Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Submission

As we become more dependent on technology, access to scholarly works is increasing. The Graduate School is committed to providing new ways to support the creativity and innovation of our scholars. To this end, the Graduate School, in collaboration with University Libraries, began a pilot program for the submission and approval of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) in Fall 2004.

This site provides all of the necessary resources for preparing ETDs. For official university regulations regarding submission procedures and deadline dates, see the Graduate School Calendar and Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Specifications.

Jump to:
Format Requirements
Advantages of the Electronic Format
Submission of ETDs
Creating a PDF Copy of your Dissertation/Thesis
Acceptable File Formats
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Format Requirements
Like any conventional thesis or dissertation, an ETD is a document representing the research or scholarship of a graduate student. It has tables, figures, references, and footnotes. The title page will continue to contain the title, candidate's name, candidate's degrees, granting institution, and date received, name of department or school granting the degree, and the year the thesis/dissertation is submitted. For further requirements, see Thesis Specifications.

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Advantages of the Electronic Format
The electronic format allows for the inclusion of hyperlinks to assist the reader in navigation through the document, as well as multimedia features such as audio or video clips. Or, an ETD can simply be an electronic copy of a printed document. ETDs provide a technologically advanced medium for expressing and disseminating ideas. Students will prepare their ETD using word processing software, without the requirement to submit copies on cotton bond paper.

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Submitting an ETD
See ProQuest Dissertation/Thesis Submission site.

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Creating a PDF Copy of Your Dissertation/Thesis
The end product of converting a thesis/dissertation to PDF (Portable Document Format) should consist of one PDF file. DO NOT turn in a separate PDF file for each chapter, or for each item in the dissertation (abstract, etc.). The only extra files permitted are multimedia files, such as audio or visual files. If you have such files, create a folder in which you will place these files and the dissertation text PDF file.

Adobe Acrobat publishing capability is available in two labs: UMC 138 and Norlin M350. All Mac labs have Acrobat as well. When using a computer outside of these labs, Adobe Acrobat software must be used to convert the files from these applications to PDFs. The educational version of Adobe Acrobat is available from the CU Book Store, in both Mac and Windows versions, for under $100. Note that Adobe Acrobat Reader software, available for free download from www.adobe.com, does not have the capability to convert documents to PDF; it can only read them.

When using one of the designated computers from the labs listed above, students can use any application (Word, Excel, Photoshop, etc) to create their dissertation. Then go to File–Print to print the document. In the print dialog window, select the “save as PDF” option, and the file will be saved in the Portable Document Format.

Please make sure that you check over the final PDF document before you submit it. Do not assume that if the final Word document was correct, the PDF file will be correct. In particular, look at charts, graphs, and any graphics files you imported into your document, and look for correct conversions of unusual fonts and diacritical marks such as accents.

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Acceptable File Formats

Image
.gif Graphics Interchange Format
.jpg, .jpeg Joint Photographic Experts Group
.tif, .tiff Tagged Image File Format
.cgm Computer Graphics Metafile
Photo CD Photo CD
   
Multimedia
.avi Microsoft Video
.mpg, .mpeg Moving Picture Experts Group
.mov, .qt Apple QuickTime
   
Audio
.aif Apple Mac Audio Interchange Format
CD-DA Compact Disk-Digital Audio
CD-Rom/XA CD-ROM/eXtended Architecture
.midi Musical Instrument Digital Interface
MPEG-2 Moving Picture Experts Group
.snd NeXT sound
.wav Windows Waveform sound
   
Text
.htm, .html Hypertext Markup Language
.txt ASCII
.pdf Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format
   
Authoring
Authoware Macromedia Multimedia Tool
Director (MMM,PICS) Macromedia Multimedia Tool
   
Special Formats
.dxf AutoCAD
.xcl Excel

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do you mean by “electronic format”?

Instead of a traditional paper, or “hard” copy printed on cotton bond, the ETD thesis or dissertation is submitted electronically. If you write your dissertation or thesis on a computer using a word processing application, you are producing a digital (electronic) document.

2. Are students required to stop producing dissertations, theses, or reports on paper?

The Graduate School accepts only electronic submission of theses or dissertations.  Paper copies may be created for personal use, but to meet Graduate School graduation requirements, an electronic version must be submitted to the ProQuest website by the appropriate deadline.

