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 number of copies to submit and format (bound or unbound).
- Students are responsible for notifying their department of any requested embargoes that were approved at the time of online submission.
Many departments require printed, bound versions of the completed, approved, and submitted final version of the work in addition to the printed, bound copy provided to Harvard University Archives.
Once a student has submitted and defended their dissertation, they 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. 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 on the DAC must read exactly as it does on the title page of the dissertation.
The DAC must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the student or their program by the dissertation deadline. The Registrar’s Office forwards the original DAC 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.
Registrar’s Office Submission
Students must submit their dissertation in PDF format to the FAS Registrar’s Office through ETDs @ Harvard 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 approve two license agreements and complete two graduate surveys.
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 select the “I think I need to submit a redacted version of my dissertation” on the “Upload Your Files” section of ETDs @ Harvard and follow prompts to contact the Office for Scholarly Communication.