Final Defense

Overview

Each student writes a dissertation that describes original research and submits it to the members of the dissertation committee. There are many resources available to assist in writing a dissertation. The student will then give a public presentation of the dissertation research.  This is called the defense. When the committee is satisfied with the dissertation (there are usually some rewrites), they will inform the Graduate School.  This is done by submitting the ‘Report of Dissertation Defense’ or ‘gold’ form signed by all committee members present at the defense.  The ‘gold’ form is sent to the research supervisor before the defense.

First 12 class days

Verify your registration in _99W. You are expected to be in the W section of dissertation the semester you defend.

6 weeks prior

Any changes to your committee must be made no later then 6 weeks prior to defense. All members of the committee should agree to the committee change. Please send their agreement to the graduate adviser and copy the CS graduate program coordinator. Be sure you ask the committee member(s) being replaced to send an email to the graduate adviser with a cc to the CS graduate program coordinator stating their wish to withdraw from the committee. Download the form from the graduate school web site. It can be found on the forms page - http://gradschool.utexas.edu/academics/forms - under Doctoral Forms. It's called 'petition for a change in doctoral committee’ and it's a writable pdf.  When you've obtained your committee supervisor's signature, bring it to the graduate office and it will be submitted for the graduate adviser’s signature.

4 weeks prior

All committee members should have a copy of your dissertation.

2 weeks prior

All committee members sign the Graduate School form you can link to from here: Request for Final Oral Examination.  This form is also called the ‘pink sheet' or 'pink form’ since it is required to be printed on pink paper.  The graduate office can provide pink paper to you.  Each member's signature, or the proxy signature of the research supervisor for the member, is an agreement that (1) the student is ready to defend the research and (2) the member will read the dissertation prior to the defense.  It is expected that all members of the committee attend the defense, either in person or via teleconference.  If one non-supervisory committee member is unable to attend the defense, there is a pre-typed section on the 2nd page of the Request for Final Oral Examination form, which may be used.  Lastly, please bring the form to the CS graduate office so the graduate adviser's signature can be obtained and the form returned to you.  After submitting this form, please send your PhD oral defense announcement to the CS graduate office so the defense can be announced to the department.

The Defense

At least four members of the dissertation committee must be present, including your supervisor.  If one non-supervisory committee member is unable to attend the defense, there must be an explanation of the member’s absence, together with an assurance that your dissertation will be read, and if approved, signed.  There is a pre-typed section on the 2nd page of the Request for Final Oral Examination form, which may be used, or an attached letter may be used.  If you think it is impossible to schedule the defense so that four members are physically or virtually present, please contact the CS graduate program coordinator.

**Note: Students are required to file to graduate via an electronic form during the semester they plan to graduate. All forms can be filled out on the web, then downloaded and printed. Look in the Doctoral section of this web site for "forms".

Important: Any student not graduating in the semester they defend must notify the graduate office before the last class day of that semester.

NOTE: At the time of the defense, the students in the earlier doctoral program must have completed the three speaking requirements. See Ph.D. Program Degree Requirements for details.