Once the Dissertation Committee agrees that the doctoral candidate has completed enough original research to satisfactorily address some of the scientific questions raised in the Dissertation Proposal or in subsequent Committee Meetings, the Ph.D. candidate will schedule a Dissertation Defense, which will consist of a public seminar followed immediately by a Dissertation Committee meeting in which the student must defend the research.

The final Dissertation must be distributed to the Dissertation Committee Members no less than ten days prior to the scheduled examination. It is required that the Dissertation has been reviewed and approved by the Advisor prior to distribution to the committee.

The following points may be used as guidelines for evaluation of the defense:

  • Is the research original?
  • Are proper experimental designs, appropriate techniques, and interpretation of results described in the thesis?
  • Is the candidate able to defend the methods, findings, and conclusions of the research?
  • Is the candidate sufficiently knowledgeable of the literature to place his or her contribution in proper context?
  • Are the results of the thesis research published or worthy of publication?