Defending A Dissertation: The Best Advice Ever


For many students, writing the dissertation is a time consuming and difficult process. However, defending the dissertation is much more scary than anything else. You have to stand in front of the audience and professors and answer questions about your topic; as brave as you might be, this is still a challenge. You have to prepare for the defense for weeks, but it’s important to know what the professors are expecting from you. Here is some useful piece of advice for you:

  • Find out who will ask you the questions. This is extremely important if you are scared of the professors. When you know them, know their specialty and their personality you will know what to expect. You will be able to prepare some answers that fit their area of expertise, and they will be impressed by you. If they have any published books or papers, make sure to read them and introduce a reference to them in your answer.
  • Prepare some ideas on a piece of paper. In a dissertation defense you have to talk freely, not to read from a paper. However, it is acceptable to have a few guidelines, since so many students are scared of public. When you find yourself on stage in front of the audience you can forget your ideas, and a small paper can be all you need to remember them. Try to write simple sentences, not to memorize terms and definitions.
  • Don’t be scared to say “I don’t know”. Anything can happen when you defend your dissertation, so you have to be relaxed and calm. If a professor will ask you a question that is too difficult for you, don’t try to build an answer on the spot. This will put you in a very awkward position. Instead, tell them that you did not study this chapter and lead the conversation to something more familiar to you.
  • Memorize a few paragraphs from your dissertation. If they ask you a tricky question, you can answer by saying “As I said in my dissertation...” and you will reproduce the paragraph. This will make you look confident and the professors will be convinced that you studied. Besides, since you memorized your dissertation it means you worked for months to complete it, which is admirable. It’s not difficult to handle this situation; you just have to trust yourself.