Degree Information


Students wishing to obtain a degree must formally apply within their my.harvard account. The link can be found on the Student Home page. PhD students must also provide a completion code for the GSAS Exit Survey within the application.  In unusual circumstances, late applications may be accepted for one week past the deadline only; a late fee of $50 will be applied to the student’s term bill.

If a student applies but does not receive the degree, they must submit a new application for the degree period they intend to graduate in.


Degree Conferral:          November 10, 2020       March 1, 2021                May 27, 2021
Application Deadline:    August 14, 2020              December 1, 2020         April 1, 2021
Degree Submission:        September 8, 2020*     January 19, 2021           May 13, 2021

*Students who wish to retain health coverage for the fall 2020 term (through January 31, 2021) and who would like to be charged accordingly should submit the dissertation from September 9, 2020 – October 9, 2020

NOTE: Your stipend will end based on your dissertation submission date, not the date of diploma availability. If you submit your dissertation before the 15th of the month, the stipend will be terminated at the end of that month. If you submit your dissertation after the 15th of the month, the next month’s stipend will be the final month the student is paid, at the discretion of the advisor.

Please review the Steps to Degree website for more specific information about the November, March and May degree deadlines and links to forms.

Important to Note:

Registration and Tuition Requirements for Degree Candidates:
All degree candidates must register continuously until completion of the requirements for the degree.  PhD candidates must have paid two years of Full tuition and two years of Reduced tuition before receipt of the degree, unless they have completed the PhD in less than four years from initial registration.  All PhD candidates must pay the PhD fee, equal to facilities fee in their last term of registration (unless a higher tuition has been paid).   This final charge is billed when a student applies for the degree; unless the student has already paid the Facilities fee for the term.

  • For students receiving degrees in November, the last term of registration is the previous spring term.
  • For degrees in March the last term is the previous fall.
  • For degrees in May the last term is the spring term (except that May degree candidates filing dissertations by very early February 2021 who do not register or pay tuition for the spring term).

Students who are uncertain whether they will finish in time for degrees in November or March are encouraged to register for the fall or spring terms respectively, either in residence or on leave of absence, to avoid late registration fees if they miss the degree deadlines.  Should they finish in time their registration for the term will be cancelled.

Student health insurance expires on the last day of coverage for the last term of enrollment. Please visit HUHS for more information. November degree candidates should visit the GSAS for important deadlines and information regarding health coverage eligibility.

Binding and Delivery of the Dissertation Following the Examination

Following the defense examination, the student, with the help of the Dissertation Advisor, should make any necessary corrections to the thesis. It is then the student’s responsibility to submit the following copies of the dissertation:

GSAS requires submission of one electronic copy of the dissertation, submitted electronically through the ETDs @ Harvard online submission tool to the FAS Registrar’s Office for approval for the degree.

GSAS also requires submission to Harvard University Archives of a print, bound copy of the dissertation. Students do not need to take action to secure and submit this copy as this automatically happens upon electronic submission of the dissertation.  Order and submission of the print, bound copy is managed automatically via the ETDs @ Harvard tool and the Office of Scholarly Communication. Upon submission of the application for degree, a one-time $40 charge will appear on the student’s term bill for the GSAS required copy.  Additionally, BPH requires a departmental bound copy and an advisor bound copy, so BPH students will see a total order of 3 printed dissertations and a charge of $120 on the term bill for which the student will be reimbursed by providing a receipt of this charge.  The departmental and advisor copies will be delivered directly to the department by the book binders. [Students who apply for the degree and do not then meet all requirements for the degree period will not be charged when submitting future applications for the degree.]

If necessary, students may request to delay the release of (“embargo”) their work when submitting their dissertation to ETDs @ Harvard. Embargo requests greater than two years are reviewed by the relevant director of graduate studies and by the University Librarian; students are notified by e-mail if their request has been approved. Embargo requests apply to both DASH and ProQuest.

NOTE: Students must secure personal copies outside of the arrangement we have for institutional copies (for Harvard Archives, academic departments, and labs).  They can choose to go with Acme or they can choose to go with any other bindery they like.

Bookbinders who have worked with Harvard University
(Prices and time required vary; some binderies charge a premium for rush jobs.)

Acme Bookbinding, 100 Cambridge Street, Charlestown, MA; (617) 242-1100.

For names and addresses of other binderies, consult the Library Binding Institute website:

Both electronic and paper copies must meet the specifications described in Formatting Your Dissertation. A dissertation that does not conform to the minimum standards set by GSAS may have to be reformatted and resubmitted. In that event, the degree cannot be awarded until a dissertation in satisfactory form is completed and deposited with the Registrar.

For more information regarding the PhD Dissertation, please see this website: