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Guidelines and checklist for dissertation defense

  1. Students are eligible for the dissertation defense examination when they have completed the required coursework, any remaining electives, presented the required seminars, met their teaching requirement, and/or have the approval of their research dissertation committee. The defense exam can not be scheduled less than 5 months following successful completion of the comprehensive exam without the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee. The dissertation and Defense Examination Committee can be modified (as allowed) after the student has passed the Comprehensive Examination. A member of the Department Graduate Committee will oversee the defense examination and see to it that all department policies are followed. If no member of the Department Graduate Studies Committee serves on the dissertation committee, an existing Graduate Studies committee member will be selected by the Graduate Studies Committee to serve in this capacity. The committee will meet with the student as soon as practical after the comprehensive examination to approve the research project and be informed of any progress that has been made. Normally the committee meets every 6 months during the research phase of the student's graduate training. After a student completes 18 post comprehensive exam credit hours he/she can enroll in NURO 999 reduced credit hours (1 -5 h). Regardless of whether 18 post comprehensive exam credit hours have been obtained, a student must enroll in NURO 999 the semester in which he/she plans to defend (1-6 h). 
  2. The student will present their second of two research seminars to the department no later than the semester just prior to the one in which he/she plans to defend.
  3. When the Dissertation is completed it is given to the committee members for their review and any input prior to the defense (minimum of 5 weeks prior to the defense exam date). The format of the dissertation must meet all KUMC guidelines as determined by the Office of Graduate Studies, 5015 Wescoe. After initial approval by the committee members and at least three weeks prior to the date the defense is scheduled, a Progress to Degree online form must be completed by the Director of Graduate Studies for Office of Graduate Studies approval. The room for the examination should be reserved at or before this time. 
  4. The mentor and student will carry out the following procedures. At least one week prior to the date of the defense, a copy of the dissertation is placed in the Anatomy conference room so that any department faculty member can read it prior to the defense. Announcements of the defense will be sent to all departments at KUMC. Also at this time, the student will give appropriate information to the Basic Science Graduate Administrative Director so that a student biographical sketch outline can be prepared. Copies of this biographical sketch will be given out to the committee and the audience on the day of the defense.
  5. The defense examination is conducted by the chair or co-chair of the committee. Either the chair or co-chair must have dissertation graduate faculty status. The examination is overseen by a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Studies Committee. If the representative of the Graduate Studies Committee is also the chair, the committee may choose to assign this function to another committee member. The Student's Mentor will introduce the student. The chair or co-chair of the defense committee will direct all questions from the floor to the student after the research material is presented. After all questions from the floor are answered, the chair or co-chair will ask all to leave the room except the student and the committee. The committee will then ask any additional questions they have for the student. Any additional comments regarding the format of the dissertation will also be given at this time. When all questions are answered, the student is asked to leave the room and a vote is taken by the committee.
  6. If an approval is obtained from the majority of the members, the student passes. A discussion of honors will also be conducted. View the current Dissertation Honors guidelines for more details. At this time, if the student passes the defense exam, the committee members can sign the dissertation title page (or multiple copies of the title page). However, the approval page will be signed by the chair of the defense committee only after any suggested corrections have been made. After the defense exam, the committee Chairperson (Mentor) will then contact the Graduate Education Director and indicate the result of the vote so it can be entered on the PTD online form.
  7. The Director of Graduate Studies will submit the Progress to Degree online form communicating the results of the dissertation defense. 
  8. When the student has addressed all comments made by the committee members and made appropriate changes to the dissertation, the approval page of the dissertation will be signed by the Mentor. All copies of the dissertation required by the department and the University will be submitted at the time of the signing. A bound copy will be given to the department and the mentor. Until all copies are submitted, the student has not met the requirements for the Ph.D. and cannot officially graduate.
Last modified: Sep 28, 2018