The Best Way to Survive Thesis Defense Process for Your Economics PhD

Most economic Ph.D. students perceive their thesis writing process as tasking. It requires plenty of dedication in terms of time, energy, and resources to research and write. Therefore, you can imagine the euphoria that results from the completion of such a process. But, to say students do not dread the next phase upon completing the thesis would come as an understatement. The thesis defense process can become overwhelming, especially for students who have no prior experience. But how can you survive the process? How can you defend your economics Ph.D. successfully?

Defending Your Economics Ph.D. Thesis

You have to embrace a couple of things before successfully defending your economics Ph.D. thesis. It can become embarrassing to struggle in putting the thesis together after a few years of research, and then fail to articulate what it all entails before the defense committee. To defend your thesis, consider the following.

Prepare well before the defense. It becomes essential to do plenty of practice to become comfortable with the thesis defense process. Try and get a room of similar size to the one you will use during the defense and practice by presenting your thesis to colleagues or friends. It would help if you considered running through the entire presentation and including questions and slides to familiarize yourself with the thesis presentation format. Watching other students defend their thesis can also come in handy in understanding what to anticipate. Attend some departmental thesis defense sessions to get a sense of what the appropriate style and atmosphere entails. Additionally, confer with your supervisor’s weeks before defending your thesis to understand any concerns they might have and would like you to address. Further, try and do a test run to ascertain whether the audiovisual equipment will display your slides and images correctly.

Defending your thesis

It will be vital to ensure that your presentation runs smoothly yet not robotic. So avoid trying to memorize your presentation's exact particulars and do not read directly from your slides. To succeed, talk naturally and conversationally and utilize flash cards. Additionally, breathe deeply to take away the nerves to present the contents of the thesis methodically without talking too fast. It is also vital to time or has yourself timed before the actual presentation to ensure you defend your thesis within the allotted timeline.    

Try and ensure your slides prove minimalist, with as little text as possible for the benefit of your audience and yourself. Your slides should have some key points to jog your memory on the topics and provide the audience's basic outline.  So impress the defense panel by having your materials confined to the essentials with any other extra material in the appendix slide. When someone asks a pertinent question regarding something you had no time to touch on during the presentation, refer them to the correct appendix slide. Additionally, do not forget to dress sharp but comfortably.

Dealing with the questions

Most students dread the questions section after the completion of the presentation. At times, the committee members ask difficult or probing questions to gauge your comprehension of the material and not make you fail. Remember, it comes as no crime to admit not knowing the answer, but try and speculate the answer provided it entails what your work encompasses. It can also prove wise to narrate how you can address the problem in future studies. Finally, ask for clarification on questions not captured before answering as individuals can sometimes ramble when asking questions.


The defense process for your economics Ph.D. proves vital to your thesis success. So adhere to these guidelines to ensure you get prepared to present your thesis brilliantly.

Writing Ideas

Organize your thoughts

By keeping your mind intact you make yourself more resistant to stress, and writing an academic paper is surely a lot of stress. You may feel better if you organize your working space, too. Make sure you have everything you need on the table, and that it’s comfortable to sit and write for a couple of hours. Create the working space that will make you want to be there for longer and work harder.

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