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How to prepare an excellent thesis defense

Thesis defence

What is a thesis defense?

How long is a thesis defense, what happens at a thesis defense, your presentation, questions from the committee, 6 tips to help you prepare for your thesis defense, 1. anticipate questions and prepare for them, 2. dress for success, 3. ask for help, as needed, 4. have a backup plan, 5. prepare for the possibility that you might not know an answer, 6. de-stress before, during, and after, frequently asked questions about preparing an excellent thesis defense, related articles.

If you're about to complete, or have ever completed a graduate degree, you have most likely come across the term "thesis defense." In many countries, to finish a graduate degree, you have to write a thesis .

A thesis is a large paper, or multi-chapter work, based on a topic relating to your field of study.

Once you hand in your thesis, you will be assigned a date to defend your work. Your thesis defense meeting usually consists of you and a committee of two or more professors working in your program. It may also include other people, like professionals from other colleges or those who are working in your field.

During your thesis defense, you will be asked questions about your work. The main purpose of your thesis defense is for the committee to make sure that you actually understand your field and focus area.

The questions are usually open-ended and require the student to think critically about their work. By the time of your thesis defense, your paper has already been evaluated. The questions asked are not designed so that you actually have to aggressively "defend" your work; often, your thesis defense is more of a formality required so that you can get your degree.

  • Check with your department about requirements and timing.
  • Re-read your thesis.
  • Anticipate questions and prepare for them.
  • Create a back-up plan to deal with technology hiccups.
  • Plan de-stressing activities both before, and after, your defense.

How long your oral thesis defense is depends largely on the institution and requirements of your degree. It is best to consult your department or institution about this. In general, a thesis defense may take only 20 minutes, but it may also take two hours or more. The length also depends on how much time is allocated to the presentation and questioning part.

Tip: Check with your department or institution as soon as possible to determine the approved length for a thesis defense.

First of all, be aware that a thesis defense varies from country to country. This is just a general overview, but a thesis defense can take many different formats. Some are closed, others are public defenses. Some take place with two committee members, some with more examiners.

The same goes for the length of your thesis defense, as mentioned above. The most important first step for you is to clarify with your department what the structure of your thesis defense will look like. In general, your thesis defense will include:

  • your presentation of around 20-30 minutes
  • questions from the committee
  • questions from the audience (if the defense is public and the department allows it)

You might have to give a presentation, often with Powerpoint, Google slides, or Keynote slides. Make sure to prepare an appropriate amount of slides. A general rule is to use about 10 slides for a 20-minute presentation.

But that also depends on your specific topic and the way you present. The good news is that there will be plenty of time ahead of your thesis defense to prepare your slides and practice your presentation alone and in front of friends or family.

Tip: Practice delivering your thesis presentation in front of family, friends, or colleagues.

You can prepare your slides by using information from your thesis' first chapter (the overview of your thesis) as a framework or outline. Substantive information in your thesis should correspond with your slides.

Make sure your slides are of good quality— both in terms of the integrity of the information and the appearance. If you need more help with how to prepare your presentation slides, both the ASQ Higher Education Brief and James Hayton have good guidelines on the topic.

The committee will ask questions about your work after you finish your presentation. The questions will most likely be about the core content of your thesis, such as what you learned from the study you conducted. They may also ask you to summarize certain findings and to discuss how your work will contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

Tip: Read your entire thesis in preparation of the questions, so you have a refreshed perspective on your work.

While you are preparing, you can create a list of possible questions and try to answer them. You can foresee many of the questions you will get by simply spending some time rereading your thesis.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your thesis defense:

You can absolutely prepare for most of the questions you will be asked. Read through your thesis and while you're reading it, create a list of possible questions. In addition, since you will know who will be on the committee, look at the academic expertise of the committee members. In what areas would they most likely be focused?

If possible, sit at other thesis defenses with these committee members to get a feel for how they ask and what they ask. As a graduate student, you should generally be adept at anticipating test questions, so use this advantage to gather as much information as possible before your thesis defense meeting.

Your thesis defense is a formal event, often the entire department or university is invited to participate. It signals a critical rite of passage for graduate students and faculty who have supported them throughout a long and challenging process.

While most universities don't have specific rules on how to dress for that event, do regard it with dignity and respect. This one might be a no-brainer, but know that you should dress as if you were on a job interview or delivering a paper at a conference.

It might help you deal with your stress before your thesis defense to entrust someone with the smaller but important responsibilities of your defense well ahead of schedule. This trusted person could be responsible for:

  • preparing the room of the day of defense
  • setting up equipment for the presentation
  • preparing and distributing handouts

Technology is unpredictable. Life is too. There are no guarantees that your Powerpoint presentation will work at all or look the way it is supposed to on the big screen. We've all been there. Make sure to have a plan B for these situations. Handouts can help when technology fails, and an additional clean shirt can save the day if you have a spill.

One of the scariest aspects of the defense is the possibility of being asked a question you can't answer. While you can prepare for some questions, you can never know exactly what the committee will ask.

There will always be gaps in your knowledge. But your thesis defense is not about being perfect and knowing everything, it's about how you deal with challenging situations. You are not expected to know everything.

James Hayton writes on his blog that examiners will sometimes even ask questions they don't know the answer to, out of curiosity, or because they want to see how you think. While it is ok sometimes to just say "I don't know", he advises to try something like "I don't know, but I would think [...] because of x and y, but you would need to do [...] in order to find out.” This shows that you have the ability to think as an academic.

You will be nervous. But your examiners will expect you to be nervous. Being well prepared can help minimize your stress, but do know that your examiners have seen this many times before and are willing to help, by repeating questions, for example. Dora Farkas at finishyourthesis.com notes that it’s a myth that thesis committees are out to get you.

Two common symptoms of being nervous are talking really fast and nervous laughs. Try to slow yourself down and take a deep breath. Remember what feels like hours to you are just a few seconds in real life.

  • Try meditational breathing right before your defense.
  • Get plenty of exercise and sleep in the weeks prior to your defense.
  • Have your clothes or other items you need ready to go the night before.
  • During your defense, allow yourself to process each question before answering.
  • Go to dinner with friends and family, or to a fun activity like mini-golf, after your defense.

Allow yourself to process each question, respond to it, and stop talking once you have responded. While a smile can often help dissolve a difficult situation, remember that nervous laughs can be irritating for your audience.

We all make mistakes and your thesis defense will not be perfect. However, careful preparation, mindfulness, and confidence can help you feel less stressful both before, and during, your defense.

Finally, consider planning something fun that you can look forward to after your defense.

It is completely normal to be nervous. Being well prepared can help minimize your stress, but do know that your examiners have seen this many times before and are willing to help, by repeating questions for example if needed. Slow yourself down, and take a deep breath.

Your thesis defense is not about being perfect and knowing everything, it's about how you deal with challenging situations. James Hayton writes on his blog that it is ok sometimes to just say "I don't know", but he advises to try something like "I don't know, but I would think [...] because of x and y, you would need to do [...] in order to find out".

Your Powerpoint presentation can get stuck or not look the way it is supposed to do on the big screen. It can happen and your supervisors know it. In general, handouts can always save the day when technology fails.

  • Dress for success.
  • Ask for help setting up.
  • Have a backup plan (in case technology fails you).
  • Deal with your nerves.

thesis on defense

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Defending Your Dissertation: A Guide

A woman in front of a bookshelf speaking to a laptop

Written by Luke Wink-Moran | Photo by insta_photos

Dissertation defenses are daunting, and no wonder; it’s not a “dissertation discussion,” or a “dissertation dialogue.” The name alone implies that the dissertation you’ve spent the last x number of years working on is subject to attack. And if you don’t feel trepidation for semantic reasons, you might be nervous because you don’t know what to expect. Our imaginations are great at making The Unknown scarier than reality. The good news is that you’ll find in this newsletter article experts who can shed light on what dissertations defenses are really like, and what you can do to prepare for them.

The first thing you should know is that your defense has already begun. It started the minute you began working on your dissertation— maybe even in some of the classes you took beforehand that helped you formulate your ideas. This, according to Dr. Celeste Atkins, is why it’s so important to identify a good mentor early in graduate school.

“To me,” noted Dr. Atkins, who wrote her dissertation on how sociology faculty from traditionally marginalized backgrounds teach about privilege and inequality, “the most important part of the doctoral journey was finding an advisor who understood and supported what I wanted from my education and who was willing to challenge me and push me, while not delaying me.  I would encourage future PhDs to really take the time to get to know the faculty before choosing an advisor and to make sure that the members of their committee work well together.”

Your advisor will be the one who helps you refine arguments and strengthen your work so that by the time it reaches your dissertation committee, it’s ready. Next comes the writing process, which many students have said was the hardest part of their PhD. I’ve included this section on the writing process because this is where you’ll create all the material you’ll present during your defense, so it’s important to navigate it successfully. The writing process is intellectually grueling, it eats time and energy, and it’s where many students find themselves paddling frantically to avoid languishing in the “All-But-Dissertation” doldrums. The writing process is also likely to encroach on other parts of your life. For instance, Dr. Cynthia Trejo wrote her dissertation on college preparation for Latin American students while caring for a twelve-year-old, two adult children, and her aging parents—in the middle of a pandemic. When I asked Dr. Trejo how she did this, she replied:

“I don’t take the privilege of education for granted. My son knew I got up at 4:00 a.m. every morning, even on weekends, even on holidays; and it’s a blessing that he’s seen that work ethic and that dedication and the end result.”

Importantly, Dr. Trejo also exercised regularly and joined several online writing groups at UArizona. She mobilized her support network— her partner, parents, and even friends from high school to help care for her son.

The challenges you face during the writing process can vary by discipline. Jessika Iwanski is an MD/PhD student who in 2022 defended her dissertation on genetic mutations in sarcomeric proteins that lead to severe, neonatal dilated cardiomyopathy. She described her writing experience as “an intricate process of balancing many things at once with a deadline (defense day) that seems to be creeping up faster and faster— finishing up experiments, drafting the dissertation, preparing your presentation, filling out all the necessary documents for your defense and also, for MD/PhD students, beginning to reintegrate into the clinical world (reviewing your clinical knowledge and skill sets)!”

But no matter what your unique challenges are, writing a dissertation can take a toll on your mental health. Almost every student I spoke with said they saw a therapist and found their sessions enormously helpful. They also looked to the people in their lives for support. Dr. Betsy Labiner, who wrote her dissertation on Interiority, Truth, and Violence in Early Modern Drama, recommended, “Keep your loved ones close! This is so hard – the dissertation lends itself to isolation, especially in the final stages. Plus, a huge number of your family and friends simply won’t understand what you’re going through. But they love you and want to help and are great for getting you out of your head and into a space where you can enjoy life even when you feel like your dissertation is a flaming heap of trash.”

While you might sometimes feel like your dissertation is a flaming heap of trash, remember: a) no it’s not, you brilliant scholar, and b) the best dissertations aren’t necessarily perfect dissertations. According to Dr. Trejo, “The best dissertation is a done dissertation.” So don’t get hung up on perfecting every detail of your work. Think of your dissertation as a long-form assignment that you need to finish in order to move onto the next stage of your career. Many students continue revising after graduation and submit their work for publication or other professional objectives.

When you do finish writing your dissertation, it’s time to schedule your defense and invite friends and family to the part of the exam that’s open to the public. When that moment comes, how do you prepare to present your work and field questions about it?

“I reread my dissertation in full in one sitting,” said Dr. Labiner. “During all my time writing it, I’d never read more than one complete chapter at a time! It was a huge confidence boost to read my work in full and realize that I had produced a compelling, engaging, original argument.”

There are many other ways to prepare: create presentation slides and practice presenting them to friends or alone; think of questions you might be asked and answer them; think about what you want to wear or where you might want to sit (if you’re presenting on Zoom) that might give you a confidence boost. Iwanksi practiced presenting with her mentor and reviewed current papers to anticipate what questions her committee might ask.  If you want to really get in the zone, you can emulate Dr. Labiner and do a full dress rehearsal on Zoom the day before your defense.

But no matter what you do, you’ll still be nervous:

“I had a sense of the logistics, the timing, and so on, but I didn’t really have clear expectations outside of the structure. It was a sort of nebulous three hours in which I expected to be nauseatingly terrified,” recalled Dr. Labiner.

“I expected it to be terrifying, with lots of difficult questions and constructive criticism/comments given,” agreed Iwanski.

“I expected it to be very scary,” said Dr. Trejo.

“I expected it to be like I was on trial, and I’d have to defend myself and prove I deserved a PhD,” said Dr Atkins.

And, eventually, inexorably, it will be time to present.  

“It was actually very enjoyable” said Iwanski. “It was more of a celebration of years of work put into this project—not only by me but by my mentor, colleagues, lab members and collaborators! I felt very supported by all my committee members and, rather than it being a rapid fire of questions, it was more of a scientific discussion amongst colleagues who are passionate about heart disease and muscle biology.”

“I was anxious right when I logged on to the Zoom call for it,” said Dr. Labiner, “but I was blown away by the number of family and friends that showed up to support me. I had invited a lot of people who I didn’t at all think would come, but every single person I invited was there! Having about 40 guests – many of them joining from different states and several from different countries! – made me feel so loved and celebrated that my nerves were steadied very quickly. It also helped me go into ‘teaching mode’ about my work, so it felt like getting to lead a seminar on my most favorite literature.”

“In reality, my dissertation defense was similar to presenting at an academic conference,” said Dr. Atkins. “I went over my research in a practiced and organized way, and I fielded questions from the audience.

“It was a celebration and an important benchmark for me,” said Dr. Trejo. “It was a pretty happy day. Like the punctuation at the end of your sentence: this sentence is done; this journey is done. You can start the next sentence.”

If you want to learn more about dissertations in your own discipline, don’t hesitate to reach out to graduates from your program and ask them about their experiences. If you’d like to avail yourself of some of the resources that helped students in this article while they wrote and defended their dissertations, check out these links:

The Graduate Writing Lab

https://thinktank.arizona.edu/writing-center/graduate-writing-lab

The Writing Skills Improvement Program

https://wsip.arizona.edu

Campus Health Counseling and Psych Services

https://caps.arizona.edu

https://www.scribbr.com/

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How to Start a Thesis Defense Presentation

How to Start a Thesis Defense Presentation | Quick Tips & Tutorial for your presentations

After months and years of hard work, the moment to wrap things all up is finally here—your thesis defense presentation.

Whether you’re pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate, it’s the final step to that much-deserved achievement. 

A thesis defense requires a lot of prior research and preparation. And as important as its content is, so is how you present it because a stunning design with clear data and text hierarchy plays an immense role in comprehension.

In this article, we’ll explore how you make your thesis defense .

The organization is the key to success. Establishing some previous steps before any project or work is essential for the result to be very positive. And the defense of a thesis could not be less. 

Below, we will develop all the necessary steps to make a thesis defense presentation and we will give you some tips on how to carry them out.

How to Make an Amazing Presentation

Defining the concept of your thesis presentation, structuring your thesis defense presentation, how do you welcome the audience, tell them why you did this thesis, go into the content by explaining your thesis part by part, how to end the defense of the thesis.

After a long time of research and study, the content of your thesis is ready. Now, you have to find the best way to reflect all that effort behind your work. The information comes across more clearly if you use a visual format, as it attracts the attention of the audience. To present your thesis information in a clear, concise, and ultimately amazing way, you can use one of our unique thesis defense templates , available at Slidesgo.

As an example, in this article, we are going to use the Ecology Thesis template . With it, we will show you what to include in your presentation and how to make an attractive design.

After choosing the Google Slides and PowerPoint template that best suits the needs and subject matter of your thesis, it is time to define an overarching concept.

This is the main theme on which your designs are based. It must be relevant to your thesis as its purpose is to guide your selection of colors, typography, images, style, etc. 

These must be portrayed in a way that supports the main message of your slides and should be aligned with your concept both visually and sociologically.

Once you have defined the concept, you will have to move on to the next step: structuring the content of your thesis. A good structure will show that there is a good organization behind the work, but most importantly: it will highlight your content.

In this article, we are going to show you a structure that could be a good example of how to structure a thesis, but you can adapt it to what your specific content requires.

Before you begin your thesis defense, you should welcome your audience. A good presentation will make you connect with your audience, which will result in more general interest in your work.

Use an appropriate language register (avoid informal language), but be approachable and natural.

"Welcome to the thesis defense on [the title of your thesis]". Next, introduce yourself with your name and give a short description of your background and occupation.

Don't forget to say “thank you for attending!”

To continue establishing that connection with your audience, explain the reasons that led you to do this thesis. Tell the professional reasons, and you can even say some personal ones, which will denote closeness, and your audience will appreciate it.

Now it's time to go into the content of the thesis ! After these preliminary steps, which are just as important as the thesis itself, it is time to explain part by part the structure (which you had previously established). We are going to propose a structure for your project, but the final decision is always yours!

thesis on defense

First impressions are very important. Because your title page is the very first thing viewers see, it must be striking and impactful. It also sets the stage for the rest of your slides.

In one glance, the following should be established:

  • Thesis defense topic
  • Design style

For instance, the ecology thesis’s title page uses illustrations of a natural landscape to represent the topic of nature and a striking shade of blue to set the tone.

The sans serif font used depicts clean-cut typography and style and the thesis topic is written in large and bold typography, which draws attention to it immediately.

thesis on defense

Right after your title page, include an introduction slide to provide more details about your topic. 

