To begin with, we want to tell you the whole truth: in the committee that will hear you, no one has any idea what your thesis is about, apart from your supervisor and co-supervisor.
Thesis discussion: some important details
You are the most experienced. You are the person who knows, who has spent months on that job and is there to present the results.
Agree with your supervisor what the concepts to avoid are to be discounted and elementary and which have more importance.
Your advisor will support you in the discussion. If he does not, he thinks you are facing university professors who will not have perfect mastery of your specific topic. So talk about what you know and start from the most solid positions.
How long is the discussion of the thesis
The time you will be allowed can range from 5 to 20 minutes. It depends on the University. Don’t complain in any case but adapt your presentation to the scheduled time.
When the time comes, you will be called by the commission. Your advisor will briefly present your work and then give you the floor. If it does not do this: no worries. All right, it’s your time.
Sit down, say goodbye to the commission with all possible security, make a smile, take a deep breath and start. Everything will be fine.
Useful suggestions for the discussion of the thesis
Some suggestions for the speech:
Don’t study it by heart. Better a lineup with ideas to argue than the whole speech. The meaning of what you want to say is important, focus on that!
Do not read. We cannot read during the discussion! If you take notes with you, know that reading them will be very difficult. Better to get yourself an anti-stress object to hold in your hand (pen, laser pointer).
Try the speech at home, maybe in front of the mirror and watch your watch. You must respect the established times and maybe wait for any questions to learn more.
Try the speech in front of someone, maybe a person who knows how to criticize.
Emphasize the strengths of the research, without exaggerating or showing you “pedantic”. Better to say “I tried to prove” that “I HAVE DEMONSTRATED”.
If you have 15 minutes available you can organize yourself as follows:
– 2-4 min. topic, thesis index and introduction
– 6-8 min. description of your work: your key contribution, don’t miss out on boring presentations of existing literature or bibliography you have referred to. It’s your moment. Have your say!
– 5 min. conclusions
Adjust these times based on the total minutes you are assigned.
Here is the example of a typical lineup (useful to present also to the commission to show how you moved):
Reason for choosing that precise topic
What did you see, done in the first person?
What can you conclude
Open problems / state of the art of your project / your personal opinion or proactive design in this regard
If you are interrupted, pay attention to the question you are asked, and do not be in a hurry to take back your lineup.
If during the presentation of the thesis you are asked to tighten the deadlines and go to conclusions, do as they ask. Not necessarily these cases are a sign that you are going wrong, indeed … the questions usually indicate that you have been so interesting that they have even listened to you!
After the answer to the question that was asked to you, return to the topic in a harmonious way, not having the pressure of your lineup of speech. You will need to know how to adapt your speech to events.
Look at the commission members. It is an attitude that denotes security. You are not a statue, you can move your face and the look captures the interest.
Avoid terms in other languages if you don’t know how to pronounce them correctly.
When you have finished, the committee chair will invite you to leave. Sometimes the commission decides after each student the graduation grade, other times after the discussion of all the students of the session.
Small note of style: at the time of the proclamation of the vote, shake hands with the members of the commission, preferably starting from the commission president (the one who makes the proclamation) and then … you can give yourself to the mad joy!
Whatever happens … it will certainly be a success. A closure for a new departure.
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