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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 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.

oral defence master thesis

Grad Coach

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).

Need a helping hand?

oral defence master thesis

#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.

oral defence master thesis

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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Research aims, research objectives and research questions


Jalla Dullacha

Very interesting

Fumtchum JEFFREY

Interesting. I appreciate!

Dargo Haftu

Really appreciating

My field is International Trade

Abera Gezahegn


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 🙂


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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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

oral defence master thesis

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


  • 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.

oral defence master thesis

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

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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

oral defence master thesis

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

oral defence master thesis

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

oral defence master thesis

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.

oral defence master thesis

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oral defence master thesis

How to Prepare for the Oral Defense of Your Thesis/Dissertation

© Paul T. P. Wong , Ph.D., C.Psych.,  Former Research Director, Graduate Program in Counselling Psychology, Trinity Western University, Langley, BC, Canada

Use the following steps when preparing for the oral defense of your thesis/dissertation.

1. Evaluation of oral examination is based on your presentation and your answers to questions from the examining committee.

2. Be well prepared for your presentation—academically, mentally and physically. Try to be well rested and focused before your oral defense.

3. In your preparation, don’t try to memorize all the studies cited in your thesis, but you do need to know the details of the few key studies that form the basis of your investigation.

4. You need to be familiar with larger issues, such as the basic assumptions, theoretical framework, paradigm, cross-cultural perspectives, Christian integration, etc.

5. More importantly, you need to have a deep understanding of the nature of your research problem and the major issues involved.

6. You may bring with you important materials for easy reference in the course of your defense; these may include key articles, computer print-outs of results, etc.

7. Your presentation is evaluated in terms of content and clarity as well as style.

8. Don’t speak too fast and don’t read from your notes.

9. Treat your presentation as a public address because there may be non-psychologists present at your defense. Therefore, don’t use too many jargons and don’t pack it with details. You need to tell people in simple, concise language:

  • What you did,
  • Why you did it,
  • How you did it,
  • What you found, and
  • What the results mean.

10. Prepare handouts or power-points. Typically, they should include

  • An overview or outline of your presentation,
  • Introduction (including research question, rationale and hypothesis, if any, and definition of key constructs),
  • Method (including design, methodology, sample, instruments or questionnaires, and procedure,
  • Results (including tables or figures summarizing your findings), and
  • Discussion (including reasons for new or unexpected findings, contributions and limitations, and practical implications).

11. Make sure that you space yourself well. Don’t spend too much time on one section. For example, you should not spend more than 5 minutes on introduction, since you are allowed only 20 minutes for your presentation.

12. Most of the questions are rather general and broad, dealing with substantial methodological, theoretical and application issues. However, some questions focus on specific points regarding sampling, statistical analysis, or some questionable conclusions.

13. Be prepared to clarify or elaborate on your assumptions, theoretical positions, methods, and conclusions. Often, an examiner plays the devil’s advocate to see how well you can think on your feet and defend yourself.

14. Occasionally, an examiner may ask a question which is unfair or cannot be adequately answered. After a few futile attempts, feel free to say that you don’t know the answer. You may even be bold enough to say, “Since none of my answers are acceptable, I would really appreciate it if you could give me some pointers or tell me what would be a correct answer.”

15. Here are some common questions:

  • If you were to do it all over again, what changes would you make?
  • What specific aspects of your findings can be utilized by counselors or psychologists in their practice?
  • What is the most important contribution of your thesis? Can you say it in one or two sentences?
  • What are some of the competing hypotheses? Could you think of an alternative interpretation of your findings?

16. Don’t rush to any answers. It is perfectly acceptable to think for a couple of seconds, or ask if you are on the right track. If you are not clear about the question, you are entitled to ask for clarification.

17. Try to be concise and to the point, but at the same time demonstrate that you have a good grasp of the complex issues involved. In other words, do not give superficial answers, but at the same time, do not go all over the map.

18. Put up a good defense without being defensive. Be confident without being cocky. A good defense means that you can provide strong logical arguments as well as empirical support o defend your position or conclusion. However, don’t be defensive when people criticize your study. If they are able to point out some real flaws or weaknesses in your study, accept their criticisms with humility, grace and gratitude.

19. Before the oral defense, talk to your advisor about areas of concerns based on external examiner’s comments. Then, discuss with your advisor how to best address these concerns. (Your advisor cannot tell you the specific questions the examiners will ask, but s/he can direct your attention to issues or areas that require some thinking or additional research.)

20. After the oral defense, meet with your advisor for debriefing and seek advice on how to revise your thesis.

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Preparing for a Master's Defense

A guide for graduate students preparing for a master's defense in Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

Prepare for the Defense

Selecting a defense date, international students and work visas, registration categories for defense, thesis writing and guidelines, printing and binding your thesis for defense, registering your thesis, know the rituals.

  • Use PowerPoint

Public Lecture

Dress Professionally

Items to Bring to the Defense

The Closed Examination

Address Questions with Confidence

Final Corrected Copies of the Thesis

Department/program requirements prior to termination of student status, publishing your final thesis.

  • Binding Your Final Thesis

Before Defense

After completing the research required for your thesis, you should inform your graduate administrator that you have started the process to prepare for your defense. A master’s thesis defense committee must include your advisor, a second faculty member from your program, and a faculty member from outside of your department. 

Please note: If the advisor is not in a student's program, the committee would consist of four members: the advisor, two faculty in the program, and one outside faculty member.

When you and your advisor begin thinking about defending, check the academic calendar for deadlines. Defenses can be held on any day the Arts, Sciences and Engineering Office of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (AS&E GEPA) is open for business (i.e., not weekends, evenings, or holidays, or the days between Christmas and New Year’s).

You must reserve a room for your oral presentation and for your closed exam.  Check with your graduate administrator to determine who will schedule the room for your thesis defense .

Let your graduate administrator know as soon as all of the members of your committee have agreed to a specific date and time for the defense. Your graduate administrator will advise you of any program-specific requirements for the defense, as well as prepare your thesis defense paperwork. They will also help you determine who will schedule the room for your thesis defense and who will obtain the signatures for your paperwork. 