This means explaining what you hope to answer with your research, its importance to your field, and why you chose it.

Continue to incorporate design elements relevant to your concept. This example has done just that by using a different natural landscape and including animals. For coherence, stick to the same typography and style throughout your presentation.

thesis on defense

The aim of the literature review slide is to illustrate your knowledge of your thesis topic and any relevant theories.

Walls of text kill a design. For clarity, we recommend presenting this with bullet points. Each one should be short and sweet and only touch on the basics; you can elaborate on them in your speech. 

Don’t forget to be consistent with your design. In our example, we’ve maintained the tone of blue chosen and added illustrations of leaves in the far corners of the slide. 

Also, address similar research that has been done. This is to showcase your topic’s originality and, if relevant, how it’s different and/or an improvement from previously done research. 

thesis on defense

This is one of the most important parts of a thesis defense presentation.

It allows your viewers to assess the rationality and validity of your approach and consequently, the accuracy of your results.

A great methodology slide explains the what , how, and why :

  • What method did you use for your research
  • Why did you choose it
  • How did you conduct it

Because this part of your thesis will be rather technical, the most effective way to aid understanding is by using graphics like charts and tables. 

thesis on defense

Keep text to a minimum to avoid drawing attention away from the graphics. If there is a text that must absolutely be included, consider using bullet points and keep them short.

Don’t forget to maintain color, style, and typography coherence.

thesis on defense

The results slides are easily the most quantitative part of a thesis defense. 

Here, your aim is to simply introduce your findings. Select the most impactful data and highlight them here.

Just as with methodology, use graphics like charts, tables, and graphs to portray the data in a clear way. And, once again, try not to write too much text. Let the visual content do the talking .

thesis on defense

After you’ve introduced your data, the next step would be to help your audience make sense of it. That means understanding what it means in the context of your thesis research topic and your discipline. 

Simply put, you should answer the question: What do the numbers mean?

The best way to approach this would be to do it as if you were creating an infographic . 

Illustrations like icons are a quick and simple way to represent your message. It also reduces the amount of text on your slide, which makes the information much more digestible. 

For a balanced thesis presentation, you should also address any outliers and anomalies.

To quote bestselling author Robin Sharma, “Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic.”

That’s exactly what to aim for in your conclusion.

Provide an overview of your thesis topic and remind your audience what you set out to answer with your research. In our example, we’ve used three icons accompanied by a short title and text. 

thesis on defense

Following that, reiterate the important points of your research results you want your audience to take away from your thesis defense presentation. 

You can do so by expanding the next slide to have more icons and points, for example.

thesis on defense

Don’t forget to address any shortcomings and limitations in your approach and extra points for suggesting possible improvements for future research.

We are going to give you a little tip to make your thesis defense a success. You can combine your defense with good public speaking techniques. Take a look at our article "How to become a great speaker" .

We hope this article has been of great help, have you already seen our templates to make the presentation of your thesis ? Choose the one that best suits your needs, we are sure that one of them will go perfectly with your thesis presentation! 

Good luck from Slidesgo.

thesis on defense

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Preparing For Your Dissertation Defense

13 Key Questions To Expect In The Viva Voce

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) & David Phair (PhD) . Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2021

Preparing for your dissertation or thesis defense (also called a “viva voce”) is a formidable task . All your hard work over the years leads you to this one point, and you’ll need to defend yourself against some of the most experienced researchers you’ve encountered so far.

It’s natural to feel a little nervous.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the most important questions you should be able to answer in your viva voce, whether it’s for a Masters or PhD degree. Naturally, they might not arise in exactly the same form (some may not come up at all), but if you can answer these questions well, it means you’re in a good position to tackle your oral defense.

Dissertation and thesis defense 101

Viva Voce Prep: 13 Essential Questions

  • What is your study about and why did you choose to research this in particular?
  • How did your research questions evolve during the research process?
  • How did you decide on which sources to include in your literature review?
  • How did you design your study and why did you take this approach?
  • How generalisable and valid are the findings?
  • What were the main shortcomings and limitations created by your research design?
  • How did your findings relate to the existing literature?
  • What were your key findings in relation to the research questions?
  • Were there any findings that surprised you?
  • What biases may exist in your research?
  • How can your findings be put into practice?
  • How has your research contributed to current thinking in the field?
  • If you could redo your research, how would you alter your approach?

#1: What is your study about and why did you choose to research this in particular?

This question, a classic party starter, is pretty straightforward.

What the dissertation or thesis committee is assessing here is your ability to clearly articulate your research aims, objectives and research questions in a concise manner. Concise is the keyword here – you need to clearly explain your research topic without rambling on for a half-hour. Don’t feel the need to go into the weeds here – you’ll have many opportunities to unpack the details later on.

In the second half of the question, they’re looking for a brief explanation of the justification of your research. In other words, why was this particular set of research aims, objectives and questions worth addressing? To address this question well in your oral defense, you need to make it clear what gap existed within the research and why that gap was worth filling.

#2: How did your research questions evolve during the research process?

Good research generally follows a long and winding path . It’s seldom a straight line (unless you got really lucky). What they’re assessing here is your ability to follow that path and let the research process unfold.

Specifically, they’ll want to hear about the impact that the literature review process had on you in terms of shaping the research aims, objectives and research questions . For example, you may have started with a certain set of aims, but then as you immersed yourself in the literature, you may have changed direction. Similarly, your initial fieldwork findings may have turned out some unexpected data that drove you to adjust or expand on your initial research questions.

Long story short – a good defense involves clearly describing your research journey , including all the twists and turns. Adjusting your direction based on findings in the literature or the fieldwork shows that you’re responsive , which is essential for high-quality research.

You will need to explain the impact of your literature review in the defense

#3: How did you decide on which sources to include in your literature review?

A comprehensive literature review is the foundation of any high-quality piece of research. With this question, your dissertation or thesis committee are trying to assess which quality criteria and approach you used to select the sources for your literature review.

Typically, good research draws on both the seminal work in the respective field and more recent sources . In other words, a combination of the older landmark studies and pivotal work, along with up-to-date sources that build on to those older studies. This combination ensures that the study has a rock-solid foundation but is not out of date.

So, make sure that your study draws on a mix of both the “classics” and new kids on the block, and take note of any major evolutions in the literature that you can use as an example when asked this question in your viva voce.

#4: How did you design your study and why did you take this approach?

This is a classic methodological question that you can almost certainly expect in some or other shape.

What they’re looking for here is a clear articulation of the research design and methodology, as well as a strong justification of each choice . So, you need to be able to walk through each methodological choice and clearly explain both what you did and why you did it. The why is particularly important – you need to be able to justify each choice you made by clearly linking your design back to your research aims, objectives and research questions, while also taking into account practical constraints.

To ensure you cover every base, check out our research methodology vlog post , as well as our post covering the Research Onion .

You have to justify every choice in your dissertation defence

#5: How generalizable and valid are the findings?

This question is aimed at specifically digging into your understanding of the sample and how that relates to the population, as well as potential validity issues in your methodology.

To answer question this well, you’ll need to critically assess your sample and findings and consider if they truly apply to the entire population, as well as whether they assessed what they set out to. Note that there are two components here – generalizability and validity . Generalizability is about how well the sample represents the population. Validity is about how accurately you’ve measured what you intended to measure .

To ace this part of your dissertation defense, make sure that you’re very familiar with the concepts of generalizability , validity and reliability , and how these apply to your research. Remember, you don’t need to achieve perfection – you just need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your research (and how the weaknesses could be improved upon).

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#6: What were the main shortcomings and limitations created by your research design?

This question picks up where the last one left off.

As I mentioned, it’s perfectly natural that your research will have shortcomings and limitations as a result of your chosen design and methodology. No piece of research is flawless. Therefore, a good dissertation defense is not about arguing that your work is perfect, but rather it’s about clearly articulating the strengths and weaknesses of your approach.

To address this question well, you need to think critically about all of the potential weaknesses your design may have, as well as potential responses to these (which could be adopted in future research) to ensure you’re well prepared for this question. For a list of common methodological limitations, check out our video about research limitations here .

#7: How did your findings relate to the existing literature?

This common dissertation defense question links directly to your discussion chapter , where you would have presented and discussed the findings in relation to your literature review.

What your dissertation or thesis committee is assessing here is your ability to compare your study’s findings to the findings of existing research . Specifically, you need to discuss which findings aligned with existing research and which findings did not. For those findings that contrasted against existing research, you should also explain what you believe to be the reasons for this.

As with many questions in a viva voce, it’s both the what and the why that matter here. So, you need to think deeply about what the underlying reasons may be for both the similarities and differences between your findings and those of similar studies.

Your dissertation defense needs to compare findings

#8: What were your key findings in relation to the research questions?

This question is similar to the last one in that it too focuses on your research findings. However, here the focus is specifically on the findings that directly relate to your research questions (as opposed to findings in general).

So, a good way to prepare for this question is to step back and revisit your research questions . Ask yourself the following:

  • What exactly were you asking in those questions, and what did your research uncover concerning them?
  • Which questions were well answered by your study and which ones were lacking?
  • Why were they lacking and what more could be done to address this in future research?

Conquering this part dissertation defense requires that you focus squarely on the research questions. Your study will have provided many findings (hopefully!), and not all of these will link directly to the research questions. Therefore, you need to clear your mind of all of the fascinating side paths your study may have lead you down and regain a clear focus on the research questions .

#9: Were there any findings that surprised you?

This question is two-pronged.

First, you should discuss the surprising findings that were directly related to the original research questions . Going into your research, you likely had some expectations in terms of what you would find, so this is your opportunity to discuss the outcomes that emerged as contrary to what you initially expected. You’ll also want to think about what the reasons for these contrasts may be.

Second, you should discuss the findings that weren’t directly related to the research questions, but that emerged from the data set . You may have a few or you may have none – although generally there are a handful of interesting musings that you can glean from the data set. Again, make sure you can articulate why you find these interesting and what it means for future research in the area.

What the committee is looking for in this type of question is your ability to interpret the findings holistically and comprehensively , and to respond to unexpected data. So, take the time to zoom out and reflect on your findings thoroughly.

Discuss the findings in your defense

#10: What biases may exist in your research?

Biases… we all have them.

For this question, you’ll need to think about potential biases in your research , in the data itself but also in your interpretation of the data. With this question, your committee is assessing whether you have considered your own potential biases and the biases inherent in your analysis approach (i.e. your methodology). So, think carefully about these research biases and be ready to explain how these may exist in your study.

In an oral defense, this question is often followed up with a question on how the biases were mitigated or could be mitigated in future research. So, give some thought not just to what biases may exist, but also the mitigation measures (in your own study and for future research).

#11: How can your findings be put into practice?

Another classic question in the typical viva voce.

With this question, your committee is assessing your ability to bring your findings back down to earth and demonstrate their practical value and application. Importantly, this question is not about the contribution to academia or the overall field of research (we’ll get to that next) – it is specifically asking about how this newly created knowledge can be used in the real world.

Naturally, the actionability of your findings will vary depending on the nature of your research topic. Some studies will produce many action points and some won’t. If you’re researching marketing strategies within an industry, for example, you should be able to make some very specific recommendations for marketing practitioners in that industry.

To help you flesh out points for this question, look back at your original justification for the research (i.e. in your introduction and literature review chapters). What were the driving forces that led you to research your specific topic? That justification should help you identify ways in which your findings can be put into practice.

#12: How has your research contributed to current thinking in the field?

While the previous question was aimed at practical contribution, this question is aimed at theoretical contribution . In other words, what is the significance of your study within the current body of research? How does it fit into the existing research and what does it add to it?

This question is often asked by a field specialist and is used to assess whether you’re able to place your findings into the research field to critically convey what your research contributed. This argument needs to be well justified – in other words, you can’t just discuss what your research contributed, you need to also back each proposition up with a strong why .

To answer this question well, you need to humbly consider the quality and impact of your work and to be realistic in your response. You don’t want to come across as arrogant (“my work is groundbreaking”), nor do you want to undersell the impact of your work. So, it’s important to strike the right balance between realistic and pessimistic .

This question also opens the door to questions about potential future research . So, think about what future research opportunities your study has created and which of these you feel are of the highest priority.

Discuss your contribution in your thesis defence

#13: If you could redo your research, how would you alter your approach?

This question is often used to wrap up a viva voce as it brings the discussion full circle.

Here, your committee is again assessing your ability to clearly identify and articulate the limitations and shortcomings of your research, both in terms of research design and topic focus . Perhaps, in hindsight, it would have been better to use a different analysis method or data set. Perhaps the research questions should have leaned in a slightly different direction. And so on.

This question intends to assess whether you’re able to look at your work critically , assess where the weaknesses are and make recommendations for the future. This question often sets apart those who did the research purely because it was required, from those that genuinely engaged with their research. So, don’t hold back here – reflect on your entire research journey ask yourself how you’d do things differently if you were starting with a  blank canvas today.

Recap: The 13 Key Dissertation Defense Questions

To recap, here are the 13 questions you need to be ready for to ace your dissertation or thesis oral defense:

As I mentioned, this list of dissertation defense questions is certainly not exhaustive – don’t assume that we’ve covered every possible question here. However, these questions are quite likely to come up in some shape or form in a typical dissertation or thesis defense, whether it’s for a Master’s degree, PhD or any other research degree. So, you should take the time to make sure you can answer them well.

If you need assistance preparing for your dissertation defense or viva voce, get in touch with us to discuss 1-on-1 coaching. We can critically review your research and identify potential issues and responses, as well as undertake a mock oral defense to prepare you for the pressures and stresses on the day.

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Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

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12 Comments

Jalla Dullacha

Very interesting

Fumtchum JEFFREY

Interesting. I appreciate!

Dargo Haftu

Really appreciating

My field is International Trade

Abera Gezahegn

Interesting

Peter Gumisiriza

This is a full course on defence. I was fabulously enlightened and I gained enough confidence for my upcoming Masters Defence.

There are many lessons to learn and the simplicity in presentationmakes thee reader say “YesI can”

Milly Nalugoti

This is so helping… it has Enlightened me on how to answer specific questions. I pray to make it through for my upcoming defense

Derek Jansen

Lovely to hear that 🙂

bautister

Really educative and beneficial

Tweheyo Charles

Interesting. On-point and elaborate. And comforting too! Thanks.

Ismailu Kulme Emmanuel

Thank you very much for the enlightening me, be blessed

Gladys Oyat

Thankyou so much. I am planning to defend my thesis soon and I found this very useful

Augustine Mtega

Very interesting and useful to all masters and PhD students

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Mastering Your Thesis Defense: An In-depth Guide

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We applaud your persistence and dedication in reaching the final step of your journey: the thesis defense . This is the crucial stage where you are called to succinctly articulate the results of your hard work. To prepare you for this task, we will provide a comprehensive guide on effectively preparing for your thesis defense .

The Pinnacle of Your Journey: Preparing for Your Thesis Defense

Thesis submission: a significant milestone.

Months, perhaps even years of attending lectures, conducting research, participating in fieldwork, analyzing data, and critically assessing your findings have led you to this point: the day of

Thesis Defense Preparation

 your thesis defense . Not to mention the rigorous process of editing and proofreading your dissertation . The day of submitting your Ph.D. thesis is undoubtedly a red-letter day in your academic journey. You probably celebrated this momentous thesis submission with your near and dear ones, taking a breather after an extended period of focused work.

The Next Step: Preparing for the Thesis Defense

However, after some time, you start to realize that there’s one final hurdle: the thesis defense! This includes preparing your thesis defense presentation and gearing up for the oral examination, often referred to as the disputation. So, what should you bear in mind while preparing for your master’s thesis defense or your Ph.D. thesis defense?

Practical Tips for Your Disputation Preparation

Thesis Defense Preparation

  • Generate a draft version of your presentation.
  • Consider the most suitable format and software for your thesis defense presentation , such as PowerPoint, Keynote, and others.
  • Compile a list of the most crucial sources and references .
  • Incorporate pivotal graphics, photographs, and videos in your presentation.
  • Draft and brainstorm for your thesis defense while the information is still fresh in your mind.
  • Ensure that you don’t put your dissertation out of sight after submitting it, as you’ll need to recall it in detail during your thesis defense presentation!
Excel in Your Thesis Defense with Campus MyThesis Academy   At MyThesis Academy , we understand the challenges that come with preparing for a thesis defense. That’s why we’ve committed ourselves to providing the best e-learning resources to guide you through this process. Our online campus offers a comprehensive range of learning materials designed to help you excel in your thesis defense. Whether you’re working on your bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. thesis defense presentation, we have tailored resources that will make a significant difference. We provide insights into how to create an excellent presentation and stand out from the crowd. Here’s what we offer on our e-learning platform: Guidelines on how to adhere to your presentation’s time frame effectively. Tips on developing a professional presentation using various software such as PowerPoint, Keynote, etc. Advice on slide preparation and design style to maintain a coherent and engaging presentation. Tips on how to focus on the most crucial information and avoid overloading your slides with excessive text. Guidance on practicing your presentation effectively with family and friends. We are serious about making academic progress accessible and straightforward. We are committed to your success and we want to ensure that you feel supported throughout your journey. At MyThesis Academy , we’re interested in your success, and we’ve got the tools to help you achieve it!

Understanding the Concept of a Thesis Defense

The thesis defense is the concluding oral examination that officially rounds off the process of submitting your thesis.

