Managing your dissertation or proposal defense

Tags how-to

With a bit of advance planning you can save yourself a lot of stress. Start planning well in advance perhaps even two months early.

Got Time?

Plan ahead.  You will need to balance the schedules of your committee, yourself, your deadline and staff who can assist you in your department.  Identify those you need to attend or help you on the day and invite them to a Doodle ( or of they all have google calendar search for times that may be free on everyone’s calendar.  Doodle is generally less frustrating particularly if you have users not on google calendar or who don’t keep it up to date even if they have it.

Got a room?

It takes weeks to a month for scheduling some rooms. It’s a good idea to have 2-3 workable times to request to improve your chances of getting a room at a time that will work.  Contact your department’s student services department to find out how to get the room you need.  If you can answer yes to questions 4 and 5 below, make sure that the room you get can accommodate those needs.  This database of classrooms may be helpful in that search:

Got a recorder?

It can be overwhelming to take notes during your defense.  Save time by asking your committee if you can record their feedback for your later review.  If they agree, you can use your iphone or other recorder you may have. If you don’t have a recording device, contact the LSA TS equipment loan area to check one out free of charge.

Got distant advisors?

Is one or more of your advisors on sabbatical or moved to another institution but is still part of your dissertation committee?  If so, you have many options for connecting them in to participate.  With any of these options, it’s a good idea to test the chosen tool prior to it’s use.

  1. Conference phone:  If you have one or more advisor who needs voice only access to your dissertation defense, ask your department’s student service area if there is a conference phone that can be used and what number your advisor(s).
  2. BlueJeans or other video conference tools with assistance:  You could opt to use the UM licensed BlueJeans tool to bring your remote participants together and record the event in one place.  See: Be sure to talk to local experts who can help you work out the details. Contact
  3. Do it yourself tools - Skype and Google Meet can also be used.  

Got a presentation that needs to be projected?

Schedule needed technology resources (computer, screen, projector, cameras, etc.) requested for the room you book.


PhD Students defending a dissertation or dissertation proposal.

Additional notes

Proposal Dissertation Defense Committee


Article ID: 1520
Tue 5/26/20 6:05 PM
Thu 10/1/20 10:28 AM