Application for Graduate Degree

In order to receive your graduate degree, all graduate students must file an Application for Degree form with the Office of the University Registrar by the deadlines specified in the academic calendar.  

There is a $235 graduation fee that accompanies the PhD application. Please contact the Registrar’s Office at with questions. 

Master’s Thesis Requirement

Beginning in the fall of 2008, students entering graduate programs with a master's thesis requirement must electronically deposit their thesis to the Brandeis University Institutional Repository. 

The master's thesis requirement will not be considered fulfilled, nor will the thesis be published through the University Archives, until the Certification of Master’s Thesis Acceptance Form is submitted to GSAS. 

The signed and completed form must reach GSAS by the submission deadline listed in the Academic Calendar. Questions about submitting the master’s thesis or formatting guidelines should be addressed to Emily Goldberg at

Dissertation and Thesis Completion Workshops

GSAS offers two workshops each semester: one for expected Master’s degree recipients and one for expected PhD degree recipients. These sessions offer an overview of the procedures and guidelines for dissertation and thesis submission. Workshop dates will be announced in the GSAS e-newsletter Highlights or by email, and registration is required. Contact Emily Goldberg at with questions.

Qualifying Exams and Language Requirements

In order to qualify for a graduate degree, students must complete residency requirements and pass comprehensive examinations (if required by the department/degree). Some programs may require a reading knowledge of a least one foreign language and a qualifying examination. The GSAS offers courses each year in French, German, and Hebrew to help students achieve a reading proficiency in one of these languages. Information will be available on the GSAS website.

Dissertation Policies

The forms, procedures, and paperwork involved in completing the dissertation process are complex, and GSAS tries to make all pertinent information as accessible as possible. Graduation deadlines and dissertation formatting guidelines and procedures can be found online. The following are some important facts and dates you will need to know:

Dissertation Examining Committee

This committee presides over your final oral examination; it is appointed by the dissertation reading committee, approved by your program chair and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean, and consists of no fewer than three faculty members. Your principal advisor is the chair of this committee. This committee will notify you of the time and place of your oral examination at least two weeks in advance. 

Dissertation Examining Committee (DEC) Form

This form should be completed by the student or department administrator. It lists your dissertation title and the names of your examining committee members. It must be completed and signed by your program chair and sent to GSAS at least two weeks before your defense.  

Dissertation Formatting Guidelines

Check with your department for specific formatting guidelines. If your department has specific formatting guidelines, follow them over GSAS guidelines, but you should be in contact with Emily Goldberg at about this discrepancy between guidelines. Dissertations must be submitted electronically to the Brandeis contracted repository at ProQuest LLC.

Final Oral Examination

At least two weeks prior to the oral exam, the dissertation must be deposited in the program office, where it will be available for inspection. GSAS will publish the time and place of the oral exam along with the title of your dissertation on the academic calendar. The oral examination is open to any member of the faculty engaged in graduate instruction and invited faculty members from other institutions. The exam may be restricted to a defense of the dissertation or may cover the whole field of the dissertation.

Report on PhD Dissertation Defense and Oral Exam

This form must be signed by the examining committee (it should be brought to the oral exam) to certify the successful performance on the oral examination. The signed form should be returned to the Registrar's Office.

Report on PhD Revisions

If the examining committee requires revisions of text, the doctoral candidate must submit a signed Revisions Form to the Registrar’s Office. This form is required when minor or substantial revisions are requested by the examining committee. For a complete explanation of revision deadlines, read the information available on the DEC form.

Deposit and Publication of Dissertation

The doctoral candidate is responsible for electronically submitting one PDF copy of the approved dissertation by the specified deadline (see Academic Calendar for February, May, and August degree deadlines) to the online ProQuest LLC site. The original, signed Signature Page along with two finished surveys complete the GSAS requirements. The dissertation author, the departmental office, and the Library will each receive a softbound copy. The Library will also receive a microfilm for the Library archive. Visit our Dissertation Guide section of the website for detailed information on the submission process.

Commencement Ceremony

Each year at the end of March, Master’s and Doctoral students eligible to participate in the May Commencement Ceremony will receive information regarding cap and gown ordering and how to obtain tickets to the main Ceremony. Information about locations, diploma ceremonies, and overall logistics is continually updated on the Commencement website.  

Obtaining Your Diploma

The Registrar’s Office will mail your official diploma to your home if you are not present at the May diploma ceremony or if you graduate in February or August. Therefore, if you move or are not graduating in May, it is very important that your contact information be updated in SAGE.