Option 1: Defending Your Academic Work (Disputation)

As the term suggests, you must defend your academic work before an audience composed of a committee and a select group of guests. The committee typically includes your primary and secondary supervisor and the chair of your Ph.D. examination board. The decision and format of allowing external guests may vary from one university to another.

Thesis Defense Presentation

This involves an opening segment where you present the core aspects of your work, followed by a Q&A segment where the audience can pose questions and comments.

Option 2: Undertaking a “Rigorosum”

Some universities may adhere to the traditional form of a “ Rigorosum ” for their Ph.D. candidates. In this scenario, you must prepare two brief presentations of approximately 15 minutes each on topics from the same discipline but different fields, followed by a question-and-answer segment led by the committee.

The Thesis Defense Process: Three Key Phases

The thesis defense or disputation typically consists of two key official parts and a concluding phase.

Phase One: Opening and Presentation

In the initial phase, you are expected to present:

  • The central questions of your dissertation
  • The primary focus or research aims
  • Basic concepts (briefly)
  • Significant sources and data material
  • Methodologies of analysis
  • The outcomes of your research

Considering the time constraint, all these elements must be presented succinctly.

Phase Two: Discussion and Questioning – Disputation

In the second phase, the examination board and the audience pose broad and detailed questions, leading to a discussion. The chair of the examination board moderates the order of questions.

Thesis Defense Q&A

The order of questioning typically includes:

  • First and second supervisor
  • Members of the board
  • Other (internal) academics and colleagues
  • Audience (external academics and non-academic guests)

Phase Three: Conclusion and Evaluation

To wrap up, the chair concludes the discussion when all questions have been posed or when the allotted time is up. The audience is then asked to step out, and the examination board gathers

for a brief private final evaluation. Following this, the final result is announced.

Thesis Defense Evaluation

Clarifying a Common Confusion: Defense or Defence?

Is there a difference between defense and defence ? The answer is, no. The variation in spelling— thesis defense or thesis defence —is simply a matter of geographical convention. While

American English prefers the spelling ‘defense’, British and Canadian English use ‘defence’. Regardless of the spelling, the process and proceedings of a defence or defense remain the same!

Determining the Duration of a Thesis Defense⌛

The exact format and duration of a thesis defense can differ from one university to another. Generally, the initial presentation lasts around 20 to 30 minutes, followed by a questioning segment ranging from 30 to 60 minutes .

How to Excel in Your Thesis Defense: Key Points and Secrets✨

Whether you’re crafting your bachelor’s thesis presentation, your master’s thesis defense presentation, or preparing for your Ph.D. disputation, there are certain crucial points that differentiate an excellent presentation from a mediocre one. Here’s a checklist with some critical elements that can help make your presentation clear and coherent for the audience:

  • Stay within the time limit: double-check if your presentation fits within the given time frame.
  • Develop a professional presentation using PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.
  • Avoid using just a handwritten draft paper and not checking your presentation’s timing.
  • Refrain from preparing too many slides.
  • Do not overload the slides with excessive text.
  • Focus only on the most crucial information.
  • Choose a coherent design style for the presentation.
  • Ensure that you have an opening slide, including the date, title, supervisors’ names, and details about your University/Faculty, etc.
  • Practice the presentation with family and friends.

Then, it’s time to celebrate! Congratulations!

For more specific design ideas, presentation examples, and a collection of tips and advice on crafting your presentation, visit our thesis defense presentation templates section!

Do not use complex words or phrases. Make it easy to understand. Let the reader feel, that he is in good hands and that we are serious about it! Make him feel, that we are interested in him and his success!

About the author:

Dr. Friederike Jurth

Possibly you already heard of me through different media channels. My name is Dr. Friederike Jurth , and since 2010 I give lectures on Methodology, Empirical Research, Anthropology, and Transcultural (Music) Studies in collaboration with universities in the United States, Germany, Spain, and Brazil. In 2010 I started to carry out 7-year-long fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro and to present my research at conferences all around the world, such as in Japan, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Switzerland, and many others. In addition, I worked as a lecturer and researcher with Germany’s famous UNESCO Chair.

After finalizing my doctoral dissertation with summa cum laude , it became my aim to unite, condense and share the steps, ways and details of my unique methodological and structural approach that I could develop and elaborate during my Ph.D. and that finally helped me to achieve this result. By concentrating and putting them together to an elaborated academic conception, MyThesis Academy was born. Motivated by the only aim and objective to help my students through all steps and stages of their thesis journey, it enables them to achieve their best possible result in shortest time, independent of their specific area of research.

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How to Effectively Prepare for Your Thesis Defense

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You’ve completed your research study, written your thesis, and think you’re done! If only it were this easy. Before you finish with your thesis, there is one last hurdle to overcome: the thesis defense.

What is a thesis defense?

A thesis defense is an opportunity for you to present your research study before other academic professionals who will evaluate the quality of your academic work. While a thesis defense can sometimes feel like a cross-examination in a court of law, in reality, there is no need to fear your thesis defense as long as you are well-prepared. In this article, we’ll talk about how to prepare for a thesis defense, what to expect at the defense itself, and what comes after your defense. 

Why do I have to defend my thesis?

At your thesis defense, you will discuss everything you’ve learned with a group of interested examiners who are eager to hear your thoughts.

The fundamental purpose of a thesis defense is to prove that you have mastered your subject and can be considered as a knowledgeable expert in your field, thereby allowing you to graduate successfully. For many students, a thesis is one of the first attempts at conducting original research and demonstrating that you are equipped to function as an independent expert in your field. If qualified academic professionals can assess your work, question your methods and results, and confirm that your study is sound and novel, then you meet the requirements.

The exact format and expectations for your thesis defense will differ depending on the region you study in and your institution’s rules for the thesis program. The thesis defense meeting may have just two or three examiners or may have a whole panel of examiners along with an audience. 

If the thought of facing your professors, peers, and parents to present your research study makes you feel dizzy, you aren’t alone . Moreover, a thesis defense is a great opportunity for you to hone your public speaking skills as well as talk about your research study. At your thesis defense, you will discuss everything you’ve learned with a group of interested examiners who are eager to hear your thoughts.

While the format for a thesis defense will vary, as mentioned above, most thesis defenses consist of:

  • Presenting your research study (using PowerPoint or other similar tools)
  • Answering questions from your thesis committee
  • Receiving feedback from your thesis committee

So how can you prepare for it? Let’s talk about some important tips.

Preparing: Before the defense

It is useful to attend multiple defenses and ask others who have gone through the process what it was like.

The best way to prepare for a thesis defense is to attend other defenses at your institution so that you know what to expect. It is useful to attend multiple defenses and ask others who have gone through the process what it was like. Senior students are often happy to provide advice and can give you specific insights about particular examiners as well as details of the administrative process at your institution.

You should also talk to your thesis advisor well in advance of your defense about what to expect. Ask whether you need to shortlist your own committee, how long your presentation should be, and how long the thesis defense will be. The duration of a thesis defense varies by the degree level as well as the institution. On average, expect your defense to be at least an hour long, possibly longer for a Ph.D.

What should my presentation cover and how can I prepare it?

While preparing your presentation, also prepare a list of questions and answers that you think are likely to be asked by your committee.

You will need to prepare a presentation that will cover the details of your research study. It is wise to rehearse this presentation multiple times in advance of your thesis defense so that you will be comfortable when you actually present in front of your audience. While preparing your presentation, also prepare a list of questions and answers that you think are likely to be asked by your committee. If you can, enlist the help of a classmate or friend to be the examiner. They can ask you questions about your research study so you will be able to practice addressing these questions.

One mistake many students make is assuming that all members of their defense committee will thoroughly read their thesis prior to the defense. This is simply not always the case. For this reason, you should make sure your presentation makes sense to someone who has not actually read your thesis. A typical thesis defense presentation gives:

  • An introduction to the topic
  • Explains how the study is significant in the field
  • Covers the main highlights of the methodology and results of the study
  • Picks out the main points from the discussion and conclusion

What should I do the day before my defense?

Before your thesis defense, make sure you have backups of everything you need saved in multiple formats and multiple locations.

Before your thesis defense, make sure you have backups of everything you need to be saved in multiple formats and multiple locations. Put your presentation and your thesis on a USB drive, email it to yourself, upload it to the cloud, and print it out. Leave nothing to chance: you want to be absolutely prepared to defend your thesis short of an act of God obliterating the venue. In addition, make sure you prepare hard copies (printouts) of both your thesis and slideshow for the committee members. It need not be professionally bound at this stage, but they will appreciate having reference material on hand.

Finally, there are some practical steps to take in preparation for the thesis defense. Choose your outfit in advance (you should dress professionally) and practice presenting in it. You should also make sure you know the exact location of the thesis defense venue. Scope out the venue before your defense, if possible, so you can imagine yourself there while you rehearse. If you are presenting virtually, test all your equipment in advance and have a backup plan in case your internet goes out or your computer suddenly crashes. Most importantly, make sure that you eat well and get proper rest the night before. Don’t stay up late rehearsing last minute in the hopes of improving your chances of passing your defense. You will do much better if you are well-rested and alert. 

Time to shine: At the defense

Try to stay calm and remember you are not on trial!

What can you expect on the day of the defense?

Typically, you will enter the room, set up, and begin your presentation once the committee indicates that they are ready. As mentioned above, it is always advisable to bring hard copies of both your thesis and slideshow for the committee. That way, they can easily refer to what you are talking about as you present. Make sure you also bring a pencil and notebook with you to take notes, and some water, because you will get thirsty as you talk.

After you are done with the presentation, the committee members will ask questions. Try to stay calm and remember you are not on trial! Your committee generally wants you to succeed, but they also want you to prove that you really know what you’re talking about. Do your best to answer their questions and never be afraid to admit when you don’t know something. It is much better, to be honest than to be caught lying or making something up during your thesis defense.

After the question and answer session, depending on your institution, you may be asked to leave the room while the committee deliberates. You may also be present while they discuss the merits of your defense and make suggestions for how to revise it. Alternatively, they might adjourn to another room if there is a large audience present. After they deliberate, they will usually thank you for your time, and your defense will be over. At some institutions, they will inform you if you passed right away, while at others, you will find out after a few days. 

How does my committee decide if my work is good or not?

In general, you can expect your thesis defense and your thesis as a whole to be evaluated based on the below criteria:

  • Whether the thesis meets the departmental requirements
  • Whether the research study is logical and clear
  • Whether the stated objectives are met in the study
  • Use of primary and secondary literature
  • Use of relevant and up-to-date sources
  • Methodological rigor
  • Your ability to critically analyze data, facts, relevant literature, and synthesize information into a coherent narrative
  • Writing quality and flow
  • The validity of your conclusions based on your data and analysis
  • The relevance and importance of your research study in the field
  • Your ability to clearly and coherently present what your thesis is about
  • Your ability to answer questions about your work accurately and in-depth
  • Your ability to acknowledge and consider other theories or perspectives and explain why you dismissed one theory in favor of another

In summary, the examining committee want to know:

  • Did you meet the thesis criteria set by your institution?
  • Did you perform high-quality research work?
  • Do you know what you are talking about?

After the defense: What’s next?

After your thesis is approved, you will need to have it professionally bound and then submit copies to your university.

After your thesis defense, you should definitely celebrate and congratulate yourself for all your hard work! Unfortunately, you aren’t quite done yet. Although the committee may notify you about passing, it is also very likely that you will be asked to make some changes to your thesis before you are finally done. You should work with your advisor to finalize and incorporate any comments you received into your work as quickly as possible.

After your thesis is approved, you will need to have it professionally bound and then submit copies to your university. You will also get the chance to order copies for yourself. This process also differs by institution, so make sure you talk to the administration department to figure out what you need to do and when to complete this process.

All in all, while a thesis defense is a scary and overwhelming event, it is also an incredible achievement. Earning your degree is no small feat, and you should definitely feel proud of yourself once you have done it! Check out our site for more tips on how to write a good thesis, where to find the best thesis editing services , and more about thesis editing and proofreading services .

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To prepare for your thesis defense, make sure that you:

Find out your institutional requirements

Talk to your advisor well in advance about what to expect and prepare

Attend defenses of other students to see what they are like

Prepare your presentation early so you can rehearse it

Rehearse your presentation with a timer

Make a list of questions and answers about your research study

Enlist a friend to be the examiner and ask you questions

Prepare multiple backups of your materials (USB drive, Google Drive/Cloud storage, email, hard copy) 

Have a plan for computer/internet problems if you are presenting virtually

Eat well and get a good night’s rest before the defense

Arrive at the defense venue early enough to test any IT equipment or internet connection

What should I do to prepare for my thesis defense? +

  • Find out your institution’s requirements
  • Attend other thesis defenses
  • Speak to your advisor
  • Prepare and practice your presentation
  • Enlist a friend or classmate to act as the examiner and ask you questions while you practice

How long is a typical thesis defense? +

Every institution is different, but most thesis defenses are at least an hour long.

What should my thesis presentation actually contain? +

 A typical thesis defense presentation introduces the thesis topic, explains how your study is significant in the field, and covers the main highlights of the methodology and results of the study. It finally picks out the main points from the discussion and conclusion section of your thesis.

What if I fail my thesis defense? +

The odds that you will fail are extremely low! Most advisors and committees do not let a candidate schedule a defense unless they feel the candidate is ready. So, don’t worry about it. However, if you do fail for some reason, your institution will have a process for you to apply to try again.

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  • 1 Definition: Thesis Defense
  • 2 In a Nutshell
  • 3 Before the Thesis Defense
  • 4 What happens in a Thesis Defense?
  • 5 What to include?
  • 6 Tools for Thesis Defense
  • 7 Thesis Defense Anxiety
  • 8 Manage Thesis Defense Anxiety

Definition: Thesis Defense

A thesis defense is an act of presenting your work to a panel of professors so they can grade your presentation abilities. In retrospect, the argument is essential to ascertain that you understood the topic. You have to hand in your paper first so that the lecturer can grade it before you appear for the defense.

As a university student, you need to hand in a high-quality thesis paper and defend it before a panel of professors. So what is this that takes place during a thesis defense? Read along to find out.

In a Nutshell

So, there you have it. These tips should help you present your thesis defense and ace it. Remember that:

  • You should present facts that are in the paper. Do not add any new information
  • Make the thesis defense as enjoyable as possible
  • Arrive early enough
  • Do not exceed your allocated time
  • Confidence goes a long way

Before the Thesis Defense

Before the day of the thesis defense, the qualifying students receive a timetable that shows the chronology of how the day will be. You are required to keep time, or else you will have to wait until the next allocated defense to present your paper. To qualify as a defending student, you have to hand in your paper at least one month before the thesis defense date.

What happens in a Thesis Defense?

Once you get to the hall, you need to introduce yourself and your topic, then present your paper to the lecturers. The professors will allocate you ¾ of the allotted time for the thesis defense. The remaining time is used up in the question and answer forum. Prepare yourself to answer several questions, such as:

  • Your plans after completing the research
  • The limitations you faced
  • Things that you would change if given a chance
  • How you chose your target audience
  • How you intend to further your study on the subject
  • The reasons for choosing your topic
  • The most significant deductions you learned from the survey
  • Reasons for choosing your research methodology, etc.

In some cases, the board may ask you to summarize your deductions from the study. The questions asked are not standard, which means you have to be thoroughly prepared to answer whatever the panel throws your way during the thesis defense. Other things that take place during the thesis defense include:

  • Deliberations – At this point, the board of lecturers will ask you to leave the room as they deliberate on your thesis defense performance. They will then decide whether you move to the next level or you will defend again.
  • Verdict – Finally, the team will invite you back in and tell you how you performed in the thesis defense. These panel members may ask you to make a few corrections before you can go ahead and publish your paper. You have to present your corrections to your facilitator, who will then give you the go-ahead to publish.
  • Signing – The members will then sign your document to ascertain that you were part of the thesis defense team on the selected date.

How much time does a Thesis Defense take and how many people should be in the room?

During a thesis defense, each student appears before the panel individually. The facilitators will ask you questions concerning your topic to see if you fully grasped the concept. Each thesis defense will vary from the other depending on the technicality of your paper and the kind of degree you are pursuing.

  • Undergraduate degree – Your panel may include at least three lecturers from your faculty. Additionally, the defense may last up to one hour.
  • Masters degree – You get to interact with four professors at this level, and each student is allotted 1½ hours to present and answer questions.
  • Ph.D. degree – Considering that this is the highest education level, five professors avail themselves to vet you. More so, you may have to engage them for two hours.

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What to include?

A thesis defense follows a particular format, which cuts across all types of degrees, which is:

  • Introduction  – Explain the need for this study
  • Literature review  – Explain what other scholars have found on the subject
  • Research methodology  – What research method did you use, and why did you use it?
  • Findings and discussions  – In your research, what were the key deductions that you came upon?
  • Implications, limitations, suggestions, and  conclusion  – Here, you have to exhaust the setbacks you encountered during the study, the consequences that your target audience will face if they do not follow the deductions, and then finally sum up the discussions.

Tools for Thesis Defense

Considering that a thesis defense may take you at least 45 minutes to present, it is essential to make the presentation lively. So, you can incorporate a slide show and use images to make it less wordy. Bullet points also make the text easier to digest as opposed to a block of text. So, a laptop and a projector will help you ace your presentation.

