Extension of Time to Degree for Doctoral Students

In recognition of the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and the myriad research and health disruptions of our doctoral students' progress, GSAS will be automatically granting an extension of time to degree for any currently enrolled doctoral student, thereby extending their time from eight to nine years.

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.  

Master’s Paper Requirement

Students who are completing a required or optional master’s paper as part of their graduate program should follow their program’s procedures for formatting, submission, and review of the master’s paper. Unlike the master’s thesis, the master’s paper is not submitted to or approved by GSAS. 

Once accepted, students have the option of submitting master’s papers for publication in the Brandeis University Institutional Repository. If you would like to publish your master’s paper in the Repository, please visit the Library website for more information about the requirements and process for submission.

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 ProQuest LLC for publication in both ProQuest and the Brandeis University Institutional Repository. 

The master's thesis requirement will not be considered fulfilled, nor will the thesis be published, until the Certification of Master’s Thesis Acceptance Form is submitted to GSAS. This form can be signed digitally and emailed to Emily Wheeler at emilywheeler@brandeis.edu.

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 master's thesis formatting guidelines should be addressed to Emily Wheeler at emilywheeler@brandeis.edu.

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 at least one foreign language and a qualifying examination. The GSAS offers courses each year in French, German, and Hebrew to help students achieve 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. Dissertation-related deadlines and dissertation formatting guidelines and procedures can be found in the GSAS Thesis and Dissertation Guide. 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 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 Wheeler at emilywheeler@brandeis.edu 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

The Defense 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.

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 dissertation will be published on ProQuest and in the Brandeis University Institutional Repository after degrees are conferred. GSAS will reimburse students for the cost of a printed, softcover 6 x 9 copy of their dissertation upon request. Students can order additional printed copies of their dissertation through the ProQuest site. Visit our Thesis and 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.