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Theses and Dissertations

Thesis/Dissertation Deadlines

Degree Conferral Date
Thesis/Dissertation Submission Deadline to Graduate
Thesis/Dissertation Submission Deadline to avoid registration and tuition for Continuation in subsequent term
December 14, 20192019 - December 62020 - January 3 (for May 2020 graduation)
May 1, 20202020 - April 172020 - May 1 (for August 2020 graduation)
August 27, 20202020 - August 132020 - August 28 (for December 2020 graduation)

CSSH Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations

All students who plan to submit a thesis or dissertation should follow these formatting guidelines. The Graduate Office hopes that students find this information helpful as they work toward completing their degree requirements.



As you prepare your thesis or dissertation for the Graduate Programs in the College Social Sciences and Humanities, the most important aspects of a thesis or dissertation[1] are, of course, the content substance, depth, and accuracy. Correctness in form as required for electronic submission, however, is also important. Reading this manual before you write your thesis or dissertation will increase the likelihood of routine acceptance of your manuscript.

Northeastern University has a policy of complete honesty in all academic work. Please refer to the university’s Academic Integrity Policy for more information.

For further information, please refer to The Council of Writing Program Administrators.

The mission of Research Compliance is to educate members of the university community about federal, state and university research regulations and provide assistance to students, faculty and staff in obtaining approval for teaching and research activities under those guidelines.  Research Compliance delivers support services for the Northeastern University Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Animal Care and Use Committee and Responsible Conduct of Research. Part of its responsibility is to promote university-wide compliance with federal, state and university statutes and regulations relating to the protection of human subjects, to the care and use of animal subjects in research and teaching, and to research and scholarly integrity.  Research Compliance collaborates with the university units responsible for health and safety, particularly with the University Environmental Health and Safety, as well as the Radiation Safety Committee, Biosafety Committee and Chemical Hygiene Committee.

For further information, please refer to the Division of Research Compliance or contact the appropriate office as noted below:

Office of Human Subjects Protection 617-373-7570
Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine 617-373-3958
Responsible Conduct of Research 617-373-4588
Environmental Health and Safety 617-373-2769

General commencement questions should be directed to your departmental Graduate Program Administrator.

Commencement Ceremony Information and FAQs College of Social Sciences and Humanities Electronic Submission of your
Thesis or Dissertation
NU Commencement Office Graduate Office Proquest/UMI
commencement@northeastern.edu 180 Renaissance Park disspub@il.proquest.com
617-373-4098 gradcssh@northeastern.edu 1-800-521-0600 ext. 7020

Please refer to the checklist to ensure that you complete all of the steps necessary for graduation.


Whether or not you are planning to attend a commencement ceremony, you must initiate the commencement process by applying to graduate via your myNortheastern account.  You should apply even if there is a chance that all of your requirements will not be completed in time to graduate on a specific commencement date. Do not wait until after you have defended your thesis or dissertation to put your name on the commencement list since the clearance process for graduation begins several months prior to commencement. Your department or the CSSH Graduate Office can easily take your name off the list at the last minute. See the Commencement website for Apply to Graduate deadlines.

Arrange your defense date, time and location with your department. The defense must be publicly advertised for at least 2 weeks prior to the scheduled defense. This includes an announcement on the CSSH Graduate Programs website and an announcement sent by the student’s academic department. Contact your department’s Graduate Program Administrator and complete the *new* Defense Announcement Form as soon as the defense is scheduled and no later than two weeks prior to the defense. You’ll be asked to submit the following:

Contact the Graduate Office (gradcssh@northeastern.edu) prior to your defense in order to arrange for a format review of your manuscript.  This appointment will be brief but it will ensure that your manuscript is in the correct format and problems in your electronic submission will be avoided. The appointment can be completed via a scheduled phone call if it is more convenient for the student and if the materials are emailed prior to the appointment.

Please print the following to bring to your format appointment, located in 180 Renaissance Park:

  1. Draft Northeastern University Graduate Approval Record – prepared by you and without signatures (template);
  2. Draft introductory pages – title page through the table of contents (example);
  3. A few pages of your text; and
  4. Any pages for which you have format questions.

Prior to defending your dissertation, you will need to create a Graduate Approval Record (see list above for examples).   The Graduate Approval Record should be brought to your defense (or included with your thesis) so you can gather signatures from your committee (or thesis readers).  Once all signatures, including that of your Department Chair, are obtained, submit the form to the CSSH Graduate Office. A copy will be returned to you and your department after it is signed by a representative in the CSSH Graduate Office).  Note: This must be done prior to the electronic submission and prior to the deadline stated at the top of this page.

Theses and Dissertations may be submitted to Proquest/UMI and the Graduate Approval Record submitted to the Graduate Office at any point during the year, upon completion of all degree requirements. However, in order to be cleared for a specific commencement date, refer to the deadlines by which the thesis or dissertation must be submitted electronically.  You should allow adequate time for your committee to review your manuscript, and schedule the final defense so that there is enough time for necessary corrections to be made to the document (typically at least 2 weeks prior to the Graduate Office’s deadline). You should be aware that if you are planning to graduate in August, it may be difficult to assemble your committee for a summer defense, so plan accordingly.   Also, make sure to allow enough time to complete the final steps of the submission process before leaving the state or country. If unexpected problems are uncovered in the final stages of the submission process, your graduation could be delayed.

Doctoral students must complete a survey from the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) as part of the dissertation submission process.  The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete, is done online, and is a required component of the commencement clearance process.  If you are uncomfortable with answering some of the questions, you may leave them blank.

The SED should be submitted before the student brings the signed Graduate Approval Record to the Graduate Office.  Note:  The Director of Graduate Admissions and Student Services will receive an automated confirmation email once you have completed the Survey.

The CSSH Graduate Office requires your thesis or dissertation be submitted electronically to Proquest/UMI prior to the deadlines stated above. Below are the steps, in order, required to submit your thesis or dissertation.  Please be sure to click on these links so you have all of the necessary information.

    1. Format manuscript for upload (Proquest guide)
    2. Submit signed Northeastern University Graduate Approval Record (template)

Ensure that your Graduate Approval Record has been submitted to the Graduate Office, 180 Renaissance Park, prior to submitting your electronic submission of your thesis or dissertation.  The Graduate Approval Record is not included in the upload to Proquest.

    1. Convert your Thesis or Dissertation to PDF
    2. Check your PDF file

Please carefully check the PDF file page by page before submitting it as formatting can shift and pages can go missing.

    1. Submit the final, approved copy of the thesis or dissertation via “Traditional Publishing”
      • Fees associated with “traditional publishing” are covered by Proquest.
      • Please use the Northeastern University Employee Directory to ensure your advisor and committee members’ names are correctly spelled.
      • If you have any questions or encounter problems with the electronic submission, please contact Proquest directly via email or telephone at 1-877-408-5027.
    2. Confirm the Submission of your Thesis or Dissertation

Once you submit your dissertation via the Proquest/UMI website, both you and the Director of Graduate Admissions and Student Services will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your submission.  If there is something wrong with the file you submitted, someone will contact you.  Please give Proquest a few months to complete its review and make the thesis or dissertation available through its Proquest Dissertations and Theses Database.

Please note that no student will be cleared for commencement if the Graduate Approval Record is not submitted to the Graduate Office and the electronic version is not received by Proquest/UMI by the deadlines as stated.

Please click here for important information from the NU Libraries.

[1]In this manual, the document produced for a Master’s degree will be referred to as a thesis; the document for a PhD degree will be referred to as a dissertation.