Academic Policies & Procedures
Final Dissertation Defense
The student defends the dissertation in a meeting with the student's research committee. It is a public meeting, open to students and faculty. The student should confer with the research committee chair regarding expectations. The dissertation defense may not take place less than six months following University Graduate School approval of the candidate's Nomination of Research Committee for the Ph.D. Degree Form. To be considered for University Graduate School approva, this form must be accompanied by a research abstract and an approved Human Subjects Approval Form if the research involves human subjects.
Complete the following steps to arrange the meeting:
- The student and the research committee agree on a date and time for the student's final defense meeting. Graduate student meetings may only be held when classes are in session. No such meetings may be scheduled during final examination week or vacation periods.
- At least five weeks in advance of the proposed meeting date, the student must complete and submit an Application to Schedule a Graduate Student Meeting Form. This form may be found online at www.indiana.edu/~hperwww/academics/forms/index.shtml. The completed form must be submitted to the administrative secretary for academic affairs in HPER 115. The secretary will verify that the student's research committee was approved by the University Graduate School at least six months before the date of the final defense meeting. Following this verification, the secretary will reserve a meeting room. Confirmation of the meeting date, time, and location will be communicated to the student and the committee members via email.
- The student and the research committee chair create a one-page final defense meeting announcement, containing the date, time, location, and a description of the research project. The secretary has examples of final defense meeting announcements which students may use when formatting their announcements.
- At least four weeks in advance of the proposed meeting date, two versions of this announcement must be submitted to the administrative secretary for academic affairs in HPER 115. A printed version with the signature of the committee chair must be submitted. In addition, an electronic version without the chair’s signature must be attached to an email message and sent to the administrative secretary for academic affairs. The secretary will post the unsigned announcement on the Web.
The time frames for submission of the defense meeting request and announcement are enforced to ensure that the defense announcement is posted well in advance of the defense meeting date. This is a University Graduate School requirement. Failure to meet these deadlines will delay the scheduling of the final defense meeting.
Following the defense meeting, the research committee chair will report the outcome to the School of HPER Recorder. The chair will also assign a letter grade to the dissertation credits on the student's transcript.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Am I able to have my final thesis defense meeting anytime during the calendar year?
Answer: Graduate student meetings may only be held when classes are in session. No such meetings may be scheduled during final examination week or vacation periods.
Question: Am I required to be enrolled when I defend my dissertation?
Answer: No. The School of HPER does not require a doctoral student to be enrolled during the semester or summer session in which the dissertation is defended. However, all doctoral students must be enrolled in the semester or summer session during which they graduate.
Question: I have successfully defended my dissertation. How will I receive a grade for my dissertation credit hours?
Answer: Once you have successfully defended your dissertation, your research committee chair should change the grade from "R" to the grade you earned in your dissertation for the number of dissertation credits listed on your course prescription. These grade changes may be made by the chair of your research committee via the e-Grade Change system, provided the research committee chair was the instructor of record for the dissertation courses and sections in which the student registered. If the chair of your committee was not listed as instructor of record, he or she may report the grade to the School of HPER graduate recorder, who will then report the grade via the e-Grade Change system. Grades will be reported during the normal final grade reporting period for semesters or summer sessions still in progress.