Q: What is the "oral defense"?
A: The format and timing of the defense is at the discretion of your committee (i.e., your advisor and second reader). [For Neuroscience students, a member of the Neuroscience Committee will attend in addition to your advisor and second reader.] Typically, you will give a 15-20 minute overview of your research and then the committee members will discuss any questions they have about your work. At the end of the defense you will be asked to leave the room so that your committee can discuss and evaluate In total, the defense usually takes about one and a half hours.
You should give a draft of your thesis to your committee members AT LEAST ONE WEEK before your defense. All the major sections of the draft should be complete, including citations. (They may or may not want the bibliography at this point—ask them!) The purpose of the defense is to identify areas of the thesis that may need revision, so it should be a good draft, needing only minor editing.
Once you have chosen a time and date for your defense which works for your committee members, you will need to contact Michelle Powers to reserve a room in Moore Hall.
NOTE: The oral defense is considered private, and only your committee members will be in attendance. Other students, friends, or family are NOT allowed to attend, but they are welcome and encouraged to attend the public poster session (see below).