The dissertation is the cornerstone and culmination of your graduate career and demonstrates your ability to write and research at a professional academic level. The dissertation process begins with the dissertation proposal, which is defended before a panel of four faculty members by the end of the sixth semester for students entering with an M.A. and the eighth semester for students entering without an M.A. Fall defense dates must be set by October 15 and spring dates by March 15.
Once completed, the dissertation is defended publicly before a panel of five faculty members comprising the dissertation mentor, two readers, and two examiners. As with oral examinations and proposal defenses, fall semester dissertation defenses must be scheduled by October 15 and spring defenses by March 15. Students wishing to graduate in May must defend by April 15. After making any corrections or edits as suggested by the defense committee, the final dissertation is submitted electronically to the GSAS. For more details, see the Dissertation page of the Graduate Student Handbook.