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Remote Defense Request

Current Graduate School policy allows for a committee member to request permission to participate in a thesis or dissertation defense remotely, and only in exceptional cases would remote participation be permitted for the student, a committee chair, and/or Dean’s Representative (for dissertation defenses). The committee chair (or designee) must request remote participation for any/all participants at least 10 business days before the oral thesis or dissertation defense date. To make this request, please go to go.umd.edu/remotedrequest.

To complete this form you will need to provide the following:

  • Student’s information including their first and last name, UID and email address
  • Dean’s Representative information including their first and last name, UID and email address (dissertations only)
  • For each remote participant, a narrative justification for why it is not possible to participate in person
  • Acknowledgement of the Graduate School’s policy related to remote defenses

Once we receive the form, it will be reviewed by the Graduate School Dean or designee and the committee chair and dean’s representative (dissertations only) will be sent an email with the approval or denial of this request within. No member of the committee may participate remotely unless permission has been granted in writing by the Graduate School.

Report of Examining Committee (REC)

Please note that a Report of the Examining Committee (REC) form request will still be required for all thesis and dissertation defenses regardless if the defense is in person or remote. All thesis and dissertation chairs, or their designates, are required to submit a request for the electronic report of the examining committee 10 business days before a scheduled defense in Fall 2021, and thereafter. For more information about REC requests, please go to gradschool.umd.edu/electronicrecrequest.

Remote Defense Policy

As stated in our policy on remote participation in a thesis defense or a dissertation defense:

  • The committee must be physically present in the examination room during the entire defense and during the committee's private deliberations following the examination.
  • Participation by telephone is not permitted under any circumstances. Remote participation by video teleconferencing is permitted under the following circumstances:
    • Permission to conduct a remote-participation defense must be obtained by the dissertation or thesis chair from the Graduate School in advance. In making this request, the chair must indicate in writing that they have read the rules for a remote defense listed below.
    • Approved web-conferencing software must be used that allows all participants to see and hear each other during the entire defense.
    • The candidate, the committee chair (or at least one of the co-chairs) must all be present in the examination room; none may be at a remote site. For dissertation defenses, the Dean’s Representative must be present in the examination room.
    • For thesis defenses, only one remote site may be used for remote participation.
    • For dissertation defenses, if necessary, members other than the chair and dean’s representative may participate from one or more remote sites as long as the conferencing software supports the rules of the conduct of the defense.
    • Permission for remote participation in a thesis and dissertation defense must be approved in advance by the Dean of the Graduate School. The request for remote participation must provide a compelling reason and/or explanation as to why each remote committee member cannot be physically present.
    • The program must pay for any costs associated with the remote participation. The remote participants must connect to the defense using hardware that will ensure that all participants are visible and audible and that the connection is stable and available throughout the scheduled time of the defense.
    • The Dean’s Representative is responsible for ensuring that all requirements for remote participation are met, that the remote participation was uninterrupted, and if interrupted, that the defense was paused until all remote participants were fully restored.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate School will consider exemptions to the in-person defense policy on an individual basis. Remote participation by the student or committee chair, or Dean’s Representative will be permitted in exceptional and compelling circumstances such as:

If you have any questions, please email graduate-dean@umd.edu.

Updated August 24, 2021