THE FINAL DISSERTATION DEFENSE
When does the student defend the dissertation?
Before a student defends the dissertation, the student must have successfully and publically presented the dissertation proposal, completed 51 credits, have been admitted to doctoral candidacy, and have met any other specific requirements established by the dissertation committee.
Who sets up the final dissertation defense?
Once the student has the approval of his or her dissertation committee, the dissertation chair notifies Joan McCarthy in the Dean’s Office that the dissertation committee is requesting a date and a location for the defense. The dissertation chair should inform Joan McCarthy about any equipment or other special needs. Generally, there should be one week’s notice, unless an exception is approved by the Dean. At least two printed copies of the dissertation must be available for review in the Dean’s Office by any member of the College faculty as of the date of the announcement of the dissertation defense (i.e., one week prior to the event). In lieu of printed copies, if the student prefers, an online PDF version may be made available, and the link to that document should be provided in the announcement of the dissertation defense to the faculty.
Who convenes and who attends the dissertation defense?
The student and the dissertation committee will be physically present, except when expressly approved by the Program Director or Dean. Such approval for remote participation will only be granted when absolutely necessary, as in the case of a committee member who is located at a great distance from the LIU Post campus. In addition, all doctoral students and faculty are invited to attend. In addition, family, partners, and friends may attend, but not participate in the questioning.
Upon the recommendation of the dissertation committee, the Program Director (or designee) will convene the dissertation defense. The questioning portion of the defense is moderated by the dissertation chair. Normally, the student will be asked to make a brief presentation generally accompanied by a visual presentation (e.g., PowerPoint, Prezi). The questioning normally proceeds with the committee members (including the two outside readers) and then the chair. Other members of the faculty and then other doctoral candidates or students will then be invited to ask questions or offer comments within the time limits set by the committee chair.
How long does the dissertation defense last?
The public portion of the presentation and questioning session normally lasts about one hour. At the end of the public session, the dissertation committee continues in executive session. All others are excused during the executive session, but are invited to wait nearby if they wish. At the end of the executive session, the doctoral candidate is invited to return to hear the decision of the committee. After that point, the other guests may be invited to return.
What is the format and length of the dissertation?
The format and length of the dissertation will be determined by the dissertation committee based on the nature and topic of the dissertation. Students and dissertation chairs are encouraged to view dissertations online to determine the appropriate format based on the nature of the research. All dissertations must conform to the style prescribed by the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Generally, the first chapter consists of an introduction; the second chapter consists of a review of the related literature; the third chapter consists of the research methodology; the fourth chapter consists of the data analysis; and the fifth chapter consists of the conclusions, summary, and implications. This outline may be modified as needed based on the nature of the dissertation and with the explicit approval of the dissertation committee.
How is the dissertation graded?
There are three designations: approved, approved with changes, and not approved.