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Thesis and Dissertation: Getting Started

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The resources in this section are designed to provide guidance for the first steps of the thesis or dissertation writing process. They offer tools to support the planning and managing of your project, including writing out your weekly schedule, outlining your goals, and organzing the various working elements of your project.

Weekly Goals Sheet (a.k.a. Life Map) [Word Doc]

This editable handout provides a place for you to fill in available time blocks on a weekly chart that will help you visualize the amount of time you have available to write. By using this chart, you will be able to work your writing goals into your schedule and put these goals into perspective with your day-to-day plans and responsibilities each week. This handout also contains a formula to help you determine the minimum number of pages you would need to write per day in order to complete your writing on time.

Setting a Production Schedule (Word Doc)

This editable handout can help you make sense of the various steps involved in the production of your thesis or dissertation and determine how long each step might take. A large part of this process involves (1) seeking out the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding specific document formatting requirements, (2) understanding research protocol limitations, (3) making note of deadlines, and (4) understanding your personal writing habits.

Creating a Roadmap (PDF)

Part of organizing your writing involves having a clear sense of how the different working parts relate to one another. Creating a roadmap for your dissertation early on can help you determine what the final document will include and how all the pieces are connected. This resource offers guidance on several approaches to creating a roadmap, including creating lists, maps, nut-shells, visuals, and different methods for outlining. It is important to remember that you can create more than one roadmap (or more than one type of roadmap) depending on how the different approaches discussed here meet your needs.

PhD Thesis Guide

This phd thesis guide will guide you step-by-step through the thesis process, from your initial letter of intent to submission of the final document..

All associated forms are conveniently consolidated in the section at the end.

Deadlines & Requirements

Students should register for HST.ThG during any term in which they are conducting research towards their thesis. Regardless of year in program students registered for HST.ThG in a regular term (fall or spring) must meet with their research advisor and complete the  Semi-Annual PhD Student Progress Review Form to receive credit.

Years 1 - 2

  • Students participating in lab rotations during year 1, may use the optional MEMP Rotation Registration Form , to formalize the arrangement and can earn academic credit by enrolling in HST.599. 
  • A first letter of intent ( LOI-1 ) proposing a general area of thesis research and research advisor is required by April 30th of the second year of registration.
  • A second letter of intent ( LOI-2 ) proposing a thesis committee membership and providing a more detailed description of the thesis research is required by April 30th of the third year of registration for approval by the HST-IMES Committee on Academic Programs (HICAP).
  • Beginning in year 4, (or after the LOI-2 is approved) the student must meet with their thesis committee at least once per semester.
  • Students must formally defend their proposal before the approved thesis committee, and submit their committee approved proposal to HICAP  by April 30 of the forth year of registration.
  • Meetings with the thesis committee must be held at least once per semester. 

HST has developed these policies to help keep students on track as they progress through their PhD program. Experience shows that students make more rapid progress towards graduation when they interact regularly with a faculty committee and complete their thesis proposal by the deadline.

Getting Started

Check out these resources  for finding a research lab.

The Thesis Committee: Roles and Responsibilities

Students perform doctoral thesis work under the guidance of a thesis committee consisting of at least three faculty members from Harvard and MIT (including a chair and a research advisor) who will help guide the research. Students are encouraged to form their thesis committee early in the course of the research and in any case by the end of the third year of registration. The HST IMES Committee on Academic Programs (HICAP) approves the composition of the thesis committee via the letter of intent and the thesis proposal (described below). 

Research Advisor

The research advisor is responsible for overseeing the student's thesis project. The research advisor is expected to:

  • oversee the research and mentor the student;
  • provide a supportive research environment, facilities, and financial support;
  • discuss expectations, progress, and milestones with the student and complete the  Semi-Annual PhD Student Progress Review Form each semester;
  • assist the student to prepare for the oral qualifying exam;
  • guide the student in selecting the other members of the thesis committee;
  • help the student prepare for, and attend, meetings of the full thesis committee, to be held at least once per semester;
  • help the student prepare for, and attend, the thesis defense;
  • evaluate the final thesis document.

The research advisor is chosen by the student and must be a faculty member of MIT* or Harvard University and needs no further approval.  HICAP may approve other individuals as research advisor on a student-by-student basis. Students are advised to request approval of non-faculty research advisors as soon as possible.  In order to avoid conflicts of interest, the research advisor may not also be the student's academic advisor. In the event that an academic advisor becomes the research advisor, a new academic advisor will be assigned.

The student and their research advisor must complete the Semi-Annual PhD Student Progress Review during each regular term in order to receive academic credit for research.  Download Semi Annual Review Form

*MIT Senior Research Staff are considered equivalent to faculty members for the purposes of research advising. No additional approval is required.

Thesis Committee Chair

Each HST PhD thesis committee is headed administratively by a chair, chosen by the student in consultation with the research advisor. The thesis committee chair is expected to:

  • provide advice and guidance concerning the thesis research; 
  • oversee meetings of the full thesis committee, to be held at least once per semester;
  • preside at the thesis defense; 
  • review and evaluate the final thesis document.

The thesis committee chair must be well acquainted with the academic policies and procedures of the institution granting the student's degree and be familiar with the student's area of research. The research advisor may not simultaneously serve as thesis committee chair.

For HST PhD students earning degrees through MIT, the thesis committee chair must be an MIT faculty member. A select group of HST program faculty without primary appointments at MIT have been pre-approved by HICAP to chair PhD theses awarded by HST at MIT in cases where the MIT research advisor is an MIT faculty member.**

HST PhD students earning their degree through Harvard follow thesis committee requirements set by the unit granting their degree - either the Biophysics Program or the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

** List of non-MIT HST faculty approved to chair MIT thesis proposals when the research advisor is an MIT faculty member.

In addition to the research advisor and the thesis committee chair, the thesis committee must include one or more readers. Readers are expected to:

  • attend meetings of the full thesis committee, to be held at least once per semester;
  • attend the thesis defense; 

Faculty members with relevant expertise from outside of Harvard/MIT may serve as readers, but they may only be counted toward the required three if approved by HICAP.

The members of the thesis committee should have complementary expertise that collectively covers the areas needed to advise a student's thesis research. The committee should also be diverse, so that members are able to offer different perspectives on the student's research. When forming a thesis committee, it is helpful to consider the following questions: 

  • Do the individuals on the committee collectively have the appropriate expertise for the project?
  • Does the committee include at least one individual who can offer different perspectives on the student's research?  The committee should include at least one person who is not closely affiliated with the student's primary lab. Frequent collaborators are acceptable in this capacity if their work exhibits intellectual independence from the research advisor.
  • If the research has a near-term clinical application, does the committee include someone who can add a translational or clinical perspective?  
  • Does the committee conform to HST policies in terms of number, academic appointments, and affiliations of the committee members, research advisor, and thesis committee chair as described elsewhere on this page?

[Friendly advice: Although there is no maximum committee size, three or four is considered optimal. Committees of five members are possible, but more than five is unwieldy.]

Thesis Committee Meetings

Students must meet with their thesis committee at least once each semester beginning in the fourth year of registration. It is the student's responsibility to schedule these meetings; students who encounter difficulties in arranging regular committee meetings can contact Julie Greenberg at jgreenbe [at] mit.edu (jgreenbe[at]mit[dot]edu) .

The format of the thesis committee meeting is at the discretion of the thesis committee chair. In some cases, the following sequence may be helpful:

  • The thesis committee chair, research advisor, and readers meet briefly without the student in the room;
  • The thesis committee chair and readers meet briefly with the student, without the advisor in the room;
  • The student presents their research progress, answers questions, and seeks guidance from the members of the thesis committee;

Please note that thesis committee meetings provide an important opportunity for students to present their research and respond to questions. Therefore, it is in the student's best interest for the research advisor to refrain from defending the research in this setting.

Letters of Intent

Students must submit two letters of intent ( LOI-1 and LOI-2 ) with applicable signatures. 

In LOI-1, students identify a research advisor and a general area of thesis research, described in 100 words or less. It should include the area of expertise of the research advisor and indicate whether IRB approval (Institutional Review Board; for research involving human subjects) and/or IACUC approval (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; for research involving vertebrate animals) will be required and, if so, from which institutions. LOI-1 is due by April 30 of the second year of registration and and should be submitted to HICAP, c/o Traci Anderson in E25-518. 

In LOI-2, students provide a description of the thesis research, describing the Background and Significance of the research and making a preliminary statement of Specific Aims (up to 400 words total). In LOI-2, a student also proposes the membership of their thesis committee. In addition to the research advisor, the proposed thesis committee must include a chair and one or more readers, all selected to meet the specified criteria . LOI-2 is due by April 30th of the third year of registration and should be submitted to HICAP, c/o Traci Anderson in E25-518.

LOI-2 is reviewed by the HST-IMES Committee on Academic Programs (HICAP) to determine if the proposed committee meets the specified criteria and if the committee members collectively have the complementary expertise needed to advise the student in executing the proposed research. If HICAP requests any changes to the proposed committee, the student must submit a revised LOI-2 for HICAP review by September 30th of the fourth year of registration. HICAP must approve LOI-2 before the student can proceed to presenting and submitting their thesis proposal. Any changes to the thesis committee membership following HICAP approval of LOI-2 and prior to defense of the thesis proposal must be reported by submitting a revised LOI-2 form to HICAP, c/o tanderso [at] mit.edu (Traci Anderson) . After final HICAP approval of LOI-2, which confirms the thesis committee membership, the student may proceed to present their thesis proposal to the approved thesis committee, as described in the next section.

