Congratulations On Defending Your Dissertation

This expert advice comes from Sonja Foss and William Waters - authors of Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation

Sonja Foss would say that the defense begins as soon as you start working on your dissertation (Foss & Waters, 2007). Defense in the context of the dissertating process refers to the presenting, explaining and defending of your ideas. It also includes laying out the rationale behind your choices and decisions, for example, regarding theory selection and research methods. Efforts to recruit your chair and other committee members will entail some of this communication behavior. Seeking approval for your dissertation proposal, the foundation of all your research activities, will also entail a bit of defense.

Throughout the course of the project many exchanges with your chair and other committees will involve explaining and defending your ideas and decision. However, the most important defense is the dissertation defense which comes at the end of a long and arduous process and which may have unfolded over a number of years. The dissertation defense is a significant milestone signaling closure on your graduate student career.

The dissertation defense can be divided into three distinct components (Foss and Waters): the preparation, the defense, and follow-up. A few brief comments about all three follow and a very helpful resource provided a thorough discussion of all three components.


  • Attend the defenses of some of your departmental colleagues or attend defenses in other departments.
  • It is very important to adhere to graduate school rules and deadlines covering the scheduling of a defense.
  • Begin very early to schedule and coordinate the date, time and place for the defense. Committee members and chairs have very busy schedules.
  • Have your manuscript reviewed before the defense to be sure it is consistent with formatting requirements. You want to present a polished document for the faculty to work with in preparation for the defense.
  • Maximize your opportunity in the pre-defense meeting to raise any issues or concerns. Or ask your chairs what questions and issues might be raised during the defense. Prepare to address them.
  • Organize you material for presentation. Create flawless presentation of the material you will be covering on the defense. Finally, practice presenting the material and answering questions.


  • Meetings may begin with brief comments by the chair followed by your comments thanking advisors and committee members for their time and efforts on your behalf.
  • Your presentation material should briefly cover the research question, literature review as it relates to your theory, methods and analysis, major findings and recommendations for future research.
  • During the defense, the faculty may take turns asking you questions and discussing among themselves points of interest or disagreement.
  • Two questions to anticipate include identifying the weaknesses of your study and post-dissertation research plans.
  • When all questions have been asked and answered, you will be asked to leave the room while the committee deliberates. At this time faculty will be deciding by vote whether to pass you on your defense and dissertation.
  • The desired outcome of this meeting is the chair's greeting you with the statement "Congratulations, Dr. _." (Foss and Waters, 2007). The defense was successful and the committed has passed your dissertation.


  • You may plan a small reception for the committee, friends and family. Check to see what the norms are in your department on post-defense celebrations.
  • Next day attend to the revisions the committee asked you make to the work.
  • You may want to provide bound copies of your work to your chair, committee members, family and friends. You may also be required to provide copies to your department and library. Create a budget for handling the incidental related to publishing and ordering additional copies of your manuscript.


About the Authors: Co-authors of Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation, Dr. Foss is a professor of Communications at University of Colorado, Denver, and Dr. Waters is an assistant professor of English at University of Houston-Downtown, They are co-directors of Scholar’s Retreat, a program to support progress towards completion of your dissertation, thesis or writing project. 

Congratulations Messages and wishes for Doctorate/ PHD! If you are searching for the best congratulation message that you can send for your friend or maybe a family member who just successfully done the doctorate or PhD degree, then you have reached the right spot.In this article you will find the perfect congratulation messages for doctorate or PhD.

A thoughtful Doctorate or PhD congratulation message can really mean a lot to someone who has successfully and proficiently completed and graduated  his/her doctorate /PhD’s. Here you will find an excellent collection of congratulation messages for doctorate and PhD graduates which can be easily used to congratulate your friends or relatives on their completion of Doctorate or PHD. 

So stop searching as you have reached the right spot. I am sure you will find the perfect congratulation messages for doctorate or PhD right here. 

1) Congratulations for successfully completing your education and most importantly along with degree of PhD! Indeed you should consider this as one of your greatest achievement in life. I wish and I pray that you may you find real happiness and satisfaction as well, as you start making a new life. God bless you more!

2) Your amazing perseverance as well as your dedication has at last paid off! Accept my warmest though of congratulation!  I know that you can do it because ever since you have started studying I always believe in you. So, how about a party for that?

3) I am so delighted to know that you have already attained to reach what you ever wanted. You truly have proved your self-dedication and perseverance. I want to personally congratulate you for being such a huge success and setting a good example for other teens. All the best for your new life! Cheers!

4) It was great pleasure to hear that you have gained your PhD degree after all those years of hard works and hardships in school.  Remember your study cases and thesis? All now has been paid off! Congratulations! Let me say that your 100% self-dedication and perseverance has indeed brought you in this big success! I’m so proud of you!

5) My heartiest and warmest greetings and congratulations for making it until the end! You’ve just proved to us how strong and dedicated you are in achieving such success in life. Congratulations my dear friend and I’m sure that you are going to embrace numerous of beautiful opportunities out there. God bless!

6) Congratulations! You now got your PhD and that will be perfect for you as you shine. It really does reflect that “hard works and 100% dedication will pay you off in the near future. Now that your dreams and ambitions just came true, I wish and I simply pray that you will be the best person in whatever you do, whatever career you will choose. Congratulations! Cheers!

7) Hi friend! I just heard the good news and wow! I just can’t believe it that you now have a doctorate degree! I know from the beginning that you are the one! Moreover, I would also like to thank you for being such a good role model for our youngsters nowadays. Keep up the good work! God bless! 

If you can't find the right words, a funny E-Card is always a hit. JibJab is a great site that allows you to create personalized cards. You can use your graduate's picture to put them in hilarious situations.

Hope you liked reading this list of congratulations messages and wishes for Doctorate/ PHD. So what are you waiting for, choose the message which you like the best and use it to convey your congratulatory wishes and greetings to congratulate your friends or relatives on their completion of Doctorate of PHD.  

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