Ph.D. Thesis: Final Oral Defense Steps
Prior to scheduling your thesis defense you must check with Connie (cherold [at] cs [dot] cmu [dot] edu) to make sure no other ISR student is defending or proposing on that day you want to schedule. The ISR department allows one student to defend/propose on any given day. If a conflict occurs, the department head must approve both students defending/proposing on the same day.
Thesis Defense should be scheduled only during academic periods – not during holidays, weekends, etc. and should be scheduled in normal business hours. The Department Head must approve exceptions.
Student should coordinate a date with their committee members and finalize the date as early as possible to allow time for travel arrangements, final review and comments by committee prior to defense date.
Student needs to coordinate with their advisors assistant to secure a room for their defense. The room scheduled must be available to the public and must accommodate a reasonably large number of people (25-30). Possible room suggestions are: WEH 4625, GHC 4405, GHC 6115, GHC 8102, GHC 6501 – Book for 3 Hours.
Below is a recommended timeline:
7 Weeks Prior:
- Give the complete Thesis document to committee members, allowing 6 weeks for them to read it before the Thesis Defense is announced. Four (4) weeks may be acceptable if the committee has already read substantial portions of the thesis.
2 Weeks Prior:
- Determine if you will need any AV equipment prior to your defense. Below are a few ways to enable collaboration between yourself and your committee member(s) that may not be able to attend.
- We can support up to 2 external parties on our phone systems. You can sign out the conference phone in Chris Dalansky’s office (WEH 5113) and he will walk you through the steps of connecting all of the parties
- If there are more than 2 external parties then we will need to utilize a conference bridge system.
- 3. If there are more than 2 external parties but they are a local call, the university has a conference bridge service available. We do not provide a 1-800 number though, so that is why I suggest this option only for local external parties. See http://www.cmu.edu/computing/network/phone/fac-staff/conference.html for more details.
- If there is only 1 external party, and they have access to a system that will support the H.323 protocol, we can wheel our videoconference machine from 5120 Wean to another location. Please plan to test this prior to the conference because it is possible that our system may not get a network connection in another building.
- If there are 2 or more external parties, we will either need to coordinate with one of the far end systems (assuming they support multi-site calling), use Skype, or work with media tech on campus to rent one of their systems. There will be a charge to rent through media tech.
- Skype is an option and we have an ISR departmental Skype account that will allow multi-site video. We also have some usb web cameras that can be used for slightly better video quality.
Notify Chris Dalansky (cdalans [at] cs.cmu.edu) and please cc Connie Herold (cherold [at] cs.cmu.edu), if you need any of the above so he can ensure we have the equipment to enable outside communication, and enough time to test.
1 Week Prior:
To ensure the Thesis Defense is publicly announced one week before the defense, all committee must be finished reading the document before announcing the defense date. Please ensure your advisor has checked with the committee to verify that there is nothing that would prevent the defense from being successful. It is also a good idea for the student to meet with each committee member to get initial feedback on the thesis.
Send all the following information to Connie (email@example.com)
- Your name as it should appear on your diploma
- Thesis Title
- Date/Time/Location of presentation
- Thesis Committee Members names, titles, affiliations, and email addresses
- Thesis Abstract – Less than 350 words describing the thesis
- Pointer to Thesis for any outside faculty who wish to review (Website address, etc)
- Print and post 10 Posters thru out the SCS Community (Wean/ Gates) (Poster Template: Defense Poster)
- Send Connie a PDF of Poster
Day of Defense Preparation:
- Have the following required signoff forms from Connie Herold:
- Graduation Record Card
- Thesis sign off page
After your Defense presentation, and prior to submitting your final Thesis Copy:
Contact Catherine Copetas (copetas [at] cs [dot] cmu [dot] edu) for the following information:
- Title page template
- TR Number
- Verify with Catherine prior to printing you have the proper title page format
- Verify with her about making your thesis into a CS Technical Report by putting it on-line. If you are able to do this successfully, she will not need a hard copy. If not, you will need to provide a second copy to her for the Tech Report. This copy should be formatted for two-sided copying.
Once your Committee has approved all your changes, and you have a final copy of your thesis, you must turn in the following items to Connie prior to certification: (Please note: Connie will forward you all forms near your defense date that need completed)
- UMI form (Pages 4 & 5 must be turned in, pages 6 & 7 are optional)- most students pick “traditional publishing option) the university will pay the fee on this option.
- 1 Single sided copy of your final dissertation
- Survey of Earned Doctorates Form -- Completed online: https://sed.norc.org/doctorate/showRegister.do (Also print off a final copy for Connie)
- PhD Dissertations Checklist
- Graduating Student Data Form
- Original Yellow Card, and Committee Sign off forms
- Email from your Committee Chair you do not owe the department any equipment, work, etc.
- Please clear up any outstanding balances with the HUB (insurance, late fees, etc.)
- Turn in all keys, and student ID
May Commencement Deadlines & Thesis Defenses:
If you wish to walk in May, a student should have a complete and reasonably polished draft of their thesis document ready for committee reading by the last week in February.
A final pass must be received two weeks prior to the Commencement Ceremony
Students: Steps for Final Oral Defense
Allow 2-2.5 hours for defense:
- 30 minutes beforehand for set-up
- 45 minutes for the presentation
- 45 minutes for Q&A
- 30 minutes for deliberation by the committee
- 30 minutes for final debriefing
- Who should come to a thesis defense?
The thesis defense is a public event open to all members of the CMU community. The student's committee (including any readers) should attend in person or, if circumstances prevent that, by phone.
- What are the outcomes of a defense?
Common outcomes from a thesis defense are:
- Pass - Thesis is considered complete as is.
- Conditional Pass Level 1 - Changes required and subject only to advisor approval.
- Conditional Pass Level 2 - Changes required and subject to committee approval.
- Required second defense.
- When do I need to defend in order to walk through the graduation ceremony and hooding ceremony?
You will need to have all the documentation in place in the first week of March for us to request a diploma.