The PhD Dissertation

The PhD Dissertation

Availability of session on dissertation submission

The Office of Student Affairs hosted a two-part “Nuts & Bolts” session focusing on the electronic dissertation both philosophically and practically, detailing preparation, publishing decisions and actual online submission of the work.

We are pleased to make audio of this session and presentation slides available


Submission Procedures

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) requires submission of both one bound paper copy and one digital copy, submitted electronically through the ProQuest ETD Administrator, an online submission tool.

Both copies must meet the specifications described in Preparation of the Dissertation, a section of the Form of the PhD Dissertation.  A dissertation that does not conform to the minimum standards set by GSAS may have to be reformatted and resubmitted.  In that event, the degree cannot be awarded until a dissertation in satisfactory form is completed and submitted to the FAS Registrar’s Office.  Formatting errors may prevent the conferral of the degree and the student may need to apply for the next available degree period.

The Form of the PhD Dissertation is a supplement to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Handbook and gives detailed information on preparing the dissertation.

The Form of the PhD Dissertation was updated most recently in March 2014.

GSAS requires that a copy of each PhD dissertation is provided for the Harvard University Archives.  An order for a bound copy of the dissertation, at the cost of $25, is included within the online submission tool.  Each student is required to purchase this copy.

Publishing Options and Embargoes

The Office of Student Affairs has created this advising tool to assist in understanding and selecting publishing options, including delaying release (embargoing) dissertations.

Clarification on Dissertation Submission,” An announcement from Richard J. Tarrant, Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Requirements and Deadlines

As noted in the GSAS Handbook (Chapter VI: Degree Requirements), by the end of the fourth year, a student must have obtained approval of a dissertation prospectus or its departmental equivalent.  Click on departments on the left

By the end of the fifth year and each subsequent year during which a student is allowed to register, he or she must have produced at least one acceptable chapter of the dissertation.


For a diploma
for an advanced
degree to be
awarded on
Degree applications
are due at the
office on*
Degree recommendations
and dissertations are
due at the Registrar’s
office on
November 14, 2014
August 11, 2014
September 11, 2014
March 10, 2015
November 24, 2014
January 16, 2015
May 28, 2015
March 27, 2015
May 15, 2015


Questions or Concerns

Questions about these policies…?
GSAS Office of Student Affairs
Email or Phone: 617 495 1814

Questions about the electronic submission process…?
FAS Registrar’s Office
Email or Phone: 617 495 1543

Questions about DASH…?
Office of Scholarly Communication
Email or Phone: 617 495 4089