Due to the COVID-19 closure of UCI campus for all non-essential operations, PhD defenses during spring quarter will be held via Zoom using the following guidlines and with assistance from the Graduate Affairs team. Per Graduate Division, "As possible, committees can consider having the student and small faculty committee co-present, bearing in mind that all parties may still opt out of an in-person event. Regardless of the student and committee choice, the larger audience should remain remote as long as physical distancing recommendations are in place."

Contact Garrett Yoshitomi (gyoshito@uci.edu) if you have any questions.

1. Scheduling a Defense

  • Email Garrett Yoshitomi (gyoshito@uci.edu) the following information for the Department of Chemistry website:
    • Defense title
    • Defense date and time
    • Abstract
    • Picture (optional) 

2. Scheduling Zoom Meetings

  • Two Zoom meetings will be created for each defense

Meeting One - Public Talk

  • Garrett will create the Zoom meeting for the public portion of the defense, and send meeting details to the student and their committee
    • Students are encouraged to share Zoom details with colleagues, friends, and family from outside Chemistry
  • Every week, Zoom meeting details will be sent out to the Chemistry Department at chem@chem.uci.edu

Meeting Two - Defense and Deliberation

  • The student’s PI is responsible for:
    • Creating the second Zoom meeting for the defense and deliberation portion
    • Sharing the Zoom meeting details with Garrett, the student, and other committee members

3. During the Defense

Meeting One - Public Talk

  • Host: Moderator
  • Co-Host: Candidate

1. Waiting Room

  • Waiting room will be implemented
  • Candidate and committee will be let in first, followed by the audience

2. Before Public Talk

  • Candidate + Chair: Mics on, Video on
  • Committee: Mics optional, Video optional
  • Audience: Mics off, Video off
  • Committee chair introduces candidate and virtual defense rules:
    • Audience member mics and video should stay turned off during the public talk portion. Video may be turned on during the Q&A.
    • Hold questions until after the public talk has concluded.
    • Audience members who would like to ask a question can send a message over chat, saying that they have a question.
    • The moderator will then call on them, so they can ask their question.
    • The meeting room will remain open after the public talk, so that the candidate can announce their result at the end.

3. Public Talk

  • Candidate: Mic on, Video on
  • Chair + Committee: Mics off, Video optional
  • Audience: Mics off, Video off

4. Q&A

  • Audience members may turn their video on at this point
  • Audience members message the chat, saying they’d like to ask a question
  • Moderator then calls on them to ask their question

5. End of Public Talk

  • Candidate and committee exit meeting
  • Moderator leaves meeting room open

Meeting Two - Defense and Deliberation

  • Host: Committee Chair

1. Defense

  • After the conclusion of the public talk, the committee and candidate will join the second Zoom meeting set up by the PI

2. Deliberation

  • When it is time for the committee to deliberate, the candidate will leave the meeting room
  • When the deliberation is complete, the committee chair will ask the candidate to re-join the same meeting

3. Results

  • The candidate will re-join the first Zoom meeting to share the outcome with the public talk audience, if they choose


Tips for Defending via Zoom

1. Practice your defense over Zoom beforehand with multiple people who can give you feedback.

2. When practicing, setup your room and equipment to match what you'll be using for the actual defense.

3. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the screen sharing feature.

4. Use a wired internet connection, if possible.

5. Have a back-up device on hand with Zoom installed, in case your computer runs into issues.