Ph.D. Residency Requirement

Doctoral students must spend at least two full-time semesters in residence at the Georgia Institute of Technology and ordinarily must complete research for the dissertation while in residence. Under special circumstances, candidates who have met the residency requirement may receive permission to pursue their research in absentia, provided the chair of the appropriate school approves and a faculty member directs the project. In either case, doctoral students working full time on thesis research should be registered for a full course load of "9000" dissertation hours each semester.


Guidelines for Ph.D. Dissertation

Doctoral research should provide a useful educational experience that emphasizes creativity, independent action and learning, implementation of research methodology, and a scholarly approach.  The research must be relevant to the field in which you are pursuing a degree.  The dissertation should demonstrate a high degree of proficiency in the written communication (in English) of research results.  It should conform to the Institute's requirements as outlined in the Thesis Manual.

After adequate preparation, you must complete a searching and authoritative investigation in your chosen field, culminating in a written dissertation covering that investigation.  The dissertation either must be an addition to the fundamental knowledge of the field or a new and better interpretation of facts already known.  The dissertation must demonstrate that you possess powers of original thought, a talent for research, and the ability to organize and present findings.

The contribution must be original and, as such, should represent a substantial addition to the fundamental knowledge of the field or a new and better interpretation of facts already known. Dissertations based on well-known principles, techniques, and models applied to situations only somewhat different from previous applications are not acceptable.

The dissertation should contain clear statements about the relevance and importance of the problem as well as the significance, originality, and generality of the research results.  The relationship of the research to the literature in the field should be described fully.  The dissertation must demonstrate an understanding of the theory and methodology related to its main thrust, and it should reflect knowledge of the application area.

The research should possess the major characteristics of the scientific method, namely, objectivity and reproducibility.  Experimental and theoretical research assumptions should be clearly stated.  The scope of the research should be such that it requires at least the time and effort equivalent to one year of full-time graduate study.  The research should result in at least one paper that might be published in a refereed journal of engineering, science, management, or architecture, as appropriate.


Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Process

Your defense must be at least six (6) months after your proposal presentation.

After adequate preparation, you must complete a searching and authoritative investigation in your chosen field that culminates in a written dissertation describing that investigation.  An oral defense of the dissertation will be scheduled.  The following procedure must be followed at the time of the dissertation defense.

Step 1. Provide your completed written Ph.D. Dissertation to the members of your Ph.D. Reading Committee.

You must provide copies of the completed final draft of your dissertation to each member of the Ph.D. Dissertation Reading Committee. This must be done at least two weeks before the final dissertation defense. The defense may be scheduled only after the members of your committee have reviewed the written document and consider the dissertation to be satisfactory.

Step 2. Schedule your Ph.D. Dissertation Defense and submit your Ph.D. Dissertation Defense announcement to the Office of Student Services.

Poll your committee and establish a date and time for the defense.  Reserve a room, and prepare an announcement of the defense.  Submit your announcement at the following link:

This step must be completed at least two weeks (14 days) before your defense. The announcement will be posted to the Woodruff School Calendar.

Step 3. Submit your Certificate of Thesis Approval.

A. The Thesis/Proposal/Dissertation Assessment form is now available in Qualtrics. Each committee member must complete the Qualtrics form at the conclusion of the presentation. The form will be routed to the Office of Student Services for further processing.

B. After your presentation, please complete the Certificate of Thesis Approval for Doctoral Students form via DocuSign. Please list Dr. Andrei Fedorov as the Graduate Coordinator/Staff Administrator. An email will send automatically requesting the required signatures. Everyone will receive a final, signed copy of the form. Please email the final, signed copy of your form to your Staff Academic Advisor.



You must be registered during the semester in which the final presentation occurs, unless an Enrollment Waiver ( is requested and approved.


Submitting your Dissertation

Format Check

You are urged to have your thesis format checked before making the final copies for your committee. To make an appointment to have the format of your thesis checked, please call the Graduate Thesis Office (Savant Building, Room 318) at 404-894-3092, or e-mail

There are deadlines for the initial format check that is one week before the final submission deadline. There is a recommended deadline, but initial format checks will not be done in the week leading up to the thesis deadline; only final submissions will be checked that week. The specific requirements for the format, publication, and distribution of the thesis are explained here:

Electronic Submission of Theses and Dissertations

Paper copies should be given to your advisor and the members of your reading committee, unless the members request a different format.

Please submit your theses electronically to the Graduate Studies office:

Enter the requested information about yourself and your thesis/dissertation and upload your thesis or dissertation in PDF format. Once you submit the documents electronically, an e-mail notice will be sent to your committee members.

The Thesis Approval Page will be the second page in your thesis/dissertation, but it will not show any signatures. List the committee members who approved your thesis or dissertation, but remove the signature lines and be certain you type in the date, which is the date that the final draft of your thesis/dissertation was approved.

The Graduate Office will check your electronic document and let you know about any corrections you must make. Make the corrections and resubmit the corrected file. If the Graduate Office has all the related documents, your thesis/dissertation will be approved and they will notify the Registrar's Office that you are eligible to graduate. Once you have graduated, your thesis/dissertation will be released for electronic circulation.


Publication of your Dissertation

It is the policy of the Georgia Institute of Technology that doctoral dissertations and master's theses are to be published in the open literature.  Extraordinary delays to protect proprietary interests of sponsors are allowed.  It is anticipated that all Ph.D. dissertations and a significant fraction of master's theses be published as archival publications in the open, refereed literature. In all cases, doctoral research should meet all the requirements given in the section on General Guidelines for Ph.D. Dissertation Research, and in no situation should these items be compromised to allow for concealing important research results because of security classification or a sponsor's proprietary interest.

Under unusual circumstances and with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies, the dissertation may be held by the Dean for a period of time not to exceed one year before transmittal to the Georgia Tech Library for online posting as a PDF file.