Thesis Defense Anxiety

Standing before a panel of people waiting to hear how you conducted your research can be intimidating. This is especially so considering that you will be standing before a group of professors, who you believe to be superior to you in regards to the topic knowledge. More so, if you are not familiar with public speaking, it is easy to develop stage fright while defending.

Manage Thesis Defense Anxiety

In case you find yourself fidgeting before you begin presenting, use the following tips to help you get your composure back.

  • If you have a problem with eye-balling the lecturers, look at the tips of their foreheads instead.
  • Take a few seconds to breathe in and out so you can stabilize your speech if you begin to stammer.
  • Go into the room with a positive mind, knowing that you will do your best.
  • Most importantly, rehearse your thesis defense severally before the D-day.

What is a thesis defense?

A scholarly thesis defense is a forum that allows students to present their paper’s contents and defend their thesis topic before a panel of professors. The student is then required to answer all questions asked by the lecturers. At the end, the student is required to leave the room whilst the professors decide whether the thesis is ready to be published, or if it needs corrections.

How long is a thesis defense?

There is no general length for a thesis defense. The defense of a master’s thesis will take longer than the defense of a bachelor’s thesis. You will need to fit in an introduction , a literature review, your findings and even more into the time frame for your thesis defense, so it’s important that you’re well prepared. All in all, it depends on your paper and your academic field. Usually the thesis defense will last between one and two hours, but it also could be less than one hour.

What is the oral defense of a thesis?

Oral defense is simply another name for your thesis defense. If you’ve completed your thesis, you are required to defend it in front of a panel of professors. It is designed so that the committee can ensure that the students completely understand their thesis topic . The oral thesis defense is an examination of a completed body of work. Students will be assigned a date to defend their thesis.

What happens after the thesis defense?

After your thesis defense, you will be told to leave the room whilst the panel discusses your results. There are normally 2 outcomes. You may need to make changes to your thesis’ formatting or content. If this is the case, don’t stress! You’re able to try the thesis defense again once you’ve incorporated any required changes. The preferred outcome is that the panel is happy with your thesis and it’s then ready to be signed and published.

What defines a good thesis defense?

The thesis defense is the final step for your academic work. It’s important that you’re prepared and you’ve outlined what you’re going to say in each section of the defense. You need to know your thesis statement better than the back of your hand, otherwise you risk being sidetracked. Just like your thesis itself, your thesis defense has a specific structure. You can read more about this further on in the article. Try and prepare yourself for the potential types of questions that the professors will ask you so that you don’t have to think about your answers on the spot.

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17 Thesis Defense Questions and How to Answer Them

EditrixJD

A thesis defense gives you the chance to show off your thesis work and demonstrate your expertise in your field of study. During this one- to two-hour discussion with the members of your thesis committee, you'll have some control over how you present your research, but your committee will ask you some prodding questions to test your knowledge and preparedness. They will all have read your thesis beforehand, so their questions will relate to your study, topic, methods, data sample, and other aspects.

A good defense requires mastery of the thesis itself, so before you consider the questions you might face,

1. What is your topic, and why did you choose it?

Give a quick summary in just a few sentences on what you've researched. You could certainly go on for hours about your work, but make sure you prepare a way to give a very brief overview of your thesis. Then, give a quick background on your process for choosing this topic.

2. How does your topic contribute to the existing literature? How is it important?

Many researchers identify a need in the field and choose a topic to bridge the gaps that previous literature has failed to cover. For example, previous studies might not have included a certain population, region, or circumstance. Talk about how your thesis enhances the general understanding of the topic to extend the reach beyond what others have found, and then give examples of why the world needs that increased understanding. For instance, a thesis on romaine lettuce crops in desert climates might bring much-needed knowledge to a region that might not have been represented in previous work.

3. What are the key findings of your study?

When reporting your main results, make sure you have a handle on how detailed your committee wants you to be. Give yourself several options by preparing 1) a very general, quick summary of your findings that takes a minute or less, 2) a more detailed rundown of what your study revealed that is 3-5 minutes long, and 3) a 10- to 15-minute synopsis that delves into your results in detail. With each of these responses prepared, you can gauge which one is most appropriate in the moment, based on what your committee asks you and what has already been requested.

4. What type of background research did you do for your study?

Here you'll describe what you did while you were deciding what to study. This usually includes a literary review to determine what previous researchers have already introduced to the field. You also likely had to look into whether your study was going to be possible and what you would need in order to collect the needed data. Did you need info from databases that require permissions or fees?

5. What was your hypothesis, and how did you form it?

Describe the expected results you had for your study and whether your hypothesis came from previous research experience, long-held expectations, or cultural myths.

6. What limitations did you face when writing your text?

It's inevitable — researchers will face roadblocks or limiting factors during their work. This could be a limited population you had access to, like if you had a great method of surveying university students, but you didn't have a way to reach out to other people who weren't attending that school.

7. Why did you choose your particular method for your study?

Different research methods are more fitting to specific studies than others (e.g., qualitative vs. quantitative ), and knowing this, you applied a method that would present your findings most effectively. What factors led you to choose your method?

8. Who formed the sample group of your study, and why did you choose this population?

Many factors go into the selection of a participant group. Perhaps you were motivated to survey women over 50 who experience burnout in the workplace. Did you take extra measures to target this population? Or perhaps you found a sample group that responded more readily to your request for participation, and after hitting dead ends for months, convenience is what shaped your study population. Make sure to present your reasoning in an honest but favorable way.

9. What obstacles or limitations did you encounter while working with your sample?

Outline the process of pursuing respondents for your study and the difficulties you faced in collecting enough quality data for your thesis. Perhaps the decisions you made took shape based on the participants you ended up interviewing.

10. Was there something specific you were expecting to find during your analysis?

Expectations are natural when you set out to explore a topic, especially one you've been dancing around throughout your academic career. This question can refer to your hypotheses , but it can also touch on your personal feelings and expectations about this topic. What did you believe you would find when you dove deeper into the subject? Was that what you actually found, or were you surprised by your results?

11. What did you learn from your study?

Your response to this question can include not only the basic findings of your work (if you haven't covered this already) but also some personal surprises you might have found that veered away from your expectations. Sometimes these details are not included in the thesis, so these details can add some spice to your defense.

12. What are the recommendations from your study?

With connection to the reasons you chose the topic, your results can address the problems your work is solving. Give specifics on how policymakers, professionals in the field, etc., can improve their service with the knowledge your thesis provides.

13. If given the chance, what would you do differently?

Your response to this one can include the limitations you encountered or dead ends you hit that wasted time and funding. Try not to dwell too long on the annoyances of your study, and consider an area of curiosity; for example, discuss an area that piqued your interest during your exploration that would have been exciting to pursue but didn't directly benefit your outlined study.

14. How did you relate your study to the existing theories in the literature?

Your paper likely ties your ideas into those of other researchers, so this could be an easy one to answer. Point out how similar your work is to some and how it contrasts other works of research; both contribute greatly to the overall body of research.

15. What is the future scope of this study?

This one is pretty easy, since most theses include recommendations for future research within the text. That means you already have this one covered, and since you read over your thesis before your defense, it's already fresh in your mind.

16. What do you plan to do professionally after you complete your study?

This is a question directed more to you and your future professional plans. This might align with the research you performed, and if so, you can direct your question back to your research, maybe mentioning the personal motivations you have for pursuing study of that subject.

17. Do you have any questions?

Although your thesis defense feels like an interrogation, and you're the one in the spotlight, it provides an ideal opportunity to gather input from your committee, if you want it. Possible questions you could ask are: What were your impressions when reading my thesis? Do you believe I missed any important steps or details when conducting my work? Where do you see this work going in the future?

Bonus tip: What if you get asked a question to which you don't know the answer? You can spend weeks preparing to defend your thesis, but you might still be caught off guard when you don't know exactly what's coming. You can be ready for this situation by preparing a general strategy. It's okay to admit that your thesis doesn't offer the answers to everything – your committee won't reasonably expect it to do so. What you can do to sound (and feel!) confident and knowledgeable is to refer to a work of literature you have encountered in your research and draw on that work to give an answer. For example, you could respond, "My thesis doesn't directly address your question, but my study of Dr. Leifsen's work provided some interesting insights on that subject…." By preparing a way to address curveball questions, you can maintain your cool and create the impression that you truly are an expert in your field.

After you're done answering the questions your committee presents to you, they will either approve your thesis or suggest changes you should make to your paper. Regardless of the outcome, your confidence in addressing the questions presented to you will communicate to your thesis committee members that you know your stuff. Preparation can ease a lot of anxiety surrounding this event, so use these possible questions to make sure you can present your thesis feeling relaxed, prepared, and confident.

Header image by Kasto .

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Thesis Defense Steps: Full Guide How to Prepare and Present

Thesis Defense Steps: Full Guide How to Prepare and Present

How To Prepare For Your Thesis Defense

How To Prepare For Your Thesis Defense

If you are conducting post-graduate research within your discipline, you will come across the phrase “thesis defense”. A thesis defense is part of the things you will need to accomplish before acquiring a postgraduate degree. 

The thesis defense comes at the end of the graduate program. It is used to determine or define your education milestone while in the university. For this, you need a thesis defense comprehensive guide to be outstanding.

thesis on defense

You should do a thesis defense after you have completed the course work and attended practicum or internship programs.

How Long does a Thesis Defense Take?

On average, a thesis defense takes somewhere between 30 minutes and one hour. However, the time it takes to do a thesis defense depends on the academic level you are in. While there is no standard or general length for a thesis defense, post-graduate sessions will take longer compared to undergraduate sessions.

Yes, some institutions, professors, or some disciplines may require you to do a thesis defense at your undergraduate level. But the length of the presentation depends on your academic level.

What is thesis defense?

Defending your thesis

A thesis defense is an act of presenting your academic work to a panel or committee of professors and other involved scholars. From this, they can gauge or grade your abilities in presenting your work.

The arguments presented during the thesis defense are to ascertain that you have understood the course and your selected topic.

You will have to first hand in your work or paper to the professor for grading. Thereafter, you will be summoned for thesis defense.

When summoned for a thesis defense, you will be required to answer all the questions presented to you by the panel of professors. After this, you will be required to leave the room. The panel is to decide whether your paper or thesis is ready for publication. In addition, the panel checks whether your work needs corrections. 

In other words, a thesis defense is a forum that allows postgraduate students to defend the topic of their thesis before a panel of professors. Therefore, the thesis defense is part of the requirements that postgraduate students must accomplish to receive advanced degrees in whichever academic disciplines they pursue. 

Factors that Determine the Length of a Thesis Defense

Just like a dissertation that you have to write a thesis , it is important that you will have to present it. The time is taken to do this varies. The following four factors determine the length of a thesis defense

Determining the length of thesis defense

  • As noted earlier, the level of education will determine the length of your thesis defense.
  • The second factor is the institutional requirements. Some institutions will have a specified amount of time allocated for a thesis defense. In some institutions, that time is longer than and vice versa.

Very recognized institutions of higher learning will have the autonomy to decide on the length of a thesis defense.

  • The third factor that will determine the length of a thesis defense is the consensus of the panel of professors. Some will give students very limited time to do a thesis defense while others will give more time to their students.

Some institutions, scholars, applaud limiting the amount of time for thesis defense and educators because it gauges the student’s ability to accurately defend their work within a short time. If they succeed, then they are good learners.

  • Another factor determining the time of a thesis defense is the academic discipline that is explored by the topic.

While every academic discipline deserves respect, they are not the same in terms of the complexity of the concepts and what the student covers.

Some disciplines will require students to come up with much longer papers. This means that the time it could take to do a thesis defense will be longer. 

From the aforementioned factors, it is evident that it would be difficult to predetermine the standard length of a thesis without holding some parameters or factors constant such as the academic level of the thesis. 

Also, the length of your dissertation or thesis determines the time you will take to present it at your defense session. Longer documents will take you longer to defend.

How to Defend a Thesis – 5 Comprehensive Steps

Some steps can help you defend your thesis effectively. You should follow the steps below if you are summoned by a panel of professors to defend your thesis. 

1. Adequate Preparation

preparing for thesis defense

When you are required to defend your thesis, you will be given a specific date you will appear before the panel of professors for the actual exercise.

As long as you have submitted your paper to the professor for grading, you should always be aware that you will have to defend your thesis.

Therefore, between the period of submitting your paper and the date provided for thesis defense, you should do adequate preparation.

Students will have several months to prepare for a thesis defense. This is because the institutions themselves want their students to be well prepared before they meet the panel of professors.

After all, they would wish their students to excel in their studies. As noted, there will be a specified date for the thesis defense. Therefore, it will not surprise their committee members or students when the time comes for defending the thesis. 

Adequate preparation entails knowing or rather anticipating what is required of you. You should be prepared for the kinds of questions your thesis topic will provoke from the panel and practice on them.

When you have the right attitude and have adequately prepared for the thesis defense, it would be nearly impossible to fail. Also, be prepared to wear decently during the defense. 

2. Carry an in-depth knowledge of the thesis

This is a very important step when defending your thesis. Since you are the one who has written the paper, you should be fully aware of the topic and the contents of your paper. What this means is that you should adequately research the topic of your thesis so that you can be ready for any question you are asked by the panel of professors. For a postgraduate student who wishes to master their discipline, it would be a shame if you do not know about your topic.

For example, if you are within the field of environmental sciences and have written your paper based on the discipline, you should narrow down the scope of your knowledge to that of your topic, the topic of your paper should act as the guide to the amount of knowledge you are supposed to give for the sake of the thesis defense. Avoid too much knowledge because it may overwhelm you. At the same time, do not narrow down the scope of your topic too much because you will have limited knowledge during the thesis defense.

Your instructor or professor can help you in terms of giving you direction on the type and scope of knowledge you are required to have during a thesis defense. 

3. Prepare an Introduction

writing resources for thesis defense introduction

Have you ever heard of the first impression and its significance?

The first impression of a person will determine how the other person will perceive them.

If it is terrible, the other person may consider them a terrible person and even dislike them.

An introduction plays the same role as the “first impression” of your thesis defense to the panel of professors.

You should prepare a good introduction that should summarize the contents of your paper, the reasons why you selected the topic and its relevance to the discipline, and any other detail that you will anticipate to be asked during the thesis defense.

Make sure that the thesis is crystal clear and concise to avoid making any contradictions of your topic and confusing the panel.

Since you will be given several months to prepare for your thesis defense, take time to refine your introduction.

Make adjustments or corrections whenever necessary so that you will have a perfect introduction for your thesis defense. You may recite the introduction or carry it with you if the panel will allow it. 

4. Making the actual presentation

The action presentation of the thesis defense is quite scary to many students. This is because you will have to face a panel of professors to defend your paper. Based on your paper’s content, you will answer several questions. Therefore, if you fail during the actual presentation, your paper may not be published and you will have to do further revisions. 

During the actual presentation, you should be well dressed because grooming tells a lot about the character of a student. Carry the necessary equipment you will require during the presentation. Such equipment can include a laptop that contains a PowerPoint presentation, a pen, and a notebook. The PowerPoint presentation should be legible, objective, and strategically written to maximize the time used to defend your thesis. Ensure that you arrive early to the place where you will face the panel of professors to give you time to reflect and lessen your anxiety.  

As aforementioned, adequate preparation, understanding your topic or thesis, and a good attitude will guarantee success. Therefore, if you adhere to the aforementioned guidelines during the presentation, there is a high probability that your paper will be published. 

5. Do a good conclusion

Doing a good introduction and effectively presenting your defense is not enough without an equally good conclusion. Just like you took a good time to write your thesis , you will also need a good time to write a presentation and a good conclusion.

A good conclusion of your presentation leaves the panel of professors with a good impression of you and your overall ability to defend your work within the academic community. 

A good conclusion will sum up your work. What this means is that you should include a summary of the topic’s background, the literature review, the methodologies, the findings, and the discussions. Make sure that the conclusion compresses the details of your paper logically. It should be brief and straight to the point.

Finally, the conclusion of your thesis defense should clearly describe the limitations or setbacks encountered while you were conducting the study.

Even though you are trying to show that you are a good post-graduate student, it is important to be clear about the limitations. This will demonstrate your academic integrity and ability to conduct actual research in the field. 

Tips on how to do a good thesis defense

A good score

1. Anticipate the questions 

As aforementioned, you should anticipate the questions you may be asked by the panel and prepare for them.

The questions’ base is on your thesis. As such, you should go through your paper and list the possible questions.

At the same time, the academic expertise of the committee members determines the types of questions you may be asked.

Try to have an informed idea, based on your paper, on the areas to receive much focus. 

2. Dress for success

Do you remember that we have talked about first impressions? Well, your dress code and overall grooming will have a degree of impact on the outcomes of your presentation. Dress well. Mostly, you are required to dress in an official attire because you are going to do a presentation to a panel of academic experts. You should try as much as possible not to wear casual or provocative clothes. 

3. Delegate

To avoid being overwhelmed during the day of your presentation, you can delegate some of the less complicated activities to a trusted person or friend. The activities that you can delegate include setting up the equipment you will use for your presentation or distributing handouts to the panel. 

4. Create a backup plan

This especially involves the mode of presenting your defense. Since you will be using your laptop and a projector, they may fail during the presentation. It is therefore important to have a plan B. such can include having printed handouts. 

FAQs on Thesis Defense

Can you fail a thesis defense.

