Finally, the PhD defense is not meant to be a walk in the park. There will be a few really tough questions, and it can therefore be good to know of a few “life savers”. The most usual one, which you can pull a few times and that will quickly end any difficult question is this one: “An excellent point, I would like to look into that in the future” or “Unfortunately, I did not have the time and resources to investigate that, I’ll leave it to future studies”. If you need to buy yourself some time, and you know that you have treated the question somewhere in you thesis, you can lend this dry joke from me: “Hmm, let me read what I think about that…”. If every escape is blocked, and you painted yourself into a corner, you “get a free life” by simply admitting “I don’t know the answer to that question”. But note; this last-resort-option can only be used once, so save it carefully .
The work towards the Research Aptitude Defence will be done as part of the two-term Directed Research Project course (CSCI 7900), normally taken after the course work is completed. The project will entail new research work and make a tangible research contribution. The supervisory committee is the best judge of the scope of the expected research contribution, which, as a guideline, should correspond to a fully refereed conference publication in an international conference. It should not just be a literature review or background reading. The project work would typically lead towards their . thesis proposal, which will expand on open issues and future research identified by the research aptitude project. Students will complete the Research Aptitude Defence after the completion of CSCI 7900.