Dissertation Guidelines

The GSAS Registrar specifies deadlines by which the dissertation must be submitted and the dissertation examination passed to receive the Ph.D. diploma in November, March or May of each academic year.

A completed and signed Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) report must be on file in the DMS office stating that the students may begin writing his/her dissertation before any dissertation defense paperwork may be processed. A dissertation information packet is available in the DMS office. The student should make an appointment with the DMS office, to thoroughly review all requirements and deadlines.

The student and student’s dissertation advisor must select at least four DAC members. These members must be approved by the Head of the Virology Program before the scheduling of the exam begins. The exam committee consists of an examination chair, often but not necessarily, the chair of the DAC, and three examiners. All members must have the faculty rank of at least assistant professor. At least one member of the examination committee and the chair of the exam must be faculty from the Division of Medical Sciences. To broaden the examination, one member of the examination committee must be from outside Harvard University. Not more than one member of the DAC may become a member of the examination committee. An alternate examiner should be requested in the event one member of the examination committee is, at the last moment, unable to attend the dissertation defense.

For more information on defending please visit the DMS Dissertation and Defense Page.