You should provide your committee members at least one week to read and comment on your thesis before the thesis defense.

Participating Via Video Conferencing

While you and your advisor must both be physically present in the room for the defense, other committee members are allowed to participate in the defense remotely via Skype or other video conferencing technology. This must be approved by the AS&E dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs before the dissertation is registered for defense.

We strongly recommend that international students meet with an  International Services Office (ISO)  representative. The ISO will provide information on visa options, documentation, and timelines for applying for a visa for employment in the United States.

In your final semester (the semester in which you defend), if you have completed all your credit requirements, you will register for one of the following registration categories:

899: Master’s Thesis —Non-credit bearing registration category for a master’s student who has completed all of the requirements for the degree except the thesis and is in residence as a full-time student.

895: Continuation of Enrollment —Non-credit bearing registration category for a master’s student who has completed all of the requirements for the degree except the thesis and is not in residence as a full-time student.

For more information about these categories, see the registration page .

The Preparing Your Master's Thesis manual is a great resource to help you bring your dissertation up to the required standard of organization, appearance, and format for the University of Rochester. While this document is specifically for PhD Dissertations, the same formatting rules apply for master’s theses. Before preparing the defense copy of your thesis, check the contents of the manual carefully to help avoid mistakes that can be time-consuming and costly to correct.

Before beginning your thesis you should consult with your advisor for your department or program’s preferred style guide (APA, MLA, Chicago).

Including material produced by other authors in your thesis can serve a legitimate research purpose, but you want to avoid copyright infringement in the process. For detailed instructions on avoiding copyright infringement, please see ProQuest’s  Copyright Guide .

You must provide copies of the thesis to your committee members. You should check with your committee members to see if they prefer printed or electronic copies (or both). Printed copies do not need to be printed on heavyweight, expensive paper unless there is the need to do so for figures and images. 

Printing and binding a thesis can be expensive. You can use the Copy Center or FedEx Office to print and bind your thesis.

“Registering” simply means that you have presented a thesis document, which you intend to defend, to the AS&E dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs. Your thesis must be approved as ready to defend by your advisor, as noted by the advisor signature on the  Master’s Thesis Defense Appointment Form  (this form can only be accessed by staff).

Your defense must be at least five full working days after you register. When registering, you must present a bound defense copy of your thesis to the Office of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA).

The copy of your thesis that you register will be returned to you usually within a few days before or after the defense, with possible corrections that must be addressed in the final thesis.

The Defense

Below you will find suggestions to help you get ready for the defense and information to give you a sense of what to expect.

The best way to know what happens and the best way for you to prepare for your defense is to regularly attend the defenses of your colleagues. You should also speak with your advisor to get a sense of his/her specific expectations of a defense.

Guidelines for Presentations

Use PowerPoint or Other Software to Create Slides

You should prepare a presentation of the research that comprises the thesis. Your slides should encapsulate the work and focus on its most salient contributions. In preparing, ask yourself these questions: “What do I want people to know about my thesis? What is the most important information that I can present and talk about?” Here are some basic tips:

  • Use text large enough to be readable by the audience (especially text from figures)
  • Ensure graphics and tables are clear
  • Don’t clutter your slides—if necessary, have things come up on mouse clicks
  • Use spell check and proofread your slides
  • Practice your presentation with your peers
  • Work on pronunciation, if required
  • Time your presentation to ensure it will fit the allotted time while allowing time for questions

If your defense includes a public lecture, we recommended that you do a trial run of your presentation a day or two before your defense in the room that has been booked for your public lecture. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the space and the equipment and to address any problems that arise during the trial run.

Plan your public lecture to allow enough time for questions. Present enough information so that the audience understands what you did, why you did it, what the implications are, and what your suggestions are for future research.

The date/time/location of your defense and thesis topic are advertised to your program and beyond. Friends and family are welcome to attend the public lecture. Faculty and students in the audience are given the opportunity to ask questions.

Plan to dress professionally for the defense in the same way you would if presenting a paper at a conference or for a job interview. You will be standing for a long time on the day of your defense, which will be important to keep in mind when selecting shoes.

Essentials that you should bring include:

  • Your presentation
  • A laser pointer
  • A copy of your thesis document
  • A pen or pencil
  • Something to record comments
  • A bottle of water 

You will be asked to leave the room while your committee reviews your program of study, grades, and decides whether the thesis is acceptable/not acceptable. The committee decides whether members will ask sequential questions or whether each member will be allotted a specific time period for questioning.

You will be called back into the examining room and questioning will begin. After all questions have been addressed, you will be asked to leave the room while your committee decides the outcome of the exam. You will be asked to return to the room to be informed of the outcome.

  • Listen  to the entire question no matter how long it takes the faculty member or student to ask it (take notes if necessary).
  • Pause and think  about the question before answering.
  • Rephrase  the question succinctly.
  • Answer  the question to the best of your ability. If you do not know the answer, remain calm and say so in a professional way.
  • Remember  that no one will know the ins and outs of the thesis and your research materials as well as you.  You  are the foremost expert in the thesis topic and  YOU know the research involved. Be positive!

At the conclusion of your defense, your committee will either determine that you have passed or failed the exam. In the event that the outcome is a failure of the exam, you may request reexamination after four months have passed. 

After the Defense

You can submit the final corrected copies of your thesis as soon as you address any remaining comments that were brought up during the defense or noted in the registration copy of your thesis, which will be returned to you usually within a few days before or after the defense.

You need to submit two unbound copies of your final thesis to the AS&E GEPA office, located in Lattimore 206.

Each department and program has its own process for students who are ending their student status. Be sure to check with your graduate administrator to determine if there is additional paperwork that you need to complete before your student status is terminated.

The University of Rochester requires all master’s thesis candidates to deposit their theses for publication with the University libraries. Two hard copies of the thesis (unbound) are required by the GEPA office to provide to the University libraries .

Binding Your Final Master’s Thesis

Your department may want a bound copy of your thesis. Please check with your graduate administrator to determine this and how the cost of binding is covered. You may also want a bound copy for yourself and others.

student talking to a group

Oral defence

Move on to your oral defence.

