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Hints for PhD Defenses

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❶While requirements will vary among universities and departments, a few general guidelines apply to all dissertation proposals.

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Thesis defense rehearsal
The Role of PhD Committee Members

Many scientists forget that although they are an expert on their topic, what seems easy and understandable to them-does not apply to others outside of their field.

Before you go to your next data slides introduce the idea based on this data I wanted to ask this question.

Then tell them WHY you performed this particular experiment which is basically in the form of a question. Once your audience understands why, go on to the next slide and give them your interpretation. This one is pretty self explanatory.

I will say that when it is all said and done, it feels like a huge burden has been lifted off your shoulders. It is emotional and you finally feel that all that hard work and time that you put in over the years-was all worth it in the end.

Good luck to all those who are preparing for their defense talk in the future! Think about what it will be like to get up in front of a large audience and show everyone how you moved a field forward.

This is YOUR moment to show everyone you are an expert in your field. The more you keep this mentality, the better your talk will be. Keep your cool and relax 7 and everything will be fine. One of my committee members actually read my entire thesis, so you never know. I only suggest rereading your entire thesis to keep the info fresh in your mind, which is more likely to help you think on your feet. Often overlooked during the last 0. Although some PhD stress is inevitable and depends on how you handle it , keeping your physical health in check helps to keep stress levels low and equips you to handle the mental stress.

I did write about this earlier in a previous article http: I just defended and kept coming back to these tips while finishing my talk. They are incredibly useful, especially to ignore distractions and keep your cool on defense day. Thank you a ton for the post! I agree that you should read over the entire thesis. None of my three committee members really even made it to Chapter 3, but at least I was prepared for broad-level questions.

Here is a post with some tips from my department. I found them useful! A very good structured guidelines. It speacks of the experience of the person who has guided a number of scholars. Thanks a lot for useful tips.

I am in the process of writing my dissertation, so I will come back to your post in the late period of my degree. It seems that it will be quite different. The defence is of course open to public so everyone can come.

The Committee always consists of 9 professors including two officially appointed reviewers of your PhD thesis that wrote and shared their reviews before the defence. I am obliged to give a speech summarizing what I have managed to accomplished during 4-year-research. I have only 20 minutes to do that. That is why it is so stressful.

Each professor from the Committee asks questions on average which means that you will be hit by questions. Here comes the best part. And here we go again. After that you forget what your name is but instead of going to sleep for 5 days you have to go for an official dinner that you pay for with all 9 members of the Committee and continue the chit-chat for like forever. All mentors become douchebags in our eyes at one point or another during our doctorate, it is their job.

With that said, I present in 21 days. I really want to reread my thesis, but every-time I do I find errors. Ack it is soooo discouraging, just silly typos! It is already turned in. It is driving me nuts, I reread the thing a million times and still more typos!!! Not a confidence builder at this point. I am defending in three days.

I am freaking out! I have a committee of four and two of them read and approved my last few chapters and suggested that I move forward. As soon as I set up a defense date, another committee member suggested that I had not gone deep enough and would be hesitant to sign off on my defense for graduation. Needless to say, my three allotted weeks turned into just four days because I had to rewrite the last three chapters. And I have the same problem of re-reading my thesis and finding errors.

It is a necessity though. Omg I totally know the feeling. I dread re-reading that thing! God knows what other dumplings of stress will unveil themselves. Hi all, Thanks Ryan Raver a lot for your tips. I am preparing for the defense in 1 week. You tips help me forcus on sometihings important.

I really appreciate it. Victoria, you hit the nail on the head about how re-reading the dissertation is such a confidence killer because of the typo errors that never seem to go away. I will be presenting my final defense in exactly four days from today.

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

I think the best thing is to create your PowerPoint, notes and go over those over and over rather than your dissertation. I did not realize how time-consuming it is to complete the dissertation. The last few months were the busiest and one can continue to add, delete, change something for years and still find errors.

