Academic Policies & Procedures

Master's Thesis Students

Final Thesis Defense

The student defends the master's thesis in a meeting with the student's master's thesis committee. It is a public meeting, open to students and faculty. The student should confer with the thesis committee chair regarding expectations.

Complete the following steps to arrange the meeting:

  1. If human subjects were used in the research, a copy of an approved clearance form for the use of human subjects must be in student's academic file in the School of Public Health - Bloomington records office.  Submission of this form was required prior to the thesis proposal meeting. If the student's thesis proposal meeting resulted in changes to the research project, necessitating re-evaluation of the use of human subjects, an amended, approved, clearance form must be in the student's file before the defense may be scheduled.
  2. The student and the master's thesis committee agree on a date and time for the student's final defense meeting.
  3. 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 The completed form must be submitted to the administrative secretary for academic affairs in SPH 115. Following verification that the student's file contains an approved Human Subjects Approval Form, 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.
  4. The student and the master’s thesis 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.
  5. 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 SPH room 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.

Following the defense meeting, the master's thesis committee chair will report the outcome to the School of Public Health - Bloomington recorder.  The chair will also assign a letter grade to the thesis credits on the student's transcript.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: I have the results of my thesis research and I have my conclusions. How do I get my thesis committee to attest that I am finished?
Answer: Defend your thesis in front of your thesis committee at a formal thesis defense meeting.

Question: How do I arrange this meeting?
Answer: Arrange the meeting date and time with members of your thesis committee. At least five weeks before the defense date, submit an Application to Schedule a Graduate Student Meeting Form to the administrative secretary for academic affairs in SPH room 115.  The secretary will arrange a room and notify you and your committee with all the details. At least four weeks before the meeting date, submit to the secretary, a printed meeting announcement page, signed by your thesis committee chair.  Also send the send the MS Word version of the announcement, without a signature, to the secretary as an attachment to an email message.  The secretary will post the unsigned version on the Web. Examples of defense meeting announcements may be obtained from the secretary.

Question: Am I required to be enrolled when I defend my master’s thesis?
Answer: The School of Public Health - Bloomington does not require that master’s students be enrolled during the semester or summer session for which they are defending their master’s thesis. However, there are various reasons a student may need to be registered; i.e. assistantship awards, scholarships, insurance, compliance with SEVIS (for international students only), etc. Students should evaluate their individual situation and contact the appropriate source(s) to determine if enrollment is required.

Question: I have successfully defended my master’s thesis. How do I receive a grade for my master’s thesis credit hours?
Answer: Once you have successfully defended your master’s thesis, master’s thesis credit hours with a grade of “R”, may be changed to a letter grade by the chair of your master’s thesis committee via the e-Grade Change system in the SIS, provided the thesis committee chair was the instructor of record for the thesis course and section 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.

Question: I am an international student who has enrolled in all coursework, including the required number of master’s thesis credits for my master’s degree program. I have not yet completed the requirements for my master’s thesis, what course do I enroll in now so that I meet SEVIS regulations and may remain in this country to finish my thesis?
Answer: International master’s thesis students who have already registered for the number of thesis credits required by their master’s degree program, and have not completed requirements for the thesis, may enroll in SPH-G 599 Thesis Research. This course carries no credit, but satisfies the enrollment requirement for international students to remain in compliance with SEVIS regulations. SPH-G 599 is not offered during the summer term.

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