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Thesis Defense

  1. Jul 2, 2005 #1
    For the prospective graduate student, will anyone provide a link that displays a graduate student defending his/her thesis? It must be intense.

    Just want to know what it's like.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2005 #2
    Just carry a 9mm, and you should be fine.

  4. Jul 2, 2005 #3
    I was under the impression that violence does not solve anything.
  5. Jul 2, 2005 #4


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    Well, welcome to the world of graduate school
  6. Jul 2, 2005 #5


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    the preliminry oral is more intense than the defense, since the prelim examines general expertise, which the examiners have more of than the candidate. the defense examines the thesis which the candidate hopefully understands better than the examiners.
  7. Jul 2, 2005 #6


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    At my thesis defense I just presented the basic idea of the thesis and then answered a few questions. After all, this was one topic on which I knew more than they did! It is a good idea to go over your thesis in detail with your thesis advisor beforehand.
    Now my preliminary oral- that was a hoot! One of the questioners asked me to write Euler's derivative formula (for complex variables), which I did, then asked "What do you think of it?"! I was tempted to answer "Oh, I think it's very nice." but realized what he really wanted was for me to discuss the various applications.
  8. Jul 2, 2005 #7


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    in my preliminary oral they tested my knowledge of my general area, and kept on until they found something i did not know too well. then they waited to see what i would do. so i chose an example, analyzed it and satisfied them.

    here is on warning n what not to do:

    after answering all their questions, one harmless seeming older gentleman asked out loud: are we restricted to asking only questions on this one topic? and I, unbelievably stupidly, said " ask me anything you want"

    of course the next question was about a subject i knew zippo about. i manged to bluff, but do not think i fooled anyone.

    needless to say, do not do that unless you wish to spoil the good impression of successful performance! just be glad to be out of there.
  9. Jul 2, 2005 #8
    So how would you respond differentely to that question then?

    Answer what I can?

    Who is your audience anyway? Just the general public?

    "One of the questioners asked me to write Euler's derivative formula (for complex variables)" If they are going to ask you about applications to mathematics I bet it must be intense. How do would you study for these things anyway?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2005
  10. Jul 2, 2005 #9


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    well in my case i think the rest of the audience, which was the other professors on my committee were trying to tell the guy that such questions were not in order, and i overruled them. i.e. they were trying to say i ahd pased and to get out of there, so at any sign of a light at the end of the tunnel, take it and quit.

    there is no way to study specifically for an exam designed to see what you know and what you do when you don't know something. i think my behavior when stumped, i.e. taking a simple example and anayzing it, was correct.

    i just should have quit while i was ahead.
  11. Aug 27, 2005 #10
    So, how often do people fail the oral exam and what happens afterward?

    That would be a dreaded nightmare.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2005
  12. Aug 27, 2005 #11
    I figured the student would be able to do the defense over again. Spending all of that time working toward a PhD and then failing the oral exam seems insane, and you'd have to be given a second chance. Afterall, most likely, the university has been paying for your graduate education and they are eager to see you graduate!
  13. Aug 27, 2005 #12
    How much time does that all take? I heard that it goes on for 3 hours.
  14. Aug 28, 2005 #13
    I heard of people not passing prelims...in CS though. And then that person decided to transfer to some California university. I guess they took him :confused:
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