All completing students are eligible to participate in commencement in May regardless of whether the degree was received in October, February or May.
He encourages students to avoid coming off as too protective about their work during the meeting, but to also not be overly compliant about committee members' feedback.
"Students should be open to the perspectives of the committee members—who are committed to helping improve the piece of work—but they shouldn't be shy about sharing their expertise or defending a point of view if they feel their committee may be misinformed," he says.
"The only person I ever heard of who failed a defense was someone who went off on his own," says Miller.
"He didn't do what he agreed to do in his proposal and didn't communicate with his committee about changes." In addition, contact with your committee can provide some valuable insight into the types of questions they might ask during the defense—as can doing a little advance detective work, says veteran dissertation chair and developmental psychologist Nora Newcombe, Ph D, of Temple University.