THESIS DEFENSE: SPRING 2020 GUIDELINES

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and decision by the University of Oregon to offer instruction remotely in Spring 2020, the CHC has made alterations to our thesis defense guidelines. The main changes are as follows:

  • The oral defense requirement has been waived; a remote oral defense is optional for all students
  • Theses will not be graded. The only outcomes are Pass/No Pass.
  • All signature requirements are replaced with email approvals.

We are asking all students who intended to defend in Spring 2020 to consult with their thesis committee and complete a Qualtrics form by Friday, April 10. In that form, students will be asked to select one of three options:

Option A: I will complete my thesis in Spring 2020, and my committee intends to hold an oral defense using a remote option such as Zoom.

If you choose this option, you will be asked to provide the time and date for your remote thesis defense (no later than Friday, May 29), the title of your thesis, and the names and email addresses of your committee.

Option B: I will complete my thesis in Spring 2020 and will not present an oral defense.

If you choose this option, you will be asked to provide a submission date by which you will send your thesis to your committee members (no later than Wednesday, May 20), and the names and email addresses of your committee.

Option C: Due to the impacts of COVID-19, I am concerned that I will no longer be able to complete my thesis as planned in Spring 2020.

If you choose this option, you will be asked to provide the names and email addresses of your committee, as well to choose one of the following options:

  1. I intend to defend my thesis during a later term (e.g. Fall 2020).
  2. I need to change the nature of my thesis project in order to graduate at the end of Spring 2020.

OPTION A: THE REMOTE ORAL DEFENSE

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 student may use email or http://doodle.com/ to initiate a scheduling poll. Once a date and time when everyone on the Committee can attend is confirmed, the student should complete the scheduling Qualtrics form. Miriam Jordan will then email the committee to confirm the planned defense date. The defense date must be on or before Friday, May 29.

Preparing and Distributing the Thesis Draft for your Defense

Use the Thesis Template (CHC Thesis Template) to assist you in formatting your Thesis to UO formatting guidelines. Please be advised that the CHC must insist on adherence to UO formatting specifications. If the format is incorrect, corrections will be requested. You can find more details on the formatting requirements in the Post-Defense and Formatting Procedures. 

Provide your Thesis Committee 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.

Students are also required to provide an electronic copy, in MS Word, of the Thesis Draft to the Academic and Thesis Programs Manager (mjordan@uoregon.edu) ten (10) days before the scheduled thesis defense. Formatting will be checked to ensure that it meets UO formatting guidelines so that corrections can be made prior to final submission. Ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to ensure the thesis is correct and meets UO specifications.

Thesis Defense Procedure

The CHC Representative is responsible for creating the remote meeting, whether on Zoom or a related platform.

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.

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.

After the defense, the student will make final revisions to the thesis as requested by the committee and prepare the Final Electronic Archival Copy of the Thesis for submission via email to the Academic & Thesis Programs Manager (mjordan@uoregon.edu) by noon on Thursday June 4.

See Spring 2020 Post-Defense and Formatting Procedures for further details on preparing the Final Electronic Archival Copy of the Thesis.

OPTION B: 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. Once a date is decided upon, the student should complete the scheduling Qualtrics form. Miriam Jordan will then email the committee to confirm the planned thesis submission date.

Preparing and Submitting the Thesis Draft for Evaluation

Use the Thesis Template (CHC Thesis Template) to assist you in formatting your Thesis to UO formatting guidelines. Please be advised that the CHC must insist on adherence to UO formatting specifications. If the format is incorrect, corrections will be requested. You can find more details on the formatting requirements in the Post-Defense and Formatting Procedures. 

Provide your Thesis Committee 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 the 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.

Students are also required to provide an electronic copy, in MS Word, of the Thesis Draft to the Academic & Thesis Programs Manager Miriam Jordan (mjordan@uoregon.edu) by their thesis submission date. Formatting will be checked to ensure that it meets UO formatting guidelines so that corrections can be made prior to final submission. Ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to ensure the thesis is correct and meets UO specifications.

Evaluating the Thesis

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 (no later than May 29). 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.

After the defense, the student will make final revisions to the thesis as requested by the committee and prepare the Final Electronic Archival Copy of the Thesis for submission via email to the Academic & Thesis Programs Manager Miriam Jordan (mjordan@uoregon.edu) by noon on Thursday June 4.

See Spring 2020 Post-Defense and Formatting Procedures for further details on preparing the Final Electronic Archival Copy of the Thesis.

OPTION C: UNABLE TO COMPLETE THESIS AS PLANNED

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. We instead ask primary thesis advisors to whenever possible work with their students to find alternative ways to complete a thesis-qualifying project during Spring term.

 Options for alternative theses could, in some circumstances, 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.

If a student selects this option on the Qualtrics form, the CHC Representative and/or the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies will reach out to the primary thesis advisor to discuss the situation and work collaboratively to find an alternative thesis project.

While the CHC hopes to find a solution for all students intending to graduate Spring Term 2020, if a defense does need to be delayed, please keep in mind that you do NOT need to be enrolled in classes during the term in which you defend.

 

Related links: 

POST-DEFENSE AND FORMATTING PROCEDURES SPRING 2020

FAQ REGARDING THESIS DEFENSE SPRING 2020

CHC THESIS TEMPLATE