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3.5.8 - Defense of the Thesis

At least 10 working days prior to the defense of the thesis, the chair of the student's committee must send a memorandum including a list of all committee members, the date of the defense, and a Request for Thesis Defense form to the Graduate College.

The defense may be oral, written, or a combination of oral and written. It may be restricted to the defense of the thesis and/or cover the coursework required for the degree. Advances in electronic media have made it possible for the oral defense to be held without the presence of every member at the same location. The Graduate College must be notified of remote participation in advance of the defense. The student, the committee chair, and a majority of thesis committee members must be physically present at the same location. Other committee members may participate remotely via audio or video conference. Nevertheless, the integrity and significance of the oral examination process must not be compromised by the absence of a sound committee. Copies of electronic signatures for committee members who have been approved to participate remotely will be accepted on the Authority Report Form for the Thesis Defense. Original signatures from all members are required on the final thesis signature page.

Within 72 hours after the thesis defense, the authority form must be returned to the Graduate College with the results and signatures of all committee members. A unanimous vote concerning the candidate's performance in defending the thesis is expected; however, some dissenting votes may be cast. If one member dissents, a minority report must be filed with the Graduate Dean. If the committee consists of three members of whom two dissent, the performance is graded as unsatisfactory. If the committee consists of more than three members and two dissents, a minority report must be filed and the Graduate Dean will investigate. The Dean's decision will be final. If more than two members cast an unsatisfactory vote, the defense is to be graded unsatisfactory.

Only one attempt is afforded the candidate in defending the thesis. If the defense is graded unsatisfactory, this decision is final and the defense cannot be repeated. Courses taken prior to failing the thesis defense can count for no more than 25% of the credit hours required for a master's degree at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. These courses must be applied to an academic program other than the one in which the student failed the defense. The student must gain admission to a different program and have the permission from that department and the Dean of the Graduate College to include any courses used for the previous graduate program.

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