PhD Dissertations

Writing and submitting your dissertation are among the final steps leading to the award of the PhD degree. At the University of Pennsylvania, all Ph.D. students are required to write and deposit a dissertation consisting of original research.  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. For more information on dissertations, see the Academic Rules for PhD Programs.

All Penn Ph.D. dissertations are submitted electronically as of Spring 2020; hardcopies are not required. Since Fall 2015, Penn requires open access publication of dissertations in the institutional repository, Scholarly Commons. All Ph.D. dissertations must be submitted in digital format through ProQuest’s ETD Administrator module.

For more information, including the PhD Dissertation Formatting Guide, visit