Thanks for the write-up. The tips are well structured and appear to be very useful. It helps me a lot in my presentation. I actually wore an adult diaper in case I had to ….. But the day before my defense I do not at it. This give me time to let it settle and I can relax. Remember, YOU are the expert on your subject. Someone mentioned use cartoons, I did exactly that, drove home the point, and everyone remembered it. Here is the question I posed.

Here is the research I did. A faculty member gave this advice the day before. Answer the question you wish they had asked. Your committee members are experts in their field s , and have been through their own defenses as well as those of others, and they will smell any diversionary tactics. You are better off trying to engage the question as asked, and get as close as possible to an answer.

Which leads us to the next two points. If questioning goes beyond your topic, admit that you are not familiar with whatever new topic has come up. Sleep, if you can get it, might do you good.

I know this sounds weird. A faculty member told me this the day before, but it makes sense in light of some of these other points. This is your chance to show that you are the expert your committee suspects you are, and there is no reason not to try to have fun with it. It is your big moment, after all. I went in to my defense convinced that I would have fun, and I did.

But this is a very sane and helpful assessment of the process. You may want to publish it on ProfHacker. I would, however, add in addition to your list of 10 — a big goddamn poster and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I defend tomorrow-thanks so much for posting this!

I defend Friday and I will do my best to adhere to the advice of this page and the posters above. My defense was a success. Thank you for your amazing tips.

But still, it helped me a lot. Thank u so much Sir! Thank you for this helpful advice. I defend in a week and I will try to apply all your suggestions! I kept reminding myself to have some fun, to enjoy the day, if possible. I really want to prepare, but not sure what to prepare for!

All research has weaknesses. Be confident about your choices and results, but agree that it could have be done better or differently. That will take you far. Some questions deserve a few seconds thought. Write them down as soon as you hear that there are several questions bundled into one. Use examples if you have them. No one knows what you have seen and heard, hence you own the truth and can speak freely and in pictures. Examples come with the additional benefit of being interesting for the audience.

Finally, the PhD defense is not meant to be a walk in the park. The most usual one, which you can pull a few times and that will quickly end any difficult question is this one: If you need to buy yourself some time, and you know that you have treated the question somewhere in you thesis, you can lend this dry joke from me: But note; this last-resort-option can only be used once, so save it carefully. Smile, have fun, enjoy YOUR day! I wish you the best of luck. Thank you very much for all of your advices!

This was a great read! Thank you very much for the post. I am close to my defense. My advisor and most of my committee is very supportive of my work.

However one member is creating nuisance over a published peer-reviewed journal part of my dissertation and essentially making comments in academically unprofessional tone? I need him to sign my dissertation. If you or someone can offer some thoughts on this …. Congrats on beeing so close! My advise is to not bore the h..

My dissertation defence is on 15 December.

How to defend a dissertation and succeed with graduation?

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Make sure you use the full two weeks to perfect your slides, polish your talk (and be very concise about your words), and review material you are unsure about. 2) Listen to other thesis defense talks The best way to mentally prepare for your thesis defense talk is to listen to other thesis defense talks.

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Read our dissertation defense tips below! Thesis writing is one of the most important and challenging tasks you will encounter as a graduate student, and the thesis defense is the culmination of that process.

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10 tips for surviving a dissertation defense by Erik Marshall | Apr 9, | 35 comments The title should probably read “How I survived my dissertation defense,” because each project is different, each committee is different, and, therefore each defense is different. Describe the importance of your topic and make some statements. You must literally learn your dissertation by heart to be able to answer any question confident without showing doubts. Doctoral dissertation defense showtime. At the day of the dissertation defense, try to stay calm and focused. To show your respect, you need to look professionally.

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Dissertation defense presentations can feel a bit intimidating. Although you have mastered your topic and content, defending your work to a critical committee may be daunting. Your committee will engage you in a discussion of your research; their intent is . Because norms for a defense delivery differ, students need to determine their department's expectations by talking with their dissertation chair or fellow students, advises Alison Miller, PhD, a clinical psychologist turned professional dissertation coach.