How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 50: Let me defend myself (or at least my thesis)

Qian Yi Lee


Let me start by saying I would love to do a viva or verbal defence. Before you think I have lost my mind, let me explain the PhD process in Australia. In Australia, a PhD is generally completed through a written thesis, which is sent for external examination. What this means is that candidates do not (and cannot) complete an oral defence on top of the thesis to be awarded the PhD. In theory, I thought it sounded like the best of both worlds – I only needed to focus on completing my thesis, did not have to prepare the oral defence and still could finish my PhD. In practice, it was not that straightforward. The last two months of my candidature felt like an eternity and were the worst because I spent all the time trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s.

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