Dissertation Defense, Final Forms, and Electronic Deposit

The Psychology Executive Office has instituted policies to help students with the forms and procedures required for the doctoral dissertation. These are outlined under the headings below, and are intended to ease the process of completing forms correctly and obtaining official signatures.

If you still have questions after reviewing the information below, please contact the APO of Academic Support and Student Progress at bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu.

Note regarding signatures during the COVID-19 pandemic: Please note that the Psychology Executive Office has modified the procedures for obtaining signature approvals on all forms during the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with university requirements. Please see the "Psychology Form/Signature Procedures" section of the Psychology Program's COVID-19 Resources and Policies webpage for further instructions.

Dissertation Defense, Final Forms, and Electronic Deposit

Please see the headings below for forms, requirements, and procedures related to completing the doctoral dissertation:

NOTE: While the Timeline PDFs below include relevant dissertation forms, the Forms & Procedures website will always have the current, fully editable versions of each required form. Please make sure to check the links in each of the headings below before filling out and submitting your documents.

These Dissertation Defense Timelines are for EXAMPLE ONLY.
You are not required to follow this time frame. It is only a suggestion of how you might plan for your defense.
Please use these Timelines as an example and guide in estimating how long it might take to defend and deposit - so you can plan accordingly.
What IS REQUIRED is that you submit 3 of the 5 Dissertation Evaluation Forms to the APO for Academic Support and Student Progress 4 weeks prior to your defense date so we can officially notify the Provost’s Office of your defense. The remaining 2 Dissertation Evaluation forms may be turned in any time on or before the Dissertation Defense.
It is advised that you work closely with the Chair of your committee to lay out a time frame en-route to your defense date allowing time for all committee members to read the dissertation, provide feedback, and agree upon a date and time for the defense. Remember to take into account if any of your committee members will be on sabbatical.
Always check with your Training Area’s Student Handbook for procedures and requirements.
All forms related to the Dissertation Defense should be downloaded from the Forms & Procedures page. Also, see Appendix: Dissertation Forms at the end of each Timeline document.
Please contact the APO for Academic Support and Student Progress, bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu, if you have any questions.

The Dissertation Visual concisely outlines each step of the process, provides clear instructions, and hosts links to all required forms.

The Graduate Center Bulletin: Dissertation (p. 20)

The student must complete a dissertation that embodies original research. The dissertation must be successfully defended at an oral final examination and be deposited with The Graduate Center’s library before the degree is granted. To defend the dissertation, the student must have been advanced to candidacy. The dissertation must be submitted to ProQuest and The Graduate Center’s institutional repository for publication and archiving. Instructions for preparing and depositing the dissertation appear on The Graduate Center library’s website.

The preparation of a dissertation and its defense form the final evaluation of a candidate’s qualification for the doctoral degree within the academic program. Approval by the program is typically confirmed by action of the Graduate Council and the City University’s Board of Trustees. Dissertation committees consist of at least three members of the CUNY doctoral faculty
and are approved according to procedures detailed in the governance document of each program. The program will announce to the Provost and, by posting and/or other means, to the general public and the members of the committee the time and the date of the defense.