The Dean (or delegate) of the student’s faculty names the chair of the jury.  The chair of the jury has to be authorized to supervises theses. The thesis defence may not be chaired by the thesis supervisor or one of the examiners.

The faculty organizes the oral defence at a time acceptable to the examiners and the student. All examiners and the student must attend the defence, either in person or remotely.

Prior to the defence, the chair of the jury receives from the faculty, a file containing the examiners' reports and other documents pertaining to the defence.

Thesis defences are open to the public, except in the case of a confidential thesis. Other students are invited to attend to familiarize themselves with the process, and to discuss with their supervisor how to prepare for their own defence.

Once the date of the defence has been set, the student should, among other things:

  • Ask the academic unit to reserve the audiovisual equipment needed for the defence.
  • Visit the room where the defence will take place.
  • Arrive early on the day of the examination. 
  • Check with the academic unit to find out what procedure applies to the defence.

On the day of the defence

All the examiners and the student must attend the defence in person or remotely.

Prior to the oral defence arrow_drop_down

Immediately before the defence and in the absence of the student, the chair of the jury meets briefly with the examiners and the thesis supervisor:

  • to discuss any difficulties arising from the examiners' evaluation reports;
  • to explain the procedure to be followed;
  • to determine the order in which each examiner will ask questions to the student ;
  • to determine the time allocated to each examiner for questioning

During the oral defence arrow_drop_down

The chair begins the oral defence by inviting the student to present the subject of the thesis. The time allotted for this purpose is specified by the chair. The chair then invites the examiners in the previously determined sequence to question the student on the thesis. The thesis supervisor may not intervene while the examiners are questioning the student; the supervisor will be permitted to comment or ask questions at the end of the question period.

At the end of the defence, the student and other persons who are not members of the jury are asked by the chair to leave the room. The thesis supervisor can attend the jury deliberations but cannot vote.

After the oral defence arrow_drop_down

The members of the jury then exchange views to arrive at a decision based on the general terms given in the form - Report of the jury thesis defence. The chair also indicates the decision on this form. The chair notes, if appropriate, in the space for "comments" the general nature of the corrections/revisions required, and specifies the names of the persons responsible for ensuring that these modifications are made satisfactorily. The examiners deliberate and decide on a verdict in accordance with the academic regulation pertaining to thesis. The meaning of the verdicts and what ensues from them are detailed in the Academic regulation on thesis, under the defence verdicts section.

If appropriate, the chair should inquire at this time whether the examiners are prepared to recommend the thesis for a prize. The supervisor must be asked to withdraw while this decision is being made.

The chair immediately informs the student of the verdict.

  • Verdicts of the jury for a thesis defence: Consult the Regulation on theses, section C-7.11.3 Verdicts .
  • Verdicts of the jury for a second thesis defence: Consult the Regulation on theses, section C-7.11.3 Verdicts .

Thesis final version arrow_drop_down

After the successful defence and correction of the thesis, the student must submit the thesis online by creating a service request through the Service Requests page (accessible via  uoZone to the person identified on the thesis evaluation form ). A student requesting an embargo must also complete and submit an  Embargo Request Form (PDF)  as part of the same service request. A request for an embargo on public access to a thesis may be granted in certain precise circumstances (refer to Regulation on theses , under section C-7.14 Embargo on thesis publication) and the request must be completed, submitted, and approved by the faculty before the student submits the final electronic version of the thesis to uO Research .

When the service request is approved, the student must submit the final version electronically in  uO Research , the institutional repository of the University of Ottawa. The University of Ottawa participates in the Thesis Canada program, whereby the electronic version of the thesis is harvested by  Library and Archives Canada  and added to their online collection.

Once deposited in uO Research, the thesis becomes available online in open access although the student keeps its copyright. Each thesis will be indexed in the University Library’s local catalogue.

Under no circumstances can a student be recommended for the degree unless one acceptable final version of the thesis has been submitted electronically in uO Research and approved by the faculty.

Learn more about electronic submission of the final version .

Thesis prizes arrow_drop_down

Each year, the University of Ottawa awards prizes for theses, which are chosen by selection committees.

For a thesis to be eligible for inclusion in the annual thesis prize competition, the jury must have voted to recommend it for a prize at the thesis defence.

Students whose theses do not win a prize are entitled to include in their curriculum vitae the fact that the thesis was recommended.

For further details, visit the  Master's and PhD thesis prizes page .

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Master’s thesis and final oral examination.

The Master’s thesis in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (RES) is a fundamental and essential component of the program. It is the main evidence that is available to the academic community by which the candidate is assessed in his/her abilities to synthesize and integrate biophysical and socio-economic sciences into new paradigms or knowledge.

Structure of an RES Master’s Thesis

Although there is debate about how research is done, the concept and structure of the RES Master’s thesis research is, in general, the same as in any graduate program. That is, there is:

  • a statement of an issue
  • a rationale of the significance of the issue
  • a set of research questions (these may be presented as hypotheses, objectives, questions, propositions)
  • a set of methods or tools from various disciplines that will be brought to bear to address the research questions
  • a discussion of theoretical and analytical frameworks relevant to the issue
  • research tools selected
  • expected results
  • a summary and/or conclusions of the research, and
  • a discussion of how the research has contributed to the overall issue.

Specifics among the various sections will vary by the nature of the research topic, the graduate student and the supervisor/ supervisory committee. It is important that discussion take place early in a graduate student’s program on how to do the research and what will be expected from the thesis. These discussions should be re-examined at formal meetings of the graduate student’s supervisory committee.

All RES Master’s and Doctoral students must follow the G+PS formatting guidelines .

RES Master’s Thesis Defence Committee Requirements

Committee composition: The master’s thesis examination committee should be comprised of the members of the pre-approved RES supervisory committee plus one external examiner who has had no involvement in the thesis supervision. G+PS requires that the examination committee include, at minimum, the supervisor and one person not involved in the thesis supervision.

