Current Students

Dissertation Defense Checklist

The student and the dissertation committee can determine the modality of the dissertation defense (in person, hybrid or remote) and indicate this in the Letter to Request a Dissertation Defense to the Director.

In-person and hybrid dissertation defenses are held in Heller-Brown Rm 147 (room capacity 12)*  Please contact Rosella Carrelli to reserve the room as soon as you confirm your defense date and time with your committee.

*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, Lisa Lynch 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 Lisa Lynch, PhD Program Director. Please send the letter as an attachment via email to Lisa Lynch and cc Nancy Leonard at Use this template as referenced in the Dissertation Standards and Procedures, Appendix 4. 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).


Day of Defense

The Report on Doctoral Defense form will be given to you 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.