Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dissertation Update

My dissertation is done! Well, almost. The first draft is completed at least. I officially scheduled my defense the other day and sent off my dissertation to my committee! March 26 is defense day. 

Hopefully after that I will be this close to being done with my doctorate. Just have (again, hopefully) a few minor edits and then go through the fun formatting process with the graduate dean office. The number of hoops you have to jump through is a little ridiculous. For instance, the spacing, margins, and indentions have to be just so, or no go for you. The margins on the title page of each chapter has to be different than the margins on the other pages. Basically it is a Microsoft Word nightmare. Then there is all the copies I have to get on acid-free paper, pay to have each copy binded, etc. Basically it's more of a hassle than writing the entire dissertation was, but I digress.

So here's how a defense works, if you were wondering (if not, scroll down):
-I present my research for about 10-15 minutes. It's geared towards those on my committee (four faculty members from my department + 1 outside faculty member), hence why it is so brief. 
-Those in the audience, but not on the committee, get a chance to ask questions. The audience members will probably consist of my graduate school friends, so as my chair told me, I should give everyone the stink eye so they don't ask me questions. Friends don't ask friends questions at their defense.
-Then all the audience members get kicked out and the faculty get to ask me questions privately. This can go any number of directions where they ask me about a very specific finding and how I interpret it, or ask me something broad like "What did you learn from this process." Hopefully my committee members will be nice to me, but this is the part I'm most nervous about.
-Then I get kicked out and the committee discusses with the chair if I pass or not. Most commonly, people get the "Pass with Minor Corrections," so that's what I'm hoping for. Those minor corrections could be adding an appendix with some supplemental analyses or changing the wording of some sentences. It all depends.
-After they're done discussing, I get invited back in and told the news, along with what edits need to be made.
-Then I leave and grab some lunch with friends. Or ice cream. Or wine. Depending on how it goes :P

And that's it! Not too crazy really. The biggest unknown is what questions they will ask me, but I think my chair has prepared me for what those could be. The whole document is 75 pages along, including all the 'content-less' pages like the title page, table of contents, etc. Fairly short, but I'll take it!

And because I love PhD comics...

1 comment:

  1. If you'd like, I can come and give the committe members the "stink eye" so THEY'LL be nice to you -- I could maybe even bring a heavy weapon???? Love, your protective aunt