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Preparing and Filing Your Thesis or Dissertation

You must have committee approval (title page signed off by committee) before submitting your thesis/dissertation electronically.

Filing your dissertation or thesis is the last step in the process leading to the awarding of your degree. The final copy of your thesis or dissertation, which is ultimately deposited in the University Library, becomes a permanent and official record.

For information and assistance in the preparation of your thesis or dissertation, please contact the Graduate Studies Student Affairs Officer responsible for your program. You must make an appointment with the Student Affairs Officer in order to file your thesis or dissertation.

You are responsible for observing the filing dates and for preparing the thesis in the proper format. As part of the electronic filing process you will complete the PQIL Master's Thesis Agreement (master's students) or the UMI Doctoral Dissertation Agreement (Ph.D. students) on which you indicate your willingness to have the University supply copies of your thesis to interested persons immediately, or the dissertation submitted to ProQuest.

Candidate Degree Completion Lists


How to Submit the Thesis or Dissertation Electronically (ETD)

Start by creating an ETD account on the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) website. Log on to your account to submit your manuscript and view/revise an existing submission.

Some basic steps to submission:

  • The e-thesis/dissertation must be submitted as a single electronic PDF file.
  • The thesis/dissertation must follow all formatting guidelines for submitting an electronic manuscript.
  • Review all instructions on the ETD website prior to submitting your thesis/dissertation.

If you have questions or concerns about electronic submission or formatting guidelines, contact your Graduate Studies Student Affairs Officer.


Consult the calendar for the dates to file your thesis or dissertation with Graduate Studies. You are responsible for observing the filing dates and for preparing the thesis or dissertation in the proper form.

Your manuscript must be submitted in PDF form. No compression, no password protection, no digital signature.

Title/Signature Page

Graduate Studies does not supply the title/signature pages. You must prepare your title/signature pages in accordance with the sample.

You will need to produce two title/signature pages.

First, to prevent the release of digital signatures, using the sample provided, produce a title page with the names of your thesis/dissertation committee typed and without signatures. This is the title page which will become the first page of the thesis/dissertation electronic file to be submitted to PQIL.

You will need to produce a second title/signature page, which will include a signature line above each committee members typed name. The signature page is to be signed by all members of your committee when they have approved the thesis or dissertation. All committee members must sign the same document and only original signatures will be accepted.

Make an appointment with your Student Affairs Officer in Graduate Studies to submit the signature page and required forms.


Master’s theses and doctoral dissertations are required to include an abstract.

The abstract that is submitted to PQIL must be formatted following the guidelines on the ETD website.

It is important to write an abstract that gives a clear description of the content and major divisions of the thesis/dissertation, since PQIL will publish the abstract exactly as submitted. Students completing their requirements under doctoral Plan A should provide copies of the abstract for use by the dissertation committee during the examination.

If your abstract appears in the introductory pages of your thesis/dissertation manuscript, it must follow the same format as the rest of your thesis/dissertation (1 inch left margin, double-spaced, consecutive page numbering, etc.).

Style and Format

You should be guided on matters of style by the chair and members of your thesis/dissertation committee. Graduate Studies is not concerned with the form of the bibliography, appendix, footnotes, etc. as long as they are done in some acceptable, consistent and recognized manner approved by your committee.

There are many valuable references available to assist students in preparing and writing research papers and theses. Listed below are references that have been suggested by students and faculty.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations, by Joseph Gibaldi and Walter S. Achtert: The Modern Language Association of America, 7th. Ed., 2009.

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White: 50th anniversary ed., 2008.

The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press, 17th. ed., 2010.


Every page of the dissertation or thesis must be kept within these margins:
  • Left, right, top, bottom – one inch
  • Page number may be outside of these margins

Please Note: These minimum specifications also apply to all figures, charts, graphs, illustrations and appendices.


Double spacing should be used in typing the thesis or dissertation, except in those places where conventional usage calls for single spacing – for example: footnotes, indented quotations, tables, and the bibliography.


The preliminary pages, including the title page are numbered with small Roman Numerals which are centered at the bottom of the page. Begin numbering the preliminaries in lower case Roman Numerals with the title page which is always "i".

The text and all other pages of the thesis or dissertation, including charts, figures, caption pages, maps, and appendices are all numbered consecutively starting with Arabic "1". These page numbers should also be centered at the bottom of the page. (In most cases, this will start with the Introduction or Chapter 1.) Do not start renumbering pages at any point in the body of your thesis or dissertation.



Consistency is essential. The same font size and style must be used throughout. Use a font size between 10 and 13 points.

Any font style is acceptable, however you must make sure all your fonts are embedded fonts. See the instructions for embedded fonts on the ETD website.


Your thesis/dissertation must be submitted electronically; therefore, the Office of Graduate Studies does not require you to provide a printed copy of your manuscript. However, members of your committee and/or your graduate program may require that you provide them with a paper copy.  Consult with your graduate program and thesis/dissertation committee regarding printed copy requirements.

Overall Appearance

You are responsible for the appearance of your manuscript in PDF. It will appear and may be downloaded exactly as you submit it.  