Students are strongly encouraged to identify tentative thesis committee members and begin meeting with them as early as possible to inform the direction of their research. Following submission of LOI-2, students are required to hold at least one thesis committee meeting per semester. Students must document these meetings via the Semi- Annual PhD Student Progress Review form in order to receive a grade reflecting satisfactory progress in HST.ThG.

Thesis Proposal and Proposal Presentation

For MEMP students receiving their degrees through MIT, successful completion of the Oral Qualifying Exam is a prerequisite for the thesis proposal presentation. For MEMP students receiving their degrees through Harvard, the oral qualifying exam satisfies the proposal presentation requirement.

Proposal Document

Each student must present a thesis proposal to a thesis committee that has been approved by HICAP via the LOI-2 and then submit a full proposal package to HICAP by April 30th of the fourth year of registration. The only exception is for students who substantially change their research focus after the fall term of their third year; in those cases the thesis proposal must be submitted within three semesters of joining a new lab. Students registering for thesis research (HST.THG) who have not met this deadline may be administratively assigned a grade of "U" (unsatisfactory) and receive an academic warning.

The written proposal should be no longer than 4500 words, excluding references. This is intended to help students develop their proposal-writing skills by gaining experience composing a practical proposal; the length is comparable to that required for proposals to the NIH R03 Small Research Grant Program. The proposal should clearly define the research problem, describe the proposed research plan, and defend the significance of the work. Preliminary results are not required. If the proposal consists of multiple aims, with the accomplishment of later aims based on the success of earlier ones, then the proposal should describe a contingency plan in case the early results are not as expected.

Proposal Presentation

The student must formally defend the thesis proposal before the full thesis committee that has been approved by HICAP.

Students should schedule the meeting and reserve a conference room and any audio visual equipment they may require for their presentation. To book a conference room in E25, please contact Joseph Stein ( jrstein [at] mit.edu (jrstein[at]mit[dot]edu) ).

Following the proposal presentation, students should make any requested modifications to the proposal for the committee members to review. Once the committee approves the proposal, the student should obtain the signatures of the committee members on the forms described below as part of the proposal submission package.

[Friendly advice: As a professional courtesy, be sure your committee members have a complete version of your thesis proposal at least one week in advance of the proposal presentation.]

Submission of Proposal Package

When the thesis committee has approved the proposal, the student submits the proposal package to HICAP, c/o Traci Anderson in E25-518, for final approval. HICAP may reject a thesis proposal if it has been defended before a committee that was not previously approved via the LOI-2.

The proposal package includes the following: 

  • the proposal document
  • a brief description of the project background and significance that explains why the work is important;
  • the specific aims of the proposal, including a contingency plan if needed; and
  • an indication of the methods to be used to accomplish the specific aims.
  • signed research advisor agreement form(s);
  • signed chair agreement form (which confirms a successful proposal defense);
  • signed reader agreement form(s).

Thesis Proposal Forms

  • SAMPLE Title Page (doc)
  • Research Advisor Agreement Form (pdf)
  • Chair Agreement Form (pdf)
  • Reader Agreement Form (pdf)

Thesis Defense and Final Thesis Document

When the thesis is substantially complete and fully acceptable to the thesis committee, a public thesis defense is scheduled for the student to present his/her work to the thesis committee and other members of the community. The thesis defense is the last formal examination required for receipt of a doctoral degree. To be considered "public", a defense must be announced to the community at least five working days in advance. At the defense, the thesis committee determines if the research presented is sufficient for granting a doctoral degree. Following a satisfactory thesis defense, the student submits the final thesis document, approved by the research advisor, to Traci Anderson via email (see instructions below).

[Friendly advice: Contact jrstein [at] mit.edu (Joseph Stein) at least two weeks before your scheduled date to arrange for advertising via email and posters. A defense can be canceled for insufficient public notice.]

Before the Thesis Defense 

Committee Approves Student to Defend: The thesis committee, working with the student and reviewing thesis drafts, concludes that the doctoral work is complete. The student should discuss the structure of the defense (general guidelines below) with the thesis committee chair and the research advisor. 

Schedule the Defense: The student schedules a defense at a time when all members of the thesis committee will be physical present. Any exceptions must be approved in advance by the IMES/HST Academic Office.

Reserve Room: It is the student's responsibility to reserve a room and any necessary equipment. Please contact imes-reservation [at] mit.edu (subject: E25%20Room%20Reservation) (IMES Reservation) to  reserve rooms E25-140, E25-141, E25-119/121, E25-521. 

Final Draft: A complete draft of the thesis document is due to the thesis committee two weeks prior to the thesis defense to allow time for review.  The thesis should be written as a single cohesive document; it may include content from published papers (see libraries website on " Use of Previously Published Material in a Thesis ") but it may not be a simple compilation of previously published materials.

Publicize the Defense:   The IMES/HST Academic Office invites the community to attend the defense via email and a notice on the HST website. This requires that the student email a thesis abstract and supplemental information to  jrstein [at] mit.edu (Joseph Stein)  two weeks prior to the thesis defense. The following information should be included: Date and time, Location, (Zoom invitation with password, if offering a hybrid option), Thesis Title, Names of committee members, with academic and professional titles and institutional affiliations. The abstract is limited to 250 words for the poster, but students may optionally submit a second, longer abstract for the email announcement.

Thesis Defense Guidelines

Public Defense: The student should prepare a presentation of 45-60 minutes in length, to be followed by a public question and answer period of 15–30 minutes at discretion of the chair.

Committee Discussion:  Immediately following the public thesis presentation, the student meets privately with the thesis committee and any other faculty members present to explore additional questions at the discretion of the faculty. Then the thesis committee meets in executive session and determines whether the thesis defense was satisfactory. The committee may suggest additions or editorial changes to the thesis document at this point.

Chair Confirms Pass: After the defense, the thesis committee chair should inform Traci Anderson of the outcome via email to tanderso [at] mit.edu (tanderso[at]mit[dot]edu) .

Submitting the Final Thesis Document

Please refer to the MIT libraries  thesis formatting guidelines .

Title page notes. Sample title page  from the MIT Libraries.

Program line : should read, "Submitted to the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the the requirements for the degree of ... "

Copyright : Starting with the June 2023 degree period and as reflected in the  MIT Thesis Specifications , all students retain the copyright of their thesis.  Please review this section for how to list on your title page Signature Page: On the "signed" version, only the student and research advisor should sign. Thesis committee members are not required to sign. On the " Accepted by " line, please list: Collin M. Stultz, MD, PhD/Director, Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology/ Nina T. and Robert H. Rubin Professor in Medical Engineering and Science/Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The Academic Office will obtain Professor Stultz's signature.

Thesis Submission Components.  As of 4/2021, the MIT libraries have changed their thesis submissions guidelines and are no longer accepting hard copy theses submissions. For most recent guidance from the libraries:  https://libguides.mit.edu/mit-thesis-faq/instructions  

Submit to the Academic Office, via email ( tanderso [at] mit.edu (tanderso[at]mit[dot]edu) )

pdf/A-1 of the final thesis should include an UNSIGNED title page

A separate file with a SIGNED title page by the student and advisor, the Academic Office will get Dr. Collin Stultz's signature.

For the MIT Library thesis processing, fill out the "Thesis Information" here:  https://thesis-submit.mit.edu/

File Naming Information:  https://libguides.mit.edu/

Survey of Earned Doctorates.  The University Provost’s Office will contact all doctoral candidates via email with instructions for completing this survey.

Links to All Forms in This Guide

  • MEMP Rotation Form (optional)
  • Semi-Annual Progress Review Form
  • Letter of Intent One
  • Letter of Intent Two

Final Thesis

  • HST Sample thesis title page  (signed and unsigned)
  • Sample thesis title page  (MIT Libraries)
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Stanford Graduate School of Education

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phd dissertation document

Doctoral handbook

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  • Dissertation Proposal

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Proposal Overview and Format

Proposal committee, proposal hearing or meeting.

  • Printing Credit for Use in School of Education Labs

Students are urged to begin thinking about a dissertation topic early in their degree program. Concentrated work on a dissertation proposal normally begins after successful completion of the Second-Year Review, which often includes a “mini” proposal, an extended literature review, or a theoretical essay, plus advancement to doctoral candidacy. In defining a dissertation topic, the student collaborates with their faculty advisor or dissertation advisor (if one is selected) in the choice of a topic for the dissertation.

The dissertation proposal is a comprehensive statement on the extent and nature of the student’s dissertation research interests. Students submit a draft of the proposal to their dissertation advisor between the end of the seventh and middle of the ninth quarters. The student must provide a written copy of the proposal to the faculty committee no later than two weeks prior to the date of the proposal hearing. Committee members could require an earlier deadline (e.g., four weeks before the hearing).

The major components of the proposal are as follows, with some variations across Areas and disciplines:

  • A detailed statement of the problem that is to be studied and the context within which it is to be seen. This should include a justification of the importance of the problem on both theoretical and educational grounds.
  • A thorough review of the literature pertinent to the research problem. This review should provide proof that the relevant literature in the field has been thoroughly researched. Good research is cumulative; it builds on the thoughts, findings, and mistakes of others.
  • its general explanatory interest
  • the overall theoretical framework within which this interest is to be pursued
  • the model or hypotheses to be tested or the research questions to be answered
  • a discussion of the conceptual and operational properties of the variables
  • an overview of strategies for collecting appropriate evidence (sampling, instrumentation, data collection, data reduction, data analysis)
  • a discussion of how the evidence is to be interpreted (This aspect of the proposal will be somewhat different in fields such as history and philosophy of education.)
  • If applicable, students should complete a request for approval of research with human subjects, using the Human Subjects Review Form ( http://humansubjects.stanford.edu/ ). Except for pilot work, the University requires the approval of the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Behavioral Science Research before any data can be collected from human subjects.

