Key points for a successful thesis defense

Thesis writing is a major challenge for students, irrespective of their area of specialization or their college. The concluding part of your PhD thesis completion is to be able to successfully defend it before a review committee.

A thesis defence is an opportunity to present your research findings and its importance, as well as highlight your learning curve as a PhD researcher.

A thesis defence can be a very challenging experience for most PhD students. Hence, you need to prepare yourself for this exercise and not just focus simply on the thesis writing part.

Listed below are some valuable points that can help you complete your thesis defence successfully:

  • Focus on advance preparation.

Be aware of all the guidelines that you need to follow by talking to your research advisor. Ensure that before your thesis defense, you have completed your thesis paper and have distributed its copies to all the review committee members at least a few weeks before your presentation. Consult with your seniors or peers who have successfully participated in a thesis defense.

  • Know your subject well.

At all times, remember that you know more about the subject of your thesis than the review committee members, as you have worked on this research project for at least a year. Be confident in presenting your research points and in highlighting its importance.

  • Anticipate tough questions.

Remember that the review committee members have a broader knowledge of the industry field for which you have conducted your research. Keep this aspect in mind when preparing for questions. However, there will always be questions that you may not be able to answer. Pause and take your time thinking about tough questions, and if you cannot answer, make a note of it for evaluating later. Review committees do not just look at your knowledge of the subject, but also in your scientific thinking skills.

  • Prepare your presentation skills.

You can improve your presentation skills by conducting mock rehearsals with your friends or family. Dress professionally with comfortable clothes for your presentation. Pause between major points and take the full time that has been allocated for your presentation. Answer each and every question to the points without any extra talking. If you miss any review question or its meaning, request them to repeat or clarify the question. Make your presentation brief and stick to the research points.