Remote thesis/dissertation participation

The remote participation guidelines below were created well before the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, it is expected that all thesis and dissertation defenses will be held remotely. Nevertheless, the following guidelines still apply. Please see the top of our Forms page for information about signing forms in the current remote environment.

It is expected that all appointed members of a thesis or dissertation committee should be physically present for both the proposal and final defense. However, it is permissible for committee members and/or the student to participate remotely under the following conditions.

  • All committee members and the student must agree to the remote participation in advance.
  • The student is responsible for contacting all members about the possibility of remote participation and must make all the necessary arrangements.
  • All remote connections are expected to be both audio and visual; audio-only connection is acceptable for regular committee members (but not the student or Chair) if video is not possible.
  • Visual aids or other materials must be distributed to remote participants in advance.
  • If the student or any of the committee members have a disability that will be impacted by remote participation, accommodations will be provided. Arrangements must be made in advance through the Disability Resource Center for students or Human Resources for faculty.
  • All committee members must participate in the entire meeting, discussion, presentation, and evaluation.
  • If the Chair of the committee will be remotely participating in the defense, another member of the committee who will be physically present at the defense must be designated to conduct the meeting. This should be arranged in advance and communicated to all committee members when planning for remote participation. If the entire committee is participating remotely, the Chair will conduct the meeting.
  • If there are technical difficulties, the meeting must be rescheduled.
  • Contact the Graduate School for information about collecting signatures from members participating remotely; the solution will depend on the particulars of each case.
  • Departments can have their own, more restrictive standards.