How to defense your Dissertation

defense dissertation

When you are doing your doctorate, you have to write a dissertation. Once the college committee has accepted your dissertation, you have to defend your thesis in front of them. Questions will be asked regarding your research and the results you mention in your essay. When you convince your committee about your thesis, then you pass and get your doctorate. Defending your thesis is concluding four years of study into one day. A Ph.D. defense is a vital ceremony.  The dissertation defense can be categorized into three parts: the preparation, the defense and the follow-up.



For your defense meeting, you have to prepare a presentation of 15-30 minutes long. You can present your study through PowerPoint Presentation. PowerPoint presentation helps you to organize your thoughts and provides a composition to the information.  Prepare your PowerPoint slides months before the defense date. Start with a clear introduction, but spend most of the time concentrating on the results, after all, that’s what defense is all about. Practice and practice presenting the material and answering questions, in front of your family or friends for a mock defense. You have to show the presentation and talk about it in 20 minutes of allotted time. Reread your dissertation and summarize it in one line per page.



The defense meeting starts with your comments, thanking advisors and committee member for their efforts and time. Your presentation material covers the major part of the research question. During the defense, the faculties take turns to ask you questions and discuss among themselves the points of interest and disagreements.  Make the presentation of about  20 slides, arranging one slide per minute. It is better to use the visuals instead of using bullet points and text. Take out the prints of your slides and distribute it to your audience while you are speaking notes. Always face your audience while giving your presentation.

After you welcome and thank everyone, you begin with your reasons to why you got interested in the study, questions related to the literature and your research, methods you used and your conclusions or suggestions for your possible further research. If you don’t know any issue’s answer, you can admit that you are not sure of the answer, and it needs further explanation. Your committee would want you to succeed. They have been through your drafts and given comments on the project, so they won’t let you get to the public defense unless they know that you would pass.  After your presentation and all question answers, you will be asked to leave the room while the committee contemplate.  They vote to decide whether to pass you on your defense and dissertation. After discussion, you will be asked to come back and tell how you did. They greet you with the “congratulations”; you have successfully passed your dissertation.


Some questions that can be asked at the defense are as follows:

  • What is the broader proclamation of your work?
  • Which of the 2-3 manuscripts that you want to get out of your dissertation?
  • What difference does your study make to the field, the profession, the literature, and your discipline?
  • What did you learn?
  • What other research do you want to do in the future?



You can plan a small reception for the committee, chair, friends, and family, according to the norms of your department for post-defense celebrations. Your chair might stay after everyone else has left, to discuss if there are some minor revisions to be made in your dissertation. Make the changes as soon as possible, while they are still fresh in your mind. Submit a complete and correctly formatted, final PDF copy of your dissertation, which goes into the official records. The committee will do the final format check of your dissertation after you submit it online. While preparing your PDF, make sure to use embedded fonts, data, and information that is color-coded may not be accountable, there should not be a digital signature, and it should not be password protected, and the security settings allow printing. The Committee makes no changes to the content of the submitted manuscript, so it is entirely your responsibility of how the script looks like.

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