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You've completed all of your department's courses and requirements, and you've passed your qualifying exams. Congratulations! Now, you are ready for the culmination of your work as a doctoral student: the dissertation. Creating an original piece of scholarly work is exciting, fulfilling, and (occasionally) nerve wracking. You'll find an outline of the nuts and bolts of the dissertation process below. 

Getting Started 

As you begin work on your dissertation, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The dissertation Prospectus section of our Programs and Policies bulletin outlines general guidelines for this important first step, when you decide on your topic and submit it for approval. 
  • The Graduate Writing Lab has graduate-student-specific resources and offers individual consultations, dissertation boot camps, and much more to help you along the way, from drafting your prospectus to submitting the finished product.
  • Remember to submit a Dissertation Progress Report every academic year, so we know how you're doing.
  • If you have already been registered for 12 terms, you might consider moving to Dissertation Completion Status while completing your dissertation. Refer to the Change of Status Form for further details. 
  • Review the Dissertation section of Programs and Policies for the fine print about the dissertation process, reader committees, language requirements, and more.

Remember that your adviser, dissertation committee, and others in your department or program can help you with information and guidance specific to completing a dissertation in your field. Don't be shy about asking questions! 

Finalizing and Submitting Your Dissertation

As you near completion, review the University Registrar's information on Dissertation Progress and Submission. Additionally, review the items below as you prepare to submit. Avoid the most common mistakes: submitting late and not having a hard copy.

  1. Confirm the exact due date for dissertation submission on the Academic Calendar. Deadlines matter! In general, to be awarded a degree in December, the dissertation must be submitted by early October. To be awarded a degree in May, the dissertation must be submitted in mid-March. All dissertations must be received by 4 p.m. on the due date. 
  2. Carefully reread the Dissertation section of Programs and Policies. It answers many questions about the entire process.
  3. Review the Dissertation Checklist, which will guide you through the process.
  4. Consult the Formatting Guide. Double-check to ensure that your title and abstract pages are done correctly and that your dissertation is printed out single-sided.
  5. Notify your program. Check the Academic Calendar for the deadline for notifying your department of your intention to submit your dissertation. Your dissertation readers should be finalized at this time.
  6. Complete all the paperwork. The following forms must accompany your dissertation manuscript in hard copy when you submit:
    1. Dissertation Submission and Degree Petition Form
    2. ProQuest ETD Publication Agreement You will pay a microfilm fee directly to ProQuest. Submit the Details page and the Payment Confirmation pages with your manuscript.
    3. Survey of Earned Doctorates Select a survey from the list marked “questionnaires,” based on the expected date of your degree.
    4. Graduate School Exit Survey
  7. Deliver a single-sided unbound copy of your manuscript and all the accompanying forms by the deadline. You will also need to pay a binding fee at the time of submission, which is used to bind a copy of your dissertation so that it may be held at the University library.
    • If you are in New Haven, you can bring your manuscript and all the accompanying forms to the Registrar's Office (246 Church Street, 3rd Floor) on weekdays between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
    • If you are no longer in New Haven, you can send a hard copy of your manuscript and accompanying forms by courier to: Yale University Registrar’s Office, Attention: Dissertation Office, 246 Church Street, 3rd Floor, New Haven, CT 06510. To speak to someone in that office, call 203.432.0461.
  8. Prepare for Commencement.

All dissertations that have been accepted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are published on microfilm and then deposited in the Manuscripts and Archives section of the Sterling Memorial Library.

Contact Information

If you have questions about submitting your dissertation, the Dissertation Office is ready to help.