A final oral presentation of your thesis is required. This is typically 20-40 minutes, with attendees including:

  • your thesis advisor/mentor (required) and committee members (if applicable)
  • a representative from the International Degree (required)
  • your primary department chair
  • college and/or department head advisor
  • other professors and/or advisors you'd like to invite
  • family/friends

You must include the ID office in the process of scheduling the presentation. The date/time should be finalized at least two weeks in advance. 

Sample outlines and tips

Deadline: Your presentation must take place by Friday of dead week in the term you plan to graduate.

Scheduling a Room: The International Degree Program Office can help you, or your thesis advisor can do this for you. Please allow at least 2 weeks notice.

Invitations: The International Degree Program Office will send invitations to your thesis advisor(s), department chair, department and/or college head advisor(s), staff in International Programs, the ID Committee Members and other ID students. You may request additional invitations to be sent to family, friends, and other professors/advisors on campus. Don't worry, not all of these people will come, but they do like to be informed about the great work that you have accomplished!

Two Weeks in Advance, inform the ID Office of the following:

1) thesis title,

2) thesis advisor name(s),

3) date, time and location of presentation, and

4) and additional people you would like to invite.

Length: normally the oral presentation is 20-40 minutes including time for questions

Visual Aids: You should include visual aids in your presentation. Many students choose to do a PowerPoint presentation. However, this is not a requirement. Feel free to be creative.

Introductions: Your thesis advisor should introduce you and your presentation.

Tips on Giving a Good Presentation

Sample Outline
1. Title and introduction of the presentation (what you are going to talk about)
2. Goals or hypothesis of your research
3. Rationale for your study and background information
4. Methods, Approach, Resources (How you undertook the study)
5. Results of your study (overview of the key findings)
6. Your analysis and the conclusions of your research
7. Conclusion of the presentation (summary of what you just said)
8. Acknowledgements (optional)

Successful seminars/presentations have three elements:
a. You tell the audience what you plan to say (Introduction)
b. You say it (Main Body)
c. You tell the audience what you said (Conclusion)

Successful seminars have the following structural elements:

  • Introduction. This provides the audience with enough background to understand the significance of the questions being asked and of the topic in general. It should include a statement of the goals. If this is a scientific investigation, it should include a statement of the hypothesis.
  • Methods, Approach and Resources. This is an overview of how the study (analysis) was conducted. If it was a survey, a list of the types of questions asked and of the survey methods should be included. Sources of information should be mentioned.
  • Good visual aids. Are letters and figures readable and are colors used to make them interesting? Did the presenter make use of novel audio or visual materials?
  • Results (overview of the key findings). Tabular data in a well-organized fashion is appreciated. Axes and tables should be clearly labeled. This section may also include discussions of the significance of the work and its implications.
  • Conclusions. (A list of the key findings in point-by-point form) A discussion of whether a hypothesis was accepted (if appropriate) and suggestions for future work could also be included here. This shows you are thinking beyond the limits of your own work.
  • Acknowledgments. It is common (but not required) to add a list of acknowledgments of others who assisted in the study at the end of a presentation.

Other tips:

  • Use good visual aids (include color, simplicity is desired, writing needs to be large enough to read from the back of a room).
  • Use dramatic pauses: give the audience time to think about what you are saying.
  • Do not stand in front of the screen.
  • Use animation: move around and modulate your voice.
  • Show your excitement and interest; don't be afraid to show emotion.
  • Leave time for questions (don't speak too long).
  • Avoid distracting mannerisms like jingling coins in a pocket, excessive drinking of water to cure a dry throat, excessive waving of a pointer etc.
  • Avoid colloquialisms and slang.
  • Dress appropriately. Arriving in cut-offs or blue jeans will reflect poorly on you!
  • Respect the audience for giving their time.
  • Be organized. You should know how to adjust lights, find the pointer and turn on Power Point slide systems prior to starting. Also, shades should be drawn before the seminar if necessary. You should arrive 15 minutes early to organize the room and yourself.
  • Respond to questions in one minute or less! Remember, only one person in the audience (the person who asked the question) may be interested in your response to the question.

Let the audience leave having learned one new thing. Emphasize this point! What is it that you want the audience to remember about your work?