Thesis Defense

Note: Most of the below information has been adopted from Dr. Eric Sterling’s procedures for the MLA program. I have altered only those parts that apply specifically to the MTW. Thank you to Dr. Sterling and the graduate office for this information.


Provide a twenty minute overview of your thesis in which you present your work, tell how you became interested in the topic, discuss major themes and points, tell what you learned, and then answer questions. You may invite anyone you want. You can bring notes, an outline, and your entire thesis. Please tell me in advance if you need access to technology so we can reserve a suitable classroom.

The thesis defense should take place at least a week before finals, but several weeks before is preferable. You also need to send me a title, a short synopsis of your thesis, and a short bio ( a week before your defense) so that I can announce it to the department of English and on social media.


I will give you an exit questionnaire. This questionnaire asks you about the quality of the knowledge you’ve gained in your coursework and your ability to meet the objectives listed below.

After completing this course of study, students will be able to:
1. Design and develop materials appropriate to a range of instruction in writing for a range of student populations;
2. Apply theoretical knowledge of composition to writing instruction;
3. Select and use appropriate strategies for the development and practice of teaching writing;
4. Demonstrate knowledge of composition studies.


You have to be registered for a course or for REGL 1110 in the semester in which you graduate in order to use the library and to qualify as a student at AUM. You must also register online for graduation by the end of the first week of the semester in which you graduate. You may register a few weeks before the semester begins if you wish. If you don’t graduate that semester, you have to register online for graduation again the following semester (but the fee will be waived for the second time).


The Associate Provost would like to see a Table of Contents page in the thesis, but an Acknowledgments and Dedication page are optional.

See example of formatting for opening pages: Leiferopeningpgs

If the two member thesis committee and the Associate Provost support the thesis and sign the signature page, then the thesis is approved and the student graduates. The signature pages must first be signed by BOTH committee members. If your full committee hasn’t signed the signature pages, that suggests that they haven’t approved your thesis, so the Associate Provost won’t read it.  Give the Associate Provost the signature pages on the thesis paper when you submit your thesis copy to him so that you don’t have to find him later to get the signatures.

The Associate Provost reads the thesis carefully, so please proofread. If there are many problems and he doesn’t sign the pages, you won’t graduate. You can make any changes he requests after he returns the thesis to you. You can also make minor revisions to your thesis after you submit the thesis to him, such as after your defense or as you continue to rethink things while he is holding your thesis. You can defend while you are waiting for him to approve your thesis or even before you submit it to him, provided that your thesis committee is willing to let you defend.

After the Associate Provost approves your thesis and you defend your project, if you want to purchase copies, you need to show your thesis to the Dean of the AUM Library, whose office is on the second floor of the Library. For each copy you buy, you give the Dean of the Library one copy of the thesis on thesis paper (including the signature page). You need to pay the library dean for the binding of each copy of your thesis. The final step is for you to send Samantha McNeilly an copy of your thesis (for AUM Library records). You send it to her (and copy it to me) by email attachment. Her email address is

Most of this process is electronic now, so you are under no obligation to purchase hard copies or provide them for your committee. You WILL need to scan the signature pages. It’s important to consult with a student who recently graduated to hear their experience with this process. You may also ask your thesis director.