Graduate Resources

Per GSAS, the responsibility for selecting and recommending the final defense committee members rests with the sponsor, department or program chair, and the director of graduate studies. Students may not select their own defense committees; furthermore, students should not be placed in the position of having to ask particular faculty members to serve on their defense committees.

*NOTE: Students should not have collaborated with 2 out of their 5 examiners

Your committee will be composed of five members.

  1. 3 of the members must be inside examiners (holding a formal appointment or approved as a dissertation sponsor in DEES). Here is a list of all approved DEES Doctoral Dissertation Sponsors
  2. The 4th examiner is typically an inside/outside examiner. This means the examiner could be a full-time faculty member at Columbia University outside the student's own department or program (a Lamont examiner would be classified as an inside/outside examiner)
  3. The 5th examiner is an outside examiner. *That the student has not collaborated with.

Download a PDF of this information. 

I. Defense
A few days before the student’s defense, an email including the defense instructions and information will be sent to the committee.

Following the defense, the Defense Moderator should email immediately the Voting Sheet to the department so that the vote may be delivered to and recorded by GSAS as soon as possible. 

The department is responsible for emailing the Voting Sheet to the Dissertation Office on the same day as the defense, or in the case of a late-afternoon defense, no later than the following business day. Under no circumstance should the voting sheet be given to the student.

The Dissertation Office will email the Approval Card to the student directly, upon passing your defense. After the revisions are approved, the card must be signed by the advisor, as well as the department Chair or DGS. These signatures allow the student to deposit their dissertation. 

Once signed, both documents should be emailed to the DEES Department Office.

DEES will send the Approval Card to the GSAS Dissertation Office and the Department Transmittal Form will be filed in the department.

After turning in the signed Approval Card you are ready to deposit your dissertation with GSAS!

II. Deposit

Deposit Deadline:
If approved as submitted, your dissertation must be deposited within one month after the date of defense. 

If approved pending revisions, your dissertation must be deposited within six months after the date of defense.

To complete your Electronic Deposit, you will need to:

  1. Complete the GSAS deposit application and pay the $85 processing fee

  2. Submit the required Survey of Earned Doctorates online

  3. Upload and submit a PDF copy of your dissertation to both ProQuest/UMI and Academic Commons (Columbia’s online research repository).

Download a PDF of this information. 

Timeline: You will need to distribute your dissertation at least 3 weeks before your target defense date!

Before we submit the application, the following will need to be sent (in order):

  1. An email from the student to Kaleigh (CC Monica Hinojosa) letting us know you are ready to schedule your defense date
    • Include the proposed date and time of defense, the title of your dissertation, any specific location or room requests, and a link for virtual viewers (the student should not be the host)
  2. Protocol 16 sent by the student to Kaleigh letting us know you have submitted what you think is your final copy of your dissertation to your advisor
  3. An email from your advisor to Kaleigh confirming the names and affiliations of the five members that will make up your official Dissertation Defense Committee
  4. An email from your advisor to Kaleigh approving the dissertation is ready to go to the other 2 members of your Advisory Committee (critical readers)
  5. An email from your other 2 Advisory Committee members (critical readers) to Kaleigh approving the dissertation
  6. When we have all of the above, you can distribute your dissertation to the last two members of the defense committee.
  7. Your advisor will need to notify us as soon as you have distributed the draft to the last two examiners
  8. Once we receive the email from your advisor confirming you had distributed to the last two examiners, the department will send your Dissertation Defense Application to GSAS

You must be registered during the semester you distribute. This will be the LAST semester you are able to register for.

Download a PDF of this info here.