Registration (i.e., enrollment) is required for any quarter during which a degree requirement is completed, including the dissertation proposal. Refer to the Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion section for more details.

As students progress through the program, their interests may change. There is no commitment on the part of the student’s advisor to automatically serve as the dissertation chair. Based on the student’s interests and the dissertation topic, many students approach other GSE professors to serve as the dissertation advisor, if appropriate.

A dissertation proposal committee is comprised of three academic council faculty members, one of whom will serve as the major dissertation advisor. Whether or not the student’s general program advisor serves on the dissertation proposal committee and later the reading committee will depend on the relevance of that faculty member’s expertise to the topic of the dissertation, and their availability. There is no requirement that a program advisor serve, although very often they do. Members of the dissertation proposal committee may be drawn from other area committees within the GSE, from other departments in the University, or from emeriti faculty. At least one person serving on the proposal committee must be from the student’s area committee (CTE, DAPS, SHIPS). All three members must be on the Academic Council; if the student desires the expertise of a non-Academic Council member, it may be possible to petition. After the hearing, a memorandum listing the changes to be made will be written and submitted with the signed proposal cover sheet and a copy of the proposal itself to the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Review and approval of the dissertation proposal occurs normally during the third year. The proposal hearing seeks to review the quality and feasibility of the proposal. The Second-Year Review and the Proposal Hearing are separate milestones and may not occur as part of the same hearing or meeting.

The student and the dissertation advisor are responsible for scheduling a formal meeting or hearing to review the proposal; the student and proposal committee convene for this evaluative period. Normally, all must be present at the meeting either in person or via conference phone call.

At the end of this meeting, the dissertation proposal committee members should sign the Cover Sheet for Dissertation Proposal and indicate their approval or rejection of the proposal. This signed form should be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer. If the student is required to make revisions, an addendum is required with the written approval of each member of the committee stating that the proposal has been revised to their satisfaction.

After submitting the Proposal Hearing material to the Doctoral Programs Officer, the student should make arrangements with three faculty members to serve on their Dissertation Reading Committee. The Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form should be completed and given to the Doctoral Programs Officer to enter in the University student records system. Note: The proposal hearing committee and the reading committee do not have to be the same three faculty members. Normally, the proposal hearing precedes the designation of a Dissertation Reading Committee, and faculty on either committee may differ (except for the primary dissertation advisor). However, some students may advance to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status before completing their dissertation proposal hearing if they have established a dissertation reading committee. In these cases, it is acceptable for the student to form a reading committee prior to the dissertation proposal hearing. The reading committee then serves as the proposal committee.

The proposal and reading committee forms and related instructions are on the GSE website, under current students>forms.

Printing Credit for Use in GSE Labs

Upon completion of their doctoral dissertation proposal, GSE students are eligible for a $300 printing credit redeemable in any of the GSE computer labs where students are normally charged for print jobs. Only one $300 credit per student will be issued, but it is usable throughout the remainder of her or his doctoral program until the balance is exhausted. The print credit can be used only at the printers in Cubberley basement and CERAS, and cannot be used toward copying.

After submitting the signed dissertation proposal cover sheet to the Doctoral Programs Officer indicating approval (see above), students can submit a HELP SU ticket online at helpsu.stanford.edu to request the credit. When submitting the help ticket, the following should be selected from the drop-down menus for HELP SU:

Request Category :  Computer, Handhelds (PDAs), Printers, Servers Request Type :  Printer Operating System : (whatever system is used by the student, e.g., Windows XP.)

The help ticket will be routed to the GSE's IT Group for processing; they will in turn notify the student via email when the credit is available.

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  • Timetable for the Doctoral Degree
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  • Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion
  • The Graduate Study Program
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  • First Year (3rd Quarter) Review
  • Second Year (6th Quarter) Review
  • Committee Composition for First- and Second-Year Reviews
  • Advancement to Candidacy
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  • Dissertation Content
  • Dissertation Reading Committee
  • University Oral Examination
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  • Manuscript Preparation

Know How to Structure Your PhD Thesis

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Table of Contents

In your academic career, few projects are more important than your PhD thesis. Unfortunately, many university professors and advisors assume that their students know how to structure a PhD. Books have literally been written on the subject, but there’s no need to read a book in order to know about PhD thesis paper format and structure. With that said, however, it’s important to understand that your PhD thesis format requirement may not be the same as another student’s. The bottom line is that how to structure a PhD thesis often depends on your university and department guidelines.

But, let’s take a look at a general PhD thesis format. We’ll look at the main sections, and how to connect them to each other. We’ll also examine different hints and tips for each of the sections. As you read through this toolkit, compare it to published PhD theses in your area of study to see how a real-life example looks.

Main Sections of a PhD Thesis

In almost every PhD thesis or dissertation, there are standard sections. Of course, some of these may differ, depending on your university or department requirements, as well as your topic of study, but this will give you a good idea of the basic components of a PhD thesis format.

  • Abstract : The abstract is a brief summary that quickly outlines your research, touches on each of the main sections of your thesis, and clearly outlines your contribution to the field by way of your PhD thesis. Even though the abstract is very short, similar to what you’ve seen in published research articles, its impact shouldn’t be underestimated. The abstract is there to answer the most important question to the reviewer. “Why is this important?”
  • Introduction : In this section, you help the reviewer understand your entire dissertation, including what your paper is about, why it’s important to the field, a brief description of your methodology, and how your research and the thesis are laid out. Think of your introduction as an expansion of your abstract.
  • Literature Review : Within the literature review, you are making a case for your new research by telling the story of the work that’s already been done. You’ll cover a bit about the history of the topic at hand, and how your study fits into the present and future.
  • Theory Framework : Here, you explain assumptions related to your study. Here you’re explaining to the review what theoretical concepts you might have used in your research, how it relates to existing knowledge and ideas.
  • Methods : This section of a PhD thesis is typically the most detailed and descriptive, depending of course on your research design. Here you’ll discuss the specific techniques you used to get the information you were looking for, in addition to how those methods are relevant and appropriate, as well as how you specifically used each method described.
  • Results : Here you present your empirical findings. This section is sometimes also called the “empiracles” chapter. This section is usually pretty straightforward and technical, and full of details. Don’t shortcut this chapter.
  • Discussion : This can be a tricky chapter, because it’s where you want to show the reviewer that you know what you’re talking about. You need to speak as a PhD versus a student. The discussion chapter is similar to the empirical/results chapter, but you’re building on those results to push the new information that you learned, prior to making your conclusion.
  • Conclusion : Here, you take a step back and reflect on what your original goals and intentions for the research were. You’ll outline them in context of your new findings and expertise.

Tips for your PhD Thesis Format

As you put together your PhD thesis, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. Here are some tips that might keep you on track.

  • Don’t try to write your PhD as a first-draft. Every great masterwork has typically been edited, and edited, and…edited.
  • Work with your thesis supervisor to plan the structure and format of your PhD thesis. Be prepared to rewrite each section, as you work out rough drafts. Don’t get discouraged by this process. It’s typical.
  • Make your writing interesting. Academic writing has a reputation of being very dry.
  • You don’t have to necessarily work on the chapters and sections outlined above in chronological order. Work on each section as things come up, and while your work on that section is relevant to what you’re doing.
  • Don’t rush things. Write a first draft, and leave it for a few days, so you can come back to it with a more critical take. Look at it objectively and carefully grammatical errors, clarity, logic and flow.
  • Know what style your references need to be in, and utilize tools out there to organize them in the required format.
  • It’s easier to accidentally plagiarize than you think. Make sure you’re referencing appropriately, and check your document for inadvertent plagiarism throughout your writing process.

PhD Thesis Editing Plus

Want some support during your PhD writing process? Our PhD Thesis Editing Plus service includes extensive and detailed editing of your thesis to improve the flow and quality of your writing. Unlimited editing support for guaranteed results. Learn more here , and get started today!

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Ph.D. Dissertation

An Independent Research Project for Ph.D. Candidates

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A dissertation, also known as a doctoral thesis , is the final required part of completing a student's doctoral study. Undertaken after a student completes coursework and passes a comprehensive examination , the dissertation is the final hurdle in completing a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree. The dissertation is expected to make a new and creative contribution to a field of study and to demonstrate the student's expertise. In social science and science programs, the dissertation usually requires conducting empirical research.

Elements of a Strong Dissertation

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, a strong medical dissertation relies heavily on the creation of a specific hypothesis that can be either disproven or supported by data collected by independent student research. Further, it must also contain several key elements starting with an introduction to the problem statement, conceptual framework and research question as well as references to literature on already published on the topic. 

A dissertation must also be relevant (and proven to be such) as well as capable of being researched independently by the student. Though the required length of these dissertations varies by school, the governing body overseeing the practice of medicine in the United States standardizes this same protocol. Also included in the dissertation is the methodology for research and data collection as well as instrumentation and quality control. A stated section on population and sample size for the study is imperative to defending the thesis once it comes time to do so.

Like most scientific publications, the thesis must also contain a section of published results and an analysis of what this entails for the scientific or medical community. The discussion and conclusion sections let the review committee know that the student understands the full implications of his or her work as well as its real-world application to their field of study (and soon, professional work). 

