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Dissertations must be written in and submitted in English except in some disciplines in which there are strong academic reasons for the submission of a dissertation in a foreign language. At the time of the submission of their prospectus, students must petition for permission to submit all or a portion of their dissertations in a foreign language. The petition should be submitted in the form of a letter explaining the academic reasons for using a foreign language and will be evaluated by the DGS and the appropriate associate dean. Petitions for writing and submitting a dissertation in a foreign language will not be accepted after students have advanced to candidacy. A dissertation may not be translated into English by someone other than the student.

Deadlines and Submission

Dissertations must be submitted to the Graduate School by the respective deadlines in the academic calendar to be considered for December or May degrees. No exceptions are made to these deadlines, which have been established to allow sufficient time for departments to receive evaluations from readers and recommend students to the degree committees. Once the adviser and committee have approved a dissertation for submission and the director of graduate studies has been notified, the student submits one unbound copy of the dissertation, softbound copies that will be distributed to each reader, a completed set of required forms, and any requisite fees to the Graduate School. The department must submit to the Graduate School a fully completed “Notification of Readers” form that has been approved by the director of graduate studies.

Advisors, Committees, and Readers

Registered doctoral candidates must have a principal adviser with an appointment on the Graduate School faculty. The Graduate School requires that each dissertation be read by at least three persons but not more than five, at least two of whom are ladder or ladder-track faculty members at Yale. All readers must hold the Ph.D. degree as well as a faculty position or be considered otherwise qualified to evaluate the dissertation. The process for assigning readers is determined by the department, which is responsible for confirming the qualifications, contact information, and willingness of all readers before notifying the Graduate School of these appointments. All appointments of readers are subject to review by the associate deans. The department is responsible for reassigning readers as necessary, and this process will not extend the deadline for readers’ reports to be returned to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will send each student a copy of the readers’ reports and place a copy in the student’s permanent academic record.


Award of the Ph.D. will be considered by the degree committee only if all readers’ evaluations have been received by the Graduate School and are positive, all other degree requirements have been met, and the department has recommended the awarding of the degree. Should a reader indicate that a dissertation contains significant errors in typing, grammar, spelling, reference citations, or other textual matters, the student will be required to revise the dissertation by a date provided by the registrar. Corrected pages or a new unbound copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School, as well as a letter from the director of graduate studies indicating that the student has addressed the readers’ concerns, before the dissertation can be recommended for a degree. In the event that a dissertation is evaluated as failing, departmental practice determines the number of reevaluations normally permitted.

The Graduate School does not require departments to evaluate the dissertations of degree candidates who are no longer registered. The decision to review such dissertations rests with the department.