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Remote Dissertation/Thesis Defense in a Public Health Emergency

Updated October 12, 2020

The Graduate Council passed a policy to allow for remote thesis or dissertation defense in a public health emergency. 

The Dean of the Graduate School has proactively approved all requests for a remote defense for the 2020-2021 academic year, so committee chairs no longer need to submit a request for a remote thesis or dissertation defense. You will be asked to inform us of the details of each defense when you request the electronic Report of Examining Committee (REC).  Instead of requesting a defense, all committee chairs (or designees) are required to request the electronic REC.  For more information about that process, please visit the following website.

Please note that any requests submitted previously will still need to follow the original guidance using the signature form and instructions you were provided. The update in process is not retroactive.

All remote defenses must still abide by the Graduate School policy:  

The committee chair must ensure the videoconferencing software that is used allows ALL committee members to see and hear each other during the entire defense.  Remote participants must connect using hardware and network connections that ensure that all participants are visible and audible and that the connection is stable and available throughout the scheduled time of the defense.  Audio-only participation is not permitted.  


  • Please be sure to review all important deadlines posted here.
  • Please read this page for advice on how to maximize the remote defense experience for the student and committee.

Steve Fetter
Associate Provost and Dean, The Graduate School 
University of Maryland, College Park

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