Thesis Submission

As of the Fall 2020 all GSD master theses and doctoral dissertations are being submitted through a new Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) tool from ProQuest that Harvard University has subscribed to. Submission of theses is now managed through this tool.

Where can I find information about submission of a DDes doctoral dissertation?

If you are a doctoral student, please become familiar with the DDes Guidelines for the Dissertation. It includes details on the Form of the DDes Dissertation. You will submit your dissertation using the ProQuest ETD submission tool.

Where do I submit my thesis?

To start the submission process, please go to the ProQuest ETD submission tool, where you will see the GSD logo in the top right section. Once there, you will see the Welcome to the ETD Administrator @ Harvard Graduate School of Design banner, where you can start the process of submitting your thesis when you log in as a student (using your GSD email address and HarvardKey credentials). The My ETDs tab will guide you through the submission (you will basically go through the left navigation menu step by step). 

Please read the instructions included in the Instructions page. It includes information about a cover sheet (for master theses) and/or dissertation acceptance certificate (for doctoral dissertations) that you will need to include with your PDF. The academic department administrators and/or coordinators provide guidelines for those.

Are there requirements for the title page of my thesis? Am I free to alter the aesthetics of the titlepage as long as all the needed information is included?

Masters theses have a cover sheet with information on author, title, program, academic department, statement and signatures. The academic department coordinators can give you a template. As long as all the information in that template is included in your cover sheet you can design the cover sheet with the typeface and colors that you want to match your thesis book design.

Is there a submission fee?

There is no submission fee, unless you choose that ProQuest

How should I submit a thesis with joint authorship?

In cases of multiple authors, each author would want to submit individually. Each submission is published with its own metadata and publication number, and are not flagged as duplicates. Multiple authors on a single submission are not supported.

What do I need to prepare to submit my thesis?
  • PDF copy of your dissertation/thesis. This must be a single file. If your manuscript is in Word or RTF format, you must convert it into a PDF.
  • Abstract
  • Optional Supplementary files (images, data, etc.) that are an integral part of the dissertation/thesis, but not part of the full text.
  • Advisor and other Committee Members' Names
  • Subject Categories: 1-3 that best describe your dissertation/thesis' subject area [PDF]. These categories are fixed subject categories.
  • Keywords: You will have the option to add additional tags that you think would enhance discovery and access to your thesis.
How long will it take to submit my thesis?

You can start your submission, save, and come back later to finish. When finished, remember to hit the Submit button.

Is there a limit on quantity and size of supplemental files?

While there is no limit to the quantity of files received by ProQuest for an individual submission, there is an 8GB single file size limit. If you have a single files that is for example 20GB, you need to break that up into files that are 8GB or less (such as 7GB+7GB+4GB). Any file larger than 8GB would not make it to the ProQuest platform, so they have to be broken up into files that are 8GB or less.

Can I submit any file format as supplemental files?

ProQuest accepts any file format including .mp4 files being submitted as supplemental files. Supplemental files are posted to the database and users would view using the appropriate program for that file type from their computer. For print copies, all supplemental files are copied to disc and inserted in a back pocket. If ProQuest editors find a problem they will contact you. 

Can I put an embargo on my thesis?

Yes, you have the option of putting an embargo (delaying the access to your full theses). Reasons for an embargo range from patents pending to personal reasons. 

Can I get a print copy of my thesis? Can anyone get a print copy of my thesis?

If in the future you need a print copy of your thesis you can obtain one from ProQuest for a fee.

Where can I find more information about the formatting on my thesis?

Additional information related to the formatting and submission of your thesis may be included in this ProQuest PDF document.  

Still have questions about the submission preibanez@gsd.harvard.eduocess? Ask your academic department administrator/coordinator who will be in touch with the library as needed:

Changes or Edits

Can I make edits to my thesis once submitted to ProQuest?

If a submission has been delivered to ProQuest and is not yet published, ProQuest is able to "undeliver" the submission so that edits can be made. Please communicate with your academic department coordinator to start this process. ProQuest will change the status from "delivered" to "ready for delivery" at which point you will be able to upload a revised PDF copy before re-delivering. You can do that in the Revisions/Changes section, where you will be able to Replace the existing PDF with the revised PDF.

Can I make changes to my thesis once published by ProQuest?

For a thesis to be already published in ProQuest it has already gone through the process of being certified by the thesis advisor, accepted by the academic chair. Any changes, including the extraction and/or correction of significant errors must be approved by the thesis advisor and department chair. ProQuest will require a letter or email containing the permission or approval, a complete corrected version of your thesis, and a fee. Please be reminded this will only be applicable to the original version published by ProQuest, not to the original version published in DASH. We recommend working with your academic department in order to address any changes to the copy of record.

Can I ask that my thesis be removed from ProQuest?

Once the work is published, the student can contact ProQuest ( and ask for it to be removed from their service.

Copyright and Publication Considerations

Why does Harvard suggest using the "Traditional Publishing" option?

You will be presented with publishing options while submitting your thesis. Harvard University recommends that you choose Traditional Publishing. When choosing this option, theses will be available online as open-access publications through Harvard’s institutional repository (IR), DASH. DASH ensure the availability, longevity, and functionality of your thesis.

Why does Harvard suggest not having ProQuest register my copyright with the US Copyright Office?

After uploading your thesis/dissertation and submitting information about it, you will be presented with the option of having ProQuest register it with the US Copyright Office. Harvard University does not recommend this option. You already hold the copyright by having authored your thesis and putting it in tangible form, and you will avoid paying a fee to ProQuest for that service.

Questions about publishing and copyright options?

Ask the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication:

Who holds ownership of the copyright to my thesis?

You hold the copyright to your thesis. Some students include the copyright symbol © with their name on the cover sheet to indicate that.

Can I add a Creative Commons license to my thesis?


Access to Your Thesis

Who will have access to my thesis?

Once published by ProQuest the theses are available to everyone (other universities included) that subscribe to Dissertations and Theses Online, unless you have put an embargo on your thesis. Once published in ProQuest and ingested into Harvard Library systems, the thesis will be available to the world (not only to those with a subscription to ProQuest) through DASH, the open access digital institutional repository for Harvard, unless you have put an embargo on your thesis.

Where will I have access to my thesis?

You will have access to your thesis through ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses Online and through DASH. The HOLLIS record for your thesis will link directly to DASH.

How long does it take for my thesis to show up in HOLLIS and in DASH?

Once approved and submitted by the department administrator it should only take a few days for the work to appear in ProQuest, DASH, and HOLLIS.

When will I have access to my thesis through ProQuest and DASH?

This depends on current workflows and coordination between ProQuest and Harvard Library related to depositing, processing, and cataloging. The library or your academic department coordinator can find out and tell you where the thesis is in the processing workflow.

I want to restrict access to my thesis, how do I do that? Why would I embargo my thesis?

During the submission process you can choose to put an embargo on your thesis if you want a delayed access. Some students may choose to add an embargo for personal reasons (including personal safety) and/or have patents pending.

For how long can I embargo my thesis?

You have the option of choosing between 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years for an embargo. If you want to embargo your thesis for a longer period, you can stipulate that timeline within the tool as YYYY-MM-DD to whatever timeline fits your needs.