How do you defend a thesis?

This post is a call to the kindness of any UBC folk out there willing to talk about their experiences with a thesis defence (especially if you’re an English Honours kid).

What do you do in your defence?

As far as I’ve gathered from my professor, the defence will be 60 minutes. The first 10-15 minutes is my talk about my project, how I got there, what I learned in the process, and topics beyond the thesis itself. Then there are questions for the rest of the period.

So my questions:

  • Does that above timeframe sound right with your experience of your defence?
  • Were you allowed to bring in any notes or cue cards at all? (I’m given to understand this is no Powerpoint presentation.)
  • How did you prepare for your talk? What went the way you expected and what didn’t?
  • What kind of questions did you find most challenging, e.g. was there a lot of theory involved?
  • How long should your answers to questions be?

I realise that for some of these questions, the answers will really differ depending on the person, and every thesis is unique. Still, I would love to hear other people’s experiences. (The English 499 package wasn’t very informative on the oral part.)

One response to “How do you defend a thesis?