Where can I find out more about the "papers option" for my dissertation?


Hello Dean,

My committee chair and I have decided to use the 3-papers option to write and submit my dissertation. I have been writing my dissertation as such, mostly using my own advisor's dissertation for formatting guidance--they also graduated from Cornell using this dissertation format. I have the 'Thesis and Dissertation Guide' from Graduate School's website, but it doesn't mention the papers option, or give clear guidance on how to structure the final bound copy of the dissertation.

Where can I find out more, and ensure that I am formatting my dissertation correctly for the Graduate School?

Thank you for your time!

Almost Done

Dear Almost Done,

Congratulations on reaching this nearly-final phase of your PhD!  It’s common in many fields for students to assemble several publication-quality papers into a single dissertation rather than format their research into a more traditional monolithic work.  For this type of dissertation, the papers are typically related but may be formatted as stand-alone chapters with sub-headings for introduction, methods, results, and discussion.  The Graduate School requires that such dissertations have the standard sections, (title page, abstract, bio sketch, table of contents, etc) and also used a single referencing convention across all the included papers.  Aside from that, students and their committees have broad latitude to structure the body of the thesis/dissertation to meet the conventions of their discipline. 

You’ll find information on the “papers option” on page 4 of the Thesis and Dissertation Guide, as well as a list of fields that permit the papers option on page 22.  For additional guidance, or for general questions about thesis or dissertation formatting, students may or stop by 143 Caldwell Hall.

Best regards,


Jason Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration