Dissertation Dates and Deadlines

During the 2020-21 academic year, degrees will be conferred on the following dates:

  • October 21, 2020
  • February 10, 2021
  • May 19, 2021
  • June 30, 2021

In order to have the degree conferred on the dates above, all required materials must be submitted by the deadlines stated below.

2020-21 MPhil Deadlines

Candidates who have completed all requirements for the PhD except the dissertation apply through their department or program in order to receive the Master of Philosophy degree. Applications for the MPhil can be filed at any point in the calendar year. Degrees are conferred three times during the academic year—in October, February, and May. 

MPhil Application

The MPhil application must be submitted by the department or program to the Dissertation Office by the appropriate deadline. Applications received after the submission deadline will be moved to the following conferral period for processing.

October 2020 Conferral Submission deadline: 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, October 9, 2020
February 2021 Conferral Submission deadline: 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, January 29, 2021
May 2021 Conferral Submission deadline: 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, May 7, 2021
June 2021 Conferral Submission deadline: 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, June 18, 2021
June 2021 Conferral Submission deadline: 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, June 18, 2021
Application for the Dissertation Defense

The Application for the Dissertation Defense form should be submitted to GSAS by the department or program office when the five proposed examiners, defense date and location have been finalized. This form must be reviewed and approved by GSAS before the defense may take place. The department or program office should send us the completed form ideally four—but no fewer than two—weeks before a defense takes place. Any forms received within two weeks of a defense will be rejected, and the defense will have to be rescheduled.

2020-21 Distribution Deadlines
Summer 2020 Semester 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, September 4, 2020
Fall 2020 Semester 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, January 8, 2021
Spring 2021 Semester

4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, May 21, 2021

This year only: students who miss the Spring 2021 distribution deadline will not be not required to register for the summer. Such students can distribute any time until September 3, 2021 to be considered a summer distribution. If they do not distribute by the final September 3rd deadline, they must register for the fall semester.

Summer 2021 Semester 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, September 3, 2021
Dissertation Deposit Deadlines

It is the doctoral candidate's responsibility to ensure that the dissertation is correctly formatted before the deposit deadline. For your convenience and use while you write your dissertation—or toward the end, when you are preparing it for deposit—we suggest using this Word template or this LaTeX template, which incorporate and comply with all GSAS formatting requirementsand can be used to eliminate common formatting errors that may delay your dissertation deposit.  

Students with any questions about formatting, or who would like to have their formatting reviewed, should contact gsas-dissertations [at] columbia.edu well in advance of the deposit deadline.

Please note that it will take three business days for a certification letter to be produced for deposits that take place in the week before a deadline. If you need your certification letter by a certain date, it is your responsibility to complete the process in advance. PhD students do not need to apply for graduation through the Office of the University Registrar.

October 2020 Conferral 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, October 16, 2020: Last day to deposit a dissertation for the October conferral.
February 2021 Conferral 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, February 5, 2021: Last day to deposit a dissertation for the February conferral.
May 2021 Conferral

4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, April 16, 2021: Last day to complete deposit of a dissertation for the May conferral and have your name appear in the Convocation Booklet.

4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, April 23, 2021: Last day to complete deposit of a dissertation for the May conferral and have your name appear in the addendum to the Convocation Booklet.

Depositing after this date will result in your name not appearing in the 2021 Convocation Booklet, even if your degree is conferred in June.

June 2021 Conferral 4:00 p.m. ET, Friday, June 4, 2021: Last day to complete deposit of a dissertation for the June conferral.

For more information on the deposit, please click here.