PhD Program Thesis, Defense & Graduation | NYU Langone Health

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PhD Program Academics PhD Program Thesis, Defense & Graduation

PhD Program Thesis, Defense & Graduation

As a PhD candidate, your doctoral thesis, or dissertation, is a body of scholarly work that reflects your research at Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. It is your opportunity to present an original hypothesis or premise, detail your research methods and results, and discuss the conclusions you’ve drawn in the context of modern science.

Doctoral Thesis Requirements

As defined in the NYU Bulletin 2017–2019 for the Graduate School of Arts and Science, your thesis “must demonstrate a sound methodology and evidence of exhaustive study of a special field and make an original contribution to that field.”

There is no set length for your thesis, but it should have three main sections: preliminary pages, including the title and copyright pages, table of contents, acknowledgements, and a list of figures; body or text of the work; and appendices and bibliography.

For general formatting guidelines, we suggest you refer to a pamphlet titled “A Formatting Guide for Successful Completion of the Doctoral Dissertation.” A printed version of the pamphlet is part of the PhD packet, which you can pick up in our administration office at 550 First Avenue, Medical Science Building, Suite 228. All requirements are also listed on our student community thesis defense and graduation page, which you can access using your Kerberos ID. 

Doctoral Thesis Committee

For your thesis defense, your thesis committee needs one additional member, typically a professor from outside NYU School of Medicine with expertise in your field of study. You and your graduate advisor should discuss the choice of an outside reader and arrive at a mutual conclusion. The outside reader reads your thesis and attends your defense.

NYU School of Medicine evaluates all outside readers who are suggested as external committee members. You must obtain an outside reader form, as well as the reader’s CV, and submit them to our administration office before your defense. The proposed reader should have a PhD, an academic rank of assistant professor or higher, and a body of published research beyond the dissertation.

Doctoral Thesis Defense

Your thesis defense, also called the oral defense, is scheduled immediately after your dissertation is complete and approved by your committee members. You’re responsible for selecting the time, date, and place for your defense and for ensuring that all committee members are available.

You must notify our administration office of the date of your defense at least two weeks before it is to occur by submitting a thesis defense notification form, which you can access by logging into our student community with your Kerberos ID. We notify the NYU School of Medicine community to encourage attendance.

See details about past and upcoming thesis defenses on our calendar, which you can access using your Kerberos ID.


Resources for thesis preparation and the graduation checklist are available on our student community thesis defenses and graduation page, which you can access using your Kerberos ID.

Graduates of our PhD program are invited to attend the Graduate School of Arts and Science convocation and NYU commencement ceremonies.