Professional Advice On How To Pass A Doctoral Dissertation Defense Successfully

After spending several months researching and writing your dissertation the time has finally come to prepare for your doctoral dissertation defense. You will need to speak before a panel of academic experts in your field and answer questions related to your work. The defense marks the final step towards the completion of your graduate study and the start of your professional career. The following is some really good professional advice we’ve put together that describes precisely what you need to know to successfully pass your doctoral dissertation defense:

Developing and Memorizing the Dissertation Script

When you are done with your dissertation and need to start your preparation for your defense, it would be easy to start with a script. Separate each section and focus on the major discussion points. Rather than simply read directly from the dissertation, rewrite the main points in a more conversational but instructive tone that would keep a listener interested.

Rehearsing for Your Doctoral Dissertation Defense

One of the more effective ways of preparing for your dissertation defense is to rehearse every part of the presentation and question answering segment. Start by breaking down your dissertation defense into separate sections so that you are working on memorizing five to ten minutes worth. Practice in front of a mirror then move on to rehearsing your defense before a friend.

Getting Sleep, Eating Right, and Dressing the Part

As hard as you may find to not panic, it’s important you keep a level head in the days before and the day of your presentation. Develop a routine of getting ample hours of sleep each night and eating right. You also want to make sure you dress appropriately (professionally) the day of your presentation. It’s a lot easier to start working on each of these things weeks in advance. So don’t wait until the last minute to try to squeeze in your lost hours of sleep or make your first good meal in weeks.

Answering Every Question and Making Eye Contact

The review committee may include anywhere between 3 to 6 people. You know with certainty that your graduate advisor will be present, and you often have a good idea of the other members who will be present several weeks in advance. You should prepare yourself by getting to know what each member is likely to ask, and then practice answering those questions in full while making appropriate eye contact.