External (non-committee) member: An external (non-committee) examiner should be someone who was not involved in the thesis supervisory committee or research. In cases where the supervisory committee did not include an IRES core faculty member or core associate, the external (non-committee) member should be an IRES core or CA faculty member. Supervisors should endeavour to avoid calling upon an individual for service as an external examiner more than once per 12 months. (G+PS recommends that at least 1 member of the examining committee be from another graduate program.)

Examination chair: The chair of master’s thesis defence should be a member of the examination committee who is also an IRES core or CA faculty member. G+PS permits the thesis supervisor to also serve as Chair of the Master’s examination.

RES Master’s Thesis Final Oral Examination

The RES Master’s Final Oral Examination is an integral part of the RES Master’s Program and requires students defend their theses before they graduate.  A successful defence of your Master’s thesis will depend on your ability to present your research effectively and confidently. Some basic skills and techniques which may be helpful for preparation can be found on the G+PS website .

The structure of the RES Master’s Final Oral Examination is as follows:

  • A 25 minute (average) presentation made by the candidate.
  • First round of questions from the Examining Committee in order of most distant from the candidate (generally begins with the External Examiner and ends with the Supervisor). Each committee member is given about 15 minutes for their questions.
  • A second round of questions, generally about 5 minutes from each of the Examining Committee members.
  • The audience is welcome to ask questions at this point.
  • The candidate and audience leave the room and the Examining Committee decide whether the student has passed.
  • The candidate is invited back into the room and informed of their result.

After the Master’s Thesis Final Oral Examination

You will need to complete any recommended revisions to your THesis before submitting it and some final administrative paperwork to G+PS to close your program.

  • G+PS Final Thesis Submission Guidelines

Lastly, you will need to apply to Graduate via your SSC account!

Master’s Thesis Timeline

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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!

oral defence master thesis

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.

oral defence master thesis

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.

oral defence master thesis

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. 

oral defence master thesis

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. 

oral defence master thesis

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.

oral defence master thesis

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 .

oral defence master thesis

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. 

oral defence master thesis

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.

oral defence master thesis

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.

oral defence master thesis

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Dissertation & Thesis Information

Explore this Section

Preparing For Your Defense

Oral defense policies.

While the content of a dissertation or thesis is the prerogative of the student and their dissertation/thesis committee, the oral defense committee requirements, deadlines and format is established by university policy and managed by the Office of Graduate Education.

  • Doctoral Dissertation
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Dissertation & Thesis Process

Step-by-step process, dissertation guidelines.

  • Proposal programs reserve the right to determine the composition of the dissertation/thesis proposal committee. Check your department's student handbook to determine any unique proposal policies and guidelines. 
  • Dissertation Committee Guidelines 
  • Thesis Committee Guidelines  

Oral Defense

  • Students must satisfactorily complete the oral defense at least three weeks before the end of the term in which the degree is to be awarded. View resources for a Virtual Oral Defense.  

Document Submission

  • Following the submission of the dissertation or thesis to ETD/ProQuest, students will work with the Office of Graduate Education for formatting approval. Formatting must be approved by the last day of the term. 
  • Dissertation and Thesis publication option and information about restricting access
  • Congratulations! You have finished your dissertation/thesis!  

Relevant Forms and Policies


Resources for a Virtual Oral Defense

The defense is expected to be held with the student and committee members being present in person.  However, if circumstances make it impossible for the student and/or committee members to be physically present, a defense with the student and/or faculty participating by conference call, webcast or other medium is allowed if agreed upon by the student, the dissertation director and committee members. 

2023 - 2024 Dissertation/Thesis Deadlines

View the Schedule of Deadlines for the 2023-2024 academic year.

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Oral Defense Committee Recommendation Form

This form should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Education as soon as your proposal has been approved.

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Schedule of Oral Defense

Four weeks prior to your oral defense, you must submit a copy of this form to the Office of Graduate Education and your department to schedule your oral defense.

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Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Requirements

Review this comprehensive document for insight into formatting and arrangement requirements.

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Thesis and Dissertation Submission Instructions

Follow these instructions to electronically submit your thesis/dissertation to ProQuest.

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Formatting Template

The Formatting Template is a resource to help format your dissertation/thesis per the University's formatting requirements. 


2023-2024 Schedule of Deadlines

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Need help writing your thesis/dissertation? Get the support you need at the Writing Center. Our skilled staff helps writers at all stages of the writing process in individual and group settings. 

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Graduate School

Oral Defenses of Theses and Dissertations

Master’s students completing a thesis and doctoral students completing a dissertation are required to engage in a final oral defense of the document by their thesis or dissertation committee. 

Information on defense policies and procedures is available in the PSU Bulletin: Please review the thesis section for details about thesis defenses. Please review the dissertation defense section for details about dissertation defenses.

Preparation in advance of the defense

  • The thesis or dissertation committee must be approved by the Graduate School via a GO-16 prior to  holding a thesis or dissertation defense.  
  • Students must be registered for at least 1 graduate credit in the term of the defense.  
  • Defenses should be held during regular academic terms, i.e., not between terms. However, if there is a need to hold a thesis/dissertation proposal or final defense in the period between terms, and all faculty involved in the defense have agreed to participate at this time, graduate programs are allowed to schedule defenses between terms provided certain requirements are met. See Enrollment for Defenses/Exams Held Between Terms for details.   
  • Defenses may be held in-person, remotely via videoconferencing (e.g., Zoom), or in a hybrid format with both remote and in-person participation. Please review the Remote Thesis/Dissertation Participation guidelines for defenses in which the student or at least one committee member is participating remotely.   
  • Thesis  defenses are open to the University faculty and may be open to the public at the department’s discretion. Dissertation defenses are open to the public. Students should check with their department for internal policies regarding scheduling and announcing thesis and dissertation defenses.

The defense

  • All appointed committee members must participate in the defense, even if the committee has more than the minimum required members. Refer to the approved GO-16 or DARS audit to confirm committee membership or contact Graduate Academic Services at [email protected] . Any changes to committee membership must be made in advance of the defense. 
  • The student should not be expected to provide food or beverage for attendees of the defense. 
  • If a committee member is missing at the start of a defense, the student and committee must wait at least 15 minutes for them to join the meeting. In the meantime, the committee chair should contact the Graduate School at (503) 725-8410 for options in case the member cannot be located. 

