Dissertation Defense Guidelines

The student, in consultation with his or her advisor, will decide when the dissertation is ready for defense.

Students may defend in the fall, spring, or summer, for a January, May, or September degree, respectively. Please see below for the steps that must be taken during the semester in which the student plans to defend.

• At the beginning of the semester, the student must inform the Director of Graduate Studies, the Department Administrator, and his or her "core" dissertation readers that he or she plans to defend. The three "core" readers include the student's advisor and two other faculty members. Most often, the readers are the same individuals who served on the student's dissertation proposal committee.

• The advisor and student, in consultation with the DGS, must then select two additional committee members, for a total of five. * Please see guidelines pertaining to the makeup of dissertation committees at the bottom of this page.

• Once a committee of five is formed, the student should work with committee members, as early as possible (even before the beginning of the semester is preferable), to decide on a dissertation defense date. * It is important that this happen as early as possible, particularly if you have committee members who cannot be present at the defense. There are various forms that require original signatures from your committee members, so the earlier we know, the earlier we can be in touch with these people to start the signature process in time for various deadlines. At this time, the department strongly encourages that there be no more than 2 committee members Skyping in, so please consider this when selecting your 4th and 5th readers.

Ideally, the defense date should be at least several weeks prior to the GSAS Final Dissertation Deadline (available on the GSAS Academic Calendar). This gives the student an opportunity to incorporate any revisions suggested by the committee (during the defense) before the final deadline.

• The student must apply for the Ph.D. degree on Albert. Each semester, there is a deadline by which the student must do this. The deadlines can be found on the GSAS Academic Calendar, and are usually within a month of the beginning of a given semester.

• The student must prepare the preliminary dissertation copy in accordance with GSAS dissertation guidelines. Each semester (including summer), there is a GSAS Preliminary Dissertation Deadline by which the student must submit his or her preliminary dissertation (or excerpts) to the GSAS Office of Academic and Student Life. These deadlines are also available on the GSAS Academic Calendar. It is highly recommended that you review the GSAS guidelines at the beginning of the semester. You will find that a) the dissertation must be formatted in a certain manner, which can be quite time consuming, and b) they require documents with original signatures as well, so you will want to prepare these in advance of the Preliminary and Final deadlines. The department is not aware of the details of the GSAS guidelines, so we will not be sending you reminders related to these. It is the student's responsibility to review and meet their requirements and deadlines. The department will, however, send reminders about department paperwork, guidelines, and due dates.

* The Department Administrator (cc'd to the Director of Graduate Studies) is your contact for questions and all matters regarding your defense, department guidelines and requirements (registration deadlines, the required "Reader Sheets" and "Oral Defense" forms (outlined below), forming your committee, setting the date for your defense, communicating with your committee, and anything else that happens within the department). Your contact at GSAS for questions pertaining to their deadlines and procedures is Cherone Slater (cherone.slater@nyu.edu). While you are responsible to reaching our to your committee to select a defense date, once you have narrowed it down, please begin cc'ing me on these communications so that I can make sure that there is space available and that the defense will not conflict with some other department event.

• Upon request (of faculty or students), the student must submit one copy of the dissertation to the department one month prior to the defense. The student must also make one complete copy of the dissertation available (electronic or hard copy) to all five committee members no later than one month prior to the defense. Your advisor, and ideally your core committee members, should be seeing your work regularly leading up to the semester in which you defend and the date of the defense.

Also on this date (one month prior to the defense), the student must submit three "Doctoral Thesis Reader" sheets to the Departmental Administrator, signed by his or her core readers. This sheet indicates that the committee member has read a dissertation draft and approved the dissertation for defense, which is why it is crucial that your core members have access to your writing as it progresses in the months/semesters before your defense. This form is available in the office of the Department Administrator or online, under GSAS Forms.

*For committee members who are not on campus to provide original signatures on this document (not applicable to the "Doctoral Thesis Oral Defense Form"), they may e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies and Department Administrator to verify that the dissertation is ready for defense and then sign the form at a later date or at the actual defense.

• On the date of the defense, the five committee members must sign the "Doctoral Thesis Oral Defense Form," indicating that the student has passed the oral dissertation defense. This form is also available in the office of the Department Administrator or online, under GSAS Forms. If a committee member cannot be present at the defense, the student and Administrator must communicate with this person so that he or she can mail a signed form to the department well before the final dissertation deadline. The three "Doctoral Thesis Reader Sheets" and the "Doctoral Thesis Oral Defense Form" are kept on file in the department, and the Department Administrator is responsible for submitting these to the registrar following the dissertation defense (by the Final Dissertation Deadline). All other paperwork is handled between the student and GSAS; GSAS is then responsible for submitting that paperwork to the registrar.

• Finally, the student must submit the final dissertation copy and other required paperwork, in accordance with GSAS dissertation guidelines, to the GSAS Office of Academic and Student Life. GSAS Final Dissertation Deadlines are available on the GSAS Academic Calendar.

 

Committee Members

According to University Policy, at least three of the dissertation defense committee members must be GSAS faculty members. Former GSAS faculty members (who have been gone for fewer than five years) are regarded as NYU faculty for the purpose of a dissertation defense. The Director of Graduate Studies must approve a committee with fewer than three department faculty members. The committee may have "outside" committee members (not on the NYU faculty at all), with the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.