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Lynch School of Education

Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines

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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 by the University Archives and are sent to ProQuest 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 dissertation has been successfully 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 ProQuest register your copyright, 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 electronic submission. For more information on embedding fonts, see the ETD website at www.bc.edu/etd


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 and the Copyright of Your Dissertation

Doctoral students are required to submit their dissertations to ProQuest. The agreement you sign with ProQuest allows them to include your work in their dissertation services, primarily the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database. You retain the copyright of your dissertation. If you wish, you may register your copyright yourself with the Library of Congress Copyright Office, or you may pay a fee to have ProQuest register copyright for you. More information about copyright is available on the eTD website at www.bc.edu/etd.

Please review your document for the inclusion of any third-party copyrighted materials, including survey and test instruments. Certain copyrighted works may be included under the fair use exception to the exclusive rights of copyright holders. If fair use does not apply, you may need to ask for permission from the copyright holder. If you have obtained permission to include third-party copyrighted materials in your thesis/dissertation, these permissions can be included as supplemental files as part of your submission. Please note that any pages that include signatures (e.g., signature pages, copyright permissions, IRB forms, etc.) should not be included in the main dissertation itself. 


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

Pre-submission checklist

  • Attend an eTD@BC workshop offered by the Boston College Libraries, which includes an overview of the submission process and information about important decisions and issues, such as eScholarshop@BC, embargoes, copyright, etc. For information/dates of workshops and a copy of the handout from the latest workshop, please check the eTD@BC website at www.bc.edu/etd or contact etd-support@bc.edu
  • Submit the Doctoral Checklist and Information Form online.
  • Assess fair use of any third-party-copyrighted materials and request permissions if needed.
  • Review the eTD@BC website and finalize decisions regarding eScholarship@BC, embargoes, etc.

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.

Submission Process

Dissertations are submitted using Boston College’s online submission system, eTD@BC (electronic Theses & Dissertations at Boston College). Submission of your dissertation is entirely online and free of charge. After successfully defending your thesis (committee signed off, and all requested edits were completed), begin your online submission at the following website:


For further assistance with the submission process, please contact etd-support@bc.edu

This page links to PDF files. Use this link to download Adobe Reader if needed.