The Best Way To Orally Defend Your Dissertation

If you are writing your dissertation and are about to submit it, you must know that your work is not done yet. You still have to prepare for orally defending your dissertation.

As soon as you submit your dissertation, you will be allotted a date to defend your paper orally. In your dissertation defense meeting, there will be a committee of your professors and some other professionals related to your topic’s field.

However, since defending your dissertation will be your first time in front of a committee, it can be petrifying to think about what will happen behind closed doors. That is why you need to be prepared entirely for orally defending your dissertation.

To help you prepare for this expedition, we have decided to give you a few tips for defending your paper in front of your peers.

1. Attend other’s dissertation defenses

We indeed learn from experiences. But, it doesn’t matter whose experience it is. You and your classmates will all have to defend the papers they write in front of the committee. So, the best way to prepare for your own dissertation is to attend the mock dissertation of your colleagues.

Hearing someone talk about their topic in detail will help you understand how you, too, can convey your topic without getting a nervous breakdown. A plus point will be if you attend someone’s defense that is similar to your topic. This way, you can get a lot of pointers for your paper’s defense.

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2. Know the formalities

To feel comfortable on your dissertation defense day, you must learn about all the rituals and formalities of the defense. You should ask your supervisor to tell you everything about dissertation defense.

Ask about the venue, about the personnel who will be part of the committee, about the time limitations, and about every other question that pops into your mind. Most of the time, the committee will call in an attendee to defend their dissertation. And once they are done, the committee sends the person out of the room to discuss the presentation. Later on, they call the attendee back in to congratulate them and tell them about the minor changes their paper might need.

3. Stick to the time limit

Your supervisor will inform you how much time you will be allotted for your defense. You should prepare your presentation according to that time limit and leave some time for the Q/A session. Mostly, a dissertation defense meeting last for 2–2.5 hours. This time period includes your defense, presentation, and questioning and deliberation time of the committee.

You must stick to your time limit because punctuality is one factor that makes a lasting impression.

4. Own your dissertation as an authority figure

Think of defending your dissertation as defending something you dearly love, like something that belongs to you and only you know everything about it.

When defending your topic, ensure that you own it. Think of yourself as the only person who has the best knowledge of the topic because you researched it extensively. You should consider yourself an expert on your topic and the one who teaches the committee about the specific topic. Your confidence is what is going to win the committee member’s hearts.

If the committee asks you something about the topic you don’t know, then don’t be frightened and answer to your best possible knowledge. You can also say that ‘I don’t know but I think…’ answers like these show that you didn’t just read the books, but also correctly understood your topic (enough to answer something you didn’t even research)

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5. Use PowerPoint for defense

PowerPoint is a tool that gives the whole presentation a professional look and feel. It is the only way to be just to your topic, which you research for many months and days. Create a PowerPoint presentation that highlights the crucial and main points of your dissertation.

Being the presenter, you can ask the panel questions like: ‘what should people know about my topic?’, ‘what is the most important aspect about my dissertation?’ or ‘why I chose this topic?’ Questions like these are what make the listeners focused on the presenter.

Another thing to keep in mind is to prepare the slides in such a goal-oriented way that it takes the committee through a step-by-step and logical ride of your topic, which clearly ends on the conclusion. The sequence of information is crucial in an oral defense of the dissertation.


These were five tips that you can follow to defend your dissertation successfully. The final thing you should remember is always to be confident during such presentations because with confidence, even if you are unsure of anything, it is most likely that no one will notice it (but this won’t happen every time).

We all make mistakes, but we hope that your oral defense turns out to be perfect in all aspects. Like the champion academic writing services of EssaysnAssignments.



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