FAQ regarding thesis defense for Spring, 2020

Can I hold my defense in person if my committee agrees?

The CHC is following University of Oregon and state regulations regarding in-person meetings for academic purposes. Under the current stay-at-home order, in-person thesis defenses are not allowed. We will update this if the situation changes.

My primary thesis advisor/the student doesn’t want to have an oral defense. However, I consider it an important part of the thesis process. What can I do?

There are many reasons that a student or faculty member may be unable to participate in an oral defense, and we ask everyone to respect the limitations of all parties during this difficult time. If you are unable to hold a formal defense, you will need to follow the procedures outlined for completing the thesis without an oral defense to fulfill the CHC thesis requirement. Please note that during the evaluation period, informal one-on-one or small group discussions between the student and/or committee members about the project may take place but they cannot be required.

What if the university returns to normal business? Will the CHC revert to using its standard thesis defense procedures?

The CHC will use this revised procedure in Spring 2020 regardless of changes in university operations.

I scheduled an oral defense, but my situation has changed and now I want to waive the oral defense. Can I change my mind?

Yes, you may change your mind. You will still need to provide the completed draft of the thesis to your committee 10 days in advance of the scheduled oral defense date. Your committee will then follow the procedure for completing your thesis without an oral defense. Please notify Miriam Jordan (mjordan@uoregon.edu) regarding the change.

My thesis is also fulfilling the thesis requirement to graduate with Honors from my major department. Do these changes also apply to my major department’s requirements?

These changes only apply to the CHC thesis requirement. Please work with your primary thesis advisor to determine how the CHC’s spring term thesis guidelines interface with any changes to your department’s thesis requirement.

What happens if a member of my thesis committee gets sick and is unable to participate in the defense and/or sign off on the final thesis?

If a member of your thesis committee is unable to attend the oral defense but can still provide approval of the thesis, the defense may proceed with only a subset of the committee present.

If a member of your committee is no longer able to continue with the thesis process, please contact Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Daphne Gallagher (daphne@uoregon.edu). She will work with you to identify appropriate replacement committee members. If needed, the CHC will provide additional CHC representatives to complete the committee.

The committee feels that a thesis merits Pass with Distinction. Why aren’t we allowed to award this grade to the student?

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many students in different ways. The CHC made the decision to not award thesis grades in Spring 2020 in recognition of the fact that for many students, their thesis may not be the project they envisioned or intended. Our goal is to allow students to focus on completing the thesis without adding stress regarding the grade the thesis will receive. The CHC will give thesis awards, and we strongly encourage primary thesis advisors who feel the student’s thesis is of exceptional quality and merits recognition to nominate the student for a thesis award.

My student did not opt for an oral defense. May I still nominate them for a thesis award?

Yes. Any student who did exceptional work for their thesis may be nominated for a thesis award, regardless of the procedure by which their thesis was approved.

My student did exceptional work, but due to COVID-19, their written thesis does not fully reflect the work they put in to the project. May I still nominate them for a thesis award?

Yes. We ask primary thesis advisors to nominate all deserving students for a thesis award. In your nomination letter, you may discuss the full body of work related to the thesis, including any work that was intended for the thesis but not incorporated in the final version due to COVID-19 related disruptions.