Defense Guidelines - University of Houston
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Defense Guidelines

NOTICE: Defense Modality

Effective August 1, 2023

All MS thesis and PhD dissertation defenses must be held in-person in accordance with college policy which states:

Students in their graduating term should schedule their defenses at a time when all their committee members are able to attend. However, it is understood that committee members may have scheduling conflicts and not be in Houston for the defense. In this case, it is acceptable that the committee members attend the defense via video conferencing. If only a phone connection is available to absent member, the student presentation must have been sent to the absent member ahead of time, so all committee members are able to view the presentation. However, at least half of the committee must be physically present at the defense of an MS thesis or a PhD dissertation. The absence of only one member of the committee due to an emergency the day of the defense is permitted, otherwise the defense must be rescheduled.

Within Computer Science, this policy also applies to PhD proposal defenses and PhD annual reviews. All PhD RCE exams are already required to be in-person, so there is no change with that.


The deadline to submit a defended thesis or dissertation varies each semester. Consult the NSM website for the upcoming deadline.


A thesis or dissertation committee form needs to be on file one semester before the MS thesis defense and one semester before before the Ph.D. preliminary defense.

Defense Annoucement

All defenses are open to the general public and need to be publicly announced at least 14 days (2 weeks) before the event. To create or edit a public announcement, please complete the online COSC defense annoucement formBefore you submit the annoucement, confirm that you have the room reserved. Do not submit an annoucement if a room has not been reserved.

View upcoming and previous defense annoucements.

Thesis/Dissertation Resources

Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form

Make sure to use the Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form (from the Graduate School) to collect the signatures from your committee members. This form will need to be given to the NSM Office of Academic Affairs when you submit your Thesis or Dissertation. Note that the following types of signatures will be allowed: actual signature, Adobe signature within Acrobat, electronic signature.


Make sure to follow the template from the Graduate School to format and organize the front matter of your Thesis or Dissertation.

LaTeX Users

You can use this LaTeX style file to format your thesis/dissertation according to the Graduate School requirements for the front matter. The LaTeX style file also contains some formatting of the main text, but make sure to additionally follow the NSM instructions given in the PDF above.

Additional useful information for LaTeX users:

  1. Use of the Overleaf (online LaTeX build and editing system) is recommended. It is free for individual use and works well once the style file is uploaded as part of a project.
  2. The style file has all the examples and documentation on how to customize/use the included features and directives.
  3. Some minor modifications might still be required to fine-tune the way images and tables are rendered and to meet the guidelines. This cannot be included in the style file, and the author will have to format that as part of writing the LaTeX document.


Students are expected to submit the thesis or dissertation document to committee members at least two weeks before the anticipated defense.

If you have published part of your Thesis or Dissertation in scientific articles, make sure to follow the additional instructions about copyright in the PDF below and to consult the PDF document Publisher Policies on Pre-Published Content. If you need to send a request for permission to the publisher, you can use the letter template (in WORD) below.

You can also consult a handout on “Copyright and Your Thesis/Dissertation” and view the video of a workshop on Copyright presented by Taylor Davis-Van Atta from the UH Libraries.