Penn Graduate Student Center

Navigating the Dissertation

Navigating the Dissertation Resources

We want to help you start and most importantly, finish, your dissertation!

Penn Resources

Dissertation Resources

Dissertation Preparation

For full details on preparation requirements for depositing the dissertation, please see the Penn Doctoral Dissertation Manual and other related resources.

Submitting your Dissertation

All Penn dissertations are submitted electronically through ProQuest's ETD Administrator. Paper submission is no longer available.

Students can choose to deposit their dissertation as an open access document through the Penn Library Scholarly Commons Repository.

Dr. Binns, Vice Provost for Education, provides more information on open access electronic submission.

Dissertation Binding

The Library binds one copy of each dissertation. While the Library requires heavy-duty binding; you will likely not need that for personal copies, so you might also check with local printing services such as Campus Copy or FedEx Kinko's.

Academic Integrity

Penn has an Code of Academic Integrity which covers cheating, plagarism, misrepresentation, fabrication, etc.

If the Code is unclear to you (the student), it is up to you to verify the rules with your instructor.

Related Penn Resources

Career Services: A brief overview of the extensive programs and services offered for doctoral candidates.

CURF: Provides useful lists of fellowships many of which are open to graduate student applicants.

CWiC: Provides courses and workshops for students to improve speaking abilities.

CAPS: Offers career counseling and dissertation support groups.

EdD dissertation manual (PDF): For those students completing the professional doctorate in education.

Penn Electronic Research Administration (PennERA): PennERA is a full life-cycle system for research project development, support, and management.

GAPSA: Apply for travel conference funding and summer interdisciplinary research funding.

Going Abroad? Before going abroad for academic work, check out the Global Resources Portal. It contains information about Penn's Global Activities Registry which provides help during an emergency abroad, research concerns when abroad, travel arrangements, visa information and more.

Office of Graduate Studies: Includes links to many recourses including the doctoral dissertation manual, graduate programs, rules and policies for graduate students, and funding opportunities.

OIP - ISSS: Provides services to international students and students who wish to study abroad.

Penn Library: A comprehensive list of workshops showcases the many resources available to graduate students from the Library including workshops (WICshops) covering researching in databases, bibliographic management software (Zotero, Refworks), other technologies such as PowerPoint and Adobe, and job searching all geared to help you complete your disseration and demonstrate your skills on the academic market. Also see Weigle Information Commons.

Office of Regulatory Affairs: Helps to assure that all research conducted at Penn honors Penn's standards for the treatment of people and animals.

Office of Student Disabilities Services: Provides comprehensive, professional services and programs for students with disabilities.

Office of the Vice Provost for Research: Provides information on funding opportunities and links to graduate student resources.

Penn Writing Center: Offers writing help to Penn graduate students.

Weingarten Learning Resources Center: Offers instruction in academic reading, writing, and study strategies.

Weigle Information Commons: Supports study groups and collaborative learning and offers training, equipment and support for digital media. Several support services are provided for students as they work to improve their effectiveness in writing, speaking and original inquiry. Also see Penn Library workshops.

Online Resources

Preparing for the Oral Defense of the Dissertation by Marianne Di Pierro (PDF)

The Dissertation Defense: Being well-defended in a good way by Elizabeth Augustina Reyes, Ph.D. (PDF)

Bibliomania: Provides free online literature with more than 2000 classic texts.

Pinakes: Provides links to major subject gateways.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

PhinisheD: "A discussion and support group for people who cannot seem to finish their dissertations or theses." Provides links to books, data and reference, entertainment, graduate and postgraduate resources, academic resources, organizations and businesses, research and writing guides and student life.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Up to date news on anything related to higher education.

H-Net (Humanities and Social Sciences Online): Provides discussion networks, scholarly reviews, job postings, and information on upcoming academic conferences.

Academic Info: Includes links to subject gateways, search engines, and test prep resources.

Librarian's Index to the Internet: Provides links to LOADS of information including dictionaries, encyclopedias, job listings, computer support pages, etc.

Elements of Style Online book: the classic reference book for all writers.

Library of Congress Online research center: provides free educational materials including access to the Library of Congress archives.

Council of Graduate Schools: Provides information on funding sources, graduate programs, and graduate organizations.

H-Grad: Part of the Humanities OnLine initiative (H-Net) and is designed to provide graduate students with a safe, graduate student only forum for discussing a wide variety of issues related to graduate school in our chosen humanities-based professions.

Dissertation.Com: For those who are interested in publishing their dissertation.

PhDs.org: Science, math, and engineering career resources.

Graduate Student Survival Guide for Computer Science: But pertains to most phDs.

Keogh Lab Resources and Advice: Provides advice, guides, and funding information for graduate students. Many of the links above are mentioned.

Dissertation Doctor: Provides dissertation coaching; helping you set realistic goals while in pursuit of your PhD.

Complete Your Dissertation: Provides you with helpful tips and resources, all geared towards completing your dissertation.

Books and Research Guides

Wayne C. Booth, Joseph M. Williams, Gregory G. Colomb, The Craft of Research, Third Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing), (Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 2008)

Joan Bolker, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis (New York: Holt, 1998) - Google Books

Robert L. Peters, Getting What You Came for: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning a Master's or a Ph.D. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997)

Emily Toth, Ms Mentor's New and Ever More Impeccable Advice for Women and Men in Academia (Philadelphia, U Penn Press, 2008)

Sonja Foss and William Waters, Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007) - Google Books

Carol M. Roberts, The Dissertation Journey: A Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Planning, Writing, and Defending Your Dissertation (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2004) - Google Books

Kiel Erik Rudestam, Rae R. Newton, Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007) - Google Books

Jane Burka with Lenora M. Yuen, Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now (Cambridge, Mass: Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2008)

Useful Software

Bibliographic & Reference Management Software

The gnome recommends Zotero because it is free, integrates directly into your Firefox browser, and is robust. Read this Insider Higher Ed review.

BiblioScape: Free Download

EndNote: Available for a discount at Penn Computer Connection

RefWorks: Integrated with the Penn Library

Scholar's Aid: Free Download

Statistics Software Tutorials

SPSS: Tutorial,

R: Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2

STATA: Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2

SAS: Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2, Tutorial 3

MATLAB: Tutorial

MATHEMATICA: Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2

MAPLE: Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2

Just for Fun!

Professor Writes "Worst Op-Ed Ever"

Jorge Cham's PhD Comics

Cogno-Intellectualism, Rhetorical Logic, and the Craske-Trump Theorem

How to Interpret Various Article Quotes

Seven Characteristics of Incredibly Rich People (Or, Why You Shouldn't Go to Grad School)

Dance your Ph.D. finalists announced!

Have some more helpful resource suggestions? Tell the Gnome!

Original photograph by Flickr user wildcat_dunny; licensed through Creative Commons.

Common Room Hours

Monday-Thursday: 9AM-8PM Friday: 9AM-6PM Weekends: 12 NOON-6PM CLOSED Aug 30 - Sept 1 for Labor Day Weekend


Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221
215-746-6868
center@gsc.upenn.edu