Approval Process

Although students are expected to conduct the bulk of their research and pen the entire dissertation on their own, most graduate medical programs provide an advisory and review committee to the student upon starting their studies. Through a series of weekly reviews over their course of schooling, the student and his or her advisor hone in on the hypothesis of the dissertation before they submit it to the review committee to begin work on writing the thesis. 

From there, the student can take as long or as short of a time as they need to complete their dissertation, often resulting in students who have finished their entire courseload achieving ABD status ("all but dissertation"), just shy of receiving their full Ph.D. In this interim period, the student — with the occasional guidance of his or her advisor —  is expected to research, test and write a dissertation that can be defended in a public forum. 

Once the review committee accepts the finalized draft of the thesis, the doctoral candidate will then get the chance to publicly defend his or her statements. If they pass this test, the dissertation is submitted electronically to the school's academic journal or archive and the candidate's full doctoral degree is issued once the final paperwork has been submitted.

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What’s Included: The Dissertation Template

If you’re preparing to write your dissertation, thesis or research project, our free dissertation template is the perfect starting point. In the template, we cover every section step by step, with clear, straightforward explanations and examples .

The template’s structure is based on the tried and trusted best-practice format for formal academic research projects such as dissertations and theses. The template structure reflects the overall research process, ensuring your dissertation or thesis will have a smooth, logical flow from chapter to chapter.

The dissertation template covers the following core sections:

  • The title page/cover page
  • Abstract (sometimes also called the executive summary)
  • Table of contents
  • List of figures /list of tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction  (also available: in-depth introduction template )
  • Chapter 2: Literature review  (also available: in-depth LR template )
  • Chapter 3: Methodology (also available: in-depth methodology template )
  • Chapter 4: Research findings /results (also available: results template )
  • Chapter 5: Discussion /analysis of findings (also available: discussion template )
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion (also available: in-depth conclusion template )
  • Reference list

Each section is explained in plain, straightforward language , followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover within each section. We’ve also included practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required in each section.

The cleanly-formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

FAQs: Dissertation Template

What format is the template (doc, pdf, ppt, etc.).

The dissertation template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What types of dissertations/theses can this template be used for?

The template follows the standard best-practice structure for formal academic research projects such as dissertations or theses, so it is suitable for the vast majority of degrees, particularly those within the sciences.

Some universities may have some additional requirements, but these are typically minor, with the core structure remaining the same. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalise your structure.

Will this work for a research paper?

A research paper follows a similar format, but there are a few differences. You can find our research paper template here .

Is this template for an undergrad, Masters or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a dissertation, thesis or research project at any level of study. It may be slight overkill for an undergraduate-level study, but it certainly won’t be missing anything.

How long should my dissertation/thesis be?

This depends entirely on your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. As a general ballpark, Masters-level projects are usually 15,000 – 20,000 words in length, while Doctoral-level projects are often in excess of 60,000 words.

What about the research proposal?

If you’re still working on your research proposal, we’ve got a template for that here .

We’ve also got loads of proposal-related guides and videos over on the Grad Coach blog .

How do I write a literature review?

We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack how to write a literature review from scratch. You can check out the literature review section of the blog here.

How do I create a research methodology?

We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack research methodology, both qualitative and quantitative. You can check out the methodology section of the blog here.

Can I share this dissertation template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template. If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, all we ask is that you reference this page as your source.

Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis?

Within the template, you’ll find plain-language explanations of each section, which should give you a fair amount of guidance. However, you’re also welcome to consider our dissertation and thesis coaching services .

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Dissertation Manual

Students can reference the content and drop-downs below for understanding their dissertation requirement and the thesis defense process. Reference a downloadable PDF version of this guidance .

Another Formatting Sample

Topics on this page

Formatting requirements, required sections, guidelines, and suggestions, preparing for your defense, assessing learning outcomes, after the defense, after your graduation date, including previously published materials in your thesis..

Are you planning to include previously published materials in your thesis? If you do, you need to check the copyright status of those materials and, if necessary, request permission form the copyright owner to re-use them, even if you are the author.

Copyright is a legal protection provided to creators of original works of authorship registered in a tangible medium. It gives copyright owners the exclusive right to copy, distribute, perform, adapt or display their works. Many academic authors transfer their copyright to publishers when they publish a book or an article, which means they might need the publishers’ permission to re-use those materials.

Before requesting permission, check your copyright transfer contract with the publisher to see if they already gave you some rights back, such as the right to re-use the materials in your own publications. If not, check the publisher’s website to find information about “Rights and Permissions”. Most academic publishers have agreements with the Copyright Clearance Center to process those type of requests; it is common to see a link saying “Get permissions” somewhere on the book/article/journal or publisher website. Re-use of materials that you authored on your own thesis is usually free of charge.

If there is no easy link to request permissions on the publisher’s website, you may have to contact them directly. Here is an example of the type of information you should include in your permissions request . Remember to keep all the documentation for your records since you might have to share those permissions when submitting your thesis to UR Research and ProQuest.

Still unsure or need more information? Check the following presentation slides or set up an appointment with a Scholarly Communication specialist :

  • Moriana Garcia (River Campus Libraries – River Campus)
  • Daniel Castillo (Miner Libraries – University of Rochester Medical Center)
  • Jonathan Sauceda (Sibley Library – Eastman School of Music)

The dissertation must be written in English, except where the subject matter demands otherwise, and an exception has been approved by the school’s dean for graduate studies.

  • The narrative of the thesis should be formatted for 8.5 x 11-inch paper in portrait format (text running across the shorter dimension of the page).
  • All margins must be at least 1.25” (one and one-quarter inches), including those on tables, figures, and appendices. Tables or figures may be printed in landscape layout (content running across the longer dimension of the page) if necessary. See page number section for numbering on those pages.
  • Font size must be at least as large as 10-point Arial or 12-point Times New Roman.
  • Fonts in figures and tables may be smaller than 11-point, but all must remain legible when reduced to 50% size.
  • The front matter (abstract, biographical sketch, dedication, contributors and funding sources, table of contents, etc.) and body of the text must be double-spaced.
  • After the title page, each page in the thesis, including pages with tables, figures, references and appendices, must include a page number.
  • Page numbers must be placed in the top margin of each page, preferably in the top right.
  • If you are including any landscape-oriented pages, number all your pages in the upper right corner rather than centered at the top of the page, because at least half the time, the numbers will be in the correct position to appear in the upper outside corner when the thesis is printed double-sided.
  • For information on how to make these changes, please reference this link .

Your dissertation should follow the order of the drop-downs below. Click into each drop-down to understand requirements and best practices.

  • Required? Yes
  • The title of the thesis is typed in upper-and lower-case letters. This is to ensure that the words (such as proper names) within the title are capitalized correctly when listed elsewhere.
  • Do not include degrees or credentials of your advisor(s) and do not list other members of your committee. Committee members are listed in the Contributors and Funding Sources page. Include the word ‘Professor’ in front of the name of each advisor on the title page.
  • The name of your department and school appear on the title page. If you are in an interdisciplinary program, list the program name rather than a department, followed by the school(s).
  • Provide the year (but not the month or day) of your expected degree conferral. The degree conferral may, or may not, be the same year as the defense. Please refer to the PhD calendar for completion dates required for each of the five conferral dates through the year.
  • Required? No
  • This is a single statement on itsown page following the title page indicating an individual or group whom you wish to honor by the production of this work. If you include a dedication, it will be numbered as page ii. Acknowledgments are different; see details below.
  • The table of contents needs to include entries for all of the front matter except for the title page and table of contents page. Also include, as part of the front matter, entries for your List of Tables, List of Figures, etc. (if applicable). Following those entries, indicate the title and page numbers of the main divisions or chapters and the major subdivisions or subheading levels. The numbering and wording used in the Table of Contents must match the numbering and wording of the titles and headings in the front matter and text . See above for correct page numbering.
  • You need not include every level of subheading, but if you include any listings from a certain level, you must include all from that level. Levels can be indicated in the table of contents by indenting, numbering or both.
  • The bibliography and any appendices must be listed with their starting page numbers.
  • In one to three paragraphs, provide some basic facts about your scholarly life and career, without including personal data such as birth date. The information listed in this section should be limited to professional experience that is related to the field of the dissertation. These include the colleges and universities attended, the major fields of study at each, and the degrees and academic honors awarded. If you have relevant professional experience such as employment in your career field, you may describe it briefly. Follow this with a description of your work at the University of Rochester, including dates of residence, graduate programs pursued, name(s) of advisor(s), and all university appointments (e.g. fellowships, scholarships, research and teaching assistantships or traineeships). Do not include a complete scientific curriculum vitae or professional resume. Do not include future plans or employment.
  • Follow this narrative with a reference list of all works published or in review for publication during your time at the University, including content or results from the dissertation that have been published in full or in part. This listing may include publications mentioned on the Contributors and Funding Sources page. See that section below on including previously published articles as chapters in the dissertation.
  • Acknowledgments are a statement of appreciation from you to others such as mentors, advisors, colleagues, friends and family, for their support during your doctoral study. Recognition of colleagues’ or mentors’ direct contributions to this work and of awards or funding sources that provided support for the work will appear in a subsequent section on Contributors and Funding Sources.
  • This section does not have to have the same professional information as the biographical sketch.
  • The abstract should present a brief summary of the thesis indicating the purpose, the procedures or methods used, the results or product that was produced, and the conclusions you reached. The abstract should be written very carefully and proofread by your advisor because it will be distributed worldwide by ProQuest®/UMI in the electronic database “Dissertation Abstracts International.” In print indexes, the abstract will be truncated at 350 words, so you may wish to use this as a length limit. Electronic listings will include the full abstract regardless of length.
  • In this section, name all members of the dissertation committee. Then, any collaboration with others in carrying out your dissertation research or in publications reflecting that research must be clearly described, and your independent contributions must be made clear. The sources of financial support for your research must be listed. If you completed all the work independently without outside funding support, indicate this here as well.
  • You may include as chapters or sections in the dissertation your own work that has been previously published elsewhere, as long as that publisher’s copyright permits, and as long as your contribution to multi-authored work is made clear in this section. The dissertation will not be approved if any content is subject to governmental or other restrictions that limit freedom of publication.
  • Required? Not always (see below for more detail)
  • A disclaimer is required in any document or other information product containing Scientific and Technical Information (STI) that resulted from research and development or related activities funded byDOE or performed at LLNL or another DOE facility.
  • This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States government. Neither the United States government nor Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, nor any of their employees makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information,apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.
  • Required? When applicable
  • If tables are included, all tables, whether on separate pages or included in pages of text, must be numbered and listed. Tables must be numbered uniquely and consecutively from beginning to end of the thesis. Table titles listed must be identical to the titles used within the body of the work.
  • If photographs, maps, diagrams, graphs or drawings are included, a list with numbers, titles, and thesis page numbers must be included. If more than one category of illustration is used, provide an individual List of Figures, an individual list of Schemes and an individual List of Symbols, etc., each starting on a new page.
  • As for tables, figures must be numbered uniquely and consecutively from beginning to end of the thesis, and figure titles listed must be identical to those used within the body of the work. A List of Symbols or List of Abbreviations may be included after the List of Tables and/or List of Figures. Provide, in alphabetical order, the abbreviations and the words they represent. Page numbers are not required.
  • Books, articles and other materials used in the dissertation should be listed according to the accepted bibliographic practice in the field of your thesis. A single bibliography at the end of the dissertation is preferred. If you list references or a bibliography at the end of each chapter, the first page of each should be listed in the Table of Contents. Bibliographies may be single-spaced.
  • Ethical scholarship requires that you show clearly the sources of the facts and concepts represented in your dissertation, whether published books and articles, unpublished historical documents or theses or personal communication with other workers in the field. The format of this documentation varies by field. Consult with your department and advisor for standard reference procedures in your discipline and apply them consistently. Plagiarism, even if unintentional, can result in forfeit of your degree.

