How Bad Does a Dissertation Have to Be to Fail?

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Is it time for your dissertation, and you are not adequately prepared? Are you afraid that there is a high probability that you will fail? Never fear; we are here to help you understand what happens if you fail your dissertation.

Don’t let the potential for failure be in your future. We will help you understand the characteristics of a lousy dissertation and provide critical tips for passing a master’s dissertation. We will even touch on how you can ensure that you pass.

If you are looking for more information to make sure you pass your dissertation, all you must do is keep reading. Writing a dissertation can be pretty challenging, but do not let your master’s or your Ph.D. pass you by.

Does Anyone Fail their Dissertation Defense?Does Anyone Fail their Dissertation Defense?

Though it is rare for individuals to fail their dissertation defense, it is not impossible and can indeed happen. Generally, these failures will make up 5% of the total students defending and, in large part, will be made up of individuals who did not turn them in or were not entirely completed. However, that is not the only way to fail.

In short, yes, you can indeed fail your dissertation, and without proper preparation, you just might; however, it is vital to understand how to do so to avoid it.

What Makes You Fail a Dissertation?

What Makes You Fail a Dissertation?

Now that you are aware that you can fail your dissertation, it is even more critical to understand what items may make you fail. The list below contains several items which if done, could result in the failure of your dissertation and cause you to redefend. It is essential to understand that the defense requirements may be different based on your school and should be taken into consideration. Though some schools allow unlimited time for defense, others do not.

Often certain information will be mandatory for inclusion within your dissertation. This required information may include things like:

  • Missing content from your dissertation – Information often expected within your dissertation includes an abstract, introduction, methods, and conclusions. If any of these areas are missing, it can potentially result in a failure. Another area that may result in failure if missing is the references. The references give the nod to any sources you may have utilized in your research. Any cited information should be listed within this section.
  • Content quality – Content quality is another primary reason students fail their dissertation. If you have approached the project unenthusiastic and lazy, your content will show just that. Overall, your content should be logical, and your content should be original. There should not be several grammatical errors or mistakes.
  • Lack of advisor involvement – Your advisor should be an instrumental part of your dissertation. They should help, provide insight, and aid in proofing. If your advisor’s critique is lacking or non-existent, you may not know how to proceed with your dissertation. Your advisor has the experience and the ability to provide bad dissertation examples and help you where necessary.
  • Plagiarism – One primary reason for failure is plagiarism. All of the content within your dissertation should be 100% original. Any content that you did not write should be cited and referenced accordingly. If a student is found to have cheated or plagiarized content from their dissertation, corrective action could be taken by the university along with failing.
  • ProcrastinationIt is not uncommon for students to think that they have more time than they do. Things like research, revisions, and writing are time-consuming processes. Yet it’s important to remember that there are several factors that go into creating and defending your dissertation.
  • Your topic is not defendable, or you are unable to answer questions about it – Being able to defend your dissertation is the most crucial part of your research. If you cannot answer questions that prove that you have researched your subject and are confident in it, passing may not be in your future.
  • You have not performed adequate research – If your argument has holes or if you do not have quality content, you will likely fail the dissertation. You should be able to speak highly and confidently about your topic without extreme doubt.

How Bad Does a Dissertation Have to Be to Fail?

How Bad Does a Dissertation Have to Be to Fail?

Failing your dissertation is not something that you can do easily. It would have to be pretty inadequately researched or completely off base for you to fail. Missing entire sections is one sure-fire way to fail, as there will be holes in your analysis and findings. Illogical content or a lousy paper structure may also cause you to fail. These are significant oversights on your part and can entirely change the flow of your dissertation.

Failing is not only frowned upon for the students but also for their respective departments. Students are also expected to use their skilled advisors to help them revise until it is at a good point of defense.

What Happens If You Fail Your Dissertation?

What Happens If You Fail Your Dissertation?

In the unlikely event that you fail your dissertation, you will likely be given another date and time to resubmit. This gives you time to prepare and make the changes suggested by your advisor and the committee. There are several other things that you should do during this time. Use the list below to help you determine where to go next.

Use your notes to make changes

One major thing that you should have been doing during your dissertation is taking notes. These notes will help you revamp your dissertation to the new specifications your advisor and committee have given you.

Meet with your advisor about the next steps

Once you are ready to begin preparing for your new defense date, you should take some time and meet with your advisors. Though you will need to do the rework, your advisor can help you understand what steps you should take before resubmitting.

Perform more thorough research

If you have holes in your research or need to further expand your knowledge on the subject you are defending, use this time for additional research. Performing more analysis will help you answer questions better when asked by your advisors and others on the dissertation committee.

Appeal your grade

If you feel that your marks were unfair, you will likely have the option to appeal. This will depend on the stipulations set forth by your school.   If you feel that you were unjustly graded or that you had a disadvantage in completing your dissertation, many universities will provide this option. Appealing a decision will allow you an opportunity to resubmit and redefend your dissertation while completely ignoring the unsatisfactory remarks that were received.

Get assistance from your college’s writing center

Your college’s writing center is a great resource to proofread your dissertation. It would be a great idea to bring it in chunks as dissertations may be anywhere from 100 to 400 pages. They can help you ensure that your dissertation is up to par before the due date. Different schools will have other processes for submitting dissertations for review. Make sure that you follow your college’s guidelines for review and give yourself ample time for revisions before your submission date.

Use a plagiarism checker

Before turning in your resubmission, make sure that you run your paper through a plagiarism checker. You should be able to submit your paper confidently, knowing that none of it has been plagiarized. Though you may have to pay when checking a document so extensive, this will likely be worth it. You should make sure to do a comprehensive review before resubmitting your paper.

Perform your resubmission

After everything has been updated and completed, the last thing to do is defend your dissertation adequately. You should make sure that you hit all of the points outlined by your committee and look forward to doing a better job than before. It’s important to note that you will not be shooting for total points on your resubmission as you were before. Your potential grade is capped due to the first failure. It is essential that when speaking with your advisor, you work to understand how this can affect you.

Overall these give you some great places to start planning for your resubmission. Doing these things will likely help you to pass your next submission.

Wrapping Things Up: How Bad Does a Dissertation Have to Be to Fail?

Overall failing your dissertation is not something that happens easily. Some students who have proven to be ill-prepared or have not turned in a paper that is up to par with the university’s standards will likely fail their dissertation. However, it still does happen. If you do fail, there are several things that you can do or take into consideration.

Meeting frequently with your advisor or utilizing your university’s writing center are great ways to ensure that your paper is grammatically correct. It would help if you also utilized a grammar or plagiarism checker as a final check on your essay before submission. However, to avoid failure, a student should make sure they are working to ensure that their paper meets all of the school’s requirements and is well researched and logical.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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