Doctoral Dissertation Manual

Writing and submitting your dissertation are among the final steps leading to the award of the PhD degree. At the University of Pennsylvania, a student presents and defends the dissertation publicly, and then, with the approval of the dissertation committee and graduate group chair, submits the final manuscript for publication.  Finally, the PhD degree is awarded to the candidate upon the recommendation of the Graduate Council of the Faculties. 

A bound copy of the dissertation is shelved in the University Library, where it is available through Interlibrary Loan. A digital copy is included in the ProQuest/UMI database, accessible online to subscribers and libraries.

Beginning December 2015, Penn will require open access publication of dissertations. Open access publication provides a much wider audience for you, can help to market your ideas to potential employers, and can help make plagiarism or theft much easier to detect.  The open access dissertation, published in the University's institutional repository, ScholarlyCommons, will be available via the internet, including full text searching through search engines like Google. The same legal and copyright protections pertain to open access publication as to traditional hardcopy publication. The University permits delay of traditional and open access publication as necessary. See Delay of Publication, below.

Dissertations must be submitted in digital format through ProQuest’s ETD Administrator module.  Follow the instructions in Submitting Your Dissertation, and should further questions arise, consult the Graduation Coordinators at the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences, Suite 322A, 3401 Walnut Street/6228; phone 215-898-7444, email: The Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences serves as the administrative clearinghouse for final deposit of all Penn PhD dissertations.

View the Doctoral Dissertation Manual: