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Stage 5. Defense

Research and Scholarly Work

Process and Policy

Feedback and Evaluation

Prepare the student for what to expect at the defense and conduct at least one practice session

Encourage the student to attend other defenses in your program

Schedule the defense with your graduate program office and the advisory committee

Announce the defense

Review and sign the Thesis and Dissertation Approval Form

Review structure of the exam

Review the Review for Original Work results with the advisory committee at the defense

Best Practices

Process and Policy

  • As mentioned in Stage 4, do not schedule the defense unless the student's thesis or dissertation is ready for this evaluation.
  • Schedule the defense and issue the invitation widely. It is recommended that a staff person in your unit be charged with entering thesis and dissertation announcements in the Events Calendar of the Graduate College. Individual departments will have rules to follow with regard to how much notice is required for the defense announcement, but two weeks is minimal. No defense should be held without prior public announcement of the type appropriate to the program. If this condition is not met, the defense should be rescheduled and re-announced.
  • Before the defense, have the student provide the Thesis and Dissertation Approval Form to you and check it for accuracy. Do not use an incorrect Approval Form for the defense. Corrections in the university system must be made and a new Approval Form printed for the student's defense.
  • Note that the committee chair’s signature on the Approval Form indicates that the Review for Original Work requirement has been met. The student’s work must be submitted through and the results reviewed and approved by the committee chair and discussed with the advisory committee at the defense.
  • Hold the defense. It is common to hold a general presentation of the research and allow the audience to ask questions, and then to dismiss general members of the audience, and have the advisory committee review the research, ask questions, and finally evaluate the research. Share with the advisory committee the results of the Review for Original Work. Review the Thesis and Dissertation Approval Form in advance of the defense and have it ready to be signed by the committee members at the defense. If minor changes are required, then most committee members will sign at the defense. If major changes are required, then signatures may have to be obtained later. If deadlines are looming, it is important that you know how to contact each of the advisory committee members before the end of the semester to get signatures.
  • All thesis/dissertation defenses should be held when scheduled, unless there are truly extraordinary circumstances. If there are extraordinary circumstances and the thesis/dissertation defense cannot be held at the time scheduled, then please cancel the defense, and then reschedule and re-announce it.


The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Central Florida.

Please note the commission's expectation that contact occur only if there is evidence to support significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard. For other information about UCF’s SACSCOC accreditation, please contact the university's SACSCOC liaison in UCF's Office of Academic Affairs.

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