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

The Form of the PhD Dissertation is a supplement to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Handbook and gives detailed information on preparing and submitting the dissertation. The Form of the PhD Dissertation was updated most recently in October 2014.

Requirements and Deadlines

Dissertations must be submitted by the deadline stated in the Degree Calendar for one of the three annual GSAS degree periods to be considered for degree conferral during that period.

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. To view departmental requirements, click on the appropriate department on the left.

Submission Procedures

GSAS requires submission of one electronic copy of the dissertation, submitted electronically through the ETDs @ Harvard online submission tool to the FAS Registrar’s Office for approval for the degree.

GSAS also requires submission to Harvard University Archives of a print, bound copy of the dissertation. Students do not need to take action to secure and submit this copy. Order and submission of the print, bound copy is managed automatically via the ETDs @ Harvard tool and the Office of Scholarly Communication. Upon submission of the application for degree, a one-time $36 charge will appear on students’ termbills for the required copy. Students graduating from programs that require a departmental bound copy will see an additional $36 charge appear (totaling a $72 charge) on their termbill. The departmental copy will be delivered directly to the department by Acme Bookbinding. Students who apply for the degree and do not then meet all requirements for the degree period will not be charged when submitting future applications for the degree.

The dissertation must meet the specifications described in The Form of the PhD Dissertation. A dissertation that does not conform to the minimum standards set by GSAS and the FAS Registrar’s Office 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.

Publishing Options and Embargoes

Students’ options regarding the treatment of and accessibility of their work is described in detail in The Form of the PhD Dissertation.

Following submission, students are given complete control over the accessibility of their work through selections made in the ETDs @ Harvard tool at the time of submission. The assumption that underlies the regulations concerning the distribution of PhD dissertations is that they must be “published” in the old sense. That is, they must be made available as proof of the candidate’s achievement.

Upon approval by the FAS Registrar’s Office, dissertations are cataloged in Harvard’s online library catalog, HOLLIS, which helps make student work more discoverable. The electronic dissertation is made available online through Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH), the open-access repository of scholarship by members of the Harvard community. Additionally, dissertations are forwarded for deposit in ProQuest’s databases and become accessible by individuals affiliated with institutions, organizations, libraries, and repositories that subscribe to ProQuest Dissertation and Thesis database and subject indexes.

If necessary, students may request to delay release of (“embargo”) their work via the ETDs @ Harvard tool. An embargo is a period of time applied by the author to his or her work during which the full text of the dissertation is not openly accessible. Any approved embargo placed on the work applies equally to accessibility via DASH and the ProQuest databases. Requests to delay distribution over two years must have the support of the Director of Graduate Studies in the student’s degree program and the University Librarian. This approval process is managed by the ETDs @ Harvard system.

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

Questions or Concerns

GSAS Office of Student Affairs
Questions about these policies…?
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
phone: 617 495-1814

FAS Registrar’s Office
Questions about the electronic submission process…?
Email: http://www.registrar.fas.harvard.edu/about-us/contact-us
Phone: 617 495-1543

Office of Scholarly Communication
Questions about DASH…?
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 617 495-4089