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Surviving The Dissertation Defense: Useful Directions For College Students

A dissertation defense, also known as viva, can be described as an examination. They vary depending on your area of specialization. You are required to present your findings in form of a lecture followed by a question and answer session. Before you earn any doctorate degree, you will be required to write a thesis, regardless of your field of study. A candidate is required to come up with a project, research and compile all findings. The project chosen should be an Advancement of an existing argument and contributes to your field of study.


Though a thesis defense is considered as a student barrier set up by professors, it has its own merits. It's considered as a form of welcome to a certain group and acts as a platform for analyzing a student's performance as well as a stepping stone to whichever outcome. It is also a chance for your faculty to show their gratification. It gives communal and public attention toward a project that deserves more than just a program enrollment.

Surviving the process:

Early preparation

For every thesis lies a conducted research with its findings. How you have structured your work will guide you on how to present it. Find out how much time you will be given to make your presentation. Do not talk too much during the presentation as the committee needs to have their own time to ask you the questions they had prepared.

Committee arrangement

Don't assume that your committee can recall every detail of your work. Chances are, they have read other theses or it has been days or months before they reviewed your work. Take them through. Duplicate your work and distribute them in form of handouts.

Professional outlook

Ensure you confirm the mode of dressing, how things work out, what is expected of you, among others. You can enquire from professionals in your niche of specialization. The largest ground you will be evaluated on is how you emulate yourself. Above all maintain calmness. You do not need to show everyone how nervous you are. Try and work on your tone and voice projection.

In conclusion, be yourself and at your best. Always study your thesis on an earlier duration. This will help you tackle every question that comes your way. The best thing about this entire process is that you can anticipate some of the questions you will likely be asked.

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