PhD Program Thesis, Defense & Graduation | NYU Langone Health

Skip to Main Content
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 Vilcek 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 2021–2023 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 257. All requirements for thesis defenses and graduation are also listed in our student community, which you can access by using your Kerberos ID.

Doctoral Thesis Committee

For your thesis defense, your thesis committee needs one additional member, typically a professor from outside NYU Grossman School of Medicine with expertise in your field of study. You and your thesis mentor 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 Grossman 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 after your dissertation is complete. 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. We notify the NYU Grossman School of Medicine community to encourage attendance.

Last Day of Pay

Students can only be paid as graduate students up to 30 days post-defense. Discontinuation of salary sets in motion the following:

  • Your email will be discontinued, unless you are moving on to another NYU Langone position (for example, as a postdoc).
  • Your health insurance will be discontinued at the end of the month of your last day of work.


Resources for thesis preparation and a graduation checklist are available in our student community, 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 All-University Commencement ceremonies.