Completion of Degree

Each PhD candidate is required to complete an in-depth, original, independent, research project with results that are acceptable for publication in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.

The research results are assembled into a Dissertation. Dissertation research is then presented at a public seminar, followed by an oral examination (i.e. the dissertation defense). The Thesis Committee must formally approve the written dissertation, certifying that it represents a significant original contribution to the scientific knowledge base and that the candidate has succeeded in the oral defense.

Degrees are awarded in every month except June. For July through January, the application is due before the first business day of the month the student plans to graduate. For students who wish to graduate in February, March, April, or May, the Application for Graduate Degree is due by the last day of Add/Drop in the Spring Semester.

Completion of Degree Steps


  1. Schedule a Thesis Defense Seminar: With Program Director for approval, room scheduling & website update
  2. Apply to Graduate (no more than 3 months in advance)
    • Note that this needs to be done before April 1st for a May graduation. 
    • Your application expires in 3 months or when a new semester starts, whichever comes first. Be sure you have already submitted your Thesis Proposal (should have been done in 3rd year).
    • If you don’t graduate in that time window, you must Apply to Graduate again. 
  3. Go to the Graduate School of Arts & Science website for all the information on how to graduate
  4. At least a week before your defense, submit the Dissertation Reviewers Report. Submit the form via email to graduatestudentservices@georgetown.edu. Include your full name, the title of your dissertation, and the word “Dissertation” in the email subject line.
  5. Before the defense see the Program Coordinator for a Thesis Ballot and a Thesis Cover Sheet, both to be signed at your defense.
  6. The signed Thesis Ballot and Thesis Cover Sheet should be returned to the Program Coordinator by the Thesis Committee Chair or the Program Director. The Program Coordinator will submit these to the Graduate School for processing.
  7. After completing the corrections, submit the thesis electronically (new window).
  8. Turn in the Electronic Thesis & Defense (ETC) Form
  9. Turn in Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) Form