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All CSSH graduate 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.

Important Contact Information

College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Graduate Office
180 Renaissance Park

Commencement Office
Commencement Ceremonies & FAQs

Electronic Submission of your Thesis or Dissertation

1.800.521.0600 ext. 7020


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 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.


Academic Integrity

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.

Northeastern University Library provides students with basic information and links to helpful articles about copyright and fair use.

Research Compliance

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:

Planning Your Defense

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. For PhD students, the deadline to schedule your defense, therefore, is two weeks prior to the ProQuest upload deadline. This includes an announcement on the Northeastern University events calendar and an announcement sent by the student’s academic department. Contact your program’s administrator as soon as the defense is scheduled and no later than two weeks prior to the defense.

Download Checklist


Preparing for Your Defense

Download Checklist


Graduation Date*Thesis/ Dissertation Submission Deadline to GraduateDeadline to Schedule PhD DefenseCeremony Date
December 14, 2024Monday, December 9, 2024Monday, November 25, 2025May 2025 (all programs)
April 26, 2025Tuesday, April 15, 2024Tuesday, April 1, 2024May 2025 (all programs)
August 24, 2024Monday, August 12, 2024Monday, July 29, 2024May 2024 (Master’s and Certificates);
Hooding – May 2025 (PhD)
*Source: Office of Registrar, Future Academic Calendar 2024-2025


As soon as you have scheduled your defense, contact the Graduate Office ( to notify them of your defense date and to arrange for a format review of your manuscript.  This appointment will be brief but will ensure that your manuscript is correctly formatted for electronic submission. 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 bring to your format appointment:

  1. Draft Northeastern University Graduate Approval Record – prepared by you and without signatures (Dissertation template); Master’s Thesis 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.

Survey of Earned Doctorates

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 CSSH Graduate Office will receive an automated confirmation email once you have completed the Survey.

Electronic Submission

The CSSH Graduate Office requires your thesis or dissertation to 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.

Ensure that your Graduate Approval Record has been submitted to the Graduate Office (via email at, prior to submitting your electronic submission of your thesis or dissertation.  The Graduate Approval Record is not included in the upload to ProQuest.

Convert your Thesis or Dissertation to PDF

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”
  2. Fees associated with “traditional publishing” are covered by ProQuest.
  3. Please use the Northeastern University Employee Directory to ensure your advisor and committee members’ names are correctly spelled.
  4. 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.
  5. Confirm the submission of your thesis or dissertation.

Once you submit your dissertation via the ProQuest/UMI website, both you and the CSSH Graduate Office 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.

Information on Northeastern’s Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Program

Please click here for important information from the NU Libraries.