as they deliberate on your thesis defense performance. They will then decide whether you move to the next level or you will defend again.
  • Verdict – Finally, the team will invite you back in and tell you how you performed in the thesis defense. These panel members may ask you to make a few corrections before you can go ahead and publish your paper. You have to present your corrections to your facilitator, who will then give you the go-ahead to publish.
  • Signing – The members will then sign your document to ascertain that you were part of the thesis defense team on the selected date.

How much time does a Thesis Defense take and how many people should be in the room?

During a thesis defense, each student appears before the panel individually. The facilitators will ask you questions concerning your topic to see if you fully grasped the concept. Each thesis defense will vary from the other depending on the technicality of your paper and the kind of degree you are pursuing.

  • Undergraduate degree – Your panel may include at least three lecturers from your faculty. Additionally, the defense may last up to one hour.
  • Masters degree – You get to interact with four professors at this level, and each student is allotted 1½ hours to present and answer questions.
  • Ph.D. degree – Considering that this is the highest education level, five professors avail themselves to vet you. More so, you may have to engage them for two hours.

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What to include?

A thesis defense follows a particular format, which cuts across all types of degrees, which is:

  • Introduction  – Explain the need for this study
  • Literature review  – Explain what other scholars have found on the subject
  • Research methodology  – What research method did you use, and why did you use it?
  • Findings and discussions  – In your research, what were the key deductions that you came upon?
  • Implications, limitations, suggestions, and  conclusion  – Here, you have to exhaust the setbacks you encountered during the study, the consequences that your target audience will face if they do not follow the deductions, and then finally sum up the discussions.

Tools for Thesis Defense

Considering that a thesis defense may take you at least 45 minutes to present, it is essential to make the presentation lively. So, you can incorporate a slide show and use images to make it less wordy. Bullet points also make the text easier to digest as opposed to a block of text. So, a laptop and a projector will help you ace your presentation.

Thesis Defense Anxiety

Standing before a panel of people waiting to hear how you conducted your research can be intimidating. This is especially so considering that you will be standing before a group of professors, who you believe to be superior to you in regards to the topic knowledge. More so, if you are not familiar with public speaking, it is easy to develop stage fright while defending.

Manage Thesis Defense Anxiety

In case you find yourself fidgeting before you begin presenting, use the following tips to help you get your composure back.

  • If you have a problem with eye-balling the lecturers, look at the tips of their foreheads instead.
  • Take a few seconds to breathe in and out so you can stabilize your speech if you begin to stammer.
  • Go into the room with a positive mind, knowing that you will do your best.
  • Most importantly, rehearse your thesis defense severally before the D-day.

What is a thesis defense?

A scholarly thesis defense is a forum that allows students to present their paper’s contents and defend their thesis topic before a panel of professors. The student is then required to answer all questions asked by the lecturers. At the end, the student is required to leave the room whilst the professors decide whether the thesis is ready to be published, or if it needs corrections.

How long is a thesis defense?

There is no general length for a thesis defense. The defense of a master’s thesis will take longer than the defense of a bachelor’s thesis. You will need to fit in an introduction , a literature review, your findings and even more into the time frame for your thesis defense, so it’s important that you’re well prepared. All in all, it depends on your paper and your academic field. Usually the thesis defense will last between one and two hours, but it also could be less than one hour.

What is the oral defense of a thesis?

Oral defense is simply another name for your thesis defense. If you’ve completed your thesis, you are required to defend it in front of a panel of professors. It is designed so that the committee can ensure that the students completely understand their thesis topic . The oral thesis defense is an examination of a completed body of work. Students will be assigned a date to defend their thesis.

What happens after the thesis defense?

After your thesis defense, you will be told to leave the room whilst the panel discusses your results. There are normally 2 outcomes. You may need to make changes to your thesis’ formatting or content. If this is the case, don’t stress! You’re able to try the thesis defense again once you’ve incorporated any required changes. The preferred outcome is that the panel is happy with your thesis and it’s then ready to be signed and published.

What defines a good thesis defense?

The thesis defense is the final step for your academic work. It’s important that you’re prepared and you’ve outlined what you’re going to say in each section of the defense. You need to know your thesis statement better than the back of your hand, otherwise you risk being sidetracked. Just like your thesis itself, your thesis defense has a specific structure. You can read more about this further on in the article. Try and prepare yourself for the potential types of questions that the professors will ask you so that you don’t have to think about your answers on the spot.

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Congratulations to camille hanes on a successful thesis defense.

