Dissertation Defense Guidelines

Doctoral Dissertation Defense Committee

The following guidelines are to be followed for membership on a Doctoral Defense Committee

Any tenured or tenure-track Case Western Reserve University faculty member, and any full-time CWRU faculty member whose primary duties include research and who is authorized to serve on a PhD dissertation committee by their school/college, may serve on a PhD dissertation committee.

Any appropriate researcher may serve on a PhD committee upon approval by the dean of Graduate Studies of a request by the program or department. A petition with the rationale for the request must be presented to the Dean along with the proposed member's curriculum vitae.

Dissertation Defenses in Absentia

Policy on the presence of dissertation defense committee members at the defense

All members of the dissertation defense committee and the student must be present at the defense. Exceptions to this rule, which can only be made by the dean of Graduate Studies and only in extraordinary circumstances, are:

  • An absent committee member must participate through real-time video conferencing, at departmental expense. However, a defense must be rescheduled if two or more voting members are absent.
  • If such video conferencing is not available, the absent member may participate through telephone conferencing.