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Online Submission of the PhD Dissertation
October 13, 2009, Volume 56, No. 07

During fall 2008, the Council of Graduate Deans (the senior deans for graduate education from each of the nine PhD-granting schools at Penn) recommended that the University position itself to accept PhD dissertations in digital format. Until now, dissertations had to be submitted in duplicate hard copies. One copy was forwarded to ProQuest for microfilming and black and white publication, and the second copy was bound and shelved in the Library.  

Electronic submission is preferable for a variety of reasons.  Once accepted and posted in Scholarly Commons, the dissertation will be “Open Access” (available for full-text searching world-wide via the internet) at no additional cost to the author. Submission of the digital file ensures the highest quality reproduction of the manuscript, with color images and other graphics intact. Supplementary digital files can be attached, if desired. Electronic submission is less expensive for the student and for the University, in terms of mailing costs and library shelf space. A bound copy of the dissertation will be stored off-site. 

The new process was piloted during the summer of 2009; 26 dissertations were submitted in digital format and the process went smoothly. As of the current degree cycle (December 2009), the option of online submission has been extended to graduates in all PhD programs. For details about the process for submitting both digital and hard copy dissertations, students should visit www.upenn.edu/provost/dissertation_manual

We are grateful to our Librarians for their support of this exciting undertaking, especially Shawn Martin, Scholarly Communication Librarian, and Marjorie Hassen in Public Services, and to the staff in the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences, who manage the graduation process for all of Penn’s PhD programs. 

—Andrew Binns, Vice Provost for Education


Almanac - October 13, 2009, Volume 56, No. 07