Current Students

Dissertation Defense Checklist

Defenses may be conducted fully remote on Zoom or in-person.

Option 1 - Remote hearing via Zoom
The candidate, dissertation committee and guests all participate using Zoom. The Chair is the host of the meeting. See Best Practices for hosting hearings and defenses via Zoom.

Option 2 - In-person hearing in Heller-Brown Rm 147 (room capacity 12)*
The candidate, dissertation committee and guests gather in assigned room adhering to Covid policies. The policy for an in-person hearing is that the student may request permission from the PhD Program Director to allow one member of the committee, typically the outside member, to participate remotely.

*If more space for guests is needed we can request another room.

Four weeks before the defense date

Provide an electronic copy of your final dissertation to your full dissertation committee and to the PhD Director, Diana Bowser at and Nancy Leonard at four weeks prior to your defense. Dissertation hearings may not proceed if the dissertation is not submitted at least four weeks in advance.

At least three weeks before defense date

Write letter requesting a dissertation hearing to Diana Bowser, PhD Program Director. Please send the letter as an attachment via email to Diana Bowser at and cc Nancy Leonard at Use the template in the Dissertation Standards and Procedures, Appendix 4, page 15. Please be sure to modify the heading and first line of the document to specify defense.

In this same email you should send your dissertation abstract, approved by your chair. The abstract should be 350-500 words, if possible. Up to 1½ pages is acceptable. Use this model for your abstract (Dissertation Standards and Procedures, Appendix 3 on page 14).

For a remote hearing via Zoom
Please send the Zoom link for your hearing to Rosella Carrelli at  Your chair should schedule and host the meeting.  If you need assistance with Zoom please contact Media and Technology Services (MTS) at 781-736-4632. 

For an in-person hearing in Heller-Brown Rm 147 (reserve room through Rosella)
If your outside member will require reimbursement for travel expenses to attend an in-person hearing please contact Vicki Corpian.   The program will reimburse up to $500 toward travel expenses. 

Day of Defense

Please note: Brandeis University no longer requires you to turn in a signed Signature Page. An unsigned Signature Page should still be included in the prefatory pages of the final, ready-for-publication dissertation that you submit to Proquest.

The Report on Doctoral Defense form will be emailed to you and your Chair prior to the hearing. After deliberating on your dissertation, your committee will make one of these recommendations: 1) approve dissertation; 2) defer action pending minor revisions and chair approval; 3) defer action pending major revisions and full committee hearing; and 4) reject dissertation.  Your Chair will record the committee’s decision and electronically send the form to the committee members for their signatures.  Once completed, the form is electronically sent to Rosella Carrelli for your file.  If revisions are requested, an additional form is required. Your Chair may contact Rosella Carrelli for the Revision Form when the final revised copy of the dissertation has been accepted.