Structure of the final defense

The master’s or doctoral candidate is expected to prepare and give an oral presentation on the research methodology and results. After the student’s presentation, they will defend the thesis or dissertation in a question and discussion session. 

  • The student's oral presentation should not exceed 60 minutes.
  • Defenses should be scheduled for 2 to 3 hours to allow enough time to accommodate all steps of the defense and a robust questioning and discussion session. Appointed committee members must participate in all the steps of the defense. The actual length of the defense will depend on how long each step takes.

Example structure of a defense:

  • Allow 10-15 minutes for attendees to arrive. Allow at least 15 minutes for all committee members to arrive.
  • Committee chair makes introductions and directs the defense meeting. 
  • Student presents for 30-40 minutes. (Individual programs may have specific requirements about presentation length.)
  • Questioning and discussion session. This session may be held publicly with all attendees and/or privately with only the student and the committee. (Depending on departmental practice, there may be both a public and private questioning and discussion session.)
  • Allow 10 minutes for the student and everyone except the committee members to leave the room. 
  • Committee members deliberate and discuss the result of the defense. Each committee member votes on the defense. (Votes will be captured via the GO-17 form.)
  • Student is called back to the room to receive the result of the defense and any revisions required by the committee in order to give final approval to the thesis or dissertation. 
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Doctoral Exam Guide

Final oral defence, purpose of the final oral defence.

  • To ensure that the candidate is able to present and defend the dissertation and its underlying assumptions, methodology, results, and conclusions in a manner consistent with the doctoral degree being sought;
  • To communicate the results of the work to the campus community.

Structure of the Final Oral Defence

The detailed Final Oral Defence procedures are outlined in the Exam Instructions . A copy of these instructions is provided to the examining committee approximately one week before the Oral Defence.

The basic structure of the Oral Defence is:

  • Candidate makes a public presentation of the dissertation (maximum 30 minutes)
  • Examining committee members question the candidate
  • Members of the audience are invited to ask questions of the candidate
  • Examining committee holds an in-camera discussion where it decides on the overall recommendation it will make to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (see Evaluation Protocol below)
  • Chair conveys the recommendations of the examining committee to the candidate

Candidates are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes early to get comfortable and set-up in the exam room. Exams start promptly at the official start time. The doors to the exam room are closed at the start of the exam and no one may enter the exam room, either physical or virtual, once the Final Oral Defence has begun. The Oral Defence usually takes two to two and a half hours.

Audiovisual Equipment

The examination rooms in the Graduate Student Centre come equipped with a projector and screen (room 200) or a large monitor and auxiliary screen (room 203), a white board, and a podium. Most candidates prefer to bring their own laptops to the examination; it is possible to use the wall mounted PC in either room, in which case candidates should either have their presentations available on cloud storage or bring a thumb drive.

The displays in rooms 200 and 203 are equipped with VGA and HDMI inputs. Candidates using laptops without these outputs must bring the appropriate adaptors.

Candidates planning to use Zoom to enable remote attendance should indicate their preference when making the exam booking.

Language Requirement

Candidates for the Final Doctoral Examination must have fulfilled all course and/or language requirements of the degree program. It is the responsibility of the candidate's graduate program to ensure these requirements have been met, and that the candidate's oral language proficiency is adequate for full communication between the examination committee and the candidate.

The Final Doctoral Examination is a public event at UBC and as such will be conducted in English. The candidate's oral proficiency in the language of the examination must be adequate for full communication between the examination committee and the candidate. For theses in language programs, some questions can be posed or answered in the language concerned, provided the examination committee can follow proceedings (by translation if necessary) in this other language.

Remote Attendance at in-person Exams

For information regarding Virtual Defences held entirely on Zoom, see Schedulng the Oral Defence, and the Virtual Exam Protocol .

Managing remote attendees can pose both technological challenges and challenges for candidates in managing divided attention. For these reasons, Hybrid Defences with more than one remote attendee should be discussed with the doctoral exams team in advance. We will work with candidates and supervisors to make sure these defences run smoothly .

Normally, examiners required for quorum at an in-person defence should be physically present in the room. The external examiner or a third member of the supervisory committee may attend the defence remotely. 

Doctoral exams team use a Meeting OWL to support videoconferencing with Zoom. Candidates who wish to have remote attendees should indicate this on their Booking Request. The OWL can be used in either room.

For exams in other suitable rooms on campus, the research supervisor should verify that appropriate equipment is available in the room. Devices such as an OWL, or other mobile AV device may be used.

Should any technological issues arise during the course of the exam, the exam may be paused for a reasonable amount of time to resolve them. Only those examining committee members who have been present for the full duration of the exam can cast a vote in the proceedings. If members required for quorum lose connection and it cannot be restored, the exam will need to be rescheduled.

Please also note that the examination chair has the right to discontinue a remote connection if it is interfering with the proper conduct of the examination.

Attendance of the External Examiner

The external examiner's participation in a candidate's Final Oral Defence offers the opportunity for a valuable dialogue about the dissertation and the research it presents. Therefore, the participation of the external examiner in the Final Oral Defence is encouraged, but it is not required.

Inviting the external examiner to participate in the Final Oral Defence is at the discretion of the research supervisor; Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will not extend such an invitation. For information about inviting the external examiner, please see Scheduling the Oral Defence .

Recording the Examination

See Recording the Examination .

Evaluation Protocol for the Oral Defence

The examining committee is asked to make an overall recommendation after evaluating two aspects of the candidate's performance:

  • The Oral Defence : The committee should evaluate the candidate’s performance while presenting the synopsis, responding to questions, and defending the work. The committee must decide whether or not the performance met the standard of excellence expected of a doctoral candidate at UBC.
  • The Dissertation: The committee should evaluate the overall merit of the dissertation, considering scholarship, scope and impact of the contribution made, and the quality of writing. They are asked to take into consideration the external examiner’s report, the assessments of the other examining committee members, and candidate's responses to questions during the Oral Defence. The committee will decide what revisions, if any, will be required before the dissertation can be considered fully acceptable.

