Thesis defense instructions

Your thesis/dissertation defense is an opportunity for you to present your research in a public venue as part of your culminating experience. 

Your thesis/dissertation defense is an opportunity for you to present your research in a public venue as part of your culminating experience. Your defense is scheduled through your MyASU, and your document goes through format review before you can submit for electronic storage.  Always refer to the ‘Defense’ tab in your MyASU.

Be aware of all deadlines!  

  • Preparing your defense
  • Continuous Enrollment
    • Once admitted to a graduate degree program or graduate certificate program, students must be registered for a minimum of one credit hour of graduate level coursework during all phases of their graduate education, including the term in which they graduate. 
  • Scheduling your defense
    • Defenses MUST be scheduled through MyASU at least 10 working days prior to the defense date. 10 Day Working Calendar
  • To reserve a conference room for your defense, please go to the front desk on the 5th floor of the Brickyard.
  • Apply for Graduation
  • Defense Announcement Instructions
  • Format review process
  • How to use the online Format Tool for your thesis or dissertation 
  • After your defense
    • If you have revision that will take more then ten working days submit a copy of the Pass/Fail form to the Advising Center. The Advising Center will email a copy to the Graduate College.
    • Complete your format and committee revisions.
    • Submit the original Pass/Fail Form to the Advising Center and keep a copy for yourself. The Advising Center will email the form to the Graduate College and change any 599, 792, and 799 ‘Z’ grades to ‘Y’. 595 and 795 will remain as “Z” grades on your transcript.
    • Verify iPOS coursework and confirm that you have applied for graduation.
    • Make an appointment with your academic advisor for a final degree check out.
    • Upload your document to UMI/ProQuest before the posted deadline. Please note that submission to UMI/ProQuest does not complete the process – you must obtain final format approval from the Graduate College before the Graduation Office will process your degree.
    • Check your MyASU frequently to make sure your degree posts (usually 4-6 weeks).
    • If applicable, use the Graduation Letter Request Form to request a Graduation Pending Letter or a Letter of Completion. Letter of Completion is used to notify an employer that you have graduated before your final degree has posted to your transcript.

Thesis/Dissertation Defenses – Graduate Policies and Procedures

Thesis and dissertation defenses are open to all members of the university community and the general public.The oral defense engages the supervisory committee and the candidate in a critical and analytical discussion of the research and findings of the study, as well as a review of the contribution of the research topic to advancing knowledge in that discipline. The presentation of a thesis or dissertation defense in an open forum fosters a broader awareness of the state of graduate research at ASU, promotes a wider scholarly dialogue among disciplines, and recognizes publicly the scholarly contributions of master’s or doctoral candidates.

Defenses must be scheduled through MyASU at least 10 working days in advance of the defense date. It is expected that oral defenses will be held on an ASU campus during regular business hours in order to facilitate student, faculty, and public accessibility. When there are sound educational reasons for holding a defense under different circumstances, contact the Graduate College for approval before scheduling the defense.

Students must be physically present at the oral defense of their thesis, dissertation or equivalent document. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, they cannot be physically present, then the oral defense must be rescheduled to another date when they can be physically present.

It is desirable that all members of a student’s supervisory committee be physically present with the student at the final oral defense of a thesis or dissertation. However, there are situations (e.g. faculty travel, faculty emergencies and/or faculty leave) that may necessitate holding a defense with one or more committee member(s) absent. In all cases at least 50% of the committee must be physically present. If a committee member cannot physically attend, they can tele/video conference, or they can appoint a substitute to attend in their place. The substitute should be a regular faculty member with the academic unit. The supervisory committee chair must be physically present; if there are two co-chairs, one of them may tele/video conference if needed. In either case, please email [email protected] with the student’s ID number and the name of the tele/videoconferencing member or with the names of the member who will be absent and the faculty member who will attend as a substitute. This information must be submitted before the defense.