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Harvard Gsas Dissertation Submission

November 2017

March 2018

May 2018

Application Deadline

August 7, 2017

December 15, 2017

April 6, 2018

Dissertation Deadline

September 7, 2017

January 19, 2018

May 11, 2018

Degree Conferral

November 14, 2017

March 13, 2018

May 24, 2018

Degree Application:

Students who wish to obtain a degree must formally apply.  The degree application is available through your "My Program" on my.Harvard.edu. PhD students must also provide a completion code for the GSAS Exit Survey within the application.  Detailed instructions on how to apply can be found in the Knowledge Center.

In unusual circumstances late applications may be accepted for the one week past the deadline only; a late fee of $50 will be applied to the student term bill.

If a student applies but does not receive the degree, a new application must to be submitted for a future degree conferral date.

In order for the degree to be granted, the Department must register an official Recommendation in the Degree Tracker. Recommendations are due on the dissertation deadline of the particular degree. Instructions on how to navigate the Graduation Tracker can be found here.

Tuition Requirements for Graduating PhD students:

All PhD students must register continuously until completion of the requirements for the degree.  PhD candidates must have paid two years of Full tuition and two years of Reduced tuition before receipt of the degree, unless they have completed the PhD in less than four years from initial registration.  All PhD candidates must pay the PhD fee, equal to Facilities Fee, in their last term of registration (unless a higher tuition has been paid).   This final charge is billed when a student applies for the degree; unless the student has already paid the Facilities fee for the term.

For students receiving degrees in November, the last term of registration is the previous spring term. For degrees in March the last term is the previous fall. For degrees in May the last term is the spring term (except that May degree candidates filing dissertations by February 3, 2017 who do not register or pay tuition for the spring term).  Students who are uncertain whether they will finish in time for degrees in November or March are encouraged to register for the fall or spring terms respectively, either in residence or on leave of absence, to avoid late registration fees if they miss the degree deadlines.  Should they finish in time, their registration for the term will be cancelled. Student health insurance expires on the last day of coverage for the last term of enrollment. Please visit HUHS for more information. 

 Please note that in the unlikely event that no members of the committee require any revisions to the written thesis, the above procedures require a minimum of five weeks from the time of initial thesis submission to the date of the oral defense. Because most theses will require some modification--and many require several rounds--students are advised to avoid aiming for premature graduation deadlines. Individual circumstances obviously vary.

However, students wishing to graduate at a specific time are advised that they may need to submit their theses as early as six months beforehand in order to be reasonably confident of meeting any specific graduation date. In any event, the emphasis of the Department will be on working with students to produce a thesis of the highest quality. Students should be aware that any desired date of graduation on their part cannot be a factor influencing the decision of the thesis committee regarding the acceptability of the thesis. Students should also note that any thesis submitted during the summer (i.e. after Commencement) is not required to be read by faculty until the fall semester.

By Department rule, oral defenses may only take place during term time, which is defined as being between registration week in September and Commencement.The defense begins with a 15-20 minute description of the thesis work. This presentation should be practiced, as it is considered formal; audio-visuals and other aids may prove indispensable. The presentation is followed by formal and extensive questioning by each committee member. The moderator may allow questions from the audience, as well. The candidate and guests are then excused, and the committee members plus any other faculty members wishing to do so will vote. A 2/3 majority of all faculty members voting at the oral defense will be required to pass. At this point the original thesis committee members sign the Thesis Acceptance Certificate, which must be submitted to the registrar with the bound thesis.

There are three degree periods each year: November, March, and May. In order for a student to get a diploma during one of these periods the oral defense must be held and the dissertation submitted to the registrar by the deadlines set by FAS. Clinical students who have defended their thesis by the deadline for a May degree, but who are still on internship, may participate in commencement and get a blank diploma envelope; their diploma will be issued in November. The Chair will prepare letters for potential employers certifying that the student has met all degree requirements, even if the student missed a particular diploma deadline.

Dissertation submission is an on-line process. Please follow instructions carefully and review the information GSAS makes available.. Students are also encouraged to register in ORCID, a system which provides a durable number to scholars which stays with them through changes of job, name, field of research, and locale.

If you can’t defend your thesis by the deadline for a particular diploma date you must apply for the next period by submitting a "reapplication" form; the same deadlines apply as for regular applications. The first reapplication is free, any subsequent reactivition costs $50.

Students who miss the deadline for a May degree may apply for a November diploma. The Department allows thesis defenses during term time only, not during the summer months. Term time is defined as until commencement in June and starting registration week in September. Students who successfully defend and submit a thesis by the registrar’s deadline for a November degree, usually very early October, will not have to register or pay tuition for the fall semester.

Summary of Deadlines and Submission Procedures

1. Student completes prospectus and consults with adviser about thesis committee membership. Student submits memo to the CHD requesting appointment of thesis committee.

2. Student schedules prospectus committee meeting, and gives written prospectus to committee members at least two weeks ahead of the meeting. Student brings approval sheet to the meeting. The approval sheet is signed by all thesis committee members and returned to the Graduate Office.

3. Student completes research and writes draft of thesis. After adviser's comments are incorporated and the thesis is considered to be in final form, student requests CHD appoint outside examiner and oral defense moderator.

4. Student gives written thesis to Graduate Office for submission to all thesis committee members and outside examiner. An approval sheet is attached which is date-stamped; faculty are requested to give feedback to the student and the signed approval sheet to the Graduate Office within three weeks.

5. Student revises thesis and submits revised thesis to Graduate Office.

6. Graduate Office attaches new date-stamped approval sheet and circulates thesis to faculty, who respond with feedback and the signed approval sheet to the Graduate Office within two weeks.

7. Revisions may continue until all committee members circle 4 or 5 on thesis sign-off sheet.

8. When all members of the committee have approved the written thesis and returned their sign-off sheets to Celia, an oral defense is scheduled by the Graduate Office. A minimum of two weeks must elapse from the date of final thesis approval to the date of the oral defense. All committee members, including the oral defense moderator, should be given final, polished version of the thesis. Faculty, staff, and students are notified about the defense and a small reception is arranged.

9. The Psychology faculty vote on the degree. Their recommendation is then voted on at the full FAS faculty meeting. A candidate who has made the deadlines for the November, March, or May diploma period is entitled to march in Commencement.