The information on this page is only a summary. The complete set of rules and procedures concerning registration, defense and deposit of the dissertation should be consulted by all students who are completing a dissertation. It is available through links on the main page of the website of the Dissertation Office.
Registration: A student must be registered for Matriculation and Facilities during the term in which the sponsor-approved dissertation is distributed to the dissertation committee unless the student is required to register for a Residence Unit or Extended Residence for reasons other than defense (e.g. holding a teaching appointment, completing course work, or completing a requirement for the M.Phil. degree). Note that students are required to register during the summer if distribution of the dissertation takes place during that period.
Defense: The student defends the dissertation in a final examination before a committee of five faculty, who must all meet the conditions for serving on a defense committee.
Students intending to defend the Ph.D. dissertation must file an Application for Dissertation Defense at their department. The defense application is used in place of a Ph.D. degree application.
The GSAS dissertation officer (whose office is in 107 Low Library) normally schedules dissertation defenses in departments in the humanities and social sciences. In departments in the natural sciences and in doctoral program subcommittees, the department or program chair schedules dissertation defenses.The defense is scheduled only after the Dean has approved the examining committee; the dissertation sponsor and second reader (if applicable) have indicated their agreement that the dissertation is ready to be defended; and copies of the dissertation have been distributed to members of the examining committee in accordance with the rules pertaining to distribution. Students do not schedule their own defenses.
At the defense, the candidate will be given all materials necessary to complete the deposit of all copies of the dissertation, as revised after the defense, in the Graduate School office.
Degrees are conferred three times a year, in October, February and May. See the GSAS Academic Calendar for the particular date of conferral and the associated deadlines for defense, distribution and deposit.
Deposit: After a successful defense, the candidate must, in order to receive the degree, arrange with the GSAS dissertation officer for the deposit of the dissertation. A fee is payable at the time of deposit.
The dissertation officer certifies that all Ph.D. requirements have been completed only after the dissertation has been deposited.When all requirements for the Ph.D. degree have been completed, the candidate is given or sent a letter of completion by the Office of the Dean, and the Registrar is notified that the degree should be awarded on the next degree date.