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Requirements, deadlines, and other information on preparing and submitting a dissertation.

PhD candidates must successfully complete and submit a dissertation to qualify for degree conferral. It is perhaps the most important and far-reaching undertaking in the entire doctoral program, having an impact that extends well beyond graduate studies. 

Requirements and Deadlines 

Each graduate program maintains specific requirements for the content and evaluation of the dissertation. Be sure to review your program’s departmental requirements prior to beginning the process. You should also review Harvard Griffin GSAS’s dissertation policies for important information about formatting, submission, and publishing and distribution options, including embargoes.  

Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May. Dissertation submission deadlines are noted in the Degree Calendar section of Policies

Help with the Dissertation 

Library Research 

It’s never too early to start planning for your dissertation. The Harvard Library can help! The Library maintains a guide for graduate students engaged in scholarly writing titled the Writing Oasis. They also offer access to Overleaf, which is an online LaTeX and Rich Text collaborative writing and publishing tool that makes the process of academic writing, editing, and publishing quicker and easier. Overleaf has a section on Writing Your Dissertation that you may find useful.  


Students can find support with planning and preparing to write the dissertation from their academic advisors and programs. The Fellowships & Writing Center also offers workshops on various aspects of dissertation writing, holds brainstorming office hours during which students may discuss their dissertations, and provides written feedback on dissertation chapters.  

Dissertation Completion Fellowships 

Harvard Griffin GSAS provides a dissertation completion fellowship (DCF) for one academic year to eligible PhD students in the humanities and social sciences who anticipate completing their dissertations within the year. Find out more in Policies.

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