Evaluation options available to the examining committee are:

  • No revision or only minor revisions are required. The committee charges the research supervisor to verify that the required changes have been made.
  • Substantive revisions are required. The committee chooses two or more of its members, including the research supervisor, to verify that the required changes have been made.
  • The dissertation is unsatisfactory. Major rewriting and rethinking are required.
  • The dissertation is unacceptable; it is fundamentally flawed and therefore beyond revision.

The examining committee is then asked to select one of the following overall recommendations:

  • Pass. Pending final submission of the dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the University should award the doctoral degree to this candidate.
  • Re-examination required. The candidate should be allowed a second attempt to pass the Final Doctoral Examination. (No more than one subsequent attempt is permitted.)
  • Fail. The University should not grant the doctoral degree to this candidate.

In any category where the committee's judgment is unanimous, or nearly so (in that at most one examiner dissents), the chair will express it using the check-boxes on the chair's Report form. Dissenting opinions will be noted in the text of the Chair’s Report. In any category where two or more examiners disagree with the majority view, the chair will select a box labelled “No Decision” and provide a written description of the differing views in the text of the report. If this occurs, the chair will inform Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as soon as possible (typically within one business day of the examination). The Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will review the Chair's Report and promptly determine an appropriate course of action, in consultation with the examination chair and the examining committee.

The examination chair is responsible for completing the Chair's Report form and submitting it to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies within one week of the Oral Defence.

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17 Thesis Defense Questions and How to Answer Them


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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  • oral defence

MSc and PhD oral defense

Now that you are thinking ahead to the actual defense of your thesis/dissertation, please note that there are certain procedures, paperwork and deadlines to comply with. Once you’ve reached this point, you  must contact the Graduate Program Assistant . The following gives you a general idea of tasks involved in scheduling the oral exam.

Read the  Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines  carefully!

Please also keep a copy of the Degree Completion Checklist  (3pgs, 216kb) on hand - this checklist contains all of the steps that you will need to follow to complete your degree requirements.

Step 1: Your Supervisor agrees that you are ready to defend

Step 2: distribute your thesis to your committee.

Each member of your supervisory committee gets a copy of your thesis/dissertation.

The copies that are distributed to your committee members should have all pages numbered (including frontispiece and figures) and should contain thesis quality figures. What you are handing out at this point is a version of your thesis that you think should not require revisions (although this is rarely the case).

You must allow at least two weeks for your committee to read your thesis. When distributing your thesis, tell your committee when you are hoping to defend so that you can get an idea if this is a suitable time for them.

Step 3: Find an external examiner

Your supervisor must find an appropriate external examiner and confirm with the individual his/her availability to attend the oral examination on the specified date and time. Once you have obtained the information, please provide the name, address, telephone/fax numbers and email address of the external examiner to the Graduate Program Assistant.

Regulations governing the choice of external examiners are as follows:

  • PhD Students : The external examiner must be from outside of the university. The external examiner must be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies in consultation with the department(s), and must be an arm's-length authority in the field of research being examined.
  • MSc Students : The external examiner has not had any previous involvement with graduate supervision of the candidate. Please note that the final oral examining committee must include at least one person from outside the home academic unit.

Step 4: Prepare Request for Oral Exam form

After each supervisory committee member has read the thesis/dissertation and has agreed that it is examinable, the following procedures take place:

The student and the committee will decide on a date for the oral that is convenient for everyone. This date must be far enough in advance to allow time to submit the Request for Oral Examination form ( MSc / PhD ) to the Dean's Office at least 20 working days (for MSc) or 30 working days (for PhD) prior to the examination.

Member signatures may be acquired in any order, except that the supervisor(s) must sign first. The Graduate Program Assistant will obtain the last signature - that of the graduate advisor. The thesis/dissertation version that your committee reviews prior to the defense is the version that must go to the external examiner and to Graduate Studies. Make all revisions after the defense.

If you have committee members that are off campus and not easily accessible (i.e. out of town) the Graduate Program Assistant can email a copy of the Request for Oral Examination to them to sign and to return via email. Once all signatures are obtained take the Request for Oral Form to the Graduate Program Assistant so she can check for completeness and make a copy for our records.

Step 5: Submission to Graduate Studies

Submit the signed 'Request for Oral Form' and a copy of your thesis/dissertation to the Graduate Program Assistant. The Graduate Program Assistant will obtain the Graduate Advisor's signature and submit the ROE to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. This must be done 20 working days prior to the defence for MSc students and 30 working days prior to the defence for PhD students.

PhD students: The Faculty of Graduate Studies will send the external examiner a copy of the dissertation.

MSc students: It is the student's or the supervisor's responsibility to send a copy of the thesis to the external examiner and this copy must be identical to the committee's copies. This must be done before the Request for Oral Exam is submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

After your Request for Oral Examination is submitted, you should receive an email from Graduate Records prompting you to register for UVicSpace , the online repository where your defended thesis/dissertation will be uploaded later on. Please follow the instructions and register for UVicSpace.

Step 6: Convocation deadlines

Convocation occurs twice a year (in June and November). In order to convocate at either ceremony, you must have your thesis/dissertation completed and archived (i.e. the defense is over, revisions made and final copies are at Graduate Records) by the posted degree submission deadlines (April 30, August 31, and December 31).

You must apply to graduate by Nov 15 (December completion) or Feb 15 (April completion) for Spring convocation, and by July 15 (August completion) for Fall convocation. If you haven't applied by these dates, submit your application via your Online tools (formerly MyPage) as soon as possible. However, if you've already applied, but know that you will not meet the requirements to graduate on time, notify the Graduate Admission and Records Office. You must apply to graduate before the Graduate Admissions and Records Office can proceed with setting up your Oral Exam.


Step 7: Day of the defense

The Graduate Program Assistant will prepare two forms and give them to your supervisor to take to the oral:

  • Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form: this form requires original signatures from all the members of your committee. All supervisory committee members are normally expected to be present for their students' oral examinations. In the event that a faculty member is unable to attend, please read this memo .
  • Letter of Recommendation: this is a letter signed by your supervisor(s) and the Chair of the Department.

