GSAS strongly advises that students distribute final copies of the dissertation to defense committee members at least four weeks before the anticipated defense date, to allow adequate time for committee members to thoroughly review the dissertation. Students who aim to defend (and deposit) for a particular degree conferral should keep this timing in mind when planning their final distribution.
The department/program approves the dissertation for distribution by submitting an Application for Dissertation Defense to GSAS. Once the proposed examination committee is approved by GSAS, the dissertation should be distributed to each examiner, either by the student or by the department/program. The department/program should then notify the Dissertation Office of the distribution date.
The final dissertation should be distributed to the examiners either in digital format or printed on paper, depending on the preference of the individual examiners. The dissertation must be complete, including bibliography, footnotes, abstract, and table of contents, and should conform to the norms of the student's field. If the dissertation is distributed on paper, the copies should be neat, without lengthy ink insertions or corrections.
The Dissertation Office does not examine distribution copies for formatting, but students should keep in mind that examiners may take style and neatness into consideration when evaluating the dissertation. Objections raised by a defense examiner regarding the format of a distributed dissertation must be addressed before the defense is scheduled.