Current Students

Dissertation Hearing Checklist

Four weeks before the defense date:

Provide an electronic copy of your final dissertation to your full dissertation committee and to the PhD Program Office 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:

Once you have cleared a date with your committee, write letter requesting a dissertation hearing to Diana Bowser, PhD Program Director. Please send the letter as an attachment via email to Diana Bowser ( and copy Cheryl Sweeney ( 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).

In the same email please send Cheryl Sweeney ( and Rosella Carrelli ( the Zoom link to your defense hearing. The program recommends that the Chair is the host but that is your decision. If you need assistance with Zoom please contact Media and Technology Services (MTS) at 781-736-4632. Zoom is the web-based communications system available at Brandeis.

Day of Defense:

Please note: the Heller School 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 Cheryl Sweeney for your file.  If revisions are requested, an additional form is required. Your Chair may contact Cheryl Sweeney for the Revision Form when the final revised copy of the dissertation has been accepted.