PhD Graduation and Dissertation Procedures
Calendar of Forms and Deadlines
|Graduation Date:||May 15, 2016||September 25, 2016||January 25, 2016|
|Dissertation Prospectus||As soon as approved but no later than six months before dissertation defense||As soon as approved but no later than six months before dissertation defense||As soon as approved but no later than six months before dissertation defense|
|Intent to Graduate||January 29, 2015||May 31, 2015||September 30, 2016|
|Schedule of Final Oral Examination with Abstract Approval submitted to GRS office to be approved by the Associate Dean||At least three weeks prior to Final Oral Exam.||At least three weeks prior to Final Oral Exam.||At least three weeks prior to Final Oral Exam.|
|Properly Formatted Draft of Dissertation emailed as a .pdf to firstname.lastname@example.org||At least three weeks prior to Final Oral Exam.||At least three weeks prior to Final Oral Exam.||At least three weeks prior to Final Oral Exam.|
|Last date to hold Final Oral Examination||April 8, 2016||August 12, 2016||December 9, 2016|
|Last date for submission of Dissertation to ETD, Dissertation Processing Fee to GRS Office, and Contact Information form||April 15, 2016||August 19, 2016||December 16, 2016|
|Last date for submission to ETD and Dissertation Processing Fee to GRS Office for graduation in the next semester without registering for that semester||May 9, 2016||September 6, 2016||January 19, 2017|
Please see the degree program description pages for a description of general qualifying exam procedures and discuss with your committee when and how you expect to complete them. Your qualifying exam committee should consist of your advisor and 2 to 3 faculty who you expect will serve as official readers on your dissertation committee. The only form necessary is an official exam report form which can be obtained from the Graduate Program Coordinator (Alissa Beideck). Your committee should complete this form after the exam: it must be signed by the Chair of your committee, the Chair of the Department, and your primary advisor(Major Professor) and initialed by each member of your committee next to their name; and then return it to the Graduate Program Coordinator (Alissa Beideck).
Students undergo final oral examinations in which they defend their dissertations as valuable contributions to knowledge in their fields and demonstrate a mastery of their fields of specialization in relation to their dissertations. The examining committee is composed of five or more professorial faculty members: at least three readers, a committee chair who is not a designated reader nor the student’s primary advisor, and any additional committee members. The student’s primary advisor serves as the first reader. Only official readers sign the final dissertation official signature page, but all committee members are expected to read the dissertation prior to the final oral examination even if not appointed as a designated reader. At least two of the committee members, including the chair and either the first or second reader, must be from the student’s department or graduate program. A special appointment form, approved by the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, is required for those committee members who are: visiting, adjunct, and emeritus faculty; Boston University employees not of professorial rank; and examiners from outside Boston University. (A current CV of the committee member requiring a special service appointment must be attached.) A majority of the committee must be Boston University professorial faculty members who do not require a special appointment. The department chair/program director or the director of graduate studies must approve the membership of the committee. All committee members are required to attend the final oral examination. Up to one committee member, who is not the chair of the committee or the first reader, can attend via audio/video communication without a proxy during the final oral examination. A proxy must be in attendance for any additional committee members who attend via audio/video communication.
After completing coursework, language requirements, and qualifying examinations, a student proposes a dissertation topic and works with his/her program to identify first, second, and third readers for their final oral examination. The dissertation prospectus should be completed before the more extensive phase of dissertation research is undertaken. The department/program is responsible for reviewing and evaluating a draft prospectus. The review is followed by revision and the production of a final draft, which must be approved by the readers, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Chair or Program Director. Once approved, the student should submit the Dissertation Prospectus Approval Page to the Graduate Program Coordinator (Alissa Beideck).
Final Exam Scheduling and Dissertation Abstract
At least three weeks before the dissertation defense, students must submit the Final Oral Exam Schedule with Abstract Approval form with one copy of the abstract (maximum of 350 words) to the Graduate Program Coordinator (Alissa Beideck) The proper heading of the dissertation abstract must be printed at the top of the abstract. A template for the proper formatting can be found here. Prior to submission, the abstract must be read and approved by your major advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Chair/Program Director. You will be notified of the approval of the abstract or if revisions are required.
