Defense & Thesis/Dissertation Submission

SE MS thesis students and PhD students preparing to present their thesis/dissertation or submit their thesis/dissertation should follow the following steps.

Note:  For MS thesis and PhD students graduating in May 2014 onward, the College is discussing whether to require electronic submission of your thesis or PhD document.  This would still require a physical signature page.  The instructions below will be updated to reflect that as soon as the final decision is made and instructions are available.  In the meantime, refer to BUniverse for 1) instructional videos on the submission process and 2) how to set up your Word document prior to converting to a PDF.   The Divisions will still require at least one copy of your dissertation on acid free paper (as a gift to your advisor).


  • MS students do not currently have a “Final Oral Form” like PhD students. The signature page of your thesis will serve as the final approval of your committee members.
    • 3 Weeks Prior to Defense — email to the Graduate Programs Manager your Title, Abstract, Committee Members’ names, date and time of defense
  • PhD students should follow the Final Oral Requirements outlined in the PhD Handbook. Some timelines to keep in mind:

    ** NOTE for both:  When you defend, if your committee requires revisions to your thesis or dissertation, you may want to have all but one committee member (usually your advisor) sign your signature pages.  This is a helpful practice in instances where committee members might be traveling when you have completed the revisions and are ready to submit to the Division and the library.  This is often an issue in December/January or the summer when faculty are most likely to be traveling.

    Library Submission:

    When you prepare your thesis or dissertation, follow the Library Guide and consult with Brendan McDermott (contact information below). He will be checking your document for formatting, not content. Once you receive his approval for the formatting and receive final approval from your Committee for the content, you need to:

    • Prepare whatever the Library requires for submission (confirm with Mr. McDermott).
    • Provide the Division with two unbound copies of your thesis or dissertation, printed on cotton bond paper and with your committee member signatures on the signature pages. The Division will bind both copies, one for our records and the other as a courtesy to your research advisor.
    • When you submit your Division copies, the Graduate Programs Manager will sign the Library Form (in Room 118, forms cabinet under student mailboxes) and you can submit the form to Mr. McDermott, Mugar Library.
    • Mr. McDermott will give you the Gold copy for you and the Pink copy for you to return to the Graduate Programs Manager after he has signed it.

    Once you have completed these steps, you should be all set! The Graduate Programs Manager will prepare a Memo of Completion (MS students) or a Final Progress Report (PhD students) and submit it the Graduate Programs Office.