Doctoral Dissertation Defense

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After deliberating, the jury decides whether to pass the candidate or adjourn.

In special cases, with the exception of the chairman, members of the jury may participate in the defense via videoconferencing or electronic communications that allow them to be identified and to participate effectively in collective deliberations.

The dissertation supervisor participates on the jury and attends the deliberations but does not take part in the decision. Personalities can participate as guest members (maximum two).

A member invites a seat during the defense but does not sign the documents relating to the defense and is not considered as an examiner.

Unless there is a confidentiality clause, the institution hosting the defense shall provide access to the dissertation internally and within the university community.

Online publication of the dissertation beyond this scope is subject to permission from its author, assuming there is no confidentiality clause. It is not everyone against you, it is everyone against the committee. An experienced professor told me that in many cases they are so hung up in performing with their questions, that they don’t really pay attention to all your answers. The audience does not just listen to what you have to say, they observe it. The last thing you want to worry about when the opponents start lightening up the fire is whether your shirt matches your socks. You certainly deserve it, and it boosts your confidence and cools your nerves. It is probably too late to become a TED-level speaker two weeks prior to the defense, but it’s not too late to nail an excellent presentation of work. A run-through with colleagues is essential and tremendously helpful. If you got a written comment to your thesis from the committee you should have read it carefully and practiced a few responses to the obvious questions in it. In fact, the committee has better reasons to be nervous than you; the audience want to succeed and be brilliant. If you’re going to have a tough time, have it with style.Generic templates are available in the Resources space, to be filled out under the authority of the dissertation service at the institution where the dissertation is prepared.Vigilance is recommended if a confidentiality clause applies to the doctoral dissertation: the confidentiality notice and the end date must appear on the cover of the dissertation.If you need to buy yourself some time, and you know that you have treated the question somewhere in you thesis, you can lend this dry joke from me: “Hmm, let me read what I think about that…”.If every escape is blocked, and you painted yourself into a corner, you “get a free life” by simply admitting “I don’t know the answer to that question”.Authorization for a defense is granted based on the reports, which are communicated to the jury and the candidate before the defense.The writing language of the thesis must comply with Article L121-3 of the Education Code, relating to the use of the French language.Cases of cotutelles: if specific provisions have been specified in the cotutelle agreement, attach a copy of the agreement when submitting a jury proposal.A defense is public unless a special waiver is granted by the head of the institution, if the dissertation topic is established to be of a confidential nature.


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