Doctoral students are required to submit a 3-minute video summarizing their dissertation research for a lay audience. The video is not scripted; instead, it is structured like a comfortable conversation about the student’s dissertation research.

The video should be produced during a student’s final semester of study, after the conclusion of their research. Students should consult with their advisers regarding their program’s policies as some programs require these videos to be shown to the supervisory committee at the time of the final defense. The disquisition processor will not be able to approve any student’s dissertation until the dissertation video has been submitted.

If you have questions about the dissertation video or are a distance student, please contact Dan Nygard, the Disquisition Processor at


Preparing and Recording Your Dissertation Video

Please read the instructions below before recording your videos.

Dissertation Video Workshop: Before filming your video, we recommend that you view the preparatory workshop. Aside from providing you logistical information, this video discusses ways in which these videos can benefit your career.

View Past Examples: The NDSU library hosts past dissertation videos in the Dissertation Video Collection, which can be helpful guides for you to watch.

Practicing your Video: You should practice your presentation with friends, family members, or others not in your discipline. If you would like to record a practice video prior to filming the final version, you can use the Library’s Presentation Studio to do so. 

Hints for Recording Your Video: When planning what to wear, consider how you would like to present yourself. This may vary depending on your discipline. Think about the message you would like to convey, and dress to that message. The goal is to end up with a professional product, and how you dress is part of that.  

  • Solid colors are best, with the exception of white, black or gray. Avoid stripes, paisleys, and other small and busy patterns.
  • If you wear makeup, do your makeup as you normally would for a day at work. No heavy or special application is necessary.
  • Keep any accessories or jewelry simple. Accessories like dangling earrings or heavy shiny necklaces may be distracting to the viewer.
  • Please start your video by introducing yourself. 
  • Explain your research at a very basic level. Avoid jargon. Remember that your time is limited, so stick to the main points.

Remember that a general public audience will want to know why you are doing your research. Given that, it might make sense to speak briefly at the beginning about how you became interested in your topic and to highlight the importance or implications of your work at the end of your video.

Speak slowly and clearly. Your goal is to help your listener understand.

Potential Points to Cover in the Video:

  • How did you get interested in your research?
  • What did you do? What did your research involve?
  • What did you find?
  • Was there anything surprising about your findings?
  • What do your findings mean for the field (practice or other relevant entity)?
  • How does your research help society or the general public?

Jot down some of the key ideas that are important for someone to understand, and think about how you would explain them to a 10-year-old. This means that you won’t use jargon; you’ll speak in non-technical language.

Practice telling someone who does not know your field about your dissertation research. This is a great place to enlist the help of non-academic friends and relatives. They can give you feedback about what they didn’t understand. This practice will help you feel more comfortable and less nervous.

Video Graphic: You may have one graphic that will appear next to you as you talk. It will be there throughout the whole video, but as you talk, you will not be able to see it or point to it. It should be simple and easy to read. A figure or picture that captures the essence of what you’ve done in an easy-to-understand manner is better than a slide with text on it. Any text should be kept to a minimum and should be in a large, easy-to-read font, generally no smaller than 32 point. 

Scheduling Video Recording Session

You should record your videos in the NDSU Library’s Presentation Studio. Video recording sessions typically take about 30-minutes.

  1. Complete an online studio reservation by going to the Main Library Services site, selecting “Presentation Studio,” and accessing its online reservation form.
  2. When you access the online scheduling, select “Presentation Studio” from the drop-down menu and complete your reservation.
  3. Prior to your recording, read the video recording instructions.
  4. You might bring a friend to help with the recording and to sit in the room with you so that you can feel like you are talking to a person rather than a camera.
To Submit the Video and Paperwork
  • Complete and carefully proofread the following form prior to submission:
    1. Video Information and Release Form
  • Complete and carefully proof the following slides to be added to your video:
    1. Opening and Closing Slides—required
      Instructions for completing these slides can be found here
    2. Video graphic to be added to your presentation—optional
  • Save the video, Opening and Closing slides, and (optional) graphic in a Google Drive folder** and share that folder with
  • If you have signed a release to have your video housed in the Library Institutional Repository, your video will be edited to include your graphic (if you chose to have one) and the opening and closing slides so that it is the same format as the other videos housed in the Institutional Repository.

** To access Google Drive, log into Google Drive using your email address (that’s NDSU, not NDUS), and you will be in your NDSU Google apps account.