Defending Your Dissertation

Having your thesis defense structured well ahead of time will make you feel more comfortable and focused during your presentation.The thesis defense is your opportunity to take the stage and to demonstrate the growth and progress you have experienced in your years as a graduate student.

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You can expect to be asked a number of questions after your presentation, and you need to be armed with the knowledge and skill necessary to answer the questions confidently.

When preparing to defend your thesis, familiarize yourself with the guidelines and requirements your department has put into place.

You've likely been researching and contemplating your topic for well over a year, and the material will be fresher and more immediate for you than for them.

If you pause to think about this, it should give you extra confidence going into the thesis defense. Additionally, one question you should anticipate from your thesis committee is, "What do you plan to do with the thesis, beyond graduate school?

If you don't express confidence about your findings in the thesis, your committee may develop their own doubts about the value of your work.

Be aware of the fact that you probably know your topic far better than most or all of the professors who form your thesis committee.When defending your thesis, you want to prove to your committee and advisor that you are capable of producing more broad-ranging, in-depth pieces of scholarly writing. You will want to wear professional attire that is comfortable - the last thing you want is to distract your audience from the masterpiece that is your thesis by tugging at clothing while you are presenting your defense or fielding questions.Nor do you want to disrupt your own ability to concentrate by squeezing into those cute shoes.Do you know what to wear to a dissertation defense meeting? The thesis defense procedure may vary from college to college but generally you will be expected to announce your thesis defense appointment in your graduate department, and your committee is likely to meet before and after your defense. 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.Take any chance you can get to discuss your thesis with other people.If you can find someone to sit through a practice defense, take advantage of that.Finally, you must state the conclusions and recommendations you have made based on your research.You must expect, in some fashion, to be required to answer the crucial question "So what?No matter how nervous you are, be sure to focus and to listen with care to the questions posed to you.Take a moment to pause before you give your answer if you need to - they are not looking for quick responses, but they are looking for solid ones.

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