Dissertation Work Outside of Boston University

Dissertation research is typically done “in residence” at the University, other than when it involves fieldwork or specialized data or evidence collection which is commonly done outside the University (e.g., in fields such as anthropology, astronomy, or particle physics or in the case of archival research).  Dissertation research must be primarily supervised by a member of the BU faculty, who is approved by their department to play this supervisory role and the doctoral students research should be independent and original. Faculty members who are responsible for oversight of a dissertation project (including members of a student’s dissertation/advisory committee) should not facilitate conduct of underlying research outside of BU, unless the responsible faculty member(s) has (have) an active collaboration with a given researcher at an outside organization and doing this work offers clear benefits to the student.

Research underlying a dissertation may be conducted outside of BU when a faculty dissertation supervisor (or committee member) has a prior and active research collaboration with an organization outside of BU. Under such circumstances, specific permission must be granted by the Dean of the school or college in which the student is enrolled. The Dean should report the circumstances of each case of this variety to the Associate Provost of Graduate Affairs, to help ensure that the University’s practices are consistent, recognizing that there are important differences among academic disciplines.

If the dissertation work will take place outside BU at a company or other for-profit entity, the student must complete a disclosure under the University’s Investigator Financial Conflicts of Interest Policy for Research. This disclosure must follow established procedures and be approved prior to the initiation of dissertation research.

BU is committed to sharing original dissertation research, and dissertations should be made available to the scholarly community in a timely manner. Faculty who oversee dissertation work should ensure that the student retains a right to publish dissertation materials in a timely fashion, and that any need to remove confidential or proprietary information does not undermine the academic integrity of the scholarship.