At least six months before you plan to defend your dissertation, you should contact the graduate coordinator of your program for details regarding the submissions defense. During the months leading up to the anticipated defense, your graduate coordinator will walk you through the process and explain any department specific nuances.

You also will want to take full advantage of internal reviews of the dissertation before uploading the thesis for defense registration, in order to minimize the number of errors in the registration version.

Pay careful attention to the five PhD degree cycle deadlines. In each degree cycle, there is a deadline for the last day to complete your degree requirements, consisting of uploading the final abstract and dissertation to ProQuest®, submitting a UR Research authorization form, and completing two required surveys. There are no exceptions to the deadlines.If a deadline is missed, your name cannot be approved by the Council on Graduate Education and presented to the Board of Trustees until the following degree date.

Before the defense is scheduled, your graduate coordinator will need:

  • PDF of the Thesis
  • Names of all committee members
  • Faculty person that has been contacted and confirmed to be the Chairperson
  • Definitive date and time that all committee members have agree upon
  • Name as you would like it to appear on the Diploma
  • Your personal e-mail address that will be active for up to 3 months after graduation date.
  • A complete address to use for commencement and diploma mailings- that will be active for up to 3 months after graduation date.
  • Zoom link, if applicable.

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Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

Consider signing up for the University’s Three Minute Thesis competition as another way to prepare. Students are challenged to describe their thesis research to a global audience—in only three minutes.

Learn more and sign up

After the oral defense, each faculty member of each final oral defense committee completes an evaluation of the rigor of the defense process and of the candidate’s degree of achievement of the University’s PhD Learning Outcomes. Because the PhD degree is granted by the University rather than by the individual schools, end-of-program PhD learning outcomes that apply to all disciplines are identified and assessed at the University level.

As part of these learning outcomes, the University PhD graduate must have demonstrated the ability to:

  • Select and defend important problem or topic for study
  • Demonstrate mastery of relevant knowledge in the field
  • Apply rigorous methods of the discipline
  • Produce a valuable product and accurately appraise its importance
  • Communicate effectively in academic writing
  • Effectively defend the work when questioned.

The committee chair will certify the outcome and submit that information the University Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs office.

The student must make all corrections to the dissertation. This includes any identified by the committee, as well as corrections the graduate program staff asked for. A document prefaced with the letters UGE has been saved to the record in the PhD defense registration site.

Once corrections are made and approved as instructed above, the student will create an account and upload the final corrected copy to ProQuest/UMI. The student retains the copyright for the dissertation and it remains the student’s intellectual property.

  • The student will go to this website and create an account. Be sure all information is entered accurately.
  • Complete the ProQuest publishing agreement form.
  • The final uploaded copy in ProQuest is inspected by University Graduate Education staff to be sure all corrections were captured.
  • Complete the UR research authorization form indicating choices for access. Click here for the UR Research Form (Online) .
  • One may limit access to the dissertation for a certain period of time. If that time expires, an email to [email protected] to extend the embargo will be required.
  • Complete the University of Rochester PhD Experience Survey and the National Survey of earned Doctorates . The University Graduate Education office will automatically be notified once these surveys are complete.
  • The ratings and related comments from both students and faculty are analyzed by University Graduate Education at least annually, in aggregated and de-identified form. Results are reported to the University Council on Graduate Studies and leaders of graduate programs to inform program improvements.

Please view your school academic calendars to understand the specific registration dates and requirements for graduation. Links to academic calendars are available on this page .

Once a student completes all these steps, they will receive a confirmation email from Proquest and a confirmation email from the University.

The Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs office will be in contact to confirm correct name spelling on the diploma and to collect a valid mailing address that will be good for 6-8 weeks. If a student has a U.S. address, the diploma will be mailed directly from the company via USPS. If the student supplies an international address, we will receive the diploma and mail it back out with tracking information to the student.

Each of these processes is taking longer than expected because of the current COVID-19 mailing conditions.

In general, you will receive your electronic diploma about a week after you graduate and it will take another 6-8 weeks to receive the paper copy. Diplomas are mailed to the graduate in tubes.

The University bookstore has options for diploma covers.

Get additional information on Diploma and Transcript Orders .

Download the full dissertation guide

An in-depth PDF version of this guidance is available. Download the guidelines now.

Get the PDF

Still have questions?

We encourage you to reach out to the graduate coordinator of your program for information specific to your needs. We’ve also compiled this additional dissertation resources guide with external resources that can help you understand copyright details, embargo processes, and more.

However, if you have general questions or feedback on this dissertation guide, you can submit them via the form below.

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  • Dissertation & Thesis Template

As a resource for graduate students, sample Word templates are available to assist with the initial formatting of doctoral dissertations and master's theses. Students are expected to fully format their dissertation/thesis according to the   " Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses ".

  • This template is a starting point and students may have to add or remove sections/text to accurately reflect their document and adhere to all requirements in the manual.
  • Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA) does not provide technical support for any of the templates below.
  • If using these templates, students must still refer to the formatting manual for full instructions.

The below templates are in Word. If you prefer to use LaTeX, here is a recommended unofficial template . We are not able to provide technical support for LaTeX.

Note: opening the Word template in Google Docs may cause auto-formatting features to be lost or auto-formatting features may appear differently.

A sample template of a co-author permission letter and cover letter from the committee chair can be found here . For complete information on submission of permission letters, please see this page and/or refer to the full Manual . 

Master’s Degree Thesis

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Doctoral Degree Dissertation

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  • Dissertation

Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

Published on September 9, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.

It can be difficult to know where to start when writing your thesis or dissertation . One way to come up with some ideas or maybe even combat writer’s block is to check out previous work done by other students on a similar thesis or dissertation topic to yours.

This article collects a list of undergraduate, master’s, and PhD theses and dissertations that have won prizes for their high-quality research.

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Table of contents

Award-winning undergraduate theses, award-winning master’s theses, award-winning ph.d. dissertations, other interesting articles.