At the defense you will give a 20 minute presentation followed by questions. The external examiner has the first opportunity to ask questions, followed by the committee members, and finally the supervisor. There may be a second round of questions, and the exam Chair may also have a question (rarely). The room is then cleared of all spectators and the candidate, while the committee confers and comes to a decision.

Step 8: After the defense

The supervisory committee must return comments on a thesis or dissertation within 20 business days. Your supervisor has to approve the revisions and corrections of your thesis/dissertation. Once your supervisor has approved your final version, follow the UVic Library instructions on how to upload it to UVicSpace.

Once your supervisor has approved your revisions and corrections, the Graduate Program Assistant will submit all the forms to the Graduate Admissions and Records Office. This must be done by 3pm on the last business day of the term you wish to complete in—no exceptions.

Step 9: Copies for binding

Effective 1st September, 2023, the Physics and Astronomy department will no longer be providing a binding service for thesis or dissertations.

Outstanding debts?

Check with Graduate Admission and Records (not Accounting) to be sure that you do not owe any money to the University. You will not be allowed to graduate if you have any outstanding debts. You may be able to make formal arrangements with Accounting Services for payment later.

Please note that if you have outstanding debts to UVic (e.g. Traffic Fines), you may receive a “bill” instead of a diploma in your envelope at the convocation ceremony.

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Oral Defense

The Oral Defense

When the Thesis Chair deems the thesis draft is ready for preliminary approval, the student will distribute it to the members of the committee no later than four weeks prior to the last day of graduate classes.  In consultation with the student and the Graduate Coordinator, the Thesis Chair will designate the time and place of the oral defense and notify all members of the thesis committee. The oral defense should be scheduled to allow time for all members of the thesis committee to review the thesis and provide feedback prior to the date of the defense.

The Thesis Chair will act as the moderator at the oral defense at which only the committee members, the Graduate Coordinator are present.  The defense is not public.  The student will open with a brief presentation of his or her findings, after which the members of the thesis committee will offer questions about the substance of the research.  Observations or inquiries dealing with composition or formatting should be provided in writing to the Thesis Chair before the defense.

When the Thesis Chair determines that the committee has had an adequate opportunity to question the student, the student may be excused while the committee and the Graduate Coordinator recess to discuss their evaluation of the defense.  At the conclusion of this recess, the Thesis Chair and members of the thesis committee will sign the “Oral Defense of Thesis” form with a decision of “pass” of “fail” and enter comments if necessary.   (A student may not pass with more than one dissenting vote.)  The Graduate Program Coordinator may serve as a moderator in cases when the committee cannot come to consensus.  The student will be invited to return to hear the decision and hear any suggestions for final revision.

Submission of the final decision and all appropriate forms should be made to the Graduate Director and within ten weekdays of commencement for final approval.  Three appropriately formatted and proofread copies of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate Director for binding no later than the last day of graduate classes (four if the Thesis Chair requires a personal copy.)  Signed copies of the “Final Thesis Approval” form must accompany each copy.

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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.

Want increase your productivity and mainain a healthy work life balance to help get you through your thesis project? Here are some tips straight from our CEO:

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!


Hello Stephanie! Thanks for your comment.


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

Hi Emelda! Thanks!

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oral defence master thesis

Study Portal - Economics

Defence and assessment.

An oral defence is an integral part of the thesis assessment. The purpose of the oral defence is partly to make sure that the student participating in the exam is in fact the one(s), who have written the thesis and partly to elaborate on and to discuss in a broader context the areas which the assessors find interesting. 

The oral defence must take place no later than 6 weeks after the submission deadline. The grade is given in immediate continuation of the oral defence.

In addition to the supervisor, an external examiner will be present either in person or online. At the defence, the student will start off with a presentation of one or more key issues of the thesis. Subsequently, a discussion of the thesis and the presentation of key issues will take place, directed by questions from the supervisor and possibly the external examiner. At the defence, 15 minutes are allocated to the student presentation and 40 minutes to the examiners. At a group exam, 30 minutes are allocated to the student presentation and 75 minutes to the examiners. 

You will receice an email from Department of Economics and Business Economics with information about time and place of the oral defence. 

Group thesis:

The oral examination will be held as a group exam. However, students may choose to take the exam on an individual basis. Requests for individual exams must be sent to Department of Economics and Business Economics ( [email protected] ), when the thesis is submitted.

In connection with both an individual exam and a group exam, an individual assessment must be made of the students' performance, and separate grades must be awarded.

Individual exam: 55 minutes Group exam: 1 hour and 50 minutes 

The assessment of the Master’s thesis consists of an overall evaluation (i.e., a complete assessment) of the written master's thesis and the oral defence.

To learn more about defence and assessment, please go to the course description , the examination order (in Danish) or in the relevant academic regulation.

oral defence master thesis

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Thesis oral defence Philipp Eberhard Fischer


"One law to rule them all? Strengthening global legal certainty for transborder flows of personal data"

Candidate:  Philipp Eberhard Fischer

Supervision: Dr Miquel Peguera Poch

Programme: Doctorate in Information and Knowledge Society

Room UO.1 - Building U Can Jaumandreu C/Perú, 52 08018 Barcelona Espanya

12/02/2024 11.00h

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Feb 6 – Master of Science Thesis Defence – Shajib Chowdhury

Thursday, February 01, 2024 | By jsteepe

Shajib Chowdhury , a Master of Science candidate in the Department of Computer Science, will defend his thesis titled “LSTM-oriented Handover Decision-making with SVR-based Mobility Prediction in 5G Vehicular Networks ” on Tuesday, February 6 at 9:30 AM., in GSB 408.

The examination committee includes Melanie Pilkington, Chair; Robson De Grande, Supervisor; Renata Queiroz Dividino, External Examiner (Brock University); and Naser Ezzati-Jivan and Glaucio Haroldo Silva de Carvalho, Committee Members.

