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Dissertation Length and Oral Defense

Dissertation length and time to defense

The length of a dissertation is expected to be between 150 and 250 pages (40,000 – 80,000 words). Students must allow at least three weeks between the submission of the final draft of a dissertation and the oral defense. Exceptions in both cases require the approval of all members of the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Oral Defense

All members of the Department – both faculty and graduate students – are welcome at and encouraged to attend the oral defenses of dissertations. Whenever possible, faculty and graduate students should receive notification of the time and place of dissertation defenses at least one week before they take place. Notification is the responsibility of the Chair of the dissertation committee. In addition, students should circulate an abstract of the dissertation (500-1000 words) to all faculty and other graduate students at least one week before their oral defense.