GUIDANCE FOR PRIMARY THESIS ADVISORS

We ask all primary thesis advisors to be empathetic to the diverse impacts that the COVID-19 crisis is having on students and work with their students collaboratively to see them through the thesis process.

The CHC recognizes that the COVID-19 crisis and statewide stay-at-home order will critically impact some students’ thesis projects and prevent their completion. The CHC will not be waiving the thesis requirement for graduation, and instead asks primary thesis advisors to work with their students to find alternative ways to complete a thesis-qualifying project. These could include:

  • A critical review of the academic literature
  • An analysis of existing or publicly available data
  • A detailed research design that includes explorations of relevant existing literature, methodologies, hypotheses, and the implications of potential outcomes. (Note: this should expand significantly on the scope of the thesis prospectus).
  • For theses that would have required an exhibit or performance, a critical contextualization of the project accompanied by a detailed description of the planned creative piece.

The statewide stay-at-home order and the university’s decision to offer remote instruction collectively dictate that an in-person oral defense cannot be required of students. Advisors and students are encouraged to work together to decide whether to conduct a remote oral defense via Zoom or some similar platform, or to simply waive the oral defense and have the committee provide feedback on the thesis via email. Students will be asked to communicate their preferred option to the CHC and set a date for either the defense (on or before May 29) or submission of the written thesis for evaluation (on or before May 20) to the CHC by April 10. See more details on these options below.

In order to support students in focusing on completing their thesis under difficult conditions, the CHC will not be awarding thesis grades (Pass with Honors, Pass with Distinction). All theses will be evaluated on the following basis: Pass, Conditional Pass, and No Pass. Theses receiving a Conditional Pass must have required revisions that must be completed and approved by the primary thesis advisor before the June 4 final submission deadline. Advisors who find the student’s work to be exceptionally meritorious should nominate their student for a thesis award to recognize their achievement. Nominations for thesis awards does not require the student to complete an oral defense. Information on the nomination process will be sent to the primary thesis advisor following completion of the defense.

Remote Oral Defense Procedures

If a student would like to have an oral defense for their thesis, the student should first consult with their primary thesis advisor. In order to hold an oral defense, the primary thesis advisor and one other committee member must participate. The third committee member (if second reader or CHC representative) may submit written comments/questions in advance of the defense if they are not willing or able to participate in the remote defense. If the primary thesis advisor is not able to participate in an oral defense or if they are the only committee member able to attend, please follow the procedures for completing the thesis without an oral defense.

The student is responsible for scheduling their Thesis Defense with their Thesis Committee (all three members). The defense date must be on or before Friday, May 29.

The student is expected to provide their Thesis Committee and Academic & Thesis Programs Manager with the Thesis Draft in the manner each member would like to receive it (electronically as a Word document or as a PDF) at least ten days before the scheduled defense. The Committee can choose to cancel a defense if any one of the three has not received the Thesis Draft by seven calendar days before the defense.

There is significant flexibility in the structure of the remote oral defense. Options include:

  • Live oral presentation of the thesis followed by Q&A
  • A pre-recorded presentation of the thesis shared with the committee in advance, and Q&A only during the oral defense
  • Q&A only, with no formal oral presentation of the thesis

The primary thesis advisor, CHC representative, and the student should work together to decide on the planned structure and communicate it to the rest of the committee in advance of the defense. The CHC Representative is responsible for creating the remote meeting, whether on Zoom or a related platform.

Following the oral defense, the student should leave the meeting or be assigned to a virtual breakout room to provide the committee with time to deliberate. The committee may also choose to end the meeting and deliberate over email. Please note that the committee is only deciding between Pass, Conditional Pass (required revisions), and No Pass evaluation options. No thesis grades (Pass with Honors, Pass with Distinction) will be awarded in Spring 2020. If the student has done exceptional work, we ask the primary thesis advisor to recognize this by nominating the student for a thesis award. The committee may choose to ask the student to re-enter the meeting to provide the result or provide the result to the student over email. The committee will provide information on any necessary revisions, which the primary thesis advisor will detail for the student either at that moment or in a subsequent appointment. 

In place of the thesis evaluation form, the CHC representative will collect the approvals of the individual committee members (either verbally or over email) and convey the committee’s decision (Pass, No Pass, or Conditional Pass with a description of any necessary revisions) to Miriam Jordan via email with the full committee cc’d on the email.

Please see the full thesis defense guidelines and our FAQ  for more details. You may also contact Academic & Thesis Programs Manager Miriam Jordan (mjordan@uoregon.edu) or Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Daphne Gallagher (daphne@uoregon.edu) with any questions.

Completing the Thesis without an Oral Defense

If either the student, the primary advisor, OR the other two members of the committee would like to waive the oral defense process and instead base the evaluation solely on the thesis as written, then the evaluation of the thesis will proceed without an oral defense.

The student is responsible for coordinating with their committee to determine a planned date of submission of the thesis document. This date must be on or before Wednesday, May 20.

On the day the student is scheduled to submit their thesis for evaluation, they should provide their Thesis Committee and Academic & Thesis Programs Manager with the Thesis Draft in the manner each member would like to receive it (electronically as a Word document or as a PDF) on the agreed upon date for your thesis submission.  The Committee can choose to cancel an evaluation if any one of the three has not received the Thesis Draft by this date. The committee’s decision must be conferred by Friday, May 29.

Once the thesis is submitted to the committee, the CHC representative is responsible for coordinating the evaluation of the thesis. Committee members will have 10 calendar days to read the thesis and share their comments with the other committee members. The committee has the option of either corresponding over email, holding a zoom or other remote meeting platform without the student present to share their thoughts on the thesis and deliberate on the outcome, or a combination thereof. During the evaluation period, informal one-on-one or small group discussions between the student and committee members about the project may take place but cannot be required.

Once the committee has decided on an outcome, the primary thesis advisor will notify the student within 10 days after the thesis has been submitted. The committee will provide information on any necessary revisions, which the primary thesis advisor will detail for the student. Please note that the committee is only deciding between Pass, Conditional Pass (required revisions), and No Pass evaluation options. No thesis grades (Pass with Honors, Pass with Distinction) will be awarded in Spring 2020. If the student has done exceptional work, we ask the primary thesis advisor to recognize this by nominating the student for a thesis award.

In place of the thesis evaluation form, the CHC representative will collect the approvals of the individual committee members (either verbally or over email) and convey the committee’s decision (Pass, No Pass, or Conditional Pass with a description of any necessary revisions) to Miriam Jordan via email with the full committee cc’d on the email.

Please see the full thesis defense guidelines and our FAQ for more details. You may also contact Academic & Thesis Programs Manager Miriam Jordan (mjordan@uoregon.edu) or Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Daphne Gallagher (daphne@uoregon.edu) with any questions.

Related links: 

POST-THESIS DEFENSE AND FORMATTING SPRING 2020 GUIDELINES

THESIS DEFENSE GUIDELINES SPRING 2020

THESIS DEFENSE FAQ