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Students must submit their dissertation by the date established by their program, generally six to eight weeks prior to the Registrar’s Office dissertation submission deadline and follow the program’s instructions on the number of copies to submit and format (bound or unbound). Please note: Students are responsible for notifying their department of any requested embargoes that were approved at the time of online submission.
Students must complete a dissertation acceptance certificate (DAC), which includes the title of the dissertation and signatures of at least three readers approved by the student’s program. Electronic signatures from committee members are acceptable. If a DAC is submitted with electronic signatures, an additional DAC with handwritten signatures will not be required. A document version of the DAC is available if needed.
Two signatories must be members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS); FAS emeriti (including research professors) and faculty members from other Schools at Harvard who hold appointments on GSAS degree committees are authorized to sign DACs as FAS members. GSAS strongly recommends that the chair of the dissertation committee be a member of the FAS. If approved by the department, it is possible to have co-chairs of the dissertation committee as long as one is a member of FAS. The title and the student name on the DAC must read exactly as it does on the title page of the dissertation, meaning if you use your full middle name, or middle initial, on one document, it must be the same on the other document.
The DAC must additionally be uploaded as a separate "Administrative Document" when submitting the electronic dissertation to ProQuest ETD. All DACs are forwarded to the Harvard University Archives.
A copy of the signed DAC should appear before the title page of the online dissertation submission; no page number should be assigned to the DAC. The DAC will be included in all copies of the dissertation.
Students must submit their dissertation in PDF format to the FAS Registrar’s Office through ProQuest ETD by the deadline established for each degree conferral date (see the GSAS Degree Calendar or the Registrar’s Office website. Please carefully review your dissertation formatting before submitting online. Formatting errors may prevent you from receiving your degree. During the submission process, students are asked to upload a separate copy of the signed DAC, approve two license agreements, and complete two surveys (the GSAS Employment Exit Survey and the Survey of Earned Doctorates). If you are requesting an embargo of more than 2 years, you will need to submit a signed approval form from the department's Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) with your dissertation submission.
The Registrar’s Office will review the dissertation for compliance and will contact the student to confirm acceptance or to request alterations.
In very rare cases, a dissertation may require redaction, which is the process of obscuring or removing sensitive information for distribution. If sensitive or potentially harmful material appears in the dissertation (e.g., commercially sensitive information, sensitive personal data, risk of harmful retribution, etc.), a student should contact the Office for Scholarly Communication.