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Brown University Dissertation Formatting


Ph.D. candidates at Brown must file their dissertations electronically. Brown's electronic theses and dissertation (ETD) system was developed by the Graduate School and the University Library and launched in 2008. The system is designed to collect and archive the final dissertation as a text-based PDF file.

To complete the submission process doctoral candidates must have successfully defended their dissertation and had it approved by their committee. To use the ETD system, doctoral candidates must also be actively enrolled and possess a valid username and password for accessing Brown's computer network. If you are unable to create an account in the system and wish to submit, please contact for assistance.

Electronic dissertations submitted through this process will appear and be archived in the Brown Digital Repository (BDR).

A searchable historical database of information about Brown University theses and dissertations from 1893 to 2000 is available.

After you successfully defend your dissertation you may begin the electronic submission process.

Here is what you need to know to plan your dissertation defense and navigate your degree completion with the department, the Graduate School, and the Registrar's Office:

  • If you plan to defend during the Fall Semester, you must complete all required paperwork with the Graduate School before the first day of the Spring Semester in order to avoid being charged for Semester II. The Graduate School may grant a 30-day courtesy extension for you to complete all paperwork.  If you think you might require this extra time, please contact Mary Ellen Woycik.

  • To graduate in May, you must defend and complete all required paperwork with the Graduate School by May 1.  The Graduate School may grant a 2-week courtesy extension until May 15 for you to complete all paperwork.  Again, bear in mind that this must be arranged ahead of time so please contact Mary Ellen Woycik by April 15 if you anticipate that an extension may be necessary.

Before your defense (at least two weeks prior):

  1. Visit the Graduate School’s Dissertation Guidelines page for all of the information you will need to complete the process.  You will find links to the EDT system as well as guidelines and samples of relevant documents there.  (Note that all dissertations are now submitted electronically.)

  2. Coordinate with your committee to arrange possible dates/times for your defense.

  3. View the conference room calendars and reserve a room for your defense. 

  4. Complete the Physics Department Dissertation Defense Form:Submitting this form two weeks prior to your scheduled defense will allow enough time for processing your paperwork before your defense.

  5. Create the Thesis Signature Page to bring to your defense. 

The day of your defense:

  • Bring at least two copies of the required Thesis Signature Page which you have created, to your defense in order to get the required signatures while your committee is gathered together.  This will ultimately make your completion easier by eliminating the need to gather individual signatures later.  Candidates who want an original signature page signed by the Dean of the Graduate School must include a third signature page.  The required 2 pages stay with the Graduate School, if a 3rd page is sent, it will be signed by the Dean and returned to you in campus mail. 

  • See 4S front desk if you would like to borrow a laser pointer for your presentation.

Following your defense (before the start of Semester II for Fall completion OR by May 1 for Spring completion):

  • Complete all checklist items referenced on the Graduate School’s website (#1-5 under Submission of the Final Copy).

  • Contact Barbara Bennett at the Graduate School to determine if all steps have been completed so that she can clear you for completion.

  • Submit a completed Physics Exit Survey.  This form includes information such as preferred email and forwarding address as well as your post-completion employment, etc.  The information you provide will enable us to stay in touch with you and assist us in statistical research. 

  • Return all departmental keys to 4S front desk.

  • Change your address with all senders of mail (personal, banks, insurance providers, periodicals, etc), and then, arrange to have someone forward any mail that is still delivered here for you.

  • Your Brown electronic services will continue until August.  Check out the email forwarding and other services available to you through the Brown Alumni Association. 

Other Resources:

Thesis Binding Service offered through the Brown University Library.