Dissertation Information

The University maintains a helpful website on Ph.D. dissertation resources. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the site. Your individual department or program may have separate requirements, so consult with both your advisor and your program coordinator well before you decide to write.
Within Scholarly Commons, users can view past dissertations done by graduates of Penn Engineering.


Ph.D. candidates are placed on dissertation status (995) after their Dissertation Proposal is accepted and approved; they are Advanced to Candidacy. Students registering for a PhD dissertation (course number 995) must get approval through their department. Once the Advancement to Candidacy is met, a student may take 995, which also carries full-time status with zero (0.00) credit units, until the completion of degree. (Effective Spring 2009).

A dissertation showing high attainment and power of independent research must be written upon some topic in the field of the major subject. This study must represent a definite contribution to human knowledge; it may be either positive or negative in character. Dissertations based on joint work with other researchers are allowed provided that in such cases a unique and separate dissertation is presented by each degree candidate. The candidate must include a concise account of their contribution to the whole work. Authorship of a dissertation by more than one degree candidate is not allowed. The dissertation shall be presented to the graduate group in complete form by the dates specified in the Degree Calendar.