The University’s policy states: 
Dissertation committees consist of at least three members of the CUNY doctoral faculty and are approved according to procedures detailed in the governance document of each program. 
Psychology students should refer to their Training Area’s Handbook or to their Training Area Head for questions. 
Students must have three CUNY Doctoral faculty on their dissertation committee. The three CUNY Doctoral faculty committee members may make up the three core committee or they may make up any combination of the core committee and outside readers.
Any exceptions to having less than three CUNY Doctoral faculty committee members will need to be approved by the Execution Officer in Psychology.
GC Doctoral Faculty Who Retire or Leave CUNY
All faculty are expected to advise the GC doctoral, masters, and certificate programs of which they are a member of changes as they occur in their status, such as promotion, home institution, separation, or retirement.   The Provost’s Offices requests all Graduate Center program administrators to forward these changes directly to Steven Wong swong@gc.cuny.edu, with a cc to bfish@gc.cuny.edu, so that he may update our official record of the program’s faculty membership.  Address changes are one exception and are not handled through the Provost’s Office.
An appointment to the doctoral faculty ends with their separation from CUNY.  
Faculty membership continues through periods of official leave, including travia.  Separation is the final effective date of the end of their employment association with CUNY. 
GC Doctoral Faculty in RETIREMENT:
Appointment after retirement as Emeritus of the doctoral faculty is decided by the doctoral program’s Faculty Membership Committee and is not automatic upon emeritus status at the home college.
Faculty who, after separation, anticipate continuing to serve as Chair until a dissertation is complete, should be named Emeritus of the doctoral faculty.  Such service is voluntary.  No special form is required.  
The Executive Officer may write or email the Provost's Office at provost@gc.cuny.edu with confirmation that the Faculty Membership Committee has approved the designation of Professor Emeritus of the program's faculty.  
Please include his current home address to which a letter with notification of the appointment will be sent by the Provost.  
Emeritus faculty may serve on a dissertation committee, but may only serve as Chair of a dissertation committee if they were already serving as the Chair prior to separation.  
If they wish to teach a regular course as a volunteer, there is simple a volunteer authorization form they can complete.
If a retired faculty member is, by vote of your faculty membership committee, named emeritus of the doctoral faculty in the Ph.D. Program in Psychology, then as doctoral faculty they can serve on a committee, but not as chair, and be counted as part of the three core committee members or as an outside reader.
GC Doctoral Faculty who LEAVE CUNY:
Faculty who leave CUNY for another institution, but who expect to continue to serve as Chair of a Graduate Center dissertation committee, should be named as adjunct members of the doctoral faculty for the period of the dissertation supervision.  Such service is voluntary.  The appointment listing will indicate the person’s new institution as their home affiliation.  These c may continue to serve on dissertation committees, either as the Chair or a member, only if they were already serving prior to separation.  Note that an adjunct member of the doctoral faculty, so named because their home institution is outside of CUNY, or occasionally because they do not hold an academic appointment within CUNY, such as an IT manager, is distinct from a GC paid adjunct appointment through Human Resources. 
For such adjunct appointments, the usual doctoral faculty nomination forms must be submitted to the Provost’s Office with the vote of your faculty membership committee.  
If the adjunct appointment will end when service on the dissertation committee(s) is complete, please inform the faculty member as well as include in the Comment area of the nomination form “Faculty member has been advised that the appointment will end when service on the dissertation committee(s) is complete”.  The Comment is in lieu of the one year’s advance notice of your program’s intention to remove them from faculty membership, and allows them to serve as long as needed.
Doctoral faculty membership continues until dissertation service is complete.
Please contact the Psychology Executive Office to see if a retired faculty member has been given Emeritus status and how to proceed.
Please contact the Psychology Executive Office if the committee member is a former CUNY Doctoral faculty member now at another institution to verify their adjunct status and how to proceed.

Please complete the Request for Approval of Non-CUNY-Doctoral Faculty Dissertation Committee Member form for any Non-CUNY-doctoral faculty on your committee. Outside readers should have demonstrable expertise in the appropriate field of study, based on their scholarly work over the recent past. Alumni from CUNY must not have overlapped with the student defending their dissertation.

Send an email attachment of the form and the member's CV to the APO for Academic Support and Student Progress (bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu). Original signatures are not required. The form and CV will be reviewed by the Psychology Executive Office, and you will be notified by email if the committee member(s) are not approved.

Please copy the Administrative person of your training area on all correspondence with the Psychology Executive Office.

THREE Dissertation Evaluation Forms must be received four weeks prior to the dissertation defense date in order for the Psychology Executive Office to officially notify the Provost’s Office of the defense. Outstanding Dissertation Evaluation Forms must be received by the day of the defense.

Top Section of Form: The student fills our EVERYTHING in the form before distributing it to committee members. The Advancement to Candidacy date is found at the bottom of your transcript. Be sure to complete the section for Chairperson and Evaluator and the Campus for each.

  • The Dissertation Evaluation form is writeable. Illegible forms will be returned.
  • Original faculty signatures are not required. Electronic signatures are accepted.
  • Please Note: Students should consult with their advisor about the timely distribution of Dissertation Evaluation Forms to committee members.

Please send the completed form as an email attachment to the APO of Academic Support and Student Progress (bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu). The form may be sent to bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu either by the student, the advisor, the committee member, or the Administrative Support person for your program.

Dissertation Defense Committee Composition
Please follow individual training area requirements for selection of the dissertation committee and arrangements for the defense. Check your training area's Handbook for Dissertation Committee Requirements. If it is unclear, please check with the head of your training area.

