Dissertation Defense Details

The Committee

Your dissertation committee consists of your director, two additional members of the English Graduate faculty, and a member of the graduate faculty from outside the department of English. Once you have chosen your committee you will need to complete the Committee Appointment Form and turn it in to the Administrative Assistant (all 3 UofL faculty must sign the form).

Outside Reader

If your Outside Reader resides out of state they may e-mail the Administrative Assistant directly from their University e-mail account stating that they have agreed to serve on your committee.  They should also attach a current CV to this email. The Administrative Assistant will then pass this CV along with a request to have the outside reader granted Ad Hoc graduate faculty status.


A dissertation requires specific formatting created and approved by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. More information on formatting procedures can be found on their website. Specific directions on how to format the signature sheet are available on page 16. Some time prior to turning in the final thesis the student must contact Courtney Kerr to set up a formatting review of their thesis. The department does not review formatting procedures.

Scheduling the Defense

The student is responsible for contacting all members of the dissertation committee to schedule the defense. Deadlines for reporting information and for scheduling the defense are available on the graduate program calendar. To officially schedule a defense the student must complete the Scheduling a Defense Form at least 3 weeks prior to the date of the defense to allow time for room scheduling.

The deadline for the defense is in accordance with SIGS guidelines (at least 14 days prior to the date to turn in the completed thesis). This guideline is in effect to allow all paperwork to reach SIGS in time and allow the student to make any changes suggested by the committee. If you are unable to defend by the date provided on the graduate program calendar and unable to defer to the next semester you will need to contact Courtney Kerr to request an extension. Copy the Administrative Assistant on this email.

The Defense

The dissertation defense is usually scheduled for approximately 2 hours, allowing time for a presentation by the student and follow up questions by the committee. The exact format of your presentation and the follow up portion should be discussed with your director.


Prior to the defense your director should pick up the defense folder. The folder contains two forms for you to complete (the Student Survey and Student SLO report). You will be asked to include a current CV as well (this CV should show your PhD degree). Your three English Department readers will have a Faculty SLO report and your outside reader will have an outside reader comment sheet. Please have your director collect these sheet and turn them in to HM 315 at the conclusion of the discussion.