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Dissertation Defense Instructions for Current Graduate Students

1. Pick a defense date and time
According to the Graduation Calendar (view here: the deadlines are as follows:
AUGUST 2023 graduation:
Sign-up begins (no fee) Monday, May 22nd
Defend by July 17th & deposit by July 31st
Your degree will then be awarded on or during the week of August 4th
2. Contact the department administrator to reserve a room for your defense
3. Once the defense date is finalized, here is a list of the additional administrative steps to complete the career at Penn:
1. Sign up (there are relevant dates for sign up start/ end and late fee sign up on the calendar) for degree in the degree system:   
2. Make sure to set up a deposit meeting with the Provost Office as soon as possible.  We recommend that you schedule the deposit early on since the spots fill up quickly towards the end of the term. Although you’re setting it up ahead of time, the deposit needs to be scheduled for after the
defense, since this is when you will deposit the finished copy of the dissertation, ready for print.  (*there are also deposit schedules- and there is a calendar & tons of information on this on the provost’s website - )
Meetings (scheduled at are for candidates to deposit the hard copy of their dissertation.  You do not need to be present for this meeting, but beforehand, you will need to take care of any outstanding bills with Student Financial Services and complete the two exit surveys GAS requires.  Your dissertation should be polished and edited—to your knowledge, ready for publication at the time of your deposit to Proquest. 
3. Once you have successfully defended, please email the graduate coordinator the following information:

  • exact title of your dissertation as it will appear in print
  • name of your dissertation advisor
  • the name of your committee chair (if different from your advisor)
  • the names of your remaining committee members

Please note, the graduate coordinator will need an email address for any of the committee members who are external to the University of Pennsylvania.
For policies and procedures on formatting and submission, the Dissertation Manual is the place to begin.  As the Provost has just taken over in this term, they created some helpful checklists for graduating PhDs (see below). 

***EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: The formatting of your dissertation must follow the GAS guidelines EXACTLY (RE: Title page, pagination & margins)
4. Additional Information:

  • Dissertation defenses may be conducted in-person or remotely
  • Title page signatures are optional, and electronic signatures are accepted
  • A printed copy of the dissertation is not required for deposit
  • The dissertation must be submitted electronically in ETD Administrator