The answer to this question is yes. Though it is rare, it is possible to fail a thesis defense if you are not adequately prepared and you don’t know much about the topic. This would indicate that you haven’t understood the course or you did not write the paper. You hired someone to do it for you. 

How long is a Ph.D. thesis defense?

A Ph.D. thesis defense is about 2 hours long. However, it may differ from one country to the other.

How long is the master’s thesis presentation?

A master’s thesis is usually one-and-a-half hours long. It takes a lesser time compared to a Ph.D. thesis. 

Josh Jasen

When not handling complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.

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Must-Have Thesis Defense Templates with Examples and Samples

Must-Have Thesis Defense Templates with Examples and Samples

Stepping onto the distinguished stage of your thesis defense is akin to performing a symphony of your research after losing many hours of sleep. The more time passes, the more your hands sweat, your heart beats faster, and your thoughts start racing. But what if there was a way to choreograph this terrifying experience into something beautiful?

Recent research by HigherEd Insights found that 90% of students who utilized well-designed thesis defense templates expressed enhanced confidenc e. These best thesis presentation ppt templates, carefully designed to highlight your research process, will save you time while presenting and add visual polish to your message.

Remember, your story has to amaze, educate, and convince the audience. Here is when the power of SlideTeam's Thesis Defense Templates becomes apparent. SlideTeam's templates will turn your study into an exciting narrative . When you use striking images that virtually jump off the screen with eye-catching statistics and bullet points, your presentation will be remembered as an unforgettable adventure.

It's time to transform your thesis defense from a nerve-wracking ordeal into a show that deserves a standing ovation. Here, we'll show you the ropes on thesis defense templates you can't live without. Get started today!

Deck 1: Sample PPT For Thesis Defense Presentation Slides

Template 1: prepare agenda for thesis .

This PPT Slide will serve as a map to help you and your audience navigate the complex terrain of your thesis. This slide serves as your presentation's road map, covering key points and concepts in a way that's both concise and thorough. By laying out your arguments logically, you may both wow your reviewers and avoid getting off track. This PPT Layout is perfect for any presenter since it eliminates any potential for error and sets the tone for a convincing defense of the argument.

Agenda

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Template 2: Thesis Presentation Outline: Guiding Your Narrative with Precision

This slide maps out your journey, from the grand curtain-raiser (Title Slide) to unveiling the behind-the-scenes mechanics (Methods), spotlighting your discoveries (Results), and culminating in a crescendo of insights (Conclusions). By offering a straightforward study design encompassing introduction, purpose, statistical analysis, discussions, and reference slides, this versatile slide empowers presenters of all disciplines to lead their audience through an immersive, well-structured thesis narrative.

Thesis Presentation Outline

Template 3: Title Slide to Fascinate First Impressions

This PPT Template includes your name, the qualifications of your thesis adviser, and your academic accomplishments, and it sums up the substance of your work. This slide is more than a formality; it's an introduction to your study that will captivate your audience. This slide may be used by presenters in any discipline to immediately establish authority, make an indelible impression, and communicate the value of their research. Put your best foot forward academically, and in life, by letting your title slide do the talking.

Title Slide

Template 4: Data-Driven Insights from a Statistical Analysis of the Thesis

This slide displays the results of careful data analysis, procedure processing which shine a light on the significant questions of your research. This PowerPoint Presentation can help anybody understand complicated results, whether scientists, economists, or social scientists. It's a visual representation of your analytical skills that will impress both data enthusiasts and quality assurance specialists.

Check out our blog on top thesis timeline templates to make your thesis more effective.

Statistical Analysis

Template 5: Constraints on Your Research: Find Limitations

The limitations of your study are discussed here, whether they are related to the research's technique, data collecting, or overall scope. This presentation has a dual purpose: to show you understand where you might improve and start conversations about how to do so. This slide is helpful for all speakers, from novice academics to seasoned researchers, since it encourages honesty and demonstrates the speaker's ability to handle the complexity of their topic with modesty and understanding.

Limitations Of Your Study

Deck 2: Thesis Defense Roadmap Individual Researcher Strategy Presentation

Template 6: do's and don’ts to defend content on thesis.

Examine the priceless "Dos and Don'ts to Defend Content" slide, your one-stop-shop for prevailing in the thesis defense. Here you'll learn tactical strategies (Do) to articulate your ideas with assurance, interact with reviewers, and provide considered responses to questions. This slide is a guidepost for students and academics alike; it will help you get through the tough examination of a thesis defense and flourish by giving you the tools you need to make your topic sparkle and persuade your audience at every turn.

Dos and Don'ts to Defend Content of Thesis

Template 7: Five-Year Roadmap for preparing thesis defense report

Use the "Five Year Roadmap" slide as a roadmap to efficiently organize your efforts leading up to the defense of your thesis. This well-crafted schedule covers everything from choosing a subject and completing literature reviews to honing your methods, analyzing your data, and writing up your findings. This slide serves as a map for students on academic adventures, outlining a path they may take to defend their theses successfully.

Five Year Roadmap for preparing Thesis Defense Report

Template 8: Key Preparation Tips for Thesis Defense

Inside you'll discover a treasure trove of helpful tips, including how to dress for success, handle anxiety, delegate effectively, think ahead, and prepare answers to probable inquiries. To ensure a professional, composed, and confident presentation that makes an indelible impression, this slide is not only for students; it is a compass for everyone ready to convey their thoughts convincingly. 

Key Preparation Tips for Thesis Defense

Template 9: Percentage of code-switching used by participants in Thesis Defense

This slide offers a graphical depiction of the Participant demographic's use of code-switching (the fluent mixing of languages) in their defense. This slide is useful for anyone studying language, culture, and education and for teachers looking to better their students' presenting abilities across languages. Get it from the link below.

Read our blogs on top one-pager templates available to prepare a thesis quickly and best. 

Percentage of Code Switching used by Participants in Thesis Defense

Template 10: Thesis Defense Invitation Form with Required Documents

This slide provides a one-stop shop for organizing your thesis defense invitations. Date, time, and location are all included for the benefit of the speakers and the reviewers. This slide is more than just an invitation; it serves as a literature review that details the thesis topic, required materials, the extent of the research, and even a preview of what's to come. This slide is ideal for universities, academics, and presenters since it guarantees a well-prepared and organized defense.

Thesis Defense Invitation Form with Required Documents

Prepare a Thrilling Thesis with Us!

Let SlideTeam be the maestro behind the scenes of your exciting thesis defense symphony. Our essential Thesis Defense Templates will ensure your presentation is symphony in style and design. Raise the bar on your defense and leave your assessors in wonder. Use SlideTeam's potency to your advantage and start directing your future now. This is the station where you may tune in to greatness; each slide is a work of art.

FAQs on Thesis Defense

What is usually asked in thesis defense.

You may find everything you need to organize invitations for your thesis defense on the "Invitation Form with Required Documents" slide. The speakers and reviewers will appreciate the inclusion of the date, time, and venue. This slide is more than an introduction; it's a road map that lays out the thesis's subject, resources needed, research scope, and even a sneak peek at what's coming. Academic institutions, public speakers, and presenters may all benefit from this slide since it ensures a well-prepared and coordinated defense.

How do you prepare for a thesis defense?

Using a preexisting thesis as a starting point has several advantages when preparing for your thesis defense. Using a template is a great way to ensure that the formatting and style of your documents are consistent from beginning to end. They allow you to devote more time to writing and less on formatting. Templates adhere to strict academic guidelines, making them appropriate for use in the classroom and lending an air of professionalism to any assignment. Charts and diagrams may be easily included to enhance reading and comprehension. Also, with a good template, adjusting things is a breeze. As a result of their ability to streamline the writing process, enhance the paper's aesthetic appeal, and contribute to a polished, cohesive final product, thesis templates are an essential tool for effective and successful thesis preparation.

How do you start a thesis defense?

The first part of a thesis defense lays the groundwork for a strong presentation. Start by saying hello and thanking them for the chance. Introduce your topic with an attention-grabbing title slide, then go on to a summary of your study aims. Provide background information and describe your research topic or hypothesis explicitly. Create an outline of your presentation, emphasizing the most critical points. Get people interested by discussing the importance and applicability of your findings. Create a connection with the reviewers via brief, intriguing introductions. To provide an effective and confident defense of your thesis, you need to start well.

Why Use Thesis Templates?

There are several benefits to using a thesis template. Using a template as a starting point, you may maintain uniformity in your document's formatting and style. They help you concentrate on content rather than design, which saves time. Academic standards are followed by templates, making them suitable for use at universities and adding a touch of professionalism to any project. Integrating visual aids like charts and diagrams is simple, which improves readability and understanding. In addition, modifications may be made quickly and easily using a template.

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Dissertation Defense: Steps To Follow To Succeed

dissertation defense

A dissertation defense is arguably one of the most important milestones in every student’s career. While it signals that your tenure as a student is soon about to close, it validates all your efforts towards your thesis.

Being cautious about including all the necessary details is very important to successfully complete your dissertation proposal defense. This article tells you everything that you need to know about writing a defense that can add great credibility to you as a student.

What is A Dissertation Defense?

The first thing that you need to learn is what is a dissertation defense and what is its purpose. In simple terms, it is a presentation made by a student to defend all the ideas and views that are presented in a dissertation.

The presenter must include details like what is the reason for choosing specific research methods, the theory that has been selected for the paper, and other such points. This presentation is made before an audience that comprises of the university committee, professors and even fellow-students. It is met with questions and answers that gives the student an opportunity to provide more clarity on the dissertation in order to convince the committee to approve it.

Stages of a Dissertation Defense

One of the most important dissertation defense tips provided by several professors is to breakdown the process into three steps:

  • Preparation : This stage involves collection of all the necessary information that must be included in the defense dissertation and making all the arrangements for the actual meeting.
  • The defense meeting : This is where you decide how you will present the defense. The actual meeting is hugely reliant on the performance, body language and the confidence in your oral defense.
  • After the defense meeting : This stage, also known as the follow up, requires you to make the necessary revisions suggested by the university committee. You can even provide bound copies of the whole dissertation to distribute among different members of your departments. In the follow up stage, one must also think about expense that are related to publishing the Ph.D. dissertation defense as well as printing additional copies of the manuscript, if required.

How Long is a Dissertation Defense?

The first thing that a student should know is how long does a dissertation defense last? The length has to be carefully calculated to make the impact that you want. One of the most important steps in the dissertation preparation is to understand how much time each department allocates to the closing oral defense. When you plan in the early stages of your dissertation itself, you can write it in a manner that allows you to defend it in the allocated time.

Usually these meetings including the presentation, the oral defense and the question and answer session last for about two hours. In most cases, these two hours also encompass the time needed by members of the committee to deliberate.

How to Prepare for the Dissertation Defense

Now that you know how long is a dissertation defense, the next step is to prepare well enough to make your presentation impressive.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a dissertation defense:

  • Watch other students in action to learn about different presentation styles. You can attend defenses of different colleagues in your department as well as other departments in your university.
  • Get all the details about the deadlines and the rules of your college or university about scheduling your defense.
  • Scheduling is also a very important part of your preparation. It is important to note that members of the committee and University chairs need to make time for these defences in a very packed schedule. Coordinate the date, venue and time of your defense as early as possible.
  • Prepare a manuscript adhering to the necessary formatting rules. Review your manuscript thoroughly before you hand it in. During your PH.D, your faculty will also assist you with the defense. For this, they must have a crisp and polished copy of your manuscript.
  • Most colleges have the facility for a pre-defense meeting. This is the best opportunity to sort out any concerns that you may have about the actual meeting. It is a good idea to ask the chairs what types of questions may be put forward and if there are any problems with the defense that need to be resolved. When you prepare for a pre-defense meeting, think of it as the final one and give it your all.
  • Put together all the material that you need for the defense. A detailed, yet to-the-point presentation must be prepared.
  • The final stage of preparation is practicing your presentation over and over again. It is not just the presentation but also the approach towards the questions that you must practice.

Tips To Nail Your Actual Meeting

With these tips you will be one step closer towards a successful defense that will help your dissertation pass and be approved:

  • All meetings should begin by addressing the chair. Make sure you thank all the committee members and the advisors for the efforts that they have put it. This gives you a professional start to the presentation.
  • The presentation should cover the following subjects in brief:
  • The research topic
  • Literature review
  • The methods used for analysis
  • The primary findings of the research
  • Recommendations of additional research on the subject in the focus.
  • Do not get rattled by any discussions among the chairs. They will deliberate on any disagreements or topics of interest. This is a part of the process and is not a reflection of the presentation itself.
  • There are two questions that are commonly asked that you should be prepared for. This includes the weaknesses of the dissertation and the research plans that you have made post-dissertation.
  • Use subtle gestures when you are talking. Do not overuse your hands when doing so. The whole meeting including the question and answer session should have a very formal appeal.
  • The tone of your voice must be assertive without making it seem like you are trying to hard. Be clear and enunciate when you speak.

Once the questions have been answered, the committee will leave the room. Then, after the deliberation, you will be informed if your dissertation has passed or not.

For affordable thesis writing assistance , get in touch our team today. The pricing is cheap but students can be assured of top notch quality in all our final products.

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Home Blog Presentation Ideas How To Do a Proper Thesis Defense Using the Right PowerPoint Presentation

How To Do a Proper Thesis Defense Using the Right PowerPoint Presentation

thesis on defense

Writing a thesis is stressful, but preparing an oral defense can be even more painful. But it doesn’t have to be; with proper preparation and a good presentation, you will be able to better equip yourself comes time to present your thesis defense.

But what makes a good thesis defense?

A proper presentation helps you with your thesis defense because it helps you capture the panels’ attention and gives you cues and reminders on what to say as well.

It also helps keep your data organized while visually looking good and provides a flow structure for the rest of your presentation.

In today’s article, we will be giving you The Right PowerPoint Templates for Your Thesis Defense and a powerful outline composed of best practices and layouts specifically designed to help you defend your thesis in both written and oral presentations.

In the next segments of this article, we’ll walk you through the most feasible process on how to ace this kind of presentation.

Let’s dive into the outline of what makes a great thesis defense.

Thesis Defense Overview

Similarities.

  • Type of Degree

Thesis and Dissertation Distinction Varies on Location

Three most common thesis defense myths, how to use chatgpt to structure your thesis.

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Acknowledgements
  • Questions and Answers
  • Contact Information
  • Tips During Your Oral Defense
  • More Quick Tips on How to Present

A thesis defense is composed of two parts – a thesis and a defense.

The thesis, according to Grad School Hub , represents a student’s collective understanding of his or her program and major.

Universities often include a thesis in every course as one of the final requirements to earn a particular graduate or postgraduate degree.

The thesis, however, isn’t just a mere requirement.

It helps the students to grow out of their shell from their respective discipline and give them the opportunity to present all the findings of their study.

Moreover, some people think a thesis is just a long essay, but it’s not. Unlike an essay, a thesis needs to assert something.

This can be considered one of the most crucial research documents that a student makes during their academic schooling .

On the other hand, defense is the presentation of the pieces of evidence to support and prove your research.

It’s the most essential part of the thesis process.

Your presentation has to be prepared to answer questions from members of the committee and any other panel present, and it’s your job to convince them and defend your thesis with ample proof.

Prior to presenting, you have to carefully determine what appropriate evidence should be presented before the panel, depending on what thesis you have to defend.

thesis on defense

Thesis and Dissertation Distinguished

A thesis or dissertation is usually required to complete a particular graduate degree. These two words are often used interchangeably by most students when referring to research studies.

But while being almost similar in format or structure, it’s worth noting that they have significant differences that set them apart from each other.

The very reason why thesis and dissertation are treated the same is that these two are both extensive papers. Not just merely long essays like what others are claiming.

Both of these papers are extensive. This is why students are given ample time, usually the entire last semester of the last year of study, to complete all the requirements and finally acquire their degree.

With regards to structure, both papers are very similar with few differences.

Differences Between Thesis and Dissertation

One of the significant differences between the two is to whom the paper is assigned. A thesis is usually required for those students earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. While a dissertation is for those, who want to obtain a doctorate degree.

However, not all students taking a master’s degree are required to make a thesis. Prior to their enrollment, they have been given a choice of whether they’ll go for a non-thesis program or with a thesis.

Those who have a plan to escalate their degree to a doctorate eventually should take the path of a thesis. This is to prepare themselves for a more extensive dissertation requirement as doctorate students. Otherwise, they will be only limited to earning a master’s degree.

paths to degrees diagram

But above all, the most significant difference between the two papers is the purpose for which it is written.

A thesis, like what has been mentioned above, is being done by students obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree and has the purpose of testing their understanding of the discipline they’re engaged with.

A thesis is focused on obtaining technical expertise.

On the other hand, a dissertation is made for students to come up with an original study that other researchers haven’t already studied.

Path to a Doctoral Degree

USA: In the United States of America, they consider a thesis shorter than a dissertation. In fact, aside from being a requirement to graduate in college, a thesis is now also inculcated in master’s degree programs. And since the dissertation is more extensive, the thesis is treated as preliminary in gaining a doctorate degree.

Europe: The distinction between the two papers is almost opposite to that of the USA. In Europe, a dissertation is only a broader research study from a post-graduate program and not the making of original research. Instead, educational systems in the said continent treat the doctoral thesis as a more elaborate paper writing.

PPT Template Thesis vs Dissertation

The difference between a thesis and a dissertation might not seem that big, but it’s important that we know what makes them different.

