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Dissertation Format and Guidelines

Ph.D. Completion Checklist

Ph.D. Outcomes Report


Dissertations should be written in the normative style of their discipline. The source of all illustrations - photographs, graphs, tables, maps, and plans - that are not the student's own work must be fully and correctly cited in a caption or in a separate list of illustrations. Note that digital manipulations of photographs, maps, etc. originally made by others must be so identified. Additional protocols for citation and style may be established by the director of the dissertation. The following standard guide is also very thorough, inexpensive and easy to find in the BMC Bookshop and elsewhere:


Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (6th ed ., Chicago, 1993).


After the dissertation has been approved by the dissertation director, it must be deposited with the GSAS for distribution to the members of the student's Ph.D. Supervising Committee. The deadlines for depositing dissertations for May and December degrees are on the calendar. Students should submit one copy for each member of their Supervising Committee and should include a vita and an abstract of not more than 350 words.


The copies of the dissertation deposited for circulation to the Supervising Committee should be printed out in a 10- or 12-point font on standard-size (8 ½" x 11") sheets of white paper. Margins must be at least 1½" on the left and 1" on the other three sides. The text must be double-spaced (footnotes and lengthy quotations may be single-spaced). Each copy should be in its own binder, which at this stage may be of any suitable type. The title page should follow the standard format, and it should be followed by an  abstract. Please follow the instructions for composing the abstract carefully, as it is the means by which other scholars doing research in your field will find your dissertation.


The dissertation must be accompanied by a letter from the dissertation director, addressed to the other members of the Ph.D. Supervising Committee and recommending the dissertation's acceptance. The letter should be in a sealed envelope marked "confidential." It is not to be shared with the student. The letter will be distributed to the committee members by the GSAS.


After the Final Oral Examination (defense of the dissertation), the student must produce a final version of the dissertation that incorporates all corrections and stylistic revisions required by the Supervising Committee.


On or before the date specified in the calendar as "Deadline for deposit of final versions of all dissertations" the student must

  • submit one copy of the final version of the dissertation to the GSAS office in Portable Document Format (PDF). The PDF of the final version should contain all illustrative material included in the original dissertation; this version will be deposited in Canaday Library as the College's archival copy
  • Submit the "Certification of Final Version of Dissertation" form to the GSAS office. This form must be signed by the author and by the dissertation director.
  • create an online account with UMI/Proquest and upload the dissertation at All illustrative material that does not include permission to reproduce copyrighted material must be removed from dissertation prior to uploading.  Any permissions to reproduce copyrighted materials that have been secured must be included as an appendix

Students who plan to publish their dissertation in another format or venue may instruct UMI/Proquest to embargo their dissertation for up to two years. If the dissertation has not been published in some form by the end of two years the embargo will automatically be lifted. Copies of all alf alternative publications must be submitted to the GSAS office; and all such publications must contain an acknowledgement that the work originated as a Ph.D. dissertation written for Bryn Mawr College.