Final Defense

All procedures must be finished by the completion deadline the Graduate School has established for the semester. Students should use the completion checklist to make sure they complete all procedures on time.

Prior to determining a defense date, confirm via STARS that you have completed (or will complete by the end of the semester of your final defense) a minimum of 90 graduate credits – 60 in coursework, including a minimum of 30 credits taken at Wayne State University and 30 credits from 7000-level courses and above, and 30 in dissertation research and preparation.

Confirm via STARS that all your Y grades from previous semesters – with the exception of pre-candidacy (9990), candidacy (9991, 9992, 9993, 9994), and post-maintenance (9995) grades – have been changed to letter grades (If this is not the case, contact the instructor listed for the course with the Y grade.) 

Students must be enrolled in the semester of the final defense.

Procedures before the Final Defense

By the end of the fifth week in their graduation term, a candidate must:

Two weeks before the Final Defense, a candidate must:

  • Submit the dissertation manuscript electronically to the Graduate School for a format check after adhering to all the formatting instructions.
  • Receive tentative approval of the dissertation from all members of the dissertation committee by obtaining their signatures on part 1 of the Final Report form. Their signatures on the form indicate approval of the content of the dissertation and its readiness for a public lecture presentation (defense). The graduate director's approval attests the committee meets composition policies. The candidate then submits the Final Report to the Graduate School for approval.
  • The person (either the committee advisor or graduate director) who attests SafeAssign certification has been obtained on the Final Report, must forward the first page of the SafeAssign report to the Ph.D. Office or attach the report to the pre-Defense paperwork for submission to the Graduate School. (See detailed instructions on how to access and print originality reports below.)
  • Obtain committee members' signatures on a new Conflict of Interest form and submit to the Graduate School for approval.
  • Submit the announcement publicizing the Final Defense to the Graduate School.
  • Complete the permission form on the Libraries website, allowing Wayne State University Libraries to make the dissertation available to the Wayne State community and the general public through Digital Commons@WSU. Students can control the level of access to their dissertation/thesis through the permission form.

The Graduate School will verify the appropriateness of the committee on the Final Report form and send the Defense form, along with the Graduate Examiner's Report form, to the dissertation advisor for completion following the defense.

How to access and print SafeAssign originality reports

The advisor or the graduate director is responsible for submitting a SafeAssign originality report to the Graduate School. A SafeAssign originality report can be printed in more than one way. The Graduate School looks at the plagiarism score and the ROOT (who ran the report).

  • In DirectSubmit, once a report has run in its entirety, a green check mark on a piece of paper appears in the column under SA report for that submission. Click on this image and the report will appear.
  • On the right side in a grey box at the top appears the ROOT and below that the plagiarism score*. Right click to print.
  • The report will pop up as a PDF, with the ROOT and the percentage on the left side at the top of the page.

Please note that advisors and graduate directors not currently teaching a course may access SafeAssignment from courses of previous semesters through Blackboard. Choose Course Tools, SafeAssign, then DirectSubmit.

*scores ≥15% require explanation from the one who ran the report. The Graduate School acknowledges acceptable scores may vary across disciplines. Therefore, if a plagiarism check yields a score ≥15%, yet the person who ran the report believes this to be an acceptable score, s/he will be asked to supply a rationale for the acceptability of the score.

Procedures of the Final Defense

The Final Defense is conducted by the student's dissertation advisory committee and is open to the public. It must be publicized by the student's department in advance. The graduate examiner oversees the proceedings and reports the results to the Graduate School. Typically, the dissertation advisor serves as the graduate examiner, though the student or any committee member may request the Graduate School to appoint an external examiner.

The Final Defense consists of:

  1. The first part of the Final Defense is a public presentation in which the candidate presents the methodology, research and results of the investigation to the committee and the audience, then responds to their questions.
  2. In the second part immediately following the public presentation, the candidate meets privately with the committee and responds to further questions about the research and dissertation.
  3. The final phase is the evaluation, in which the committee discusses the candidate's performance, agrees on any revisions the candidate should make to the manuscript and determines whether or not they passed. The candidate is informed of any required revisions.
  4. The committee's decision is then conveyed to the Graduate School via the Final Defense Report form. 

Procedures after the Final Defense

The Graduate School establishes a completion date by which all requirements must be fulfilled for each term for the degree to be certified.

By the established completion date for the semester, a candidate must:

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