7. CC Defense

Preparing for your Defense (Final Oral Examination)

The MS Agronomy program must follow Graduate College policies in planning defenses, including meeting Graduation deadlines.  Below are best practice suggestions for you to be prepared well in advance of your defense semester.

What you SHOULD do PRIOR to your target defense semester:

  • Take advantage of CC Writing & Stats Help.
  • You should be finishing the majority of your writing the semester BEFORE you defend
  • Writing your creative component will take as much time as a class.  Make sure you commit the time necessary to do a complete and thorough job.
  • ​Work with your major professor on a timeline to complete a full draft BEFORE the first deadline (deadlines below). 
  • Pass sections of your document for your major professor to review while you work on others.  While your major professor reviews those, you can be working on other sections. 
  • Respect your major professor's time - check in advance of any blocks of time in which your major professor will not be available to provide timely feedback.
  • The draft that is due the first day of the semester does not need to be defense-ready, but it does need to be fully written
  • The first deadline gives your major professor a few weeks to review your draft as a whole in order to give permission to have a defense (or not) before the graduation application deadline.  Again, if the majority of the work is complete BEFORE the first deadline, your major professor will feel more confident (and less pressured) in giving the green light.
  • WE DO NOT MAKE ANY PLANS UNLESS YOUR MAJOR PROFESSOR APPROVES A DEFENSE 
    • We register you for your remaining 2 credits of 599M only when a defense date is set.

What NOT to do:

  • Don't send your major professor a fully written draft on the first deadline and expect approval if you haven't been in contact with them for months or years
  • Don't expect a quick turnaround if you send an entire draft all at once.  If it took you a long time to write it, it will take a long time to review.

    Graduation Deadlines

      Fall 2019 Dates

      1. Program Deadline:
        • Monday, August 26, 2019
        • Full draft of your CC written - it does not need to be defense-ready but it must be completely written
        • Work WITH your major professor long before this deadline (see "what to do" above)
      2. Grad College deadlines
        • Friday, September 13, 2019: Graduation Application deadline
        • Wednesday, November 13, 2019: Last date to request Final Oral Examination
        • Wednesday, November 27, 2019: Last date to defend

      Spring 2020 Dates

      1. Program Deadline:
        • Monday, January 13, 2020
        • Full draft of your CC written - it does not need to be defense-ready but it must be completely written
        • Work WITH your major professor long before this deadline (see "what to do" above)
      2. Grad College deadlines
        • Friday, January 31, 2020: Graduation Application deadline
        • Friday, April 3, 2020: Last date to request Final Oral Examination
        • Friday, April 17, 2020: Last date to defend

      Summer 2020 Dates

      1. Program Deadline:
        • Monday, May 18, 2020
        • Full draft of your CC written - it does not need to be defense-ready but it must be completely written
        • Work WITH your major professor long before this deadline (see "what to do" above)
      2. Grad College deadlines
        • Friday, June 5, 2020: Graduation Application deadline
        • Friday, June 26, 2020: Last date to request Final Oral Examination
        • Friday, July 17, 2020: Last date to defend

      Important:

      • The Grad College requires the Request for Final Oral Examination a minimum of 3 weeks in advance of a defense date.  If you want to defend early in any given semester, give as much notice as possible..
      • You can defend any time after the "last date to defend".  It will be processed as a graduation for the following semester.

      Green light from your major professor? Excellent!!

      You will have time to make additional edits and polish your CC, in addition to the following preparations:

      1. Complete the Graduation Application in AccessPlus.  
        • On the left menu click Graduation
        • Follow the prompts - it is a very simple form
      2. Set a defense date
        • You and your major professor narrow down a week that is open in your schedules
        • Contact msagron@iastate.edu or 515-294-2999 
        • The MS Agronomy program office will check with your other committee members regarding their availability
      3. The MS Agronomy office will make additional arrangements for you
        • Reserve conference room for your defense date
        • Submit Request for Final Oral Examination to the Grad College
        • Register you for your remaining 599M credits
        • Prepare additional paperwork to be signed the day of your defense (Report of Final Oral Exam and Grad Student Approval Form)
      4. You will be required to submit the polished, defense-ready copy of your CC to the MS Agronomy office two weeks prior to your defense date
        • If the file is extremely large, create Cybox a folder and share it with your committee and the MS Agronomy office
      5. You must prepare a seminar presentation (PPT) for the day of your defense
        • Plan for a 30-45 minute presentation.  Check the content and length with your major professor.
        • Send a copy of your seminar to the MS Agronomy office msagron@iastate.edu prior to your arrival.  This copy will be backup.
        • Bring along a flash drive of your presentation.  This copy will be used the day of your defense and saved as a final copy.