3. Can an individual faculty member refuse to review an electronic dissertation?

Selection of committee members remains the same. However, it is the student's responsibility to inform the review committee of the document format. If an individual faculty member does not wish to review an electronic dissertation, and cannot reasonably judge the dissertation in printed form, that faculty member probably should not be on the committee.

4. Does this mean that my committee members have to read my dissertation on their computers?

No. It is acceptable for students to provide committee members with printouts of parts of the dissertation (and even the final version) and still publish an electronic version to meet graduation requirements of the Graduate School. It is the student's responsibility to see that all copies (electronic or printed) are equivalent.

5. Where can I get my files converted to PDF (Portable Document Format)?

Adobe Acrobat publishing capability is available in two labs: UMC 138 and Norlin M350. All Mac labs have Acrobat as well.

6. How do I convert my document to PDF?

When using one of the designated computers from the labs listed above, students can use any application (Word, Excel, Photoshop, etc.) to create their dissertation. Then go to File-Print to print the document. In the print dialog window, select the “save as PDF” option, and the file will be saved in the Portable Document Format.

When using a computer outside of these labs, Adobe Acrobat software must be used to convert the files from these applications to PDFs. The educational version of Adobe Acrobat is available from the CU Book Store, in both Mac and Windows versions, for under $100. Note that Adobe Acrobat Reader software, available for free download from www.adobe.com, does not have the capability to convert documents to PDF, it can only read them.

7. Do I still need to worry about margins in my electronic dissertation?

Margin requirements will remain for PDF text files sent to UMI (University Microfilms). Margins are useful in case someone wants to download your dissertation, print it out, and bind it. Refer to Thesis Specifications for information on margins.

8. Can I use .html files in my electronic dissertation or thesis?

Yes. You could, in essence, create your dissertation as a “web site,” with links to audio, video, or text (PDF or other .html) pages. Sometimes the nature of the document may require different formatting. However, UMI only accepts PDF files for upload if you are publishing a dissertation.

9. Can I use audio or movie files in my electronic dissertation or thesis?

Yes. See Acceptable File Formats above.

10. How should I handle graphics?

You can import graphics files into your word processing application prior to creating the final PDF version. Generally, we have found that .gif files translate to PDF better than to .jpg (JPEG) files.

11. Can I put links inside my dissertation or thesis?

Yes. However, links should only be to other parts of the dissertation. That is, they should not link to external web sites that might change after the document is submitted. We want to make sure that someone viewing your dissertation a year or more from now can still access all of it. If you wish an exception to this, or need further clarification, please contact the Graduate School prior to publishing.

12.  How do I submit my electronic files to the Graduate School?

The Graduate School accepts theses electronically only, uploaded as a pdf document, through the ProQuest website. This site contains information on converting word documents to pdf documents, and has a helpful section of frequently asked questions. In addition to the one copy submitted electronically, a signature page with original signatures must be submitted to the Graduate School. This signature page must contain the original signatures of at least two committee members, the chair of the committee and one other member. Before submitting electronically, students can call the Graduate School to discuss options for a pre-check of thesis/dissertation format. Please check submission deadlines on the Graduate School calendar.

13. Will this affect how I write my dissertation or thesis?

Quite possibly, but not necessarily. The traditional linear text dissertation can be produced as a PDF file. However, if you are preparing a dissertation, you should note that UMI provides the first 24 pages of the dissertation, free of charge, via its web site. It might be helpful to rethink how you organize these pages, as they are, in effect, a free advertisement to potential readers. Note that if you are considering organizing the dissertation as a set of .html pages, it allows for a less linear experience of the document. The author needs to take this into consideration during the organization process. How do you want the reader to proceed through the document and its ideas? As always, you should work closely with your adviser on these issues.

14. What else do I need to know?

Decide early how you want to format your dissertation or thesis. If you want to write a text-based document, you are required to produce a copy in PDF format and publish it. If you want to incorporate .html pages and/or audio/video files, you need to have a plan at the outset for doing do. If you are using unusual fonts, make sure they are in the public domain or you will have to purchase a license to use them in your digital files. Work closely with your advisor and committee. The burden of gathering, formatting, and producing multimedia files for your electronic document (and securing permission for any copyrighted software used) lies completely with you.

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