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Lynch School of Education

Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines

lynch school of education

Your dissertation marks the end and apex of your degree work in the Lynch School. It is both a public testimony of your scholarship and the vehicle by which you make known the contribution to knowledge which your research has made. For this reason, dissertations are preserved in the Archives of Boston College for scholarly consultation and are generally sent to University Microfilms International for sale and listing in their own and other international indices. Thus the appearance of your dissertation is a matter of some importance to you and to Boston College, whose name it also bears. A dissertation that does not conform to the following minimum standards may be returned to the candidate, and the awarding of the degree delayed. 

If you have any questions about the format of your dissertation, please contact the Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid, and Student Services, Lynch School, Campion 135, 617.552.4214.

Doctoral Students must submit the online Doctoral Checklist and Information form to the Graduate Office once their dissertatoin has been succesfully defended.

The Lynch School requires that you submit your dissertation online through eTD@BC.  Instructions can be found at the bottom of this page.

Your dissertation must include:

a traditional title page (sample pdf)                                                                                     
This title page must conform to the sample; if it does not, the Lynch School reserves the right to redo this page for you without notice. Make sure the title of your dissertation is concise and meaningful.
a copyright page (sample pdf)
Whether or not you opt to have UMI register for you, this page must conform to the sample; if it does not, the Lynch School reserves the right to redo this page for you without notice.

an abstract



This must be no more than 350 words. The abstract must include the title of your dissertation, your name, and that of your dissertation director as its heading. Word limit must be strictly adhered to and every word (including the title and the names) counted. If your department requires an abstract that has a larger word count than that required here, please include a shortened version. The abstract must be double-spaced in the same type font as the text of your dissertation.

The processing of all textual material must be letter-quality, clear, dark black, and double-spaced; notes, bibliographic references, and long quotations may be single-spaced. The font size must be at least 12 point. While only one font style and size should be used throughout your text, the notes, bibliographic references, and long quotations may be in a type size smaller than your text, but must still be at least 10 point. Margins must be symmetrical and 1 1/4 inches at the left and right and 1 inch on the top and bottom.  These margins must be strictly maintained throughout your work. Page numbers should be 1 inch from the edge of the paper. 

You must use embedded fonts as you convert your dissertation to PDF for uploading through the eTD@bc webpage.  Embedding fonts and converting to PDF.

The traditional title page, copyright page, and abstract require no page numbers and should be submitted in this order.  Acknowledgments, table of contents, list of tables, etc. are considered the introductory material of the manuscript and page numbers are expressed in lower case Roman numerals (i, ii, etc.).  Every page of your dissertation, after the abstract, including all material in Appendices, must be sequentially numbered. The Lynch School does not insist on the use of one particular style manual, but leaves this decision to the student and advisor. Make sure that you follow one method of reference and bibliographic notation throughout your dissertation. Counseling Psychology students normally follow APA style.

Charts, graphs, tables and other illustrative material can be produced in black or color ink.  Photographs should be embedded as jpeg files with clear resolution.

ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Information Service and the Copyright of Your Dissertation
UMI is the firm which makes it possible for scholars throughout the world to consult your dissertation. UMI will include your title in its database, your abstract in its catalog of abstracts, and will make available in microform or paper copy your dissertation to researchers who request it. The firm will pay you a royalty if the number of copies of your work ordered exceeds a specified limit. The agreement you sign with UMI does not preclude you from making any other publishing arrangements for your work. For more information about why and how to publish your dissertation, please visit the dissertation publishing section of the UMI website

UMI also offers to register the copyright of your dissertation with the Library of Congress Copyright Office. As you are making the decision whether to register your copyright, you should know that any work of original authorship is protected by copyright even without registration. It is our understanding, however, that without the registration of copyright, you cannot sue for statutory damages someone who infringes on your copyright. If you wish to do so yourself, you may register your copyright at any time within five years of the completion of your dissertation. If you wish to have UMI register the copyright for you, this can be done during the online submission process.

The UMI agreement form asks finally if you are willing to have your work reproduced by the Library of Congress for the blind and handicapped. There is no fee or obligation entailed in this request, and giving your permission might make possible the work of a scholar who would not otherwise have access to your research. 

Because your work will be published by UMI, it may be necessary for you to obtain the written permission of the copyright owner of copyrighted material you use in your dissertation. If you reproduce a survey or questionnaire in your dissertation, use a copyrighted photo or piece of music, or have numerous large quotations from the same source, then you must obtain permission for your own use and permission for the use of UMI from the copyright owner.


eTD@BC (Electronic Thesis and Dissertations at Boston College)

Pre-submission checklist

  • Attend an eTD@BC workshop offered by the Boston College Libraries (an overview of the submission process, tips such as how to embed fonts as you create a PDF).
  • Submit the Doctoral Checklist and Information Form online.
  • Obtain permission for using any third-party-copyrighted materials.
  • Consult with your faculty advisor regarding whether to accept the offer of Boston College to provide access to your thesis, and the duration of its embargo if delayed access is preferred.  Embargoes are typically requested when:  a dissertation is being submitted to a publisher that proscribes prior disclosure; a patent application is going to be filed; there is a need to protect proprietary information; or, there is a need to respect confidentiality.
  • Gather information and make decisions as listed below.

Dissertation Embargo

Upon submission of a completed doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School of Education, a student may request an embargo for not more than two years without special permission. To request an extension beyond two years, but for no more than five years, a student must submit a written rationale to the Lynch School Educational Policy Committee (EPC).  Requests for more than five years will be granted by the EPC of the LSOE only for extraordinary reasons.

After successfully defending your thesis (committee signed off, and all requested edits were completed), begin your online submission at the following website:


Decisions to be made/information to be gathered before submitting your dissertation:

  • Whether to accept the offer of free Open Access via eScholarship@BC
  • Whether to have ProQuest register your copyright (for a fee)
  • Name of your committee chair
  • Subject categories (from ProQuest's list) that characterize your thesis
  • Key words or phrases that you would choose to characterize your thesis
  • Your current contact information
  • Your future contact information and when it will take effect
  • How many personal copies do you wish to purchase from ProQuest

For assistance, please contact BC's ETD administrator:

Emily B. Toner
eScholarship Repository Librarian / ETD administrator
Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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