Tags: Computer Science , FMS , Thesis defence Categories: Events

oral defence master thesis

FMS News and Events

  • Feb 6 – Master of Science Thesis Defence – Shajib Chowdhury
  • Feb 5 – MSc Thesis Defence – Jannatul Ferdous
  • Feb 1 – Master of Science Thesis Defence – Andrew Vu
  • Feb 7 – Master of Science Thesis Defence – Mehenika Akter
  • Jan 22 – PhD Thesis Defence – Alyson Edge
  • Jan 19 – Master of Science Thesis Defence – Ricardo Alva Oropeza
  • Master of Science Thesis Defences – Dec 11 and Dec 15 -Alysha Gullion, Ethan Gibbons, Nicholas Aksamit, Raikhan Zakarina
  • Dec 7 – PhD Thesis Defence – Andréanne Hébert-Haché
  • Dec 1 – PhD Thesis Defence – Hannah M. Charnock
  • Nov 8 – PhD Thesis Defence – Lyndon Duff

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  1. How to prepare an excellent thesis defense

    Definition 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.

  2. Preparing For A Viva Voce (Dissertation Defence)

    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.

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    Tips During Your Oral Defense More Quick Tips on How to Present Thesis Defense Overview 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.

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    A master's thesis defense committee must include your advisor, a second faculty member from your program, and a faculty member from outside of your department. Please note: If the advisor is not in a student's program, the committee would consist of four members: the advisor, two faculty in the program, and one outside faculty member.

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    The defense. Stand up is usual - sitting down is acceptable Maintain eye contact with examining committee while presenting Try to read as little as possible - very important! Do not read from your thesis and read as little as possible from your overheads/power point Speak clearly with sufficient volume Answer questions honestly and ...

  8. The Perfect Defense: The Oral Defense of a Dissertation

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    Master's Thesis Oral Defense The candidate's oral defense committee conducts the oral defense of the master's thesis. The defense must be held at least three weeks before the end of the quarter in which the degree is to be granted.

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    What is a defense? A thesis defense is an oral presentation and discussion of a thesis study. The purpose is to share the results of the study and to demonstrate to the committee and the academic community that the author has done work of sufficient quality to receive the master's degree and is able to speak to it in an open forum.

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    RES Master's Thesis Final Oral Examination. The RES Master's Final Oral Examination is an integral part of the RES Master's Program and requires students defend their theses before they graduate. A successful defence of your Master's thesis will depend on your ability to present your research effectively and confidently.

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    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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    1 Dissertation Guidelines 2 Oral Defense 3 Document Submission Print Steps Steps Please be sure you are referring to the Schedule of Deadlines for important deadlines regarding to your dissertation/thesis completion. The link to the Schedule of Deadlines is below.

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    The master's or doctoral candidate is expected to prepare and give an oral presentation on the research methodology and results. After the student's presentation, they will defend the thesis or dissertation in a question and discussion session. The student's oral presentation should not exceed 60 minutes.

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    The detailed Final Oral Defence procedures are outlined in the Exam Instructions. A copy of these instructions is provided to the examining committee approximately one week before the Oral Defence. The basic structure of the Oral Defence is: Candidate makes a public presentation of the dissertation (maximum 30 minutes) Examining committee ...

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    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 ...

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    MSc and PhD oral defense. Now that you are thinking ahead to the actual defense of your thesis/dissertation, please note that there are certain procedures, paperwork and deadlines to comply with. Once you've reached this point, you must contact the Graduate Program Assistant. The following gives you a general idea of tasks involved in ...

  19. Oral Defense

    The oral defense should be scheduled to allow time for all members of the thesis committee to review the thesis and provide feedback prior to the date of the defense. The Thesis Chair will act as the moderator at the oral defense at which only the committee members, the Graduate Coordinator are present. The defense is not public. The student ...

  20. 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 ...

  21. PDF Assessment of Master'S Project Thesis and Oral Defense

    D. Oral defense (quality of the presentation, answers to questions, mastering of the subject) Grade Global assessment of the quality of the dissertation and oral defense (on the basis of the jury's discussion) Guide for grading: 1-3.75: fail, 4: passable, 5: good, 5.5: excellent, 6: outstanding (top ≤10%) Final grade SIE best master project ...

  22. Master's thesis oral defence and assessment

    The assessment of the Master's thesis consists of an overall evaluation (i.e., a complete assessment) of the written master's thesis and the oral defence. To learn more about defence and assessment, please go to the course description, the examination order (in Danish) or in the relevant academic regulation. Revised 08.09.2023 -

  23. Feb 1

    Master of Science thesis defence in Computer Science. Andrew Vu, a Master of Science candidate in the Department of Computer Science, will defend his thesis titled "The Application of Chaos Game Representations and Deep Learning for Grapevine Genetic Testing" on Thursday, February 1 at 9:30 AM., virtually.

  24. Feb 7

    Mehenika Akter, a Master of Science candidate in the Department of Computer Science, will defend her thesis titled "Topic Modeling-based Logging Suggestions for Java Software Systems" on Wednesday, February 7 at 2PM., in CRN 207. The examination committee includes Melanie Pilkington, Chair; Naser Ezzati-Jivan, Supervisor; Robson De Grande ...

  25. Thesis oral defence Philipp Eberhard Fischer

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  26. Feb 5

    Jannatul Ferdous, a Master of Science candidate in the Department of Computer Science, will defend her thesis titled "Reinforcement Learning-based Time-Dependable Modelling of Fog Connectivity for Software-Defined Vehicular Networks" on Monday, February 5 at 1PM., in CRN 207.. The examination committee includes Melanie Pilkington, Chair; Robson De Grande, Supervisor; Naser Ezzati-Jivan ...

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  28. Feb 6

    Shajib Chowdhury, a Master of Science candidate in the Department of Computer Science, will defend his thesis titled "LSTM-oriented Handover Decision-making with SVR-based Mobility Prediction in 5G Vehicular Networks " on Tuesday, February 6 at 9:30 AM., in GSB 408.. The examination committee includes Melanie Pilkington, Chair; Robson De Grande, Supervisor; Renata Queiroz Dividino ...