The dissertation must show that the candidate has technical mastery of the field and is capable of doing independent research. This study must enlarge or modify current knowledge in a field or present a significant new interpretation of known materials. The Graduate School requires that all doctoral dissertations be written and submitted in English.
A candidate may submit the dissertation for official action only after having sustained the general examination. If a student presents a doctoral dissertation more than five years after he or she has passed the general examination, the department is not automatically obliged to receive it for consideration. In such cases the department must vote formally as a faculty whether or not to receive it for review and examination. When the dissertation has been formally presented the department takes action on the positive recommendation of at least two principal readers to request that the dissertation advance to the final public oral examination. Qualified principal readers are those who are authorized to supervise doctoral dissertations in the University (such as, regular faculty at the rank of assistant professor or higher and certain others in senior research ranks.) External readers must be of comparable standing in another university or in the non-academic research community. Each principal reader submits a written and signed dissertation reader's report to the department. A bound and/or final copy of the dissertation must be available for interested readers in the department prior to the final public oral examination. The dean's office authorizes the department to hold the final public oral examination.
If the candidate and/or the adviser want the dissertation to be reviewed for possible patentable results and subsequent patent application, either by the University or by a non-University agent, or have the dissertation reviewed by an outside sponsor for proprietary information or results, these processes must be completed before the department requests to hold the final public oral examination.
Prior to taking the final public oral exam, the student must have uploaded their dissertation in electronic pdf format to the online submission site, and choose either the Traditional or Open Access publishing format and receive confirmation of successful upload. Final acceptance of the dissertation is conditional on passing the examination. The candidate must deposit one bound copy of the dissertation in the University Archives at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, normally by the end of the day on which the student passes the FPOE, but in any case not more than two weeks after successful passage of the final public oral examination. The University archivist signs the final public oral examination report, which is then transmitted to the Office of Academic Affairs in the Graduate School. Only after receipt of this report is the candidate's name added to the advanced degree list for approval by the Trustees of the University, as indicated on the degree application form.
The Princeton University archivist assumes responsibility for liaison with ProQuest/UMI Publishing Agency. In order that certain minimum standards of uniformity are observed in the publishing process, the University Archivist has established a format for the thesis and procedures for its deposition with the University archives. See the Mudd Manuscript Library's dissertation submission webpage for details on formatting and on ProQuest/UMI publishing options