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IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. How to prepare an excellent thesis defense

    The same goes for the length of your thesis defense, as mentioned above. The most important first step for you is to clarify with your department what the structure of your thesis defense will look like. In general, your thesis defense will include: your presentation of around 20-30 minutes; questions from the committee

  2. Preparing for a Master's Defense

    A master's thesis defense uses the same rules for committee composition as PhD defense committees. However, master's thesis committees do not require a committee chair as PhD dissertation committees do. Please note: If the advisor is not in a student's program, the advisor still counts as a committee member within the progra. ...

  3. PDF A Guide for Graduate Students Preparing for a Master's Thesis Defense

    Master's Thesis Defense Appointment Form (note that this form can only be accessed by staff). Registration must occur on a date that allows 5 full working days to pass between the registration date and your actual defense date. When registering your Master's thesis, you must present a bound defense copy of your thesis to the Graduate Studies

  4. Thesis Defense Steps: Full Guide How to Prepare and Present

    On average, a thesis defense takes somewhere between 30 minutes and one hour. However, the time it takes to do a thesis defense depends on the academic level you are in. While there is no standard or general length for a thesis defense, post-graduate sessions will take longer compared to undergraduate sessions.

  5. Defending Your Dissertation: A Guide

    The first thing you should know is that your defense has already begun. It started the minute you began working on your dissertation— maybe even in some of the classes you took beforehand that helped you formulate your ideas. This, according to Dr. Celeste Atkins, is why it's so important to identify a good mentor early in graduate school.

  6. How to Start and Give a Great Thesis Defense Presentation

    To complete a graduate degree, you'll likely need to create a thesis defense presentation. You must complete a thesis to finish many graduate degree programs. It's important to have an impressive thesis defense presentation. (Image Source: Envato Elements) A thesis is a paper where you explore a topic in depth that's related to what you've ...

  7. Preparing For A Viva Voce (Dissertation Defence)

    Preparing for your dissertation or thesis defense (also called a "viva voce") is a formidable task. All your hard work over the years leads you to this one point, and you'll need to defend yourself against some of the most experienced researchers you've encountered so far. It's natural to feel a little nervous.

  8. PDF Thesis Format, Defense, Final Submission, and Best Practices

    Graduate School website for more information. During the defense, students are generally required to give a brief discussion of the scholarly significance of the thesis. This is followed by questions from the advisor and 2nd reader. The defense length is a minimum of 1 hour. Students must bring a copy of the thesis to the defense.

  9. PDF Completing and Defending your Thesis: Best Practices

    graduation, along with deadlines for the thesis defense, thesis formatting, and final ... defense length is a minimum of 1 hour. Students must bring a copy of the thesis to the defense. ... Thesis Formatting The UWM Graduate School determines the standard format for completed MA theses. If this format is not followed, graduation may be delayed. ...

  10. Mastering Your Thesis Defense: An In-depth Guide

    Mastering Your Thesis Defense: An In-depth Guide. Table of Contents. We applaud your persistence and dedication in reaching the final step of your journey: the thesis defense. This is the crucial stage where you are called to succinctly articulate the results of your hard work. To prepare you for this task, we will provide a comprehensive guide ...

  11. Theses and Dissertations

    Below is an overview of the main steps in preparing, defending, and submitting your thesis or dissertation. For detailed instructions on each step, see The Graduate School's Guide for Electronic Submission of Thesis and Dissertation (PDF), in addition to this video recording from a workshop given on the subject. Schedule your defense and apply for graduation in DukeHub (defense and graduation ...

  12. Defending Your Thesis or Dissertation : Graduate School

    Exams Required for Ph.D. Degree Defense. The B exam is an oral defense of your thesis or dissertation. This exam can be taken after completing all degree requirements, but not earlier than one month before completing the minimum number of enrolled semesters. At least two semesters of successful registration must be completed between the passing ...

  13. Defending Your Thesis 2024+- Tips for Your Dissertation

    First, state your thesis/research question. You need to describe the importance of your topic and detail how your research was conducted, including any methods of measurement you have used. The major findings of your thesis should be made clear, as well as how your thesis contributes to the body of knowledge in your field.

  14. How Long Is a Master's Thesis? 5 Tips on Writing and Structuring Yours

    Typical Length Variations. The length of a Master's thesis can vary significantly depending on the subject matter, the specific requirements of your academic institution, and your research topic. Generally, a Master's thesis is between 40 to 80 pages in humanities and social sciences but can be longer in more technical fields like ...