At least three weeks before your final oral examination, you must submit a draft of your dissertation as a .pdf to email@example.com for format review. If your document is too large to send over email, you can also send the draft via dropbox or google docs and share that file with firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure your draft includes all preliminary pages, references, and your CV. You will be notified if the format is approved or if changes are required. It is advised that all formatting issues be resolved before you defend your dissertation. Following your defense, please allow ample time to complete all requirements and content revisions that re required by your committee.
Dissertation Formatting Resources
Mugar Library has created a Dissertation Formatting Guide and samples of Preliminary Pages. The library’s website also includes other useful resources such as instructional videos and templates. Please follow all formatting requirements stated in the library guide while preparing your dissertation draft.
Two examination report forms will be emailed to the Chair of your committee. Please make sure that your Chair brings them to the defense. The larger of the two must be signed by your Chair and your primary advisor. The smaller must be signed by your Chair, the Chair of the Department, and your primary advisor (Major Professor) and initialed by each member of your committee next to their name.
The date of the defense is also the best time to get official signature pages signed for the final copies of your dissertation, when all of your committee members are together in one place. Please print at least three copies of your signature page on nice business-grade paper: one to submit to GRS after your defense, one for our departmental records, and one for your own records. If you plan to have personal copies of your dissertation bound by the department, please have an original signed signature page for each personal copy you’d like to order.
After the defense, please leave both exam report forms and all signature pages with the Graduate Program Coordinator (Alissa Beideck).
Final Dissertation Submission
Following your final oral examination, when all corrections and revisions required by your committee have been completed, submit your final dissertation electronically through the Electronic Theses & Dissertation (ETD) website. The submission in the ETD will be reviewed by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) Records Office, then forwarded to the Mugar Library ETD Administrator for the final format review. When that review is complete, the dissertation will be submitted to ProQuest/UMI. If GRS or Mugar Library notifies you of necessary corrections or changes, those edits must be made immediately.
In addition to submitting the final dissertation in the ETD, you must complete the Contact Information Form and submit the Library Dissertation Processing Fee. The processing fee is $115 and can be submitted online and paid for via credit card. The link to do so can found on the Guide for Writers of Theses and Dissertations website.
The GRS office does require a hard copy of your dissertation approval page (the third page of your dissertation) with original signatures. You can either bring this to the front desk of the GRS office yourself, or your department/program can send it to GRS along with your dissertation exam reports.
You will receive a link to a BU Doctoral Exit Survey and a Survey of Earned Doctorates (managed by the National Science Foundation) shortly after submitting your dissertation defense scheduling paperwork. Both of these surveys must be completed before your graduation can be processed.
Printing and Binding Personal Copies of the Dissertation
The Department of Earth and Environment will have bound one copy of your finished dissertation for our collection. You can have up to 3 additional copies printed for your own use at the same time, if you wish. Students wishing to have their copies bound by the department should submit the final, digital version of their dissertation to the Graduate Program Coordinator (Alissa Beideck), an original signed signature page for each personal copy, and payment for each copy in the form of either cash or a check. Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator (Alissa Beideck) to inquire about the cost and shipping timeline.
Information on diploma pickup and mailing dates can be found on the Registrar’s website.
Certificates of Completion are available if you are in need of an official document stated that you have met all degree requirements before the diploma is dispersed.
BU Dissertation Template
We know that there’s been some demand for a Microsoft Word dissertation template for BU students to use. We have created one, but with a BIG DISCLAIMER: it is neither “official” (in that you don’t have to use it) nor fool-proof. It’s not locked down: you’re welcome to mess things up. If you follow the enclosed instructions, however, it might make life easier for you.
Feedback on the template is welcome: we’re always looking to improve it. Please email Eleni Castro with any words of constructive wisdom.
BU Dissertation Template (last modified: November 6, 2013)
- November 6: corrected font size for Chapter 1, Section 2 from 13pt to 12pt
BU Dissertation Template Instructions (last modified: October 30, 2013)
For those of you working in LaTeX: the Math Department has graciously made a LaTeX template available; and BU Engineering has made another LaTeX template available for MS theses and PhD dissertations. The Astronomy Department has a template as well. We are unable to provide LaTeX-specific help, but this should get you started. We are thankful to these departments for sharing.