Submitting Your Doctoral Dissertation Video

Doctoral students are required to submit a 3-minute video summarizing their dissertation research for a lay audience. The video is not scripted but instead structured like you are having a comfortable conversation about your dissertation. 

The video should be produced during a student’s final semester of study at the conclusion of the research. Students should consult with their adviser regarding a program’s policies, as some require these videos to be shown to the supervisory committee at the time of final defense.  The video requirement must be met prior to submitting your dissertation to the Graduate School. The disquisition processor will not review your dissertation until your video has been submitted. 

If you have questions about the dissertation video, please contact Brandy Randall.

Required Workshop

NDSU Dissertation Video Collection

NDSU library hosts a collection of dissertation videos. Here you may watch examples from students who have completed the three-minute dissertation video requirement.

Doctoral students are required to participate in a preparatory workshop prior to filming their video. Workshops are offered several times a semester. It is recommended that students participate in the workshop within 1-2 semesters of filming the video.  

Practicing your Video

If you would like to practice your video prior to filming the final version, you can use the Library’s Presentation Studio.

Scheduling Video Recording Session

Videos will be recorded, by appointment only, in the Quentin Burdick Building. Plan on a 30-minute appointment to allow time to rehearse and do several takes.

  1. Complete an online studio reservation located at
  2. At the time of your recording, staff in the Technology Learning & Media Center (TLMC) located in QBB 150C will assist you with the recording process. You might bring a friend to sit in the room with you, so that you can feel like you are talking to a person rather than a camera.
  3. Documents including the Dissertation Video Prescheduling Information form, release form, and optional graphic for your video should be submitted electronically to Dan Nygard at It is essential that you carefully proofread these forms prior to submission. They will be used by the TLMC staff to edit your video.
  4. You will need to allow for a 3 week lag between when your video is filmed and when it is available in the Institutional Repository. 
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, the general public, or other relevant entity)

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 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 you will not be able to see it as you talk 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, no smaller than 32 points. 

Helpful 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. Dangling earrings or heavy shiny necklaces etc. may be distracting to the viewer.
  • Please start your video by introducing yourself. 
  • Explain 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 the research you’ve done. 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.

Make sure to not divulge information that would reveal human research participants or share classified or proprietary information.

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

Video Storage and Release Form

The videos will be housed in the NDSU Libraries’ Digital Repository. We are only able to store those videos for which we have a signed release on file.