Defending your Master Thesis
The defense can be organised when the supervisor indicates that the work and the report are acceptable. Reports will be screened for plagiarism using Turnitin. The final assessment takes place after the report (thesis) has been submitted and the project has been presented and defended. The version which is submitted will be the final version and cannot be changed unless the Defense Committee assesses the thesis as unacceptable.
On this page:
About a month before the expected graduation date the following matters should be arranged:
Appointing a Defense Committee
You and your supervisor propose potential committee members to the Examinations Board.
The defense committee must satisfy the following conditions:
- The daily supervisor is part of the defense committee;
- Other supervisors can also be part of the defense committee;
- Two members of the defense committee act as reviewers: they read the thesis critically and assess the quality of the projects independently.
- The first reviewer is usually (but not necessarily) the daily supervisor;
- The second reviewer (also known as assessor) is independent and was not involved in the supervision of the student's thesis project;
- At least one of the two reviewers has been granted the status of examiner by the Examinations Board (for the current list of examiners, see below);
- One member of the defense committee chairs the defense session.
The proposal for the committee should contain:
- Your name and student number;
- Your supervisor’s name(s) and research group affiliation;
- Your thesis title and abstract;
- Your desired graduation period;
- The other proposed defense committee members and their roles in the committee.
Reserving a Location
Once you know the date, you send an email to Naomi Prins to reserve a room. The size of the room depends on the expected number of people, so we kindly ask you to indicate this number. Nearly all candidate rooms have a beamer and overhead projector, but it is your responsibility to make sure that everything works and to arrange possible special needs.
Inviting the Audience
The thesis defense session is public, and you can invite anyone, including family and friends. Your advisors can invite people as well. Since there will be no general announcement of newsletter by the University, you will have to invite people yourself.
Defending your Master Thesis
Once you have finished your research and you have written a report approved by your supervisor, you are ready to defend your Master Thesis project. This involves:
1. Delivering the Thesis to the Defense Committee
You should give a printed copy to each member of the Defense Committee; electronic versions are only acceptable as a substitute if a committee member agrees. Please make sure the copies are delivered to the Committee members at least two weeks (14 days) before the Master Thesis defense will take place.
2. The Examination Session – Master Thesis defense
The examination session contains 3 parts. Budget about 1.5 hours for the whole process:
- Your presentation about your work, in English, should take approximately 25 minutes. This presentation should strive for a nice balance between a general introduction, so that the lay members of the public know what you have done and why, and a more technical part for your peers. You are not required to go into all the details, since the committee members have read your thesis. After the presentation, the audience has the opportunity to ask questions.
- Questions from the Defense Committee, for about 30 minutes. Each member will ask 2 or 3 questions on your thesis and work, moderated by the session chair. Experts typically ask detailed questions, whereas the 'outside' member may want you to take a more contextual view of what you have done.
- The committee withdraws for 10-15 minutes to decide upon your grade using an evaluation form, with supporting information from your supervisor. You will be invited in and they will explain the final grade to you in a closed session. You then return to the presentation room together and subsequently your supervisor is invited to speak some congratulatory words.
The grade is determined by the committee members and should be stated on the Final assessment form. The form can be found below. The examiner has to send the form to the ESC Servicedesk, Science Park 904.