Students undergo final oral examinations in which they defend their dissertations as valuable contributions to knowledge in their fields and demonstrate a mastery of their fields of specialization in relation to their dissertations. The examining committee is composed of five or more professorial faculty members, including the readers and a committee chair who is not a designated reader. A designated reader is defined as those committee members who sign the final dissertation approval page; all committee members are expected to read the dissertation prior to the final oral examination even if not appointed as a designated reader. At least two of the committee members, including the chair and either the first or second reader, must be from the student’s department or graduate program. A special appointment, approved by the dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, is required for those committee members who are: visiting, adjunct, and emeritus faculty; Boston University employees not of professorial rank; and examiners from outside Boston University. A majority of the committee must be Boston University professorial faculty members who do not require a special appointment. The department chair/program director or the director of graduate studies must approve the membership of the committee. All committee members are required to attend the final oral examination. Up to one committee member, who is not the chair of the committee or the first reader, can attend via audio/video communication without a proxy during the final oral examination. A proxy must be in attendance for any additional committee members who attend via audio/video communication.
Schedule of Final Oral Exam with Abstract
At least three weeks before the dissertation defense, students must submit the Final Oral Exam Schedule with Abstract Approval form with one copy of the abstract (maximum of 350 words) to the GRS office. The proper heading of the dissertation abstract must be printed at the top of the abstract. A template for the proper formatting can be found here. Prior to submission, the abstract must be read and approved by your major advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Chair/Program Director. You will be notified of the approval of the abstract or if revisions are required.
Please see the section of this website for GRS policies on committee composition and appointments. The readers listed on the schedule form must be the same as those who signed the prospectus approval form; if a reader has changed, the Graduate School must be notified.
Dissertation Formatting Guide and Draft Submission
Mugar Library has created a Dissertation Formatting Guide and samples of Preliminary Pages. The library’s website also includes other useful resources such as instructional videos and templates. Please follow all formatting requirements stated in the library guide while preparing your dissertation draft.
At least three weeks before your final oral examination, you must submit a draft of your dissertation as a .pdf to firstname.lastname@example.org for format review. If your document is too large to send over email, you can also send the draft via dropbox or google docs and share that file with email@example.com. Be sure your draft includes all preliminary pages, references, and your CV. You will be notified if the format is approved or if changes are required. It is advised that all formatting issues be resolved before you defend your dissertation. Following your defense, please allow ample time to complete all requirements and content revisions that re required by your committee.
Final Dissertation Submission
Following your final oral examination, when all corrections and revisions required by your committee have been completed, submit your final dissertation electronically through the Electronic Theses & Dissertation (ETD) website. The submission in the ETD will be reviewed by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) Records Office, then forwarded to the Mugar Library ETD Administrator for the final format review. When that review is complete, the dissertation will be submitted to ProQuest/UMI. If GRS or Mugar Library notifies you of necessary corrections or changes, those edits must be made immediately.
In addition to submitting the final dissertation in the ETD, you must complete the Contact Information Form and submit the Library Dissertation Processing Fee. The processing fee is $115 and can be submitted online and paid for via credit card. The link to do so can found on the Guide for Writers of Theses and Dissertations website.
The GRS office does require a hard copy of your dissertation approval page (the third page of your dissertation) with original signatures. You can either bring this to the front desk of the GRS office yourself, or your department/program can send it to GRS along with your dissertation exam reports.
You will receive a link to a BU Doctoral Exit Survey and a Survey of Earned Doctorates (managed by the National Science Foundation) shortly after submitting your dissertation defense scheduling paperwork. Both of these surveys must be completed before your graduation can be processed.