Dissertation Information

The University maintains a helpful website on Ph.D. dissertation resources and the Provost Office has specific information dissertation formatting. Please view additional information here: Dissertation Formatting Information and the Doctoral Dissertation manual.  Your individual department or program may have separate requirements, so consult with both your advisor and your program administrator well before you decide to start writing your dissertation.


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. Within Scholarly Commons, users can view past dissertations done by graduates of Penn Engineering.


Students will initiate all milestone accomplishments through the BP Logix/Path Forms portal. You will also obtain all committee member’s agreement to join/form the dissertation committee and votes for your dissertation through Path Forms as well. Completed milestone forms should be completed at the time the milestone is met throughout your degree.


Ph.D. candidates are placed on dissertation status after their Dissertation Proposal is accepted and approved; they are Advanced to Candidacy. Students registering for a PhD dissertation (course number 9950) must get approval through their department. Once the Advancement to Candidacy is met, a student may take 9950, which also carries full-time status with zero (0.00) credit units, until the completion of degree.

 More information on PhD graduation procedures and deadlines can be found here.