How to Prepare for Dissertation Defense

Once the student has completed his written work of dissertation. The next step is a meeting with BPH Director to plan or review the defense and dissertation procedure. It includes the plan about mandatory material, location, date and time. There is also a FAS/GSAS form in which student find the answer to question-related to the defense overview process.

Defense Committee

The BPH program authority approves the defense committee with its member. These members must be with the designation of professor or higher. Four members of the committee should meet the following standards. One member is a chair that chairs the oral defense, asses the committee satisfaction and recommends the corrections. From other members, one member must from a BPH faculty member, one member should not be from Harvard University. The fourth member may be from BPH or another affiliated program.

Timing and Format

Defense timing is an important part of defense preparation. The candidates should reserve 3 hours for defense dissertation. They can reserve 1 hour for seminars and 2 hours for the oral examination. All information regarding title, place, date and time will be informed through email as in advance as possible with details. This notify is not later than 3 weeks. The candidate should provide copies of the thesis to defense committee and BPH program prior to two weeks from the date of the exam. These copies may be printed on the demand of the committee. If there is a problem in the written document the committee can delay the defense until acceptable changes are completed.

Oral Defense Procedures

  • Public Seminar

The public seminar is the part exam. The PhD student will present a seminar which can be an oral examination. It takes approximately 1 hour and includes the time advisor’s intro, oral presentation and questions and answers.

  • Private Oral Examination

The private oral examination is linked to the public seminar. In the beginning, the student leaves the room according to the chairman’s instructions. The committee debates on the dissertation for evaluation during this time. The candidate came back into the room again for oral defense.

Now answering and the questioning session starts. Committee members ask the question based on their evaluation of the thesis and presentation. The chair act as a moderator. This defense takes two hours with the questions on impact, limitations, research and conclusions.

In the end, the candidate once again leaves out the room for some time. the committee console requires revisions if needed. After review, the candidate again came back into the room and the committee instructs him about recommended revisions or corrections. 

Preparation for Defense Dissertation

The candidate should prepare himself to write and defend the thesis according to the guidelines of the Graduate School or institution.

Writing the Dissertation

The candidate must write a wide-ranging PhD dissertation on his topic. There are different methods to compose the dissertation. But it must indicate the organicity of the subject with the scholarly review, evidence, quality, clarity, logic, thought-full discussions, detailed methods and formatting. 

The dissertation should show briefly who and how to contribute to the work. It includes complete references and the description contributors. The formatting of the dissertation has a crucial impact on professionalism. It must be according to the requirement of institutions.

Defense Forms

Dissertation Acceptance Certificate

The BPH program management delivers a copy of the acceptance certificate to the chair of defense committee. It should be signed by all members and returned to the BPH. The candidate collects the scan copy of this certificate from the BPH office and fixes it dissertation before online submissions. It is also necessary for the student to submit the original copy of the thesis to the Registrar. If the candidate doesn’t make the corrections and the chair doesn’t confirm the approval of acceptance. The candidate can’t receive the certificate.

Defense Exam Report

After the corrections of recommended revisions committee members provide the record of corrections and issue a report of clearance. This report is signed by all members and submitted to the BPH office.

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