Tables, Graphs and Captions

Charts and tables may be placed horizontally or vertically, but in either case must fit within the required margins. It may be necessary to use a reducing copier in order to achieve this. If necessary, wide tables, charts, and figures can be placed sideways. Figures may be embedded in the text or take up a full page. Each figure or table must be numbered consecutively (do not renumber each chapter unless you include chapter numbers, e.g., Fig.1.1, Fig. 2.1, etc.) and should have a caption.

NOTE: If your figures or charts are placed horizontally on the page (i.e. in “Landscape” orientation), your page number must still appear in the same place as all other page numbers (centered at the bottom of the page in “Portrait” orientation). Pagination must be consistent throughout the document.

Photographs, Illustrations and Maps

Plates, figures, illustrations, maps and photographic reproductions must be clear and distinct. Pagination must be consistent.

Oversized Material

Consult the ETD website guidelines for uploading supplemental files with your manuscript.

Using Published Material

If approved by the thesis or dissertation committee, reports of research undertaken during graduate study at UC Davis which have been published may be accepted in printed form as all or part of the master's thesis or doctoral dissertation. If you are not the sole or first author of the published material submitted, the use of co-authored materials must be approved by the department or graduate group concerned.

The pages of the published material must meet the same formatting guidelines. Each chapter may have an abstract of its own. There must be a general abstract covering the entire dissertation.

Dates of Filing

Check the calendar for deadlines for submission of the master's thesis or the doctoral dissertation with the committees in charge and with Graduate Studies. Deadlines are also announced each year in the Class Schedule and Registration Guide and the General Catalog. The deadline for filing with your committee is a recommended deadline to allow time for making revisions. The deadline for submission to Graduate Studies is firm.

ProQuest Information and Learning (PQIL)

As a master’s or doctoral candidate, you will be asked to complete a publishing agreement with PQIL. You will also be given the option to apply for copyright, but it is not required. If you would like to copyright your dissertation, please see the copyright and publication option on the ETD website.


When you file your thesis or dissertation, you will receive a Letter of Certification that states you have completed all the requirements for your program and the official conferral date of your degree. This certificate may be given to your employer for proof of degree until the Registrar's Office issues an official transcript or diploma. You must complete a form to request your transcript or diploma. Official transcripts normally are available two months after the official degree conferral date, diplomas normally are available four months after this date.

Copyright and Publication

The copyright law of the United States is quite complex. The information contained in this section is only a general guide – more detailed information must be obtained from other sources.

Whether or not you copyright your thesis or dissertation, you retain the right to publish all or any part of it by any means at any time, except for reproduction from a negative microfilm as described in the agreement with PQIL. Should you decide to copyright your thesis or dissertation, you must include a separate copyright page after the title page. By adding this copyright notice, which should be included in all copies you distribute, you have copyrighted your thesis or dissertation. At this point you have several options:

You may have the copyright registered for you by PQIL. Along with the UMI Doctoral Dissertation Agreement, you will need to submit a fee to cover the copyright cost.

You may register the copyright yourself by submitting to the Registrar of Copyrights the appropriate application form, a filing fee and one or two copies of the work. In order to have full protection against infringement, this should be done as soon as possible. Information and forms can be obtained from the Registrar of Copyrights, Library of Congress, Washington D.C. 20559.

You may choose to copyright your thesis or dissertation by adding the copyright notice, submitting a copy to the Registrar of Copyrights, but not registering it. (Federal copyright law requires that copies of all works published with notices of copyright be deposited with the Library of Congress, even if the copyright is not registered). However, to protect your rights in a copyright dispute and in order to be compensated for damages caused by infringement, your copyright must be registered.


Since the submission of your thesis or dissertation to the University Library and/or its being made available by PQIL may constitute a form of publication, you may have to obtain permission to use (or quote) copyrighted material, such as that in most journal articles or books. It is the author (i.e. you) who is responsible in the matter of copyrighted materials. The agreement, which you submit to PQIL, specifically absolves them of any such responsibility.

If you quote extensively from a particular author, especially in fields such as fiction, drama, criticism, or poetry, or if copyrighted maps, charts, statistical tables, or similar materials have been reproduced, you must write the copyright owner(s), describe the use which you are making of the materials, and request permission to use it in the dissertation or thesis.

For your protection, a statement listing such materials should be included in the acknowledgements of the dissertation or thesis. The statement should inform the reader (1) that permission has been granted for their use, and (2) the source of the permission.

Filing Fee

The Filing Fee was established expressly to assist those students who have completed all requirements for degrees except submission of the theses or dissertations and/or taking final examinations (master's comprehensive exams or doctoral final examinations) and are no longer using University facilities. The Filing Fee is a reduced fee paid in lieu of registration fees. It is assessed only once and must be paid to the Cashier's Office prior to submission of the form to Graduate Studies. Filing Fee status restrictions (more restrictions are noted on the application instruction sheet):

  • Filing fee status is available for one quarter only;
  • You may not be using university facilities;
  • You cannot be using faculty time other than the time involved in the final reading of the thesis or dissertation or in holding final examinations;
  • You are not eligible to hold any academic appointment title for more than one quarter;
  • You cannot hold a fellowship or receive financial aid.

If you are eligible to use the Filing Fee procedure, you should complete a Filing Fee application, obtain the signature of the graduate adviser and your committee chair, and return the application to Graduate Studies before you stop registering. The Filing Fee must be paid prior to submitting the application to Graduate Studies.

Last Updated: April 30, 2013