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Doctoral Degree Requirements and Dissertation Information

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Degree Requirements:

For information on rules, requirements or standards, email or call 545-0722. 

IT Tutorials

For information on Manuscript Formatting Workshops & Tutorials, visit the website or email.

Learning Commons

For problems in conversion to PDF, call 577-1272.


For information on electronic dissertations.

Final Oral Defense Examination

Passing a final (at least partly oral) examination conducted by the Dissertation Committee on the Amherst campus is required for the doctoral degree. This examination time and date shall be submitted to the Graduate Dean for announcement to the Graduate Faculty.

Deadline to submit Final Oral Defense announcements:
All requests to schedule doctoral Final Oral Defense Examinations must be received by the Graduate School at 534 Goodell Building one month prior to the exam date.

A detailed checklist of requirements to be completed prior to the Final Oral Examination and specific information to be included in the request for the announcement is provided for your personal use in the Doctoral Oral Examination Checklist.

Submission Deadlines for the Degree

The University confers degrees three times a year: February, May and September. Submission deadlines for the requirements below are published in the Graduate School's Academic Calendar. Please not that the Degree Eligibility Form must be submitted to the student's academic department for review at least two weeks prior to the final degree deadline.

Deadlines are absolute. No exceptions will be made. All online submissions, forms and fees are required to be submitted before the deadline date.

Paperwork Requirements

The items listed below must be completed and delivered directly to the Graduate Student Service Center in Goodell Room 534 by the deadline. A detailed checklist of requirements is provided for your personal use in the Doctoral Degree Checklist

  • Survey of Earned Doctorates Questionnaire
    The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) is a federal agency survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center for the National Science Foundation and five other federal agencies. The SED gathers information annually from 45,000 new U.S. research doctorate graduates about their educational histories, funding sources, and post-doctoral plans.
  • Signature Page
    One paper signature page with original signatures must be delivered to the Graduate Student Service Center. The paper signature page should be on acid-free, 20 lb. weight, white, 8 1/2" x 11" paper. An unsigned blank signature page should be included after the copyright page in the electronic copy of your dissertation.
  • Copyright
    Although the University of Massachusetts Amherst requires that all dissertations be copyrighted by placing a copyright notice in all copies of the work, registration of the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is optional.

Dissertation Requirements

The Graduate School requires doctoral students to deliver electronic copies of their dissertation manuscripts to us. We review the manuscript for formatting, and contact the student for any revisions we deem necessary.

Electronic Submission Process for Dissertations

All of our dissertations are processed through ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst, the University's electronic dissertation submission site. Here you will find a description of the submission process.

Guidelines for Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations

This manual, created by the Graduate School, is designed to aid you in the process of submitting your manuscript. The guidelines provide you with a quick reference as you prepare your manuscript. The manual also contains further explanations of form and style as well as a wide range of suggestions and advice that should clarify the rules and explain possible options in areas where decisions about form and layout are at your discretion. It is important that you read the entire manual before you begin preparing your manuscript so that you understand the format and the purposes behind the rules.

Dissertation Formatting Tutorials & Technical Assistance

The Information Technology (IT) department offers graduate student tutorials and individual assistance with formatting theses and dissertations so that they comply with the graduate school's Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines. You can also view IT's Thesis and Dissertation Formatting General Advice for some helpful tips on how to format and edit your manuscript. The Learning Commons located in the WEB Dubois Library can help with technical problems such as converting the manuscript to PDF.