Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

The Ph.D. degree requires the passing of the defense and acceptance of the dissertation. The final defense is a public presentation that consists of an oral defense followed by questions and may last a maximum of three hours. All committee members are required to attend the defense. 

Students must determine the defense date with agreement of all the members of the dissertation committee, meet deadlines for submitting graduation forms and inform the committee of their progress. It is the responsibility of students to submit the required documents to their GPC by the second week of the semester/session they intend to defend. It is also expected that students submit their written dissertation to the committee at least two months prior to the defense date in order to receive feedback.

The written dissertation is required to comply with the University formatting guidelines.

There are four possible outcomes for this dissertation final defense:

  • Pass
  • Pass with conditions
  • Retake
  • Fail without retake

A pass is achieved when the committee agrees with no more than one dissenting vote. In the instance of a pass with conditions, the entire committee must agree on the required conditions, and if they cannot, the dean decides. The deadline to complete the conditions is three months after the defense date, unless the committee unanimously agrees to reduce it. If the conditions will take three months or more, or more than one member casts a negative vote, one retake of the defense is permitted. The deadline to complete the retake is as decided by the defense committee with a maximum of six months after the defense date, unless the committee unanimously agrees to change it. Students who fail without retake or who fail the retake will be dismissed from the University.

Evaluation of the Ph.D. dissertation defense is recorded by submitting the result of Ph.D. dissertation defense form to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline in the Academic Calendar.