University : University of Pennsylvania Faculty : History Author : Suchait Kahlon Award : 2021 Hilary Conroy Prize for Best Honors Thesis in World History Title : “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the “Noble Savage” on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807”

University : Columbia University Faculty : History Author : Julien Saint Reiman Award : 2018 Charles A. Beard Senior Thesis Prize Title : “A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man”: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947

University: University College London Faculty: Geography Author: Anna Knowles-Smith Award:  2017 Royal Geographical Society Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Title:  Refugees and theatre: an exploration of the basis of self-representation

University: University of Washington Faculty:  Computer Science & Engineering Author: Nick J. Martindell Award: 2014 Best Senior Thesis Award Title:  DCDN: Distributed content delivery for the modern web

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University:  University of Edinburgh Faculty:  Informatics Author:  Christopher Sipola Award:  2018 Social Responsibility & Sustainability Dissertation Prize Title:  Summarizing electricity usage with a neural network

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty:  Education Author:  Matthew Brillinger Award:  2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Humanities Prize Title:  Educational Park Planning in Berkeley, California, 1965-1968

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty: Social Sciences Author:  Heather Martin Award:  2015 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title:  An Analysis of Sexual Assault Support Services for Women who have a Developmental Disability

University : University of Ottawa Faculty : Physics Author : Guillaume Thekkadath Award : 2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Sciences Prize Title : Joint measurements of complementary properties of quantum systems

University:  London School of Economics Faculty: International Development Author: Lajos Kossuth Award:  2016 Winner of the Prize for Best Overall Performance Title:  Shiny Happy People: A study of the effects income relative to a reference group exerts on life satisfaction

University : Stanford University Faculty : English Author : Nathan Wainstein Award : 2021 Alden Prize Title : “Unformed Art: Bad Writing in the Modernist Novel”

University : University of Massachusetts at Amherst Faculty : Molecular and Cellular Biology Author : Nils Pilotte Award : 2021 Byron Prize for Best Ph.D. Dissertation Title : “Improved Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Helminths”

University:  Utrecht University Faculty:  Linguistics Author:  Hans Rutger Bosker Award: 2014 AVT/Anéla Dissertation Prize Title:  The processing and evaluation of fluency in native and non-native speech

University: California Institute of Technology Faculty: Physics Author: Michael P. Mendenhall Award: 2015 Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics Title: Measurement of the neutron beta decay asymmetry using ultracold neutrons

University:  Stanford University Faculty: Management Science and Engineering Author:  Shayan O. Gharan Award:  Doctoral Dissertation Award 2013 Title:   New Rounding Techniques for the Design and Analysis of Approximation Algorithms

University: University of Minnesota Faculty: Chemical Engineering Author: Eric A. Vandre Award:  2014 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics Title: Onset of Dynamics Wetting Failure: The Mechanics of High-speed Fluid Displacement

University: Erasmus University Rotterdam Faculty: Marketing Author: Ezgi Akpinar Award: McKinsey Marketing Dissertation Award 2014 Title: Consumer Information Sharing: Understanding Psychological Drivers of Social Transmission

University: University of Washington Faculty: Computer Science & Engineering Author: Keith N. Snavely Award:  2009 Doctoral Dissertation Award Title: Scene Reconstruction and Visualization from Internet Photo Collections

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty:  Social Work Author:  Susannah Taylor Award: 2018 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title:  Effacing and Obscuring Autonomy: the Effects of Structural Violence on the Transition to Adulthood of Street Involved Youth

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Form and Style Review Home Page

Capstone Form and Style

Programs: phd dissertation, phd dissertation resources.

  • PhD Premise Template

The qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods PhD dissertation templates contain subheadings that align with the required content in the PhD Dissertation Checklists for these methodologies. The generic PhD dissertation template is not methodology-specific and lacks many of these subheadings.

  • PhD Dissertation Template (Qualitative)
  • PhD Dissertation Template (Quantitative)
  • PhD Dissertation Template (Mixed Methods)
  • PhD Dissertation Template (Generic)

Beginning June 1, 2020, all prospectus starts should use the new PhD Prospectus Form found on the  Doctoral Prospectus Form  page.

For more information on the prospectus for your program, check the resources for PhD programs on the Office of Research and Doctoral Services'  Doctoral Capstone and Project Resources page .

PhD Management Dissertation Templates (New August 2023)

  • PhD Management Annotated Dissertation Template (Qualitative, APA 7)
  • PhD Management Annotated Dissertation Template (Quantitative, APA 7)
  • Instructions for Using the PhD Management Annotated Dissertation Templates (APA 7)

To prepare for the form and style review, use the following checklist, which is the same checklist we use when we review capstone manuscripts and the checklist we return to the student and committee along with their completed review.

  • Form and Style Review Checklist (APA 7)

Doctoral Capstone Template Guidance

To accompany the doctoral capstone template document, here is some information to note when first beginning to use the template.

  • The document may contain various front matter elements (i.e., two title pages, the abstract, a Dedication page, and an Acknowledgements page), a Table of Contents (TOC), Lists of Tables and Figures, the document body text, a References list, and Appendices.
  • Students should ensure that the text in brackets [ ] on the two title pages is changed to reflect their own information and then remove the brackets. This includes the title, name, degrees earned, degree program, and date of anticipated completion.
  • Begin using the template by copying and pasting the text from a working document into the appropriate headings of the template and references to the reference list.

How to tag headings (so that headings show up in the TOC):

  • Most headings are already placed into the document. Headings students add (i.e., primarily for the literature review and results chapters and sections) should be added by creating a new heading and tagging it so that it appears in the TOC when updated.
  • Add a heading by first ensuring that the pilcrow [ ¶ ] is turned on—this allows the writer to see hidden formatting in the document that should not be deleted (e.g., page breaks and section breaks).
  • Add the heading by placing the cursor where the heading should be inserted and creating a hard return.
  • Then type the text for the heading and highlight it with the cursor, ensuring that you do NOT highlight the pilcrow.
  • Once the text is highlighted, choose the appropriate APA Style heading from the Styles box on the Home tab. This is called tagging a heading. HINT: The Styles tab may need to be expanded by clicking on the small box with the arrow at the bottom of the Styles section. 

How to update the TOC (to bring in new headings and update page numbers):

  • Once new headings have been added or text created or inserted such that the page numbers have shifted, the TOC should be updated.
  • Update the TOC by clicking on it with the cursor so that the section becomes grey.
  • Then, right click (or control click on a Mac) and choose “Update field.”
  • Depending on whether headings or just text has been added, choose “Update entire table” or “Update page numbers only.”

Template and Formatting Resources:

  • Form and Style Document Formatting Expectations , including information on APA, margins, pagination, etc.
  • SMRTguide on Fixing Errors in the TOC
  • Academic Skills Center (ASC) Capstone Template Formatting Videos
  • For questions regarding layout formatting in the doctoral capstone, contact [email protected]  

About the PhD Dissertation

Students start the dissertation by documenting their initial investigation into a research topic, which is used to make decisions about the capstone and is provided to prospective faculty members of the supervisory committee. In all PhD programs, this document is called the Premise, which is followed by a Prospectus The Prospectus is a second document used to confirm the topic for the proposal and the structure of the dissertation committee.

Guides for completing these documents can be found on the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website . The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition style should be used for both the Premise and the Prospectus, as well as for the proposal and final study.

The Dissertation Guidebook , available at the Office of Research and Doctoral Services's website, is a complete resource for information on form and style, steps in the dissertation process, and procedures. We also offer a series of capstone webinars on a variety of capstone-related topics.

For questions about writing the proposal, dissertation, thesis, or doctoral study, contact [email protected] .

Confused about assumptions, limitations, and delimitations? See Jen's blog post .

  • Previous Page: EdD Dissertation/Project Study
  • Next Page: PsyD Doctoral Study
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Doctoral Dissertation Checklist

Dissertations must be documents submitted electronically and prepared according to the specific requirements for ETDs using the institutional repository  D-Scholarship@Pitt . To help students meet these requirements, templates are available to help:

  • Microsoft Word  (v1.9.3 updated 10/14/2020)

These templates offer many shortcuts and automatic features that allow you to quickly format your paper according to Pitt's guidelines. The templates are not self-explanatory, however, so understanding how they work before using them is necessary. Ready to get started?  Click here  for ETD format guidelines, template instructions, citation management, video tutorials, and more. Be sure to also review the Detailed Essay, Thesis, and Dissertation Rules which are summarized in the School’s  Academic Handbook .

Dissertation Checklist:

  • Follow the  Submissions Steps . For additional guidance see the  Dissertation D-Scholarship Account Info PDF .
  • Make sure all pages are presented in correct numerical order and the proper size and orientation; that all tables and figures are present; that all references cited in the text are listed in the Bibliography; that the Table of Contents lists correct page numbers and titles; that  bookmarks  are created in the PDF; and that all hyperlinks and multimedia objects function properly.
  • Email a copy of your Title Page and Abstract to  [email protected] .
  • Email your completed and signed  ETD Approval Form  to  [email protected] .
  • Email your processing fee receipt to  [email protected] . First, send  [email protected]  an email and provide your Student ID, the academic term, and the amount due ($50). The Student Payment Center will post the fee to your account and will then notify you by your Pitt email when it is added. The charge will appear in PittPAY on the Account Activity tab and you can process the payment on the Payment tab.
  • Email your completed and signed Report on Requirements Form to your departmental student services liaison. RR forms are located on the Pitt Public Health  Forms page .
  • Complete  Survey of Earned Doctorate  and email certificate to  [email protected] .
  • Complete the  Pitt Public Health Exit Survey .
  • Complete  AAUDE Doctoral Exit Survey . The link to the survey has been added to the "Paperwork specific for Dissertations" section of the ETD website. You will receive confirmation once completed. Please forward confirmation to  [email protected]

What is a Ph.D. Dissertation?

[I wrote this in 1993 as a letter to a student concerning a draft of his dissertation. In 2003 I edited it to remove some specific references to the student and present it as a small increment to the information available to my grad students. In 2023 I made small edits for grammar and to expand coverage.--spaf]

Let me start by reviewing some things that may seem obvious:

  • Your dissertation is part of the requirements for a PhD. The research, theory, experimentation, et al. also contribute. One does not attempt to capture everything in one's dissertation.
  • The dissertation is a technical work that documents and proves one's thesis. It is intended for a technical audience and must be clear and complete but not necessarily exhaustively comprehensive. Also note -- experimental data, if used, is not the proof -- it is evidence. The proof is presented as an analysis and critical presentation. Generally, every statement in your dissertation must be common knowledge, supported by citation to technical literature, or original results proved by the candidate (you). Each of those statements must directly relate to the proof of the thesis, or else they are unnecessary.