NOTE: The Graduate Center states that at least three members of the dissertation defense committee must be members of the Graduate Center doctoral faculty. This is the only Graduate Center requirement. Your Training Area's requirement will include this, plus their own dissertation defense committee composition requirements. If any of your dissertation committee members are not CUNY Doctoral faculty, please see the subheading "Request for Approval of Non-CUNY Doctoral Faculty Dissertation Committee Member" on the Prerequisites for the Dissertation page for further instructions. 

Before the dissertation defense, the student will complete the top section of the Report of Final Examination form, including committee members’ names and affiliations. The form is then sent as an electronic attachment to the Committee Chair.

At the end of the dissertation defense, committee members will send an electronically signed Report of Final Examination form or an email approval of the defense to bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu. The Committee Chair will complete the form indicating whether the exam has been passed without revisions, with minor revisions, with major revisions, or whether the student has failed the exam. The Committee Chair will then send the Report of Final Examination form with an electronic signature or email approval to bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu.

The APO for Academic Support and Student Progress will get the Executive Officer's approval and forward the form on to the administration for further processing.

Upon completion of the required revisions to the dissertation, the student completes the top section of the Approval of Revised Dissertation Form and sends it as an email attachment to the Committee Chair for approval.

If there are minor revisions, the Approval of Revised Dissertation Form will require the electronic signature or email approval of the Committee Chair once the revisions are completed and accepted.

If there are major revisions, the Approval of Revised Dissertation Form will require the electronic signature or email approval of the Committee Chair and two other committee members once the revisions are completed and accepted.

The form should then be emailed to the APO for Academic Support and Student Progress (bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu), who will get the Executive Officer's approval and forward the form on to the administration for further processing.

The final form for completing the dissertation process is the Dissertation Approval (Signature) Page.

The student will create this form – there is no official ‘form’ to complete. The Dissertation Approval Page is printed on regular paper. The Executive Officer is Dr. Richard Bodnar. Please type the EO’s name, the Committee Chair’s name, and all of the committee members' names on the form (no signatures required for committee members).

The Committee Chair will either sign the form electronically or send an email approval with the form to bkasinitz@gc.cuny.edu.

The APO for Academic Support and Student Progress, Jude Kubran, will get the Executive Officer’s signature and will forward the Dissertation Approval Page to the Dissertation Librarian. Once it is received and noted, you will be notified by the Dissertation Librarian, Roxanne Shirazi, and you will then be able to finalize the Electronic Deposit.

Students may start the Electronic Deposit any time after the Approval of Revisions has been completed.
The electronic deposit is complete when:

  • Roxanne Shirazi receives the signed and approved Dissertation Approval (Signature) Page from the Psychology Executive Office
  • The student has successfully uploaded the dissertation
  • Roxanne sends the student an email notification that the electronic deposit has been successfully completed

If you want to order personal bound print copies of your dissertation, you may either place an order through ProQuest (the option will be presented to you during the upload process), or you may order directly through Acme Bookbinding [acmebinding.com], the same bindery that produced the library’s bound copies. They are located in Massachusetts and are slightly less expensive than ProQuest. The Library DOES NOT handle the orders.

Contact Information for Dissertation Librarian
Roxanne Shirazi
Dissertation Librarian
Graduate Center Library, Room 2304
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016

The library reviews all submissions for adherence to the formatting guidelines listed on this page. Please pay special attention to the required Page Sequence and pagination requirements. The library  may request minor edits to comply with their format guidelines. The format edits must be completed within one week of the deposit date.

If you are having issues with using Microsoft Word, several helpful guides are available in the University of Michigan's instructional pages.

Please be sure to apply for graduation in CUNYfirst. To do so, log in to CUNYfirst and select Student Center from the main menu. Under Academics, click on My Academics and select "Apply for Graduation.” Click on the “Apply for Graduation” link located next to your current Graduate Center degree program. You will be prompted to select a graduation term. Students filing for the February degree date should select the preceding Fall term; students filing for the May/June degree should select the current Spring term; students filing for the September degree should select the Summer term. This will notify various offices at The Graduate Center, including the Library, that you plan to deposit a dissertation, thesis, or capstone project for the next degree date. Students can “View Graduation Status” to see when each program has been applied, approved (all degree requirements met), or awarded (degree has been conferred).