Department of Environmental Sciences

MS Thesis and PhD Dissertation Defense Regulations

The purpose of the defense is two-fold:  first, to give the student the opportunity to publicly present the results of his/her research; and second, to give the faculty, the students and, especially, the thesis committee the opportunity to critically assess and question the thesis/dissertation research.

It is suggested that an outline of the defense presentation be submitted in advance to the thesis/dissertation adviser(s) for approval, and also that the presentation be well rehearsed.

The following regulations apply to a defense.

  1. The student is responsible for ensuring that equipment needed for the presentation is available in the room and in good working order.
  2. The student will make a presentation between 30 and 50 minutes long.
  3. The student should wear "dress-up" attire (i.e., coat and tie, pants suit or dress).
  4. If large illustrations, such as fold-out maps, cannot be shown effectively on the screen, then they may be taped to the wall in a location where they are clearly visible to the audience.
  5. The defense consists of two parts: an initial, public ‘presentation’ on the research findings followed by a ‘defense’ of the research. The presentation is open to the public, and all faculty members, students, family and friends may attend. At the conclusion of the presentation and following a first round of questions, everyone will leave the room except the thesis committee and other interested faculty. The student will then defend his/her research and answer all questions put to him/her by the faculty. As a result of questions raised during the defense, additional revisions to the thesis/dissertation may be required.
  6. The advisory committee decides by a majority vote the outcome of the thesis defense. The student may pass, pass with revisions, be required to re-defend at a later date, or fail without further opportunity.
Last Updated: 6/27/22