It is often said that your bachelor's degree represents a broad field of study, while the master's program gives you the opportunity to focus on a specific part of the field of study in question. This is your chance to become an expert in something. With the master's thesis, you show your professors, colleagues and the world your new expertise.
Traditionally, graduate students present their thesis in front of a selection of professors and researchers, fellow students, friends and family. However, as globalization increases and global pandemics ravage the world, we have had to adapt to a new presentation concept: online dissertation defense.
Before we get too deep into the ins and outs of presenting graduate theses, let's make sure we're all in agreement.
Master's degree versus bachelor's degree
As mentioned above, your master's degree has a narrower focus compared to what you studied in your bachelor's degree. In fact, you don't always have to get your master's degree in the exact same field as your bachelor's degree. Many universities value a demonstrated interest and basic knowledge in a particular field versus a bachelor's degree in that field on paper but little passion for the subject.
However, the master's program will always be more specific. The prerequisite for this is that you already have general knowledge of the subject. If you would like to study a little bit of everything related to an area or industry, a bachelor's degree is probably right for you.
The most common graduate degrees
The most popular master's degrees in the US include MBA (Master of Business Administration), Computer Science, Master of Marketing, Master in Financial Management,Doctor of Education (Ed.D)and Master of Education.
How important is the master's thesis to the degree?
Depending on your specific program, the thesis will be a very important hurdle to overcome, or it will be the endeavor around which the entire program revolves.
Which topic you choose for the thesis depends on what you and your faculty supervisor decide. Ideally, it should be a subject you are very passionate about, as you will spend the next years intensively on it.
Be sure not to confuse thesis and dissertation. The major is what you do for a bachelor's degree or, more commonly, a master's degree.Dissertations are the even larger assignments required for a Ph.D.
How comprehensive is the master's thesis?
The average dissertations are between60-100 pages and about 20,000-20,000 words. In addition to the number of pages, many master's theses involve some form of research and/or experimentation upon which the entire document is based. Some master's programs spend a large part of the second year preparing and writing your thesis. Some students only work on their thesis before they have completed the rest of their studies.
How to structure your thesis
Once you have done the research and conducted the experiment that will be the core of your thesis, you will work to get it all down on paper. In general, follow this outline: title page, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusions. More details on the details can be found hereStructure your master's thesis using this practical guide.
The presentation of the master's thesis
Once you've done all the preparatory work for your thesis, done the research and written it up, all that's left is to submit it to your committee and get final approval. This presentation is often seen as the ultimate presentation of your new expertise in your field of study. This is the final requirement to complete your master's degree.
Online or live presentation of a thesis
Online thesis presentations have become more common in the last decade as online master's programs have become more popular. In 2020 and 2021, due to the global pandemic, the need and demand for online dissertation defense has exploded. It is more important than ever to prepare a solid online presentation that makes sense, effectively demonstrates the important aspects of your thesis, and visually appeals to your dissertation committee.
Online dissertation defense is very different from live presentations. First, your voice and body language carry less weight when you present your thesis online. Second, your PPT thesis work will attract more attention from your viewer than live, where you more easily dominate the stage.
Good practice for online presentations of master's theses
We have provided some tips for thisHow to present your thesis PPT during a live defense. Here we adapt these tips to an online dissertation defense.
Online Tip #1 - Don't skip the introduction
It is natural to present yourself and your thesis in a live presentation. But when we're online, we tend to feel uncomfortable because we can't physically connect with the people in our audience. Get over this uneasiness by thoroughly introducing yourself and the title and basic concept of your thesis.
Online Tip #2 – Avoid reading thesis notes or a manuscript
It can be tempting to read notes or write a detailed script for yourself when presenting a thesis online, as your audience will not be able to see what is beyond your webcam view. However, we encourage you not to do this. If you take the time to memorize your thesis defense, the presentation will feel much more natural than reading it on another screen.
Online Tip #3 - Speak clearly
We all know how difficult it can be to understand people when they are presenting online, especially when the internet connection is not perfect. You have no control over the quality of your audience's connection or speaker, but you can do your best to be understood by speaking clearly, making your words clear, and not speeding up. However, be careful if you speak more slowly. Make sure you still give your presentation enough weight and weight to avoid booming.
Online Tip #4 – Be Prepared for Internet Outages
There is absolutely nothing worse than getting into a good rhythm with your presentation and then realizing that the internet is down and you have lost your audience. Don't be put off by this kind of interruption. Don't let it make you lose your temper or lose your train of thought.
First, make sure you present your thesis in a quiet and private environment and have the best possible internet connection. Should there still be an internet outage, don't lose your cool. Keep calm and wait for the internet to come back up. Write to your faculty advisor immediately and explain what is happening.
Once your internet connection is restored, you'll return to a good starting point instead of picking up where you left off. This will help you get back into the rhythm of your presentation and ensure your audience is engaged. The key is to stay calm and not be embarrassed. Everyone knows what it's like to suddenly lose internet connection! It is now part of our daily life. Just keep doing what you can.
Online tip #5 - Make your PPT even more engaging for an online presentation of your thesis
When a participant in an online meeting or online presentation shares their screen, the screen with their webcam view often shrinks while the PPT takes center stage. There is a good balance here. You don't want your thesis defense PPT to do the presentation. You, or at least your voice and words, should always be the focus. Still, technology is what it is. This is how online presentations are currently set up. This means that your thesis (PPT) must be really good, because it will be noticed.
How to improve your thesis in online PPT
Because your PowerPoint presentation will be used so much during an online thesis defense, you want to make it as professional as possible. Here are some guidelines for creating your PPT for your thesis.
Avoid putting too much information on each slide
You do not need to include your entire final document in your PPT. Add only main points and outlines. This will keep your audience engaged as they will be overwhelmed with too much information at once. This gives you control over the order in which the information is displayed. Finally, attendees' attention stays on you and your presentation instead of just reading the slide.
Use infographics to demonstrate results
Charts, graphs and infographics are great ways to "show" more and "tell" less. Even if your audience doesn't fully understand the meaning of the numbers you're talking about, they can still understand whether the line on your chart is rising or falling. You can see the comparison between two factors in the height of your bars.
Use high quality images
Depending on the topic of your master's thesis, the images will be a focal point or simply decorative. In any case, use high-resolution images so that they do not appear blurry or pixelated in the presentation.
Stick to a single design style and theme
Your presentation will be much more professional if you follow a single design style and theme instead of mixing colors, fonts and text sizes. Corresponding toCorporate branding guidelines, your exam presentation must have a uniform color palette, font and appearance.
Conclusion: Online Master's Thesis Presentations
You have put so much work into completing your master's degree and producing an outstanding thesis. Do all that work justice with a masterful thesis defense, live or online. With the right preparation and attitude, your online thesis presentation can be a success and set you on the right path for the rest of your life!