The Thesis Defense

(1) The defense takes no more than one hour, from the time you enter the room until the time you leave with oral notification of whether you have passed or not passed the thesis requirement.

(2) At the start of the defense you make a 10 minute presentation. Students who exceed their 10-minute allotment of time will be penalized with a deduction from their grade for the defense. A presentation that is too brief is likewise penalized.  You are encouraged to practice making your presentation. This will help you gauge the length. The ten minute window does not include interruptions by examiners asking questions. After your presentation, your readers ask you specific questions about the thesis, followed by a general discussion of your thesis work.

(3) The 10 minute presentation should include:

(a) What did you try to show in the thesis, and how did you go about doing it? What kinds of sources and method did you use?
(b) Where do you think you made your greatest contribution?
(c) What were the greatest challenges and what would do differently if you had to do the whole thing over?

(4) Unless you are presenting complicated statistics, images, graphs or music that are essential to your thesis, you are not to use PowerPoint or other audiovisual aids.

(5) Croft Institute faculty understand that every student is different and that some of you have an easier time speaking extemporaneously than others. If you think you cannot speak without notes, you can use your own compressed notes (your own paper bullet points, so to speak) and give the examiners a simple handout. The examiners have read your thesis and are most interested in an intelligent discussion with you about the work; they don't need to be told again what they already know from reading the thesis.

(6) The Thesis Defense is open to the public, and your audience may include other faculty and students as well as your family and friends.  For the benefit of those in the audience who have not read your thesis you are allowed to use 2 minutes to briefly summarize the argument and theme of your thesis.

Croft Senior Thesis Defense