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Dissertation Defense

The purpose of the dissertation defense meeting is to assess the merits of the completed dissertation research and the ability of the doctoral candidate to interpret and explain research results and implications.

Once the chair deems the dissertation ready to be defended, the candidate will be given permission to schedule a dissertation defense meeting. The candidate will contact the committee members to find a date and time acceptable to all, and will secure a conference room for the defense. The candidate will provide a copy of the dissertation to the chair and committee members at least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense of the proposal, either electronically or in hard copy, depending upon their preferences.

All members of the dissertation committee must attend the defense (in-place or virtually) and the meeting should be open to all members of the university community and invited guests. The dissertation committee chair will notify the School of Education community of the time, date, and location of the defense meeting at least two weeks prior to the event.

A completed Dissertation Defense Verification form must be brought to the defense. This form must be signed by all of the committee members and will be uploaded as a supplemental document to the electronic submission of the dissertation.  

At the defense meeting, the dissertation chairperson will convene the session and then ask the candidate to summarize the study’s findings. Discussion will follow, as committee members pose questions about the research and its possible implications. When all questions have been asked and answered, the committee will meet in executive session to determine whether the candidate has completed the dissertation research requirements.

If requirements are met, the committee returns to open session, provides feedback to the candidate about edits and/or revisions to the dissertation document needed (if any), and signs the approval form. A unanimous vote from the committee members is required for approval of the dissertation.

If unanimous approval is not given at this defense, the committee informs the candidate and provides feedback in executive session. The candidate should then seek a conference with her/her chairperson. The chair will make recommendations to remedy any deficiencies in the dissertation document. A second dissertation defense may then be scheduled.

After making any changes recommended by dissertation committee members during a successful defense meeting, the dissertation will be ready for final submission to ProQuest. The original, signed Dissertation Defense Verification should then be delivered to the School of Education Registrar.