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Writing and submitting your dissertation or thesis are among the final steps leading to the award of the PhD or Research Master's degree.
At the University of Pennsylvania, a doctoral candidate presents and defends the dissertation publicly, and then, with the approval of the dissertation committee and graduate group chair, submits the final manuscript for publication. Finally, the PhD degree is awarded to the candidate upon the recommendation of the Graduate Council of the Faculties.
Note: Special dissertation defense and deposit instructions continue to be in effect for the Fall 2021 semester. Dissertation defenses may be in-person or presented via remote conferencing. Electronic signatures will be allowed on all required forms for depositing, a printed copy of the dissertation will not be required, and the dissertation must be submitted electronically.
Depositing your finalized dissertation is the final step to obtain your degree. Degree candidates must confirm with their graduate group coordinator that all required forms have been submitted in Penn Graduate Forms before the date of their deposit appointment.
Doctoral degree candidates will schedule a deposit appointment; however, this is not a meeting, and you will not be present when your dissertation is reviewed. Deposit appointments are scheduled to manage the flow of degree candidate submissions received from all schools.
During the time of your scheduled appointment these graduation requirements will be examined to determine if you are eligible for publication approval and degree clearance:
- required benchmarks and milestones in Penn Graduate Forms
- Penn in Touch academic planning worksheet
- bursar balance and holds on the Penn.Pay account
- completion of two PhD surveys
- final, approved, submitted dissertation
In preparation for the submission of a dissertation, degree candidates should consult the Doctoral Dissertation Manual and Formatting Template early and often for assistance with the formatting of their work. Formatting will likely take longer than you anticipate, so please set yourself up for success by following the formatting guideless for your own document early in the process or using the dissertation template provided.
Requirements to Graduate
In the final term of their program, the Research Master's degree candidate must complete these steps to graduate:
- Apply to graduate using the degree candidate system
- Schedule a thesis deposit appointment
- Upload the final, approved, and properly-formatted thesis in this Qualtrics form
- Meet all graduate degree requirements within the program of study
- Clear their bursar bill in Penn.Pay.
Graduate Groups that Deposit a Thesis
Only Research Master's students in the following graduate groups may be required to submit a thesis to the Degree Office.
|Graduate Group Name||Deposit Requirement|
|Applied Mathematics and Computational Science||Optional|
|Earth and Environmental Science||Optional|
|East Asian Languages and Civilizations||Optional|
|Epidemiology and Biostatistics||Required|
|Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations||Optional|
|South Asia Regional Studies||Optional|
The Research Master's thesis must follow the formatting procedures in the Master's Thesis Style Guide.
Research Master's candidates will schedule a deposit appointment; however, this is NOT a meeting and you will not be present when your thesis is reviewed. During the time of your scheduled appointment, these graduation requirements will be examined to determine if you are eligible for thesis approval and degree clearance:
- required benchmarks and milestones
- Advisor in Touch academic planning worksheet
- bursar balance and holds on the account
- formatting of final, submitted dissertation
For more details, view the graduation checklist for Research Master's Students.