Let's revisit the idea of the thesis itself. It is a hypothesis, a conjecture, or a theorem. The dissertation is a formal, stylized document used to argue your thesis. The thesis must be significant, original (no one has yet demonstrated it to be true), and it must extend the state of scientific knowledge.

The first thing you need to do is to come up with no more than three sentences that express your thesis. Your committee must agree that your statements form a valid thesis statement. You, too, must be happy with the statement -- it should be what you will tell anyone if they ask you what your thesis is (few people will want to hear an hour's presentation as a response).

Once you have a thesis statement, you can begin developing the dissertation. The abstract, for instance, should be a one-page description of your thesis and how you present the proof of it. The abstract should summarize the results of the thesis and should stress the contributions to science made thereby.

Perhaps the best way to understand how an abstract should look would be to examine the abstracts of several dozen dissertations that have already been accepted. Our university library has a collection of them. This is a good approach to see how an entire dissertation is structured and presented. MIT Press has published the ACM doctoral dissertation award series for decades, so you may find some of those to be good examples to read -- they should be in any large technical library.

The dissertation itself should be structured into 4 to 6 chapters. The following is one commonly-used structure:

  • Introduction. Provide an introduction to the basic terminology, cite appropriate background work, and briefly discuss related work that has already covered aspects of the problem.
  • Abstract model. Discuss an abstract model of what you are trying to prove. This chapter should not discuss any specific implementation (see below)
  • Validation of model/proof of theorems. This is a chapter showing proof of the model. It could be a set of proofs or a discussion of the construction and validation of a model or simulation to gather supporting data.
  • Measurements/data. This would present data collected from actual use, simulations, or other sources. The presentation would include analysis to show support for the underlying thesis.
  • Additional results. In some work, there may be secondary confirmation studies, or it might be the case that additional significant results are collected along the way to the proof of the central thesis. These would be presented here.
  • Conclusions and future work. This is where the results are all tied together and presented. Limitations, restrictions, and special cases should be clearly stated here, along with the results. Some extensions as future work may also be described.

Let's look at these in a little more detail

Chapter I, Introduction. Here, you should clearly state the thesis and its importance. This is also where you define terms and other concepts used elsewhere. There is no need to write 80 pages of background on your topic here. Instead, you can cover almost everything by saying: "The terminology used in this work matches the definitions given in [citation, citation] unless noted otherwise." Then, cite some appropriate works that give the definitions you need. The progress of science is that we learn and use the work of others (with appropriate credit). Assume you have a technically literate readership familiar with (or able to find) standard references. Do not reference popular literature or WWW sites if you can help it (this is a matter of style more than anything else -- you want to cite articles in refereed conferences and journals, if possible, or in other theses).

Also, in the introduction, you want to survey any related work that attempted something similar to your own or has a significant supporting role in your research. This should refer only to published references. You cite the work in the references, not the researchers themselves. E.g., "The experiments described in [citation] explored the foo and bar conditions, but did not discuss the further problem of baz, the central point of this work." You should not make references such as this: "Curly, Moe, and Larry all believed the same in their research [CML53]" because you do not know what they believed or thought -- you only know what the paper states. Every factual statement you make must have a specific citation tied to it in this chapter, or else it must be common knowledge (don't rely on this too much).

Chapter II. Abstract Model. Your results are to be of lasting value. Thus, the model you develop and write about (and indeed, that you defend) should have lasting value. Thus, you should discuss a model not based on Windows, Linux, Ethernet, PCMIA, or any other technology. It should be generic and capture all the details necessary to overlay the model on likely environments. You should discuss the problems, parameters, requirements, necessary and sufficient conditions, and other factors here. Consider that 20 years ago (ca 1980), the common platform was a Vax computer running VMS or a PDP-11 running Unix version 6, yet well-crafted theses of the time are still valuable today. Will your dissertation be valuable 20+ years from now (ca 2050), or have you referred to technologies that will be of only historical interest?

This model is tough to construct but is the heart of the scientific part of your work. This is the lasting part of the contribution, and this is what someone might cite 50 years from now when we are all using MS Linux XXXXP on computers embedded in our wrists with subspace network links!

Chapters III & IV, Proof.There are basically three proof techniques that I have seen used in a computing dissertation, depending on the thesis topic. The first is analytic, where one takes the model or formulae and shows, using formal manipulations, that the model is sound and complete. A second proof method is stochastic, using statistical methods and measurements to show that something is true in the anticipated cases.

  • clearly showing how your implementation model matches the conditions of your abstract model,
  • describing all the variables and why you set them as you do,
  • accounting for confounding factors, and
  • showing the results.

Chapter V. Additional results. This may be folded into Chapter III in some theses or multiple chapters in a thesis with many parts (as in a theory-based thesis). This may be where you discuss the effects of technology change on your results. This is also a place where you may wish to point out significant results that you obtained while seeking to prove your central thesis but which are not supportive of the thesis. Often, such additional results are published in a separate paper.

Chapter VI. Conclusions and Future Work. This is where you discuss what you found from your work, incidental ideas and results that were not central to your thesis but of value nonetheless (if you did not have them in Chapter V), and other results. This chapter should summarize all the important results of the dissertation --- note that this is the only chapter many people will ever read, so it should convey all the important results.

This is also where you should outline some possible future work that can be done in the area. What are some open problems? What are some new problems? What are some significant variations open to future inquiry?

Appendices usually are present to hold mundane details that are not published elsewhere but are critical to the development of your dissertation. This includes tables of measurement results, configuration details of experimental testbeds, limited source code listings of critical routines or algorithms, etc. It is not appropriate to include lists of readings by topic, lists of commercial systems, or other material that does not directly support the proof of your thesis.

Here are some more general hints to keep in mind as you write/edit:

  • Adverbs should generally not be used -- instead, use something precise. For example, do not say that something "happens quickly." How fast is quickly? Is it relative to CPU speeds? Network speeds? Does it depend on connectivity, configuration, programming language, OS release, etc? What is the standard deviation?
  • As per the above, the use of the words "fast," "slow," "perfect," "soon," "ideal," "lots of," and related should all be avoided. So should "clearly," "obviously," "simple," "like," "few," "most," "large," et al.
  • What you are writing is scientific fact. Judgments of aesthetics, ethics, personal preference, and the like should be in the conclusions chapter, if they should be anywhere at all. With that in mind, avoid the use of words such as "good," "bad," "best," and any similar discussion. Also, avoid stating "In fact," "Actually," "In reality," and any similar construct -- everything you are writing must be factual, so there is no need to state such things. If you feel compelled to use one of these constructs, then carefully evaluate what you are saying to ensure you are not injecting relative terms, opinions, value judgments, or other items inappropriate for a dissertation.
  • Computers and networks do not have knees, so poor performance cannot bring them to something they do not have. They also don't have hands, so "On the one hand..." is not good usage. Programs don't perform conscious thought (nor do their underlying computers), so your system does not "think" that it has seen a particular type of traffic. Generalizing from this, do not anthropomorphize your IT components!
  • Avoid mention of time and environment. "Today's computers" are antiques far sooner than you think. Your thesis should still be true many years from now. If a particular time or interval is necessary, be explicit, as in "Between 1905 and 1920" rather than "Over the last 15 years." (See the difference, given some distance in time?)
  • Be sure that any scientist or mathematician would recognize something you claim as proof.
  • Focus on the results and not the methodology. The methodology should be clearly described but not the central topic of your discussion in chapters III & IV
  • Keep concepts and instances separate. An algorithm is not the same as a program that implements it. A protocol is not the same as the realization of it; a reference model is not the same as a working example, and so on.

As a rule of thumb, a CS dissertation should probably be longer than 100 pages but less than 160. Anything outside that range should be carefully examined with the above points in mind.

Keep in mind that you -- the Ph.D. candidate -- are expected to become the world's foremost expert on your topic area. That topic area should not be unduly broad but must be big enough to be meaningful. Your advisor and committee members are not supposed to know more about the topic than you do -- not individually, at least. Your dissertation is supposed to explain your findings and, along with the defense, demonstrate your mastery of the area in which you are now the leading expert. That does not mean writing everything you know -- it means writing enough about the most important points that others can agree with your conclusions.

Last of all, don't fall into the trap that ties up many candidates and causes some of them to flame out before completion: your thesis does not need to be revolutionary. It simply needs to be an incremental advancement in the field. Few Ph.D. dissertations have ever had a marked impact on the field. Instead, it is the author's set of publications and products of the author that may change the field.

If your dissertation is like most, it will only be read by your committee and some other Ph.D. candidates seeking to build on your work. As such, it does not need to be a masterwork of literature, nor does it need to solve a long-standing problem in computing. It merely needs to be correct, to be significant in the judgment of your committee, and it needs to be complete. We will all applaud when you change the world after graduation. And at that, you will find that many well-known scientists in CS have made their careers in areas different from their dissertation topic. The dissertation is proof that you can find and present original results; your career and life after graduation will demonstrate the other concerns you might have about making an impact.

So get to work!

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Dissertations and Theses

The dissertation is the hallmark of the research expertise demonstrated by a doctoral student. It is a scholarly contribution to knowledge in the student’s area of specialization. By researching and writing a dissertation, the student is expected to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and the capability to function as an independent scholar. 

A thesis is a hallmark of some master’s programs. It is a piece of original research, generally less comprehensive than a dissertation, and is meant to show the student’s knowledge of an area of specialization.  

Document Preparation

PhD and master’s students are responsible for meeting all requirements for preparing theses and dissertations. They are expected to confer with their advisors about disciplinary and program expectations and to follow Graduate School procedure requirements.

