Final Defense

The oral thesis defense, at which the candidate presents the results of thesis research, is the last requirement for the Ph.D. degree. The examination is conducted by the student's thesis committee and is open to the public.

The final examination committee is usually made up of the same faculty members as the student's prelim committee (if a change in committee is needed, approval must be secured from the Associate Head for Graduate Programs). It is the candidate's responsibility to contact each member of his or her doctoral committee and to schedule a date and two-hour time slot for the final defense that all of the committee members can attend. The Physics Department Graduate Office must be notified at least three weeks in advance of the date scheduled for the defense. Committee members must receive a final copy of the thesis at least two weeks before the exam.

As soon as the student has informed the Physics Graduate Office of the committee make up, the date, and the time of the defense, a room will be reserved and an email will be sent to the student and the committee members officially confirming the date, time and location. Some of the rooms used for final defenses have overhead projectors in them. However, some do not. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all necessary equipment is reserved ahead of time. If a projector or other A/V equipment is needed, arrange for its loan and return with Physics staff in Room 231/233 Loomis or Room 38 Loomis.

Upon passing the thesis defense, the Ph.D. candidate must complete an exit interview with the Associate Head for Graduate Programs and formally deposit a final copy of the thesis with the Graduate College.

When a student has reached the thesis defense stage, he or she has been studying, on the average, a little over five years beyond the baccalaureate. A few students complete the Ph.D. in four years, and some students take up to seven years, which is the maximum time initially allotted by the Graduate College.

For more information about the final exam or scheduling your final, contact the Graduate Programs Office (227 Loomis, 217-333-3645).