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.
Complete the following steps in preparation for the dissertation defense meeting:
- Select a meeting date and time. - The doctoral candidate and the research committee agree on a date and time for the student's dissertation 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.
- Student completes and submits a dissertation defense eligibility verification form. - The dissertation defense eligibility form is available at www.publichealth.indiana.edu/current-students/forms.shtml. This form must be submitted to the School of Public Health - Bloomington records office in HPER 115 at least forty days in advance of the proposed defense meeting date.
- Student receives an email message. - After the recorder verifies the student's eligibility and the administrative secretary schedules a meeting room for the defense meeting, the student will receive an email message confirming the meeting date, time, and location. The email message will also include instructions for completing an online request form to have the University Graduate School post an announcement of the student's dissertation defense meeting.
- Student completes and submits an online request form to post the defense announcement. - At least thirty-five days in advance of the proposed meeting date, the student must initiate a request to post an announcement of the defense meeting. On Onstart, the vertical navigation bar on the left side of the main page contains a box entitled "group quick links." The "university graduate school forms" link in that box will take the student to a page which contains a link, entitled "defense announcement", which leads to the online form. The student must complete, save, and submit this form. A successfully submitted form to request the announcement of the dissertation defense will route to the School of Public Health - Bloomington recorder, the student's research committee chair, and finally to the University Graduate School for final approval.
- University Graduate School approves the request to post the defense announcement. - Step four must be completed, resulting in the form routing to the University Graduate School at least thirty days in advance of the proposed meeting date, or the request will be denied. If the request is denied, a new request form would have to be completed and submitted by the student. Following University Graduate School approval of the defense announcement request, an announcement of the student's dissertation defense meeting will be posted on the Web sites of the University Graduate School and the School of Public Health - Bloomington.
- Student submits a draft of the dissertation to the research committee. - At least four weeks before the defense meeting date, the student must submit a draft of the dissertation to the committee to examine before the final defense meeting takes place.
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 Public Health - Bloomington 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 Public Health - Bloomington 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 Public Health - Bloomington 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.