How To Survive Your PhD Dissertation Defense: Tips And Tricks

The PhD program is often considered a grueling one in which many of the potential doctoral students find themselves dropping out long before completion. Part of this process that often leads to attrition is the defending of one’s proposed dissertation to a panel of experts. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to lower your chances of failure.

Pick a topic you can passionately defend

Passion is rare nowadays which is why it sticks out in people’s memories when they encounter it. If you can find a topic that truly speaks to you it will instantly be clear how you can explain its merit to others. If you pick a topic that you are ambivalent on, your lack of interest will bore your audience and picking a topic that goes against your beliefs can also end badly.

Research the personalities of your panel

You might think that the strength of your writing alone will be enough but the role of personality is just as important if not more. Your panel may consist of people with strong opinions who are easily offended. This is silly but such things have been known to take place. Ask people who have faced the panel you will encounter with your proposal any questions that come to mind. Do they ask questions in the middle of the presentation, do they purposefully counter argue the most valid points.

Create a good slide show

Most presentations of this type are accompanied by a slide show. There are many programs you can use to complete one, choose the one that suits your budget and design needs most closely. Keep the slides professional or you may end up loosing out on good grades for being whimsical.

Practice Public Speaking

It is amazing how many people are afraid to speak in public. This fear can prevent them from taking jobs and meeting new people. If you have this problem, get used to speaking around others. The dissertation defense should not be your first time.

Give the entire thing a test run

Having compiled your written documents and related slide show, you should try it out in the environment where you will be expected to deliver it. This can help you work out any lingering issues.

Having made it all the way to your doctorate, you hardly need advice to get this done but if you feel unsure these tips can help.

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