Dissertations in Foreign Languages

Doctoral dissertations written in languages other than English may be accepted only by those language departments and programs that have made formal recommendation and received approval by the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to allow foreign language dissertations. Such recommendations will be approved only if the subject language is accepted in the department or program as a language of critical or theoretical discourse.

Permission to write the dissertation in a language other than English must be granted by the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences before dissertation writing begins. The Executive Committee never grants permission on the grounds of inadequate command of English. No matter what language is used to write the dissertation, English versions of the abstract, introduction, and conclusion must be included both in the distribution and the deposit copies (see details below). The same formatting requirements apply as for dissertations written entirely in English. 

Each of the following conditions must be met:

  • The student’s sponsor, the department/program, and the Executive Committee of the Graduate School must approve the request to write in his or her subject language prior to the time the writing of the dissertation is begun.
  • Publication of the dissertation would be substantially facilitated by writing in the foreign language or when the nature of the subject makes its presentation in English extremely difficult.
  • The student must demonstrate to the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences that he or she possesses a sufficient command of English to write the dissertation in English if required to do so.
  • An examining committee sufficiently competent in the language and subject matter must be chosen by the department/program, and approved by the dean.
  • The defense must be conducted in English.
  • The student must prepare and submit to the Dean’s Office, as a supplementary part of the electronic dissertation deposit, a translation in English of that portion of the dissertation that sets forth the approach to the subject matter and its conclusions. This may consist of the introduction and conclusion, or the first and last chapters, if they give a substantial account of the approach and conclusions.
  • The abstract must be written in English.