  15. How to Start a Thesis Defense Presentation

    Use an appropriate language register (avoid informal language), but be approachable and natural. "Welcome to the thesis defense on [the title of your thesis]". Next, introduce yourself with your name and give a short description of your background and occupation. Don't forget to say "thank you for attending!".

  16. Oral Defenses of Theses and Dissertations

    Master's students completing a thesis and doctoral students completing a dissertation are required to engage in a final oral defense of the document by their thesis or dissertation committee. ... The actual length of the defense will depend on how long each step takes. Example structure of a defense: Allow 10-15 minutes for attendees to arrive.

  17. What Is A Thesis Defense?

    If you're researching a master's degree, you'll likely come across the phrase "thesis defense" among the list of requirements for earning an advanced degree. This formal-sounding requirement usually comes at the end of a graduate program. As a student seeking a master's degree, your thesis defines your educational experience at the university.

  18. Graduate Dissertation

    Graduate Program. The dissertation is a substantial work of original scholarship usually ranging in length from 200 to 450 double-spaced pages. Once coursework and both preliminary examinations are passed, the student is considered to have Advanced to Candidacy and is officially a Ph.D. candidate.

  19. How long should a thesis defense be? : r/GradSchool

    There are two parts: an exit seminar and the actual defense. Exit seminars should be the length of any other seminar; about 45-50 minutes. The exit seminar should introduce your research problem, talk briefly about some of the research you did, and then discuss conclusions and further directions. Basically, your entire audience should walk away ...

  20. Thesis

    Length is often given in page count and depends upon departments, faculties, and fields of study. A bachelor's thesis is often 40-60 pages long, a diploma thesis and a master's thesis usually 60-100. The required submission for a doctorate is called a Dissertation or Doktorarbeit.

  21. PDF Thesis Proposal Defense Guidance for Students in the Master's of

    Thesis ProposalDefenseGuidance for Students in the Master's ofGeosciences Degree. One key step toward completing the M.S. degree in Geosciences is defending a thesis research proposal. This document provides general guidelines for completing this step. Completion of GEO 5103 Current Topics in the Geosciences and GEO 5113 Research Design in ...

  22. Thesis Defense ~ A Guide To Prepare Best

    Additionally, the defense may last up to one hour. Masters degree - You get to interact with four professors at this level, and each student is allotted 1½ hours to present and answer questions. ... There is no general length for a thesis defense. The defense of a master's thesis will take longer than the defense of a bachelor's thesis.

  23. Master's Thesis Defense in Electrical and Computer Engineering

    05/31/2024 By Danielle Fretwell. The Francis College of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, invites you to attend a Master's Thesis defense by Christopher Molinari on: "Additively Manufactured X-Band Detectors Atop Multilayer Doubly Curved E-Glass Substrates."

  24. Master's Thesis Defense in Civil and Environmental Engineering: Fatlum

    Degree: Master's. Defense Date: Monday, June 3, 2024. Time: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Location: Room 215, Perry Hall, North Campus. Thesis/Dissertation Title: Determination of Concrete Compressive Strength using Ground Penetrating Radar with Different Water-to-cement Ratios and at Different Ages. Committee:

  25. Congratulations to Camille Hanes on a successful thesis defense!

    Congratulations to Camille Hanes on a successful thesis defense! Wednesday, May 15, 2024. The University of Iowa. Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience Graduate College 356 Medical Research Center Iowa City, IA 52242 (319) 335-9968 [email protected] ...

  26. Master's Thesis Defense Announcement Mechanical and Aerospace

    Thesis Advisor: Dr. Michael Bozlar . 2:00 PM, Tuesday, May 7th, 2024 . Woolf Hall 413 . Abstract Polymers have evolved as an indispensable asset in various sectors ranging from packaging and construction to energy and aerospace. However, the accumulation of polymer waste poses ... Master's Thesis Defense - Kunal Anant Bachim Author:

  27. Thesis Defense In Chemistry, Presented by Wendy (Shoushou) He

    Presented By: Wendy (Shoushou) He. Superatoms are atomically precise clusters that, like atoms, can be robust fundamental units of solids. When superatoms are installed into 2D materials, we can produce a tunable class of materials known as the superatomic 2D materials, for which we can use molecular cluster chemistry to modify their structures ...

  28. Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense in Criminology ...

    The School of Criminology and Justice Studies is proud to announce a Dissertation Proposal Defense by Cameron P. Burke entitled "Accountability, Justice, and Institutional Responses to Campus Sexual Harm." Date: Wednesday, June 12 Time: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Location: HSSB room 431 Committee