If your upcoming defense gives you pressure and uneasiness, it could be cause you are not sure what to expect. Today we will dispel three common thesis defense myths that will help you be more confident in your presentation.

“Answer all the questions correctly. Otherwise, your thesis won’t get approved.”

You are expected to have a focus on your research.

That being said, you have to study each part of your thesis, every detail, and even your sources.

You have to study and practice how to effectively deliver your presentation.

But don’t overthink to the extent that you’re stressing yourself to know everything perfectly.

Don’t overstress if you can’t answer one of the questions, this doesn’t necessarily mean the committee won’t approve your thesis.

You should know that research is a continuous study.

So you should expect that your committee will always be able to find a gap in your study to fill in future related research .

So in times you don’t exactly know the answer, admit it, and you’ll learn as they give their sides or suggestions.

Making up an answer will only displease your committee, so it’s to be upfront, honest, and transparent.

“The committee is just there to find holes in your study. They don’t care about you.”

One of the typical descriptions students have of the committee is that they are just there to poke holes in your thesis.

Going in with this perspective makes standing before them a nerve-wracking experience.

They’re not your enemy.

In fact, they are there to help you polish your study.

They might challenge you with difficult suggestions and tricky questions.

In the end, they will walk you through the process to come up with better results that won’t only benefit you but also your research.

They care about you and your study, and they’re ultimately there to make your thesis and the research better.  Separate yourself from your work look at it objectively, and don’t take their comments personally .

“If your thesis defense isn’t successful, you have to start your thesis all over again”

An unsuccessful defense is one of the worst-case fears most students have.

One thing that you should be aware of is when you aren’t able to please your committee, you don’t need to start a new thesis again or go back to square one with your existing paper.

It’s unusual that your committee will ask you to change your topic and start from scratch again.

The fact that you’ve been permitted to defend your study means your research is almost complete.

They might suggest further details or ask you for minor revisions, and that’s normal.

But overall, you need to go into this defense thinking that your presentation will be successful. Otherwise, you are already setting yourself up for failure with the wrong mindset.

Remember that positive thoughts attract positive results.

Thesis Defense Presentation Structure and Slides Content

We can use language learning models like ChatGPT to help us curate the structure of our thesis presentation. Let’s see a step-by-step solution on how to apply this.

Step 1: Define the thesis topic and research questions

You can set the environment for ChatGPT to work by explaining what your thesis is going to cover and which specific questions you aim to address through the course of that document. This gives ChatGPT the context from which it shall formulate the structure. A prompt can be written like this:

“Take the role of an academic professional who shall help me to write my thesis. This thesis is going to cover the topic of (insert topic), and through its course, I want to answer these questions: Question 1 – Question 2 – Question 3 – Consider this information as the starting point for this chat.”

Step 2: Ask for an outline

With the previously provided information, ask ChatGPT to generate an outline for your presentation. If some of the points listed in the output don’t convince you, then chat with the interface until you reach a final outline. Then, ask to elaborate on each specific point for information or cues you may have overlooked.

Step 3: Ask ChatGPT which content should you place per slide

Instead of debating how are you going to trim your thesis into a presentation format, ask ChatGPT to do the decision process for you. You can be as specific as asking how many words per slide, how many slides should the presentation have, if you need any visual element, etc.

N.B.: We don’t recommend using ChatGPT to retrieve academic references as, in some cases, it can provide faulty results. You can ask if any facts on this presentation need to be checked or similar questions. ChatGPT is a powerful tool, but it shouldn’t be considered a bible, so be extra cautious about grabbing content directly from its outputs.

1. Title Page

This slide should contain the information that is provided on the title page of your hard copy . Here is an example of title page or cover slide for your title defense or thesis presentation.

PPT Template Thesis Title - title defense example - Example of Title Slide in a Thesis Defense Presentation

  • The title of your research paper
  • Where you are studying
  • Name and details of your course
  • Name of Adviser

2. Introduction Slide

Your introduction slide should provide the committee with an idea of the following:

PPT Template Introduction Slide - Example of Introduction Slide in a Thesis Defense

  • What is the topic area that you are investigating ?
  • What are the specific research questions that you set out to answer?
  • Why is this question important to answer?
  • What were the objectives of your research?

3. Literature Review Slide

It’s not necessary to cover everything that’s currently understood in the available literature. You may want to present the following content under a Literature Review slide:

Literature Review Thesis PPT Template

  • Relevant current research that is close to your topic
  • Different theories that may apply to your specific area of research
  • Areas of weakness that are currently highlighted

4. Methodology Slide

Make sure to touch the factors below within your process, and include the following in the Methodology slide:

PPT Template Methodology Slide - Example of Methodology Slide in a Thesis Defense

  • The type of study you have conducted: qualitative, quantitative, or mixed
  • The methods that you chose and why
  • Details of the population, sampling methods, and other information
  • Provide information regarding how you have analyzed the data that you have collected

5. Results Slide

This part should give the committee/audience a good understanding of what you’ve discovered during your research. The statistics & results slide could include the final results of your analysis, here is an example:

Thesis Results PPT Template Slide

  • An overall description of the data that you collected during your research
  • The results of the analysis that you have done on that data
  • What were the most significant findings from your data

6. Discussion Slide

Highlight here the meaning of the findings in relation to your discipline program and the research that you have done:

Thesis Discussion PPT Template Slide - Example of Discussion Slide for a Thesis Defense presentation

  • What are the major findings, and what do they mean with regard to your research
  • How do these findings relate to what others have found in the past
  • How can you explain any unusual or surprising result

7. Conclusions Slide

You have to end your presentation with a conclusion summarizing all that you have found within your research. Here is an example of a Conclusion slide in a Thesis presentation:

Conclusions Thesis PowerPoint Template

  • Restate your research questions
  • Show how your results answer these questions
  • Show what contribution you have made
  • State any limitations to the work you have done
  • Suggest future research
  • Make any recommendations

See Also: How to Create a Great Investors Pitch Deck and Close the Deal

8. Acknowledgements Slide

Express gratitude to your advisor, committee members, peers, and others who supported your research journey. This slide provides a moment to acknowledge the collaborative nature of academic work.

9. Questions and Answers Slide

Dedicate a slide for audience questions at the end of your presentation.

Encourage engagement by inviting questions from the audience.

Be prepared to provide clear and concise responses to inquiries.

10. References Slide

Include a slide listing your cited sources throughout your presentation.

Use a consistent citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).

The References slide demonstrates your thorough engagement with existing literature.

11. Contact Information Slide

If you’re open to further inquiries or collaborations, consider adding your contact information.

Include your email address or relevant professional social media handles.

Tips During Your Oral Defense!

Review your materials.

Even if you already feel confident with your upcoming presentation, you still need to review your materials.

You can bring the hard copy of your thesis with you during the defense, but you don’t want to get lost in your presentation when you forget some specific details and have to scan your papers.

You should know your paper in and out.

Rehearse Your Presentation

It’s not wrong if it sounds like a script when you speak in your oral defense. It’s expected and understandable.

You need to practice your presentation, especially when there’s a time restriction given to every presenter.

You only need to prepare enough slides that would fit your time limit. A hundred slides aren’t suitable for a 15 to 20-minute presentation, nor 10 slides for an hour of defense.

Your rehearsal will be more effective if you practice it in front of an audience.

Note: You will experience complete silence in the defense room. You might feel awkward because, most of the time, you’re the only one speaking out loud.  This is completely fine, and it’s something you should practice in rehearsal should you be afraid.

Narrow the Presentation of Ideas

Regarding your slides, you don’t have to include everything that’s in your paper. You should narrow down your ideas to the main points and the most important details, such as the statistics and findings.

If the members of your committee think you lack details or they want to hear a further explanation, they won’t hesitate to ask you.

Prepare for the Unexpected Questions

The panel tends to challenge the presenters, usually through some hard questions.

Its aim is how well do you you have done your research and how prepared you are.

But as long as you know the ins and outs of your paper, you shouldn’t lose your confidence regardless of which questions they ask.

Just keep in mind that what you’re saying in your oral defense is not in conflict with what is written on the hard copy you provided them.

What To Do When You Don’t Know the Answer

If the committee asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, don’t make up a baseless answer.

Baseless means out-of-context answers or something without proof or backup.

How To Deal With The Nervousness

The committee expects you to be nervous. Of course, it’s normal.

However, one effect of being nervous is the changes in your behavior.

There’s a tendency for you’ll talk fast, which will make it hard for the committee to understand you.

It might also cause you to have a mental block.

So try to slow down. Take a deep breath.

Inhale, exhale.  Remember to breathe!

It’s OK to pause, and it’s OK to take your time; it’s more important that the committee clearly understands what you are trying to articulate.

More Quick Tips on How to Present!

  • Introduce yourself at the beginning
  • Introduce the title of the presentation
  • Don’t read your notes if possible
  • Don’t speak too fast
  • Put an emphasis on what you’re saying so you don’t sound monotonous
  • Look at your adviser once in a while for possible signs
  • Stand on the right of the white screen if you are right-handed so you can easily refer to the slide without giving your back to the committee
  • Face the audience when you talk
  • Keep an eye contact
  • Make sure to keep attention to the reactions of the committee and don’t forget to react in turn

We hope you enjoyed this article on how to do a proper thesis defense and how to best prepare for one using proven tips and techniques to help you get through this.  Hopefully, after your defense, you will be set as the one in your class to deliver an inspiring graduation speech for your peers. If you have value, please remember to share this article. We also recommend you read these Thesis Statement Examples for inspiration to create your own professionally.

1. MasterDoc PowerPoint Template

Cover Image for MasterDoc PowerPoint templates

Creating a Thesis presentation should be a straight forward task; based on your thesis document and following the tips described above you have a high level structure already outlined. The MasterDoc PowerPoint template provides professional layouts with texts and image placeholders; so you can create document like slides using your thesis defense as your content. This template is ideal for a highly detailed documents, where visuals and words unite to illustrate one concept per page. The result is an asset that can be read and digested more quickly than either your thesis document or a presentation created for assisting a speech. A document created with the MasterDoc PowerPoint templates is meant to be printed or distributed, read on screen without the accompaniment of a presenter or used in an e-learning platform as pure learning content.

Use This Template

2. Thesis Presentation PowerPoint Template

thesis on defense

You had invested a considerable time researching, testing hypothesis and confirming your thesis. Craft your thesis presentation with the same level of detail you applied in your work. Using the Thesis Presentation PowerPoint Template you will focus only in your content and your message. The layouts, images,design and structure will be taken care by the template.

3. Master Thesis PowerPoint Template

thesis on defense

The Master Thesis PowerPoint Template is a professional document designed for postgraduate degrees presentations. It provides simple sections that follow  the structure and best practices of traditional research thesis presentations. Starting with the introduction to the theory and state of the art scenario; following with hypothesis research and its findings and concluding with the confirmation or negation of the initial thesis statement.

4. Essay Outline PowerPoint Template

thesis on defense

Your thesis defense can be accompanied by an essay, that states your thesis and argues about it using several supporting paragraphs. This kind of document is ideal to be an intermediate step between reading assisting to the thesis presentation and reading the complete thesis documentation. It has more information that your thesis defense abstract, but does summarizes the supporting evidence and examples that allows the argument of each idea behind the thesis. You can use the Essay Outline Template to present your Essay outline and create an essay linked to your thesis defense documentation.

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40 Thesis Defense Questions

40 Thesis Defense Questions

Practicing answering thesis defense questions in a mock thesis defense is the best way to get ready for this challenging step in your academic career. Aside from knowing your research project inside and out, you must have solid strategies for tackling different question types and talking about why you chose your research topic. You might have already answered questions related to your research interests in your research interest statement and grad school interview questions , but now after years for in-depth study, it's time to really test what you have accomplished! Check out some of the hardest thesis defense questions below and read our expert responses!

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Article Contents 11 min read

What to expect in a thesis defense.

A thesis defense is your chance to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge and expertise in the topic of your research thesis. While you will be able to take charge of the narrative and present your research to those on your thesis committee, the professors will prod you to test how well you know and understand your topic. The questions are mostly open-ended and give you the chance to showcase your knowledge and understanding, as well as any future plans you may have regarding your research topic.

A thesis defense usually lasts between one and two hours, depending on the area of your research. It starts with you giving a presentation of your interest, findings, and conclusions. After you have finished, the committee members will ask you questions based not only on your presentation, but also on your written thesis as they will have read it before your presentation. Lastly, the committee might approve your thesis or suggest changes to your paper.

Preparing thesis defense questions requires you to start well in advance. While the duration of your thesis defense might vary as per your institution's requirements, the major idea is to defend your research. Thus, you should go about preparing for your thesis defense questions by taking the following steps.

Interested in a quick overview of the section below? Check out this infographic:

Re-read your thesis for clarity

Your thesis defense questions will be based on what you have written in your research paper. Hence, it is a good idea to re-read your paper. You should be clear on the concepts and understand your research well. It might have been some time since you would have submitted your paper, so a revision should be the starting point of your preparation.  

Have an answer strategy and structure

Plan a strategy to answer the panel’s questions. Keep your answers direct, but elaborate on the research details wherever necessary. If you do not know the answer to a question, that is alright. The key is to be able to formulate an answer even if you do not possess enough knowledge to answer at that point in time. For instance, if a question is about the content of your research, you can say something like “I am not certain my research touches on the question you are asking, but my research has led me to Dr. X. Based his evidence, I would have to conclude that…” Having a strategy for answering even the most unexpected questions can be a life saver in these situations!

Most of the thesis defense questions can be easily predicted based on your research. You can prepare a list of possible questions when you are going through your paper. Getting to know the committee can help you in preparing better. Their areas of expertise can help you in determining what they might ask. Once you have a list of questions, you can start brainstorming how you might answer them. 

Prepare your slides in advance

If you require visual aids such as slides, it is a good idea to prepare them beforehand. You can double-check the slides and make sure that your presentation will run smoothly on the day of your thesis defense. Make sure your slides are arranged in the correct order. 

Attend a thesis defense of other candidates if it is an open event

If your institution allows it, you can visit a thesis defense of other candidates. This will give you an excellent idea of what you can expect in your meeting. If it is not possible to attend the event, you can speak to your peers to find out how their meeting went and what questions were asked.

Dress appropriately for your meeting

The thesis defense meeting is a formal event, and hence you should be dressed in formal clothes. While there are no strict dressing rules, you should consider it something equivalent to a job interview. Don’t just wear your T-shirt and appear in front of the committee. Your formal suit is a better option for the occasion.

Practice speaking for your meeting

Take your preparation to the next level by practicing your presentation. This activity will give you the confidence for the actual meeting and presentation. You can request your academic peers to help you out in the practice task. Based on their feedback in the mock session, you can improve for the actual session. Make sure to prepare well for the mock session as if you are preparing for the actual session. You can also practice your speech and body language in the mock session. If you used thesis writing services , these professionals would also be the ideal people to test you in a mock thesis defense – don’t hesitate to reach out to them again!

Sample Thesis Defense Questions and Answers

1.    what is your research study all about.

In your answer, you should summarize your research in a few sentences. The question is simple but requires technical expertise for a better explanation of concepts. For instance, if you completed a thesis in an attempt to explain the constituents of dark matter in the universe and particle accelerators, you could frame your answer like this:

In this research, the different aspects of dark matter and its detection models have been investigated. The cosmic ray positron excess observed by the PAMELA detector has been discussed and explained through the construction of models of decaying dark matter. The cosmic-ray electron and positron spectra were studied assuming a general Dirac structure for the four fermion contact interactions of interest. A supersymmetric leptophilic Higgs model was constructed to explain the possible excess of gamma rays in the galactic center. Finally, by the use of Razor analysis, an improvement on the dark matter collider searches is considered.  

2.    Why did you choose this study?

This question requires you to answer what motivated you to pursue the study in the first place. Your answers could touch on your interests in the area of the study. For example, if you conducted a study called “Media Combat: The Great War and the Transformation of American Culture” then you can shape your answer like this:

The First World War (1914-1918) has always been a topic of fascination for me, and my prime interest lies in exploring the state of society at that time. I wanted to analyze the formation of a nationalized, wartime cultural apparatus during the United States' involvement in the war and how theatre and music transformed the relationship between the government and American citizens. 

3.    Why did you choose this particular title for your research?

The title of your thesis captures the main point of your research, which is why it is so important to use an appropriate title. Your committee will want to know how you came to the final decision of naming your work. For example,

I chose the title “Dark matter in the heavens and at colliders: Models and constraints” for my research thesis because my research attempts to explain the constituency of dark matter as it occurs in the universe. “The heavens” is another word for the universe. Dark matter can also be created in particle accelerators such as the CERN collider. I have attempted to provide an explanation for both of the cases through the use of models, along with describing the constraints which exist in the current times due to certain scientific limitations.

4.    What is the scope of your study?

In your answer, you have to define the boundaries of your project and define exactly what you are studying. There can be several elements involved but you have to define the parameters that you have chosen to study. For example,

My study is on the efficacy of equity stocks in the US market. For my study, I have chosen 50 companies listed on the NASDAQ. You can review the names of these companies on page 5 of my thesis.

5.    What phenomenon were you trying to understand with this research?

Describe the focus concept of your thesis in the answer. For example,

In our study “Motivation to volunteer”, we were looking to study the Theory of Planned Behavior by analyzing the behavioral and normative beliefs that influence attitudes and subjective norms.

