ASQ - Education Division

Preparing for the Oral Defense of a Dissertation

Abstract: For many doctoral students, the dissertation defense—the apex of doctoral study—resides in the distant future. But without warning, students find themselves bracing for the final hurdle. They wonder how or if they will manage to pull off this “last hurrah” as graduate students and enter into the scholarly realm as bona fide academics. Students are never quite as prepared for this event as they would like to be. This rite of passage looms before them as a mysterious and unknown event, a gothic terror in its own right. It certainly should not be this way, and some forethought and preparation will go far in fostering confidence. This article provides 17 insightful suggestions that will help students take control of this nerve-wracking experience and transform it into the exciting, memorable and joyful event that it should be.

Keywords: Career Development - Higher Education Brief

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