When your dissertation is nearing completion, you should discuss with your advisors whether it is ready for the defence. You will also need to take care of a number of practical details which involve different parts of the university administration. This page provides key information about your Ph.D. defence.
After a successful defence or licentiate seminar, you are ready to apply for your degree, providing that you are finished with your coursework. You must both register your thesis in Ladok and submit an application for the degree.
The second part of the defence is attended only by members of the exam board. They adopt a resolution, being a result of secret voting, that call on a scientific council of the study discipline either to grant the doctoral candidate the doctoral degree or not.
The defence of the doctoral dissertation is a public event. It is divided into two parts. First is open to other participants. In this time, the scientific achievements of a candidate applying for a doctoral degree, a summary of the doctoral dissertation and its reviews are presented. Afterwards, a public discussion begins where all participants of the meeting can ask questions.
The dissertation defense is typically a two hour meeting held after the student has completed a final draft of the dissertation. The purpose of the defense is to evaluate the quality and originality of the dissertation as a contribution to scholarship in the relevant field of study. When the student and advisor are satisfied that a draft of the dissertation is in finished form, the defense can be set. The defense itself, including its scheduling, is a formal process and must follow rules set by the graduate school. An “Intention to Receive Degree” form must be filed prior to scheduling the defense. The graduate school’s rules for dissertation submission and defense, including instructions on layout, footnotes, and citation techniques, can be found in the Guide for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations (available online at: https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/theses-and-dissertations). All students should familiarize themselves with these rules.
The defense itself will involve questions and comments from the committee based on a thorough scrutiny of the dissertation. Candidates should be prepared to make a case for the importance of their research, for its place in current scholarship, and for the possible future of the project, with an eye both to job placement and eventual publication.
Use Zoom to assist in reviewing student dissertation defenses. Follow these steps to create a Zoom meeting that utilizes the waiting room feature for virtual dissertation defense.
Teachers College Information Technology (TCIT)
Going forward, all dissertation/thesis/project proposal and defense meetings be held virtually. Please note that dissertation defenses still require a public defense, and the student will be responsible for setting up the virtual defense (Microsoft Teams, Zoom are recommended). Note that MU IT is only providing tech support for Microsoft Teams at this time, but the student could choose to use any videoconferencing platform.
Dissertation Defense Details