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6.    Who will be most interested in your research?

You can talk about who may be affected by your research and the parties who can potentially benefit from the research. Take a look at this example:

My sociology thesis on “Impact of social media on youngsters” can be of interest to sociology academics, social media companies, education experts, and parents of youngsters in general.

7.    Did your research questions evolve during the process? If so, how?

Often, qualitative research questions change over time with respect to the responses that you might get from your focus group. Or you might just change your question as you do lab research or general text research. You can describe the change to the evaluating committee. For example,

We started our study to understand the impact of the new public policy change on recycling of vinyl waste through installation of garbage bins specifically for vinyl products. However, after interviewing some of the respondents in the target community, we found that the rule is actually irrelevant to their behavior and thoughts because the percentage of vinyl waste in that specific locality was very low and it didn’t need the installation of dedicated bins for the purpose. Going by their frustrations with the current economic insecurity, our study evolved into the impact of costs incurred by public policy changes.           

8.    What gaps did you intend to bridge with your research?

Your research thesis must eliminate the present gaps in the concepts related to your subject topic.

The relationship between hard water and its effect on the size of the kidney stone is not clear yet, so we analyzed the mineral composition of hard water to determine its impact on the size of the kidney stone.

9.    Why is your research significant?

The answer to this research question should outline the impact of your research on your field of study. You may talk about the new insights contributed by your research and its impact on society.

Through my study on “The effect of chamomile in reducing stress and promoting better sleep,” patients with insomnia and anxiety will be able to find alternative treatments without the use of medicinal drugs. The medical abilities of chamomile will promote the usage of ingredients in nature and will encourage the community to plant more herbs and trees.

10. What did you find in your research?

You may describe your research in a few sentences in this answer. For instance,

In our study on “Impact of artificial fluoride in water on the human body,” we found that excessive exposure to high quantities of Fluoride can result in tooth discoloration and bone issues in humans since it has neurotoxic qualities. 

11. What research findings surprised you?

When you conduct research, you come across findings that you were not expecting earlier. If you had such an experience, you might describe the same to the evaluation committee when you answer this question. For example,

I was expecting that business promotion through social media would not be a good idea for rural enterprises in developing countries in my comparative analysis of the usage of traditional and contemporary marketing methods. But I was surprised to learn that 68% of rural textile businesses in Nigeria promote their products on Instagram.

12. What is the validity of your findings?

You have to talk about the conditions in which your research findings would be valid.

In my research, I have considered test anxiety to be involving both nervous system activation and negative thoughts. Thus, my measure of test anxiety has included the elements of both nervous feelings and negative thoughts, the conditions in which my findings are valid.

For example,

For studying the differential protein expression, its localization, and distribution at different levels, we used the method of immunostaining in our research.

14. What sources did you use for data collection?

You would have used several sources to search for data for your topic. You may elaborate on those sources. You might have referred to databases, content on the web, or even conducted primary research by interviewing prospects. Thus, you can talk about these sources. Refer to the following answer:

To understand the impact of the current tax regime on skilled workers, we interviewed 150 subjects in 5 months. Additionally, we referred to databases and scholarly works available by authors who had previously conducted such studies for previous tax laws and rates. 

15. How can your research be put into practice?

This question talks about the practical implications of your research. You should talk about how your research is beneficial for society and how it can help in eliminating current issues.

In our research titled “Effectiveness of Meditation on Reducing the Anxiety Levels of College Students in the US,” we discovered that students who practiced meditation at least thrice a week were two times more likely to score better in their exams, owing to the positive impact of meditation. So, this research finding can help in the reduction of mental health issues among students. A suitable course of action would be to hold meditating sessions a couple of times a week. 

16. How will your findings contribute to the related area of knowledge?

Our study on medicinal analysis of herbs conveys information about various medicinal benefits of chamomile in treating depression and contributes to the area of medicinal botany.

17. Did you experience any limitations in your research?

Our research on “Impact of smoking on β-cell function and risk for type 2 diabetes in US citizens” finds that smoking increases the risk of diabetes among smokers. However, smokers might be affected by some genetic conditions which can protect them from diabetes. 

18. What sampling techniques did you use?

When conducting research, it is practically not possible to study the entire number of elements. So, you would be using a method to select a sample population.

In our study “Impact of consumption of soda on the health of teenagers in Corpus Christi”, we used area sampling to divide the city into several areas and then selected some clusters for our sample group.

19. What are the dependent and independent variables in your research?

In research, several variable factors impact your study. You can describe these variables. Independent variables have values which are not affected by other variables in your study. On the other hand, the dependent variables have values that change with changes in the independent variable. For example,

In our study on “Impact of online tutoring on test scores”, the independent variable is the nature of the classes i.e., online and the participants' test score is the dependent variable.

20. What areas do you suggest for further research?

As a researcher, you should be able to describe what further areas are open for research with the addition of your research to the field. This can act as a starting point for future researchers. For example,

In my research on “Effectiveness of Acetaminophen in treating sports induced injuries”, I discovered that administering Acetaminophen is not very effective for treating joint pains such as the knee. This further suggests measures for the regulation of Acetaminophen in the production of painkillers for body pain and the search for alternative compounds.

Practice Questions

After taking a look at the sample answers, now try answering these questions by yourself:

Do you have any closing comments? "}]">

After submitting your research thesis for evaluation, you have to appear before a panel of professors and present your work; afterwards, they will ask you questions about your research.

You have to plan and prepare for your thesis defense. Review your paper and anticipate the questions that the committee can ask. Practice with mock defense sessions using professional servicesand make improvements based on their feedback. Be prepared with a strategy for answering any question asked by the panel.

Your research thesis should be on a topic of your interest. Scan your course syllabus to find something that makes you curious. Or, you can even refer to your grad school career goals statement to review what got you interested in grad school in the first place. Shortlist a few topics and zero down to the one that excites you the most.

The first step in preparing for a master’s thesis defense is to revise your research paper and write down a list of questions that the committee might ask. Find answers to those questions and get ready for your presentation. Practice your presentation beforehand. Try to attend a thesis defense of other candidates to know what you can expect in your session. 

You will get questions related to what you have mentioned in your research paper. The most common starting questions are “what is your research about?" and “what was your motivation behind choosing this topic?” Later on, the committee asks you more detailed questions on research methodology, literature review, study variables, research findings, recommendations, and areas of further research.

You can get help from a grad school essay tutor for your research thesis writing. They can help you in developing writing skills and reviewing your work. They can proofread your work and provide recommendations on areas of improvement.

You can include your research thesis on your grad school CV to show your practical knowledge and skills. You can add the details of the study in a separate section for research experience.

Immediately after the thesis defense, the evaluation panel will decide whether to approve your paper as submitted or request some changes, or reject it.

To pass a thesis defense, a majority of the panel members must approve the defense. In case of more than one vote against you, you can fail the thesis.

A thesis defense can last for two hours or longer, depending on your area of research.

Your thesis defense presentation should include the focus concept, findings, recommendation, and conclusion.

The contribution of your thesis towards your degree differs as per institution. You can refer to your course handbook for exact details. In most cases, the committee needs to approve your thesis for you to graduate from your degree.

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why did you choose this place for a research locale

BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Jeff! Yes, this can also be one of the questions you are asked in a thesis defense!

That is good

Hello Eshetu! Thanks for your comment. Glad you found this helpful!

Very helpful

Thanks, Abel. Glad you found this helpful. 

Helpful thank you.

Hi Lagat! Thanks!

As an 11th-grade student, I don't have any experience in thesis or research defense in general. Me and my groupmates will be conducting our research title defense next week, this is invaluable information for us. Thank you!

You are very welcome, Kate!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS, I REALLY APPRECIATE.

Hello Stephanie! Thanks for your comment.

EMELDA NAFULA NYONGESA

This is a good guideline to post graduate students (Masters and PhD) CPA:Emelda Nyongesa

Hi Emelda! Thanks!

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What is a thesis defense defending dissertation.

thesis defense

You’re reading this article because you probably have an upcoming thesis defense. Maybe you’ve worked hard for years or months, and now that moment for wrapping things up is finally here. Whether you want to defend a thesis for a doctorate or master’s degree, you’re about to take that final step.

But, you must research extensively and prepare for the final presentation. As the content for your thesis is vital, so is your presentation. A stunning design with text hierarchy and precise data plays a crucial role in your thesis comprehension. This article answers the question, what is thesis defense? It goes ahead to explain the process of defending dissertation.

Any student that doesn’t know how to defend a thesis or even prepare for the presentation will find this article helpful. Reading this article will let you know what a dissertation or thesis defense is and how to prepare for it.

What Is A Thesis Defense?

Defending a thesis is presenting your research work to a professors’ panel to grade your presentation abilities. Also, your argument during the presentation ascertains that you understood your research topic. But, you must submit your thesis or dissertation first so that your lecturer can grade it before your defense presentation.

Most students want to know what defending thesis means after or when about to complete their graduate degrees. In most countries, writing a thesis is a vital part of finishing a graduate degree. Generally, a thesis or a dissertation is a significant paper related to the student’s study field. After handing in a thesis, the professor or lecturer assigns the learner the data for defending their work.

A thesis defense presentation occurs during a meeting comprising a committee of at least two professors and the student. The professors belong to the student’s program. Also, the session can include professionals from other learning institutions or experts in the student’s study field. The meeting attendees ask the students some questions about their work to understand their focus area and field.

Usually, these questions are open-minded, requiring the learner to think about the work critically. Since the student submits the paper for evaluation before the presentation, the panel already understands the work. But the board doesn’t design the questions to require the student to defend their work aggressively. In most cases, this procedure is a formality for getting a degree.

What Is The Purpose Of Dissertation Defense?

The thesis or dissertation defense aims to achieve two things.

First, it provides a presentation occasion and recognition of the accomplished doctoral work. Second, it presents a chance for formal evaluation and discussion of your thesis.

Ideally, the purpose of the dissertation defense is to assess the completed research work’s merits and the doctoral candidate’s ability to explain or interpret their research outcomes and implications. After the dissertation committee chair deems the paper ready for a defense, they allow the student to schedule their presentation meeting.

The student contacts the committee members to identify the time and date acceptable to them. Also, the learner secures the conference room for the presentation and serves all committee members with copies of the thesis.

What Does It Mean To Defend A Thesis Successfully?

The requirements of a dissertation defense process vary from one learning institution to another. However, a successful defense entails presenting the main argument to the dissertation committee or academic faculty with primary points evidence.

A good defense must have clear and convincing logic lending credence to the primary concept that the body of the paper advances. For instance, if your thesis argues that consuming meat is unethical, you may present arguments about animal abuse cruelty from farms and factories to make your claim legitimate.

How Long Is A Thesis Defense?

At this point, you’re no longer bothered by the question, what does it mean to defend your dissertation? However, you want to know your presentation or defense duration. The duration of a dissertation presentation or defense depends on the degree requirements and the institution.

Perhaps, the best way to know the duration your presentation should take is to consult your institution or department. But a dissertation defense takes 20 minutes in most cases, though it can take up to two or more hours. Also, the presentation duration and the number of questions the committee has for the candidate will influence this duration.

What’s more, the nature of your thesis will determine the duration of its defense. For instance, a master’s thesis takes longer to defend than a bachelor’s thesis. Nevertheless, your defense should fit the introduction, literature review, findings, and more time structuring the presentation. Therefore, take adequate time to prepare for the session. All in all, several factors, including your academic field and paper, determine the duration of the session.

How To Prepare For A Thesis Defense

Adequate preparation is among the best tips for ensuring a successful dissertation defense. Therefore, ensure that you understand the content of your thesis and the questions to expect from the dissertation panel. Also, ensure that you have a timetable showing the chronology of the presentation day.

The dissertation committee expects you to keep time because if you delay, you may have to wait for the next time the panel will allocate your defense. Additionally, make sure that you’ve handed in your thesis at least a month before the defense date.

How To Prepare For Thesis Defense In Six Steps

The end of a graduate degree might seem far away when starting. However, it comes up faster than most learners think. Perhaps, that’s because working on a thesis is a lot of work. What’s more, you have to master the content of your paper to ensure a successful defense. Additionally, decide the best way to present and defend your thesis. For instance, select the defense template, theme, and structure. After that, follow these steps from our best academic editing help and thesis writers to prepare a successful dissertation defense.

  • Anticipate and prepare to answer all questions: Read and understand its content after writing a thesis. Also, list down potential questions to expect from the dissertation committee. You can even look for academic experts to advise you on the possible focus area for the committee members. Use your questions to gather relevant information in readiness for the presentation.
  • Dress appropriately: A dissertation defense is a formal occasion comprising top-ranking members of your academic department. It’s like a passage rite for the graduate and the faculty that supported them. Although the university might not have specific dressing rules for this event, think about it with respect and dignity. Ideally, dress like you’re going for a job interview.
  • Seek assistance: You will be busy preparing for your defense several days before the event’s date. Therefore, entrusting some tasks to reliable people might help. For instance, you can delegate tasks like conference room preparation and presentation equipment setup to a trustworthy person.
  • Prepare a backup plan:  Thesis oral defense requires technological equipment. And technology can fail you. For instance, a PowerPoint presentation may not look as expected. It might even not work at all. Therefore, prepare a plan B by anticipating such eventualities. For example, you can have handouts ready, just in case technology fails.
  • Prepare for tough questions: Most students are scared about professors asking questions they can’t answer. Although you can anticipate some questions, you won’t know the exact things the panel will want to see from you. However, defending your thesis is not about answering every question correctly and perfectly. Therefore, understand that the board doesn’t expect you to know everything.
  • Learn to deal with your anxiety: It’s normal to be anxious or feel nervous when defending your thesis. However, prepare to minimize your stress. Also, understand that the committee will repeat questions if necessary. Most importantly, take time to process every question and respond confidently.

Follow these tips, and you will be ready for the defense when the day comes. But the essential thing is to master the content of your paper and anticipate questions that the committee might ask.

How To Start A Thesis Defense Presentation

Once you have everything ready for the presentation, follow these steps to start your dissertation defense presentation.

  • Welcome the audience: Start by welcoming and connecting with the audience. Don’t use information or inappropriate language. Instead, be natural and approachable to your audience. Also, thank your audience for attending your defense presentation.
  • Introduce yourself: Tell the audience your name and a brief description of your occupation and background.
  • Explain your reason for doing your thesis: Explain what prompted you to further connect with the audience. Ensure that your motives are professional, though they can be personal, denoting your closeness to the project.
  • Delve into your thesis: Start the actual defense presentation by explaining every part.

Practical Thesis Defense Tips: How To Do It

After starting defending your thesis, delve deeper into the oral presentation of your work using appropriate sound equipment and visual aids. Follow this format to present your dissertation.

Introduction: Explain why the study was necessary Literature review: Tell the committee about the findings of other scholars on your subject or topic. Research methodology: Explain the research methods you used in your study and why. Findings: Explain your research findings to the committee. Discussion: Discuss your findings and deductions. Implications, suggestions, limitations, and conclusions: Explain the impact of your study, setbacks, and findings. Also, suggest a path for future studies on the topic or subject. Answer questions: The committee members will ask you questions and expect you to respond. Leave the room: After presenting your defense and answering the committee’s questions, you can leave the room to allow the panelists to deliberate. Come back to the room: The committee will invite you back after the deliberations. The supervisor will share the committee’s decision with you.

The student receives all written work copies after the oral examination. Remember to observe dissertation defense etiquette even if the committee asks questions that deem unnecessary to you. Be polite, formal, and composed throughout the presentation.

Get Professional Thesis Writing Help

You can’t defend a thesis before writing it. However, you might lack adequate time to select a unique thesis topic, research it, and write a custom paper, and of course, buy dissertation online . That’s where our experts come in. We’re a professional team of academic writers helping learners write a quality thesis, defend them, and score the top marks. Our knowledgeable thesis specialists can also provide vital advice or guide you through the defense process.

If stuck with a dissertation or unsure about the defense process, our native writers can help you. We offer cheap and efficient academic writing services online 24/7. Contact us today!

How long is a thesis paper?

The length of your thesis will depend on your faculty, department, or study field. However, a bachelor’s thesis is usually 40 to 60 pages long. On the other hand, a master’s thesis ranges between 60 and 100 pages. A Ph.D. thesis has an average of 204 pages.

Nevertheless, the actual words for a Ph.D. thesis depend on the university and the subject. That’s because most learning institutions set the length requirements. Learning institutions set the minimum length and not the maximum word count or page number in most cases. Therefore, ask the supervisor about your paper’s length before learning how to defend your dissertation.

How long is a thesis defense?

The dissertation defense duration depends on the technicality of the paper and the degree that a student is pursuing. An undergraduate degree’s defense can last an hour, while a master’s degree defense can take one and a half hours. A Ph.D. degree defense can last two or more hours.

What happens during a thesis or dissertation defense?

The professors allocate the students time for their presentation or defense. After that, the panelists will ask questions, and the student will answer. The committee requests the student to summarize their study deductions in some cases

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Thesis Defense - How to Do It Like a Pro?

Thesis Defense - How Does It Go?

How to get the highest grade for thesis defense, tip #1 - get ready in advance, tip #2 - get to the root of the matter, tip #3 - do not forget about patience, tip #4 - demonstrate your knowledge, thesis defense: nuances you are to know, evaluation criteria for theses & their defense results, final thoughts.

