Oral Defense Procedures

PREPARING FOR THE ORAL DEFENSE

A formal public defense must take place on campus at a date set by the committee chair and approved by the Graduate School.

Tentative approval of the dissertation by the committee is recommended prior to the formal defense. This approval is based on evaluation of copies of the final manuscript, which the candidate provides for the dissertation committee at least 3 weeks before the formal defense.

Committee members' attendance at the oral defense:

The preferred, best practice is to have all members of the dissertation committee physically present at the final oral defense. In cases where this is not possible, the following policies apply:

  • The student, the Chairperson, the Advisor (if different from the Chairperson), and at least one Core Member must be physically present at the final oral defense.
  • Other members may, with approval of the committee Chairperson and the department, attend the defense remotely via Skype or other videoconferencing technology.
  • Any one member (not the Chairperson or the Institutional Representative) may be absent from the defense (i.e., not physically present and not videoconferencing in) without a petition.  This person must agree to: a) waive their right to attend the defense; b) read the dissertation before the defense, and c) submit any questions directly to the chairperson before the scheduled defense.

 

The chair of the committee must submit the Certificate of Completion form to the Graduate School within 2 weeks after the defense.  This form certifies the outcome of the defense.

To apply to defend your dissertation, an approved Application for Final Oral Defense must be submitted to the Graduate School 3 weeks before the date of the final oral defense.

Instructions for applying for the final oral defense:

  1. Submit to the Graduate School an Application for Advanced Degree in GradWeb.  You must apply for the degree in GradWeb for the term in which you plan to graduate. Generally, the closing date to make application is the second Friday of the term. Check the Graduate School web site for completion deadlines.
  2. Complete the online process for obtaining the Confirmation of Agreement to Attend an Oral Defense found on GRADWEB.
    • By entering the Oral Defense module you are indicating your readiness to schedule an oral defense. You should already have obtained provisional agreement from your doctoral committee members that they will be available on the specified day and time you wish to hold your defense.
    • Please be sure to allow yourself enough time for the online process of obtaining email confirmations from the faculty so that you can meet the submission deadline at 3 weeks before the defense date.
    • If one of the committee members is unable to attend (see attendance policy above), you may choose a Waiver of Attendance as part of the online process. In lieu of this person's signature on the Certificate of Completion, they must submit an approval letter. Instructions for writing this letter.
    • If any of the committee members will be attending remotely (see attendance policy above), you may choose this attendance option as part of the online process. In lieu of this person's signature on the Certificate of Completion, they must submit an approval letter. Instructions for writing this letter.
  3. After all of your committee members have electronically confirmed in GradWeb their agreement to attend your defense (or their agreement to waive attendance), the Application for Final Oral Defense for Doctoral Degree must be printed from GradWeb by your department's graduate secretary/coordinator and signed by the department head. The approved application must be submitted to the Graduate School no less than 3 weeks before the date of the final oral defense (you can obtain this form from your department and submit it to the Graduate School or your department can submit it directly to the Graduate School).
  4. The Graduate School will verify your enrollment. In general, students are required to be registered for a minimum of 3 credits of Dissertation (603) during the term the degree is awarded; click here for exceptions.
  5. Approximately one week before your defense date, the Graduate School will send a Certificate of Completion to your committee chair.  The chair is responsible for obtaining signatures of your committee members and department head and returning the Certificate of Completion to the Graduate School within 2 weeks after your defense.
  6. Please note the following requirements:
  • Graduate Students are expected to meet the published deadlines for completion of a degree.
  • If you hold your oral defense after the established term deadline, you will be considered an applicant for graduation for the next term.  Registration requirements for the final term will vary depending on when you are able to submit your final dissertation to the Graduate School. Click here for details.
  • Defending during the breaks between terms: The Graduate School allows defenses to be held during the break between terms (this is a policy change as of Fall 2011), but some departments may have restrictions on whether students can hold defenses at these times. Please check with your department before scheduling a defense during a break.  If you schedule your defense during a term break, you will be considered a graduate of the term following the break.  Registration requirements for the final term will vary depending on when you are able to submit your final dissertation to the Graduate School. Click here for details.
  • Remote attendance (Skype, video conference, etc.): The student, the chairperson, the advisor (if different from the chairperson), and at least one core member must be physically present at the final oral defense.   Other members may, with approval of the committee chair and the department, attend the defense remotely via Skype or other videoconferencing technology.
  • Exact dates differ for each term, but approximately 2 weeks before the end of the term, you must upload an electronic version of your completed and approved dissertation for final approval by the Graduate School. See Deadlines for Completion of Degree Requirements.
  • Counseling Psychology, School Psychology, and Clinical Psychology students: Students in these programs may hold the defense and obtain approval of the final dissertation before embarking upon the required year-long internship. The final degree will be awarded once the internship is successfully completed. More details on timing and registration requirements are available from the Graduate School.

 

If you have questions about this process, please contact us at gradsch@uoregon.edu

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