Skip to main content

Doctoral Degree Requirements and Dissertation Information

Need help?

Degree Requirements:

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

IT Workshops & Tutorials

For information on Manuscript Formatting Workshops & Tutorials.

IT Help Center

For problems in conversion to PDF visit the Web site or call 545-9400.


For information on electronic dissertations.

Final Oral Defense Examinations

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 Oral Examinations must be received by the Graduate School at 534 Goodell Building one month prior to the exam date.
A detailed checklist of requirements is provided for your personal use in the Doctoral Oral Examination Checklist.

Submission Deadlines for Doctoral Degrees

The University confers degrees three times a year: February, May and September. Submission deadlines are published in the Graduate School's Academic Calendar. The Eligibility for a Degree Form must be submitted to the student's academic department 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 to be included in a degree period.

The following items must be completed and delivered directly to the Graduate Student Service Center in Goodell Room 534A by the deadline:

  • 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.

The above information is provided as a detailed checklist for your personal use in the Doctoral Degree Checklist.

Dissertation Information

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.

The Electronic Dissertation Submission Process

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.

IT Workshops and Advice

Each semester, the Information Technology (IT) department offers graduate student workshops on formatting theses and dissertations so 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.