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Originally I was planning to defend my thesis during spring semester, however my adviser suggested me to delay my defense to the summer semester. He motivated this by the fact that my thesis writing need more work, even though my research results are good and ready.

After I declined Spring graduation, he told me that during the Summer semester he won't be at the University, which I didn't like, because, first of all, he didn't warn me about this in advance (even, as I know, he knew that he is going to another state during summer before delaying my thesis defense), and also this means that my professor doesn't care much about me and my defense, and that I have to delay my defense again to the Winter Semester, which I don't like either, since I think I'm ready to defend in Summer.

Because my adviser is a thesis committee chair, I can't defend without him, even if other committee members will be able to attend my defense. At the same time I don't think that changing my adviser is a good idea, because we were working together for the past two years, he knows me and my research very well, and also there is no other professors at the department that have similar research interests.

So, I see another delaying of my graduation as the only option, which is very frustrating for me. I would appreciate any advice on this situation, and in particular, how to speed up my defense.

  • Literally just-a-comment: I would agree that either your advisor doesn't care much about your project, thesis, and defense, or your advisor is stunningly clue-less. The latter is sadly too-often possible. Either way, it is clear that your advisor is not thinking in terms of taking care of you, so you should consider the situation that "it's left up to you" to take care of yourself. – paul garrett May 25 '17 at 22:29
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    In the 21st century, someone being out of town should not be a reason to not hold a thesis defense. Tell him that it's important for you to defend your thesis during the summer semester, and ask if he could participate via Skype. I expect that that will solve the problem. – Dan Romik May 25 '17 at 22:30
  • Or, couldn't he simply return to the campus for the defense? – Fred Douglis May 25 '17 at 22:53
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    What's your question? – Shake Baby May 25 '17 at 22:55
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    I've had my own students defend with one of four committee members present only via "Skype", which came-and-went as the train went through various tunnels somewhere in France. And some other more recent similar episodes. What I'd worry is more that "physical absence" is a sort of fake excuse/rationalization for irresponsibility or disconnect. – paul garrett May 25 '17 at 23:02
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1) agree with others that this is the 21st century. committee members (chair or not) should be able to skype in to a defense. this is common practice at all 3 universities i've been associated with.

2) there should be a graduate advisor type person in your department or college with whom you can consult. this person is likely someone who helps with recruitment, ensuring students are properly registered for courses and comprehensive/qualifying exams, helping students navigate the "rules" of defending, etc. talk to this person and explain the situation. they will likely be able to help you with #1.

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