Bu Dissertation Defense

New GRS PhD Dissertation and Graduation Procedures Website

The GRS office has made a new website that houses all doctoral graduation and dissertation information, forms, and instructions.


In addition to the new website, GRS has made adjustments to the graduation deadlines calendar and to the required materials. A list of the important changes can be found below.

  • Dissertation Prospectus: The prospectus paperwork should be submitted as soon as the prospectus is approved, but no later than six months before the dissertation defense. Our office no longer needs the prospectus itself, we only need the approval form. A copy of the prospectus should be kept in the department/program files.
  • Intent to Graduate: We are no longer using a paper diploma application. Instead, student should submit the electronic Intent to Graduate form found on the new GRS Dissertation and Graduation Procedures website.
  • Schedule of Final Oral Exam: Starting with students graduating in September 2015, there is now a specific date by which final oral exam scheduling paperwork must be submitted to the GRS office (deadlines are viewable on new graduation website).
  • Final Submission Timeline: Starting with students graduating in September 2015, students will have an extra week after the last date to hold a final oral exam before the final dissertation submission is due in GRS. This will allow students time to make committee edits.
  • Final Submission Documents: Students will continue to submit their dissertations online via the ETD website. In the past, students have also been asked to make an appointment with a Records Officer to turn in the following documents. Moving forward, students will not need to make this appointment, instead the documentation will be received as outlined below:
  • Dissertation Processing Fee: brought by the student to the GRS front desk
  • PhD Contact Information Form: students will submit new online web form accessible on the new GRS Dissertation and Graduation Procedures website
  • Dissertation Signature Page: signature page should now be turned in by the individual departments/programs with the student’s exam results paperwork
  • Copy of Title page and Abstract: no longer required
  • Grace Periods: The deadlines calendar now has printed grace period deadlines which state the last date for a student to complete their degree requirements for graduation in the following semester without registering for that semester

Please note that these changes are for PhD students only. A similar system will be rolled out for Master’s students in the near future.

New GRS PhD Dissertation and Graduation Procedures Website

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The change from paper to electronic submission of PhD dissertations, and their subsequent availability on-line rather than through microfilm, has made dissertations readily available to everyone and discoverable using simple on-line searches.  While the granting of a PhD has always involved the open publication of a dissertation, this is now true in practice as well as in theory. There has been discussion in the press of how this change is affecting publication, particularly of scholarly books based on a dissertation, with the result that more PhD candidates are asking for their dissertations to remain unavailable for a period after they graduate. This process is called putting an embargo on the dissertation.  Many of our sister institutions have developed formal policies around embargoing dissertations. In the absence of a formal University policy, Mugar Library has developed rules concerning embargoes included in their Guide for Writers of Thesis and Dissertations. These rules are based on what ProQuest, the service used to archive Boston University dissertations electronically, allows.

GRS students may request an embargo of no more than two years. Such requests must be approved by the associate dean.

GRS Policy on Delayed Circulation of Dissertations: In rare circumstances, a student may not want his or her dissertation or thesis to be available from ProQuest or the Digital Common immediately after it is submitted to them. Circulation restrictions (referred to by ProQuest as “embargoes”) are granted only in limited circumstances, but may be allowed by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences if the author plans to sell the work to a publisher, apply for a patent, or if the material covers a sensitive subject that cannot be published safely or appropriately at the time. In such circumstances, you may request a restriction for any period between six months and two years (ProQuest default options are 6 mos., one year, or two years). For any time period, you must submit a letter requesting a restriction along with the PDF of the thesis or dissertation through ProQuest’s ETD Administrator. The letter must explain the compelling reason for the restriction, the time limit desired, an address where you can be contacted when the time limit expires, and the signed approval of both you and your major advisor. These letters are reviewed and if appropriate approved by the associate dean. The restriction will start from the date on the letter. A sample letter is provided in the file of Sample Pages. Your manuscript will not be available until the restriction is released. No one is permitted to look at your work unless they have your express written permission to do so. Requests to read your manuscript will be forwarded to you. It is your responsibility to respond to them.

The library has made available an FAQ: Embargoes & Electronic Theses & Dissertations document.

Dissertation embargo letter template
Thesis embargo letter template

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