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Thread: Ph.D. defense

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    Ph.D. defense

    Mine is Wednesday. Any advice from people who have been through this before? I feel pretty good about it, although I'm getting more nervous as it gets closer....



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Quote Originally Posted by isukendall View Post
    Mine is Wednesday. Any advice from people who have been through this before? I feel pretty good about it, although I'm getting more nervous as it gets closer....
    Good luck!!!!! I hope I can get there sometime soon!



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Good luck!!!

    You probably wouldn't be scheduled if you weren't ready to pass. That's what I always hear from professors about that future day.


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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    If you don't know it, don't guess. You get yourself into deep trouble fast if you start guessing or making assumptions. Just answer "I don't know, but I will look into it further."



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    My major professor told me, "don't worry about a thing. When you're done, we roll a 64-sided die; 1 side says fail and the other 63 say pass. If it comes up fail, we just roll again."



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    I'm about 2 years from that day, but my professor has told me about the same thing as everyone else has said here. The impression I get is they honestly don't think you will pass, the prof will pull you aside and tell you beforehand. If it has been scheduled, there shouldn't be a problem. Just thicken your skin a bit before the defense, because they will jerk you around just like their professors did to them back in the day - a rite of passage if you will.

    Congrats!


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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Did mine in September....and I agree with everyone else - they wouldn't let you schedule if you weren't ready. They will give you crap, but you'll be fine. Just remember that you know more about that thesis than anyone else in the room.



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Clone9 View Post
    Did mine in September....and I agree with everyone else - they wouldn't let you schedule if you weren't ready. They will give you crap, but you'll be fine. Just remember that you know more about that thesis than anyone else in the room.
    That is a huge point.

    It surprises me sometimes, but I'm already the world expert on my thesis topic, and I haven't started the real writing yet.

    You've got something in terms in knowledge that no one else in the room will have. Don't forget that, but don't get cocky.


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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Just curious, did you get a Masters or not? I've heard different things on what the right route is regarding that issue.



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Quote Originally Posted by isukendall View Post
    Mine is Wednesday. Any advice from people who have been through this before? I feel pretty good about it, although I'm getting more nervous as it gets closer....
    Go through your talk a couple times and hammer out the transitions between slides. That way if you get in a bind (or go blank) on a slide you know the transition to the next.

    Anticipate questions and have plenty of follow up slides with graphs, data, etc., that you can pull up if needed.

    Like eveyone else said - if you don't know the answer to a question don't BS your way through it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhoadhoused View Post
    Just curious, did you get a Masters or not? I've heard different things on what the right route is regarding that issue.
    My opinion is that a Masters is a good fallback plan if you have any doubts about wanting to finish a PhD. I didn't get one along the way, but I know a lot of people who did.



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Quote Originally Posted by isu_oak View Post

    My opinion is that a Masters is a good fallback plan if you have any doubts about wanting to finish a PhD. I didn't get one along the way, but I know a lot of people who did.
    That makes sense. I'm just trying to get into grad school at this point. Gotta take the GRE here pretty soon.....



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Quote Originally Posted by isukendall View Post
    Mine is Wednesday. Any advice from people who have been through this before? I feel pretty good about it, although I'm getting more nervous as it gets closer....
    Relax - mine was more of a celebration than anything else -- bring snacks..... fresh pastry and drinks. Stand proud and don't be afraid to say I don't know when you don't know.



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Congrats!!! I won't really add anything, as it's been said by the previous posters. Maybe anticipate questions. That way you won't be surprised.


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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Quote Originally Posted by CycloneErik View Post
    Good luck!!!

    You probably wouldn't be scheduled if you weren't ready to pass. That's what I always hear from professors about that future day.


    Agreed.

    As someone who has defended his own and led many other defenses, if you fail, it is really your advisor who failed because you must not have been ready. In all my years, I can only think of one who failed at the defense and he didn't really fail, rather the external reader convinced the panel against the idea of the paper itself.

    I find that most students get too caught up in explaining the details of their research (middle chapters). Make sure that you can clearly articulate your big ideas (first chapter) and be able to discuss the significance of your work (final chapter). This is more about you entering the world of academic leadership than really defending your work.

    You may also want to tell us what field you are studying. Various disciplines have their own characteristics. Typically, an advisor should have let you know what to expect. It may be too late, but attending a few defenses of colleagues helps you know what you expect, if they are open as I think all should be.



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    Re: Ph.D. defense

    Quote Originally Posted by isukendall View Post
    Mine is Wednesday. Any advice from people who have been through this before? I feel pretty good about it, although I'm getting more nervous as it gets closer....

    One other thought. Don't panic if they approve your dissertation pending a few changes. Some faculty don't think they are doing their job if they don't ask you to make changes. These probably won't be major and they usually aren't truly a criticism of the quality of your work, just the recognition on the part of a know-it-all faculty member that it could be better. Of course it could. So, accept this as constructive criticism. The only important thing is the approval. Your advisor will usually guide you through how to make the minor changes in a timely and doable manner.

    Sometimes, the changes are to help you be more clear in your last chapter because you do a better job explaining the significance of your work in the defense than you did in the dissertation itself. Changes like this will really help you when you have to explain your dissertation during job interviews (the really important defenses!).



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