Masters/Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Oral Defense Slides

You have completed your thesis proposal, and it is now time to make a presentation. This part, just like the rest, is vital since it will determine how soon your name will find its way to the graduation list. Here are a number of issues that one needs to consider when preparing for an oral presentation.

Time Recommendation for The Oral Presentation

Ensure that your oral defense PowerPoint covers a minimum of 20 minutes but can go as high as 40 minutes. Also, remember to reserve some time for questions and answers. Overall, your defense should take a maximum of two hours.

Usually, the student, the chair, and a second committee member will attend the oral defense. However, if your member doesn’t show up, the chair can proceed to conduct the excise. The member who misses the event will review it later and provide their vote.

As you prepare for the defense, ensure to take time and proofread the slides. Makes edits where possible. Each slide should contain the same background and font.

Notes of Your Oral Defense

Be keen not to use many colors to avoid distractions.

Before stepping into that defense room, rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse and have it at the back of your mind that time is of the essence and, therefore, should be kept. Your appearance needs to be professional and maintain a smooth flow of your content all along the presentation. Avoid the temptation of reading the slides to your audience as this might create a wrong impression to you assessors. Your slides have the sole purpose of being a guide. Where possible, employ graphics relevant to your topic to help to put your points across.

Graphic Suggestion

Notably, PowerPoint presentation needs to contain insignificant verbiage

It should have a maximum of five bullet points or say two brief sentences.

What Happens During Your Defense?

In case you conduct the defense on the mobile phone or PC with your committee members, forward your slides to them before presentation time.

First, you will make your presentation, and then the committee will present their questions to you for answers.

During the Oral Defense

The committee makes a vote

The presentation is accepted or accepted but needs a few revisions here and there under the chair’s supervision.

On the other hand, the presentation may be declined. In such an instance, one will be required to make significant changes subject to committee review, but no oral presentation is required.

Also, the presentation may be declined and major revisions demanded by the committee members subject to their review with additional oral presentation.

Now, it is time to delve how your proposal PowerPoint should be like

The slide (Title Page) should contain;

Your name

Presentation date

The degree program you are enrolled in and are of specialization

Proposal oral defense

The following slide should contain the background of your research

In this area, provide a summary of your literature research concerning the topic. Provide a vivid explanation regarding the gap in the knowledge your study will address

Problem Statement

Expressly state the research problem. As a researcher, you ought to give evidence of consensus that indeed your problem is current and significant to the discipline. Importantly, your problem should be designed so that it either builds upon or counters the research already carried out. 

Purpose of Study

Your committee members need to know whether your study is qualitative or quantitative or if it takes a mix of the two has been employed. Ensure to discuss the study’s intent and remember to provide both the independent, dependent variables and covariate variables as may be applicable.


In the slides above, you have stated the method to be applied in your research. In the design/method part, you need to tell your assessors what you chose above will help you accomplish. In this case, you will need to say such statements as “employing this method will enable me to…..”

Sample size or participants

In this part, state your intent to use either secondary data or primary data in a bid to accomplish your goal. This is the point where you will point out where you have selected your sample size from. Also, provide the criteria you used to include or exclude the participants. Additionally, give the power calculations in a quantitative study or the proposed sample size in qualitative research.

Collection of data

State the criteria you will use to collect your data, either primary or secondary data. Also, mention the software you are going to use and the instrument or survey to be used.

Analyzing Data Plan

Here, each question of the research is stated with the proposed analysis plan.

Implications for the Study (Social)

This is the stage where you give the expected implications, especially for positive social change. Bound yourself by the study scope.


Thank the committee members for according you their time to make the presentation.

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