In the life of each last-year university graduate student, there comes the time when one is faced with the need to write thesis and defend it in front of a large examination board. Is it the case of yours; is your thesis defense getting closer every day? Still don’t believe in your success? Do not panic! Our  thesis writing service has prepared for you key tips and recommendations that will help you can achieve the cherished goal.

There are several unspoken rules that a person need to follow to be 100% sure to be able to perfectly prepare for his program thesis defense . The approximate procedure of thesis defense covers the following steps:

  • Presentation of the topic for your dissertation;
  • Listing of the main objectives of your work, as well as the relevance of the chosen thesis title  in you field;
  • Discussion of your subject, object of your research, as well as the period of its conduction;
  • Presenting the main vectors of your research, as well as the identified shortcomings and possible ways to solve problems. It is important that all the assumptions made in the work are logically consistent with the rationale contained in thesis body. Otherwise, the committee will have many questions you will have to answer.
  • In the final part of the report, it is best to make a general conclusion.

As a rule, the length of the report does not exceed 5 pages of the Word text format with a font-size of 14 points and a 1.5 line spacing. To be ready for thesis defense,  you must prepare a presentation and speech. Such illustration material is used as a visible guide that demonstrates and proves the main points and results of the research. Information to be used in a presentation is selected by the master students in accordance with the material discussed in the explanatory note to the work. Such materials may include various drawings, tables, graphs, and so on.

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It is not easy to defend a thesis professionally if you have never done it before. Defending a thesis is an extremely laborious process that require both in-depth understanding of the topic and professional speaking skills. However, everything is doable, and there are some tips that will help you deliver the task and obtain a degree.

It is not a secret that all thesis works is required to first be reviewed by the project supervisor. Therefore, it is highly recommended submitting a ready-made version of the thesis for review to your advisor in advance. Thus, your supervisor will be able to read the paper and make edits, and there still will be enough time for you to do all the corrections and improve your thesis work.

As a general rule, thesis defense lasts no more than 5-7 minutes. During such a short period of time, it is necessary for you to convey the essence of your work, its relevance and importance. You should in no case retell all the content you have covered when writing thesis paper . Instead, you are to focus on the main point of your work and present only the most weighty arguments. Thus, in your presentation, you should set out the basic statements defining the work importance, research you have conducted, and conclusion of thesis  you have come to.

It should be remembered that the key to successful thesis defense is a thorough preparation. It is best to make a performance plan and rehearse your speech by retelling your defense in front of either your friends or relatives. It is the rehearsal that will help to adjust the size of your speech to the most optimal by deleting unnecessary statements and leaving only the high-importance information.

It is always possible to entrust thesis writing to some writers or agencies; however, it should be remembered that without mastering the basics of the subject, it is impossible to get a positive assessment of your knowledge. Therefore, it is necessary to answer the subsequent questions of the examination board clearly, competently, and without any confusion. In fact, this is easy to achieve only if you are confident in your knowledge.

Discover how to write a research question and state a hypothesis.

Of course, detailed preparation of your presentation and speech is highly important. You also sjould be sure all your citations are done right. But we have some other recommendations to follow if you want to get the highest grade for the thesis defense:

  • Before the defense day, be sure to sleep. On the “X” day, you can drink a sedative, but do not overdo it;
  • Come to an educational institution in advance, no less than 30 minutes before the defense session starts;
  • During the thesis defense, speak on the essence of the chosen topic; it is not a good idea to use general phrases when presenting a scientific work;
  • Forget that you do not know something - there may be situations when commission members ask a question; in this case, you should not keep silent and answer at random. Keep time to think about the question and find the correct formulation for the reply.

It would be a good idea to plan your speech and think about the questions that the faculty commission board may ask you. Thus, you will have enough time and resources to explore the theme more deeply and will be 100% ready for any question to be asked.

Learn how to write a thesis introduction : secrets, tips, advice

The major criteria for the evaluation of theses and the results of their defense are the following ones:

  • Compliance of the thesis content with the stated theme, set goals and objectives;
  • Clarity and logical validity in setting goals and objectives of the work;
  • The presence specific references to primary sources in the thesis;
  • The use of relevant regulations in the text of the thesis;
  • The use of materials of up-to-date periodicals and accounting of the established practice on the research problem;
  • The use of special literature on the issues under consideration in the work;
  • Completeness and quality of the collected actual data on the basis of the study;
  • The presence of elements of a creative approach to solving problems and the application of modern research methodology;
  • The student’s ability to analyze and correctly interpret the results obtained as a result of the analysis;
  • The validity of conclusions and recommendations made in the thesis, as well as the possibility of their practical implementation;
  • The style of material presentation and the absence of grammatical errors and misprints;
  • The quality level of work;
  • The appearance and content of the presentation prepared for thesis protection;
  • The ability to competently, logically and reasonably present the results of the thesis in the form of a report presented on the defense day without reading its printed version;
  • The ability to debate on theoretical and practical issues of the thesis, the depth and accuracy of the answers to the questions of the department commission member;
  • Approbation of the thesis (introduction into practice, the availability of copyright publications on the topic, speeches on the topic at different conferences, etc.).

Thesis statement defense is not an easy thing to do, especially if you do not have any experience. The same goes to thesis statement writing. We hope that the above tips will be useful for you; however, if you do not want to risk and want to rest assured about a high grade, then you can order a professional assistance from us on this site; just like for many students from around the world, we will help you write a top-quality thesis on any topic and will prepare a brilliant presentation as well as an all-covering speech for the defense!

College puts every student through an obstacle course. Whether labs or essays or researches, every type of assignment requires scrupulous work. It means a student is expected to be switched on all the time. Is it possible to meet all the requirements? A better question is, do you need it? From study...

If we read the case study definition, this is a published report about an event, situation, person or group that has been studied. The main idea of this document is to deeply investigate the chosen subject. Depending on the topic, all the case studies could be separated into next 4 groups:illustrati...

To successfully come up with your thesis acknowledgement, read this helpful guidance article or contact our pro writers to get dissertation help. How to write an acknowledgement for a thesis? This section should be presented only to express your sincere gratitude to individuals who helped you in you...

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"Integrated Spatial and Social Network Analysis of Conflict Impacts on Food Production in Eastern Ukraine; A Geospatial Perspective"

Thesis Defense by Michael Agbozo

In the News

XAR: A Solid ETF To Capture Record High Defense Spending In 2024

Robert Wilson profile picture

  • SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF is a buy due to its solid performance, low expense ratio, and expected growth in the aerospace and defense industry.
  • XAR has the heaviest weights on undervalued Spirit AeroSystems and Huntington Ingalls Industries giving the fund a competitive advantage over PPA and ITA.
  • Aerospace and defense ETFs are likely to do well in 2024 given record high defense spending.

Military Plane

Jelena83/iStock via Getty Images

Investment Thesis

SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF ( NYSEARCA: XAR ) is a buy due to its solid performance, low expense ratio compared to peers, and expected growth of the aerospace and defense industry. A key downside to XAR and compared peer ETFs is their relatively low dividend yields. While Invesco’s Aerospace & Defense ETF ( PPA ) has shown slightly better historical long-term performance, XAR has a holding mix that can position the fund to take the lead looking forward.

Fund Overview and Compared ETFs

XAR is an ETF that seeks to track the Aerospace and Defense Select Industry Index. With its inception in 2011, the ETF has 32 holdings and almost $2B in AUM. Not surprisingly, the ETF has 100% weight on the aerospace and defense sector. Peer competitor ETFs used for comparison purposes in this article are iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF ( ITA ) and PPA. PPA follows the SPADE Defense Index while ITA tracks U.S. equities in the aerospace and defense sector. Due to these different objectives, the funds have distinct holdings differences I will cover later.

Performance, Expense Ratio, and Dividend Yield

XAR has a 10-year CAGR of 11.35%. This is notably ahead of ITA’s 9.91% 10-year CAGR, but below PPA’s at 12.41%. While XAR lags PPA, it has the lowest expense ratio of 0.35%, compared to ITA (0.40%) and PPA (0.58%).

Price Return Historically over 10 years

10-Year Price Return: XAR and Peer Competitors (Seeking Alpha)

Defense sector ETF investors are likely to be disappointed with the dividend yields for any of these three funds. XAR, for instance, has a mere 0.37% yield. Additionally, its 3-year dividend CAGR is -12.74%. This is roughly on par with ITA and PPA which both have negative dividend growth but slightly higher yields.

Expense Ratio, AUM, and Dividend Yield Comparison

Source: Seeking Alpha, 16 Dec 23

XAR’s Holdings and Its Competitive Advantage

XAR has 32 holdings with a composition that is significantly different from ITA and PPA. First, XAR’s top holding is Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. ( SPR ), while ITA and PPA have less than 1% weight on SPR. The second key difference is XAR’s notably lower weight on The Boeing Company ( BA ). Finally, XAR has a significantly higher weight on Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. ( HII ).

Top 10 Holdings for XAR and Competitor ETFs (Key Differences Bolded)

Source: Multiple, compiled by author on 16 Dec 23

Any ETF investor knows that a fund’s overall performance is directly tied to the strength of its individual holdings. XAR represents distinct qualities in its holdings that prime it for growth, potentially ahead of both ITA and PPA. I will cover three of them below.

XAR’s Top Holding of Spirit AeroSystems

The first strength of XAR is its top holding of SPR. On the surface, Spirit AeroSystems may seem like a risky bet to have as a top holding. SPR has a TTM gross profit margin of -2.43% and net income margin of -16.83%. Additionally, its return on total capital, return on total assets, and FCF margins are all in the red. However, it is currently quite undervalued with a forward price/sales ratio 58% below its industry average and forward EV/sales 34% below its industry average. This undervaluation is due to multiple factors including a 24.78% forward revenue growth. Additionally, the company has a new CEO, Patrick Shanahan , who is respected as the previous Deputy Secretary for Defense and long-time Boeing veteran. Therefore, SPR represents the first secret weapon for XAR pulling the lead looking forward.

Lower Weight on Boeing Co.

The second potential upside for XAR is a slightly lower weight on Boeing. While Boeing has recovered nicely from 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 along with multiple high-profile airplane orders, it appears significantly overvalued at the moment. BA has demonstrated a one-year price return of almost 44%. Its forward EV/EBITDA is 173 compared to an industry average of 11.5. Additionally, its Q3 2023 net income was negative $1.63B, the lowest in the past four quarters. Therefore, XAR might be well positioned to lead defense and aerospace ETFs by maintaining a lower weight on BA.

Heaviest Weight on Huntington Ingalls

The final potential ingredient to XAR’s future success is its weight on HII. HII has seen a 10-year total return of almost 200% and indicates several strong growth factors. The company saw 14.9% YoY gross profit growth last quarter and $1B in operations cash flow over the trailing twelve months. HII is also attractively valued with a forward P/E GAAP almost 20% below its industry average and forward price/sales 34% below its industry average. A final positive point for HII is its 2.05% dividend yield along with 10.7% 5-year growth rate. Therefore, I believe HII is the third component to propel XAR moving forward.

Valuation and Risks to Investors

XAR is currently trading at $133.21 at the time of this article. This puts the fund near the upper limit of its 52-week range ($106.68 to $135.77) and below its $136.44 all-time high in July 2021. XAR has seen a 21% price return YTD, notably ahead of its peers, ITA and PPA.

Year to date ETF price return

YTD Price Return for XAR, ITA, and PPA (Seeking Alpha)

Despite strong a strong YTD return, XAR still appears to be valued attractively compared to ITA and PPA. With a P/E ratio of 24.36, the fund is notably lower than ITA. Additionally, XAR has a P/B ratio below both compared funds. Finally, XAR has an estimated 3-5 year EPS growth of 6.37%.

Valuation Metrics for XAR and Peer Competitors

Source: Compiled by Author from Multiple Sources, 16 Dec 23

Whether XAR will outperform is dependent on the future performance of its holdings. The fund has multiple potential advantages compared to ITA and PPA, including its different holding weights on SPR, BA, and HII. Based on these holding differences, I expect XAR to blow through its all-time high and exceed returns for ITA and PPA going into 2024.

Investment in XAR or any aerospace and defense ETF is not without risks. The most immediate risk is defense spending cuts. However, this risk appears minimal for the time being given congressional passage of the National Defense Authorization Act which calls for $886 billion for the Defense Department next year. While the legislation still requires presidential approval, all indicators point towards record spending for the Department of Defense. Additionally, given strategic competition with China and numerous international threats, I would be surprised to see any significant decline in U.S. defense spending.

Concluding Summary

XAR warrants a buy due to strong expected defense spending heading into 2024 and beyond. While competitor fund PPA has demonstrated strong performance historically, XAR has a mix of holdings that will posture it for strong growth, potentially surpassing PPA heading into next year. Specifically, XAR has the heaviest weights on Spirit AeroSystems and Huntington Ingalls while holding the lowest weight on Boeing Company. Additionally, XAR has the lowest expense ratio of funds compared. While XAR has the lowest dividend yield compared to ITA and PPA, none of the aerospace and defense funds examined have significant dividend yields. Given the expected funding for the Defense Department heading into 2024, and likely beyond, any investment into aerospace and defense ETFs will provide solid returns. However, I believe that XAR has the right ingredients to propel the fund ahead of its peers.

This article was written by

Robert Wilson profile picture

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have a beneficial long position in the shares of BA either through stock ownership, options, or other derivatives. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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  1. How to prepare an excellent thesis defense

    What is a thesis defense? If you're about to complete, or have ever completed a graduate degree, you have most likely come across the term "thesis defense." In many countries, to finish a graduate degree, you have to write a thesis. Definition A thesis is a large paper, or multi-chapter work, based on a topic relating to your field of study.

  2. Defending Your Dissertation: A Guide

    March 29, 2022 Written by Luke Wink-Moran | Photo by insta_photos Dissertation defenses are daunting, and no wonder; it's not a "dissertation discussion," or a "dissertation dialogue." The name alone implies that the dissertation you've spent the last x number of years working on is subject to attack.

  3. How to Start a Thesis Defense Presentation

    Slidesgo School Presentation Tips How to Start a Thesis Defense Presentation After months and years of hard work, the moment to wrap things all up is finally here—your thesis defense presentation. Whether you're pursuing a master's degree or doctorate, it's the final step to that much-deserved achievement.

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  5. Mastering Your Thesis Defense: An In-depth Guide

    The thesis defense is the concluding oral examination that officially rounds off the process of submitting your thesis. Option 1: Defending Your Academic Work (Disputation) As the term suggests, you must defend your academic work before an audience composed of a committee and a select group of guests.

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    To complete a graduate degree, you'll likely need to create a thesis defense presentation. You must complete a thesis to finish many graduate degree programs. It's important to have an impressive thesis defense presentation. (Image Source: Envato Elements) A thesis is a paper where you explore a topic in depth that's related to what you've ...

  9. PDF A Guide for Graduate Students Preparing for a Master's Thesis Defense

    Thesis Writing and Guidelines Rooms for Your Defense Printing and Binding Your Thesis for Defense Registering Your Thesis The Defense Know the Rituals Guidelines for Presentations Use PowerPoint Public Lecture Audience Dress Professionally Items to Bring to the Defense The Closed Examination vii. Address Questions with Confidence After the Defense

  10. How to Effectively Prepare for Your Thesis Defense

    A thesis defense is an opportunity for you to present your research study before other academic professionals who will evaluate the quality of your academic work. While a thesis defense can sometimes feel like a cross-examination in a court of law, in reality, there is no need to fear your thesis defense as long as you are well-prepared.

  11. How to prepare for a thesis defense

    How to Prepare for a Thesis Defense Updated: Nov 23, 2023 You've spent years on your studies to acquire your advanced degree, and whether a master's thesis or doctorate, you need to know how to prepare for a thesis defense. Treat this as more of a siege than a defense, and be prepared to outlast any foe, any siege engine, any army at your gates.

  12. Thesis Defense ~ A Guide To Prepare Best

    Definition: Thesis Defense A thesis defense is an act of presenting your work to a panel of professors so they can grade your presentation abilities. In retrospect, the argument is essential to ascertain that you understood the topic. You have to hand in your paper first so that the lecturer can grade it before you appear for the defense.

  13. 17 Thesis Defense Questions and How to Answer Them

    EditrixJD January 10, 2023 PST A thesis defense gives you the chance to show off your thesis work and demonstrate your expertise in your field of study.

  14. Preparing the Thesis Proposal Defense

    Ingrid J. Paredes is a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering at New York University. You can find her on Twitter @ingridjoylyn.. In my program, we have four major milestones towards graduation: the qualifying exam, which is based on a critique of a peer-reviewed publication; the thesis proposal defense; the data defense; and finally, the dissertation defense.

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    Deck 2: Thesis Defense Roadmap Individual Researcher Strategy Presentation . Template 6: Do's and Don'ts to Defend Content on Thesis. Examine the priceless "Dos and Don'ts to Defend Content" slide, your one-stop-shop for prevailing in the thesis defense. Here you'll learn tactical strategies (Do) to articulate your ideas with assurance ...

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  19. How To Do a Proper Thesis Defense with a PowerPoint Presentation

    A thesis defense is composed of two parts - a thesis and a defense. The thesis, according to Grad School Hub, represents a student's collective understanding of his or her program and major. Universities often include a thesis in every course as one of the final requirements to earn a particular graduate or postgraduate degree.

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  23. Thesis Defense

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