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Defending Your Thesis/Research Project

Your Oral Defense is open to the public. An announcement will be made in your program one week before the date of the Defense. The Chair of your committee will conduct your examination. The defense will begin with your own 5-20 minute summarization of your thesis/project and overall program of study. Because the third committee member may not be familiar with your subject, be sure this is clearly presented. This should be well rehearsed and could include visual aids, such as PowerPoint.

The maximum time for the defense is 2 hours. During this time, the members of the committee will ask you questions about your research and your field of study. Display confidence and competence about your work and be open about any weaknesses that may have occurred in your research.

At some point, the committee will excuse you and the audience to discuss your examination. You will be called back into the room, alone, for their determination. There are three possible conclusions:

  • Pass--Your thesis/project is approved as is, or only with minor revisions.
  • Contingent Pass-Final approval is withheld until specific revisions are made, and these must be completed within 10 days of the defense, or the end of the term, whichever is first. Be sure you are ready to take notes on any needed revisions.
  • Fail-this is rare. There are specific policies on retaking the examination, and speak with staff in the Graduate Studies Office about these requirements.

Once you have made required revisions, if any, you will return the thesis/project to your Chair for final approval. The Chair will notify the other members that you have been approved. You will now need to present four final copies of your thesis/project with the signature page to the Graduate Studies Office within 10 days after your defense or the end of the quarter, whichever comes first.

Congratulations! You have mastered the Master of Science in Communications degree. Now you are ready to make the next step into the communications world. Good luck!

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