The Graduate School’s format review is in place to help the document submission process go smoothly for the student. Format reviews for PhD dissertations and master’s theses can be done remotely or in-person. The format review is required at or before the two-week notice of the final defense. 

Access and Distribution

Ohio State has agreements with two organizations— OhioLINK   and   ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing —that store and provide access to Ohio State theses and dissertations.  

Examinations

Graduate degree examinations are a major milestone in all graduate students’ pursuit of their graduate degree. Much hinges on the successful completion of these examinations, including the ability to continue in a graduate program. 

The rules and processes set by the Graduate School ensure the integrity of these examinations for graduate students, the graduate faculty, and for Ohio State. 

Final Semester

During your final semester as a graduate student there are many activities that lead up to commencement and receiving your degree. Complete the final semester checklist and learn more about commencement activities.

Graduation Calendar

Select your expected graduation term below to see specific dates concerning when to apply for graduation, complete your examinations and reports, submit approved thesis and dissertation, commencement, and the end-of semester deadline.

Applications to Graduate Due 1  : January 26, 2024

Examinations and Reports completed by 2  : April 12, 2024

Approved thesis and dissertation submitted and accepted by 3  : April 19, 2024

Commencement 4  : May 5, 2024

End of Semester Deadline 5  : May 6, 2024

Applications to Graduate Due 1  : May 24, 2024

Examinations and Reports completed by 2  : July 12, 2024

Approved thesis and dissertation submitted and accepted by 3  : July 19, 2024

Commencement 4  : August 4, 2024

End of Semester Deadline 5  : August 19, 2024

Applications to Graduate Due 1  : September 6, 2024

Examinations and Reports completed by 2  : November 22, 2024

Approved thesis and dissertation submitted and accepted by 3  : November 27, 2024

Commencement 4  : December 15, 2024

End of Semester Deadline 5  : January 3, 2025

Applications to Graduate Due 1  : January 24, 2025

Examinations and Reports completed by 2  : April 11, 2025

Approved thesis and dissertation submitted and accepted by 3  : April 18, 2025

Commencement 4  : May 4, 2025

End of Semester Deadline 5  : May 5, 2025

1  Applications to graduate include current semester or End-of-Semester deadline. Applications must be received by close of business.

2 Format reviews may occur electronically or in person at the Graduate School during announced business hours.  Both options require submitting a digital version of the dissertation or DMA document draft in a PDF format to  [email protected] .  

3  Approved documents must be submitted via OhioLINK and accepted by the Graduate School by the close of business before the Report on Final Document will be processed.

4  Students not attending commencement must complete the commencement section on the Application to Graduate to indicate how their diploma should be disbursed.

5  A degree applicant who does not meet published graduation deadlines but who does complete all degree requirements by the last business day prior to the first day of classes for the following semester or summer term will graduate the following semester or summer term without registering or paying fees

Still Have Questions?

Dissertations & Theses 614-292-6031 [email protected]

Doctoral Exams, Master's Examination, Graduation Requirements 614-292-6031 [email protected]

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  1. PDF Guidelines for The PhD Dissertation

    Every PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is required to successfully complete and submit a dissertation to qualify for degree conferral. This document provides information on how to submit your dissertation, requirements for dissertation formatting, and your dissertation publishing and distribution options.

  2. What Is a Dissertation?

    In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD. In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor's or master's degree. Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing.

  3. PDF A Complete Dissertation

    Chapter 1 Objectives Provide a cursory glance at the constitution of an entire dissertation. Offer a comprehensive outline of all key elements for each section of the dissertation—that is, precursor of what is to come, with each element being more fully developed and explained further along in the book.

  4. Dissertation Structure & Layout 101 (+ Examples)

    To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure. In this post, we'll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We'll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents.

  5. Thesis and Dissertation: Getting Started

    Creating a roadmap for your dissertation early on can help you determine what the final document will include and how all the pieces are connected. This resource offers guidance on several approaches to creating a roadmap, including creating lists, maps, nut-shells, visuals, and different methods for outlining.

  6. PhD Thesis Guide

    This PhD Thesis Guide will guide you step-by-step through the thesis process, from your initial letter of intent to submission of the final document. All associated forms are conveniently consolidated in the section at the end. Deadlines & Requirements Getting Started The Thesis Committee: Roles and Responsibilities Letters of Intent

  7. Dissertation Proposal

    The dissertation proposal is a comprehensive statement on the extent and nature of the student's dissertation research interests. Students submit a draft of the proposal to their dissertation advisor between the end of the seventh and middle of the ninth quarters. The student must provide a written copy of the proposal to the faculty ...

  8. Know How to Structure Your PhD Thesis

    In almost every PhD thesis or dissertation, there are standard sections. Of course, some of these may differ, depending on your university or department requirements, as well as your topic of study, but this will give you a good idea of the basic components of a PhD thesis format.

  9. Ph.D. Dissertation Writing: A Short Guide

    A dissertation, also known as a doctoral thesis, is the final required part of completing a student's doctoral study. Undertaken after a student completes coursework and passes a comprehensive examination, the dissertation is the final hurdle in completing a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree.

  10. PDF University of Pennsylvania PhD Dissertation Manual

    manuscript, online submission process, and supporting documents. The Dissertation Manual can be used in conjunction with the new . Dissertation Template-- a Word file preformatted with the approved margins, pagination, fonts, etc. Beginning in AY 2011-12, all PhD dissertations must be submitted in digital format through ProQuest's ETD ...

  11. Free Dissertation & Thesis Template (Word Doc & PDF)

    Is this template for an undergrad, Masters or PhD-level thesis? How long should my dissertation/thesis be? What about the research proposal? How do I write a literature review? How do I create a research methodology? Can I share this dissertation template with my friends/colleagues? Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis?

  12. Dissertation Manual

    Graduate Education Academic Resources Financial Support Professional Development Student Life Dissertation Manual Dissertation Manual Students can reference the content and drop-downs below for understanding their dissertation requirement and the thesis defense process. Reference a downloadable PDF version of this guidance.

  13. Dissertation & Thesis Template

    Dissertation & Thesis Template HOME Academics Preparing to Graduate Dissertation & Thesis Template Dissertation & Thesis Template As a resource for graduate students, sample Word templates are available to assist with the initial formatting of doctoral dissertations and master's theses.

  14. How To Write A Dissertation

    A PhD dissertation is a lengthy, formal document that argues in defense of a particular thesis. (So many people use the term ``thesis'' to refer to the document that a current dictionary now includes it as the third meaning of ``thesis''). Each statement in a dissertation must be correct and defensible in a logical and scientific sense.

  15. PDF Student Research Guide

    For PhD Students. PHD 9999 Dissertation Research. This guide provides an overview of the steps required to complete a doctoral-level dissertation and helpful resources to ensure your success. Throughout the research process students can reach out for assistance from their committee members or The Office of Academic Affairs and Student Services.

  16. Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

    Faculty: History Author: Julien Saint Reiman Award: 2018 Charles A. Beard Senior Thesis Prize Title: "A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man": UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947 University: University College London Faculty: Geography Author: Anna Knowles-Smith

  17. PhD Dissertation

    PhD Dissertation PsyD Doctoral Study Kits Doctoral Multilingual Writers Kit Proposal Kit Final Study Kit Form and Style Review Kit Postgraduation Kit APA Citations References Tables and Figures Abstracts for the Capstone More APA Style Guidelines Writing Grammar and Mechanics Reading to Write Self-Editing Scholarly Voice Evidence-Based Arguments

  18. Formatting Guidelines For Theses, Dissertations, and DMA Documents

    Before beginning to write a master's thesis, PhD dissertation, or DMA document, students should read the relevant sections of the Graduate School Handbook, section 7.8 for dissertations and/ or section 6.4 for master's theses.

  19. Doctoral Dissertation Checklist

    Doctoral Dissertation Checklist. Dissertations must be documents submitted electronically and prepared according to the specific requirements for ETDs using the institutional repository D-Scholarship@Pitt . To help students meet these requirements, templates are available to help: These templates offer many shortcuts and automatic features that ...

  20. What is a Ph.D. Dissertation?

    Your dissertation is part of the requirements for a PhD. The research, theory, experimentation, et al. also contribute. ... The dissertation is a formal, stylized document used to argue your thesis. The thesis must be significant, original (no one has yet demonstrated it to be true), and it must extend the state of scientific knowledge.

  21. What Are the Steps to the Dissertation Process?

    The Dissertation Guidebook is one of the essential navigation tools Walden provides to its doctoral candidates. A vital portion of the document details the 15 required steps that take a dissertation from start to finish. Read along with Walden students to learn more about that process: Premise. The dissertation premise is a short document that ...

  22. PDF Dissertation & Graduation Instructions for Ph.D. Candidates

    This document provides detailed instructions for PhD candidates who are preparing to graduate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It covers the steps and requirements for submitting the dissertation, scheduling the defense, completing the exit survey, and obtaining the diploma.

  23. Dissertations and Theses

    The dissertation is the hallmark of the research expertise demonstrated by a doctoral student. It is a scholarly contribution to knowledge in the student's area of specialization. By researching and writing a dissertation, the student is expected to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and the capability to function as an independent scholar.

  24. PDF Protocol for DMA document and/or lecture recital(s) and PhD dissertation

    • The document/dissertation must be submitted to the committee no less than 3 weeks (21 days) prior to the defense. • The completed document/dissertation must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Thursday of Week 12 (MARCH 29, 2024). (Regardless of the submission date, the committee must receive the document/dissertation 3 weeks prior to the ...