Oral Defense

The public oral defense of a thesis is intended to be an examination of a completed body of work and should be scheduled only when the dissertation is essentially completed. At least one copy of the thesis must be available in the departmental office not less than two calendar weeks prior to the date of the oral defense (one week for a master's defense). The length of the oral examination and the subject matter on which the candidate is questioned are left to the judgment of the committee. The defense should be scheduled by the student after consultation with the thesis advisor, who agrees that the thesis is completed and ready to be defended. All members of the thesis committee must be present for the oral defense, in exceptional cases an appeal to this requirement may be granted. A candidate must be enrolled in the semester in which his or her oral examination is held. Students who defend during the summer must enroll in the summer session of classes. For the purpose of the oral defense only, enrollment in a semester is considered valid through the Friday of the first week of class of the following semester. Students passing the oral examination on or before the end of the first week of classes of any semester do not have to register for that or any subsequent semester even though they may be continuing to make minor revisions to the final copy of their thesis.

Time Boundaries

Ph.D. students must defend their theses before the end of the sixteenth semester of their residency at Rice. Master's students must defend their theses before the end of the eighth semester of their residency at Rice. 

A student's individualized time boundaries are available in Esther.  Students who are approaching or who have passed their deadline to defense must submit an extension of candidacy request to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  Additional information on time boundaries is available here.  

Procedures

All thesis students must achieve candidacy prior to the oral defense of their thesis. 

  1. Schedule the final oral examination in defense of thesis to take place at a time agreeable to all members of the committee. Be sure to consult the deadlines listed in the Academic Calendar to ensure that you meet the defense deadline for commencement.  In order to graduate, the final thesis must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies before noon on the deadline listed in the Academic Calendar (or six months after the oral defense, which ever occurs first). 

  2. Arrange for public notice to appear prior to the oral examination.

For the doctoral degree, the examination must be publicly announced. Students should note that announcements should be made at least two weeks before the scheduled defense. Defense announcements can be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by filling out the following form: http://events.rice.edu/rgs/ . In appropriate circumstances an oral examination for the Ph.D. may be scheduled during the summer, and the procedure for posting of notice is the same as during the regular school year.

For the master's degree, the examination must be publicly announced. Students should note that announcements should be made at least one week before the scheduled defense. Defense announcements can be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by filling out the following form: http://events.rice.edu/rgs/ . In appropriate circumstances an oral examination for the master's may be scheduled during the summer, and the procedure for posting of notice is the same as during the regular school year.

The Original Approval of Candidacy form (initials in the top right corner will be in red) will be sent to your department as soon as the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies receives the defense announcement.  Please check with your department coordinator 2 days after you announce your thesis defense.The members of your committee must sign the Candidacy form. They must also sign 2 copies of your thesis title page, so be sure to have them on hand at your defenseIf extensive corrections are needed, you can often get most of the signatures at the defense and your advisor can sign after the corrections are made. If your thesis committee has changed since you achieved candidacy, the candidacy form must be revised prior to your defense.  Instructions for changing your committee can be found here

    1. Within a week after the final oral examination in defense of thesis is passed, please upload to thesis.rice.edu a .pdf copy of your thesis and a scan of your Approval of Candidacy form, signed (and dated) by the thesis committee.  This signifies a successful defense of the thesis.  Directions to upload documents to the thesis.rice.edu website can be found here.  Students registered for the previous semester that pass the oral examination on or before the end of the first week of classes of any semester do not have to register for that or any subsequent semester even though they may be continuing to make minor revisions to the final copy of their thesis.  

No later than six months following the successful oral examination in defense of the thesis, the thesis must be submitted to Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.  If some or all of your committee members will be unavailable at the time of thesis submission, arrangements must be made in advance for the title pages to be prepared.  Suggestions for completing this title page are available on this website and with your department coordinator. 

Students who wish to graduate in a particular semester are also subject to the deadlines found in the academic calendar

Students are not required to register for credits while the thesis is completed, however, students who are not registered are classified as "inactive" and are not able to have building access or access to the Rice Network. If you will not be registered during this period, but still need building or network access, you can register for a zero-credit course to maintain your active status and access.  Please visit this link for assistance.

    1. Prepare the final copy of the thesis in accordance with instructions contained in the document entitled "Thesis Format."  Note: The Thesis Format instructions are good practice guidelines.

Once the final copy of the thesis is prepared, it must be submitted to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.  Thesis submission is not considered complete until all documents have been uploaded and original signatures have been delivered to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Resources

Last updated June 20, 2013
GPS Thesis Submission Homepage