THESIS AND DISSERTATION FAQS
 

When learning how to create and format an ETD (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation), we recommend you begin with the overview on the Thesis & Dissertation Services homepage. After you’ve absorbed the basics, we hope this list of frequently asked questions provides additional information.

 

The Review Process

 

Writing and Formatting

 

Forms and Surveys

 

Submission

 

Copyright

 

Release Options (Holds/Embargos)

 

Clearing

 

General FAQs

 

The Review Process

How long does this process take?
The length of the review process varies greatly depending on the time of the semester, the quality of the document, and the timeliness that corrections are completed. In general terms, the process can take approximately 2-3 weeks during non-peak review times and approximately 4-6 weeks during peak review times (week of deadline to graduation).
 
How long until I get my first review?
The following are approximate turn-around times after the ETD and signed Written Approval Form have been received by Thesis and Dissertation Services. All ETDs are time-stamped and reviewed on a first-come first-serve basis -- no exceptions.

  • Early in the semester (after the early clearance deadline): 5-10 working days
  • Week of submission deadline: At least 15-20 working days
 

How many rounds of review can I expect?
Nearly every student receives at least one round of review, with a resulting list of corrections to be completed. Most commonly there are two to three rounds of review; however, a few students each semester will receive four or five rounds of review.
 
Where do I find my list of corrections?
Vireo (etd.tamu.edu) will be the portal through which you not only submit your document, but also where you will retrieve your list of corrections (in PDF form). After each review, your reviewer will email you (at your TAMU email address) informing you when a new set of corrections has been added to Vireo.
 
What does it mean if my document is “unreviewable”?
Before a comprehensive, first review is conducted, a cursory review is done on each document to ensure that the minimum formatting guidelines have been met. Specifically, we are looking for standard page size, margins, and page numbers. If these three items are askew, then it is very difficult to conduct a full review; thus, we send an email to the student stating that the document is “unreviewable.”
 
The student then makes the appropriate corrections and uploads their corrected document to Vireo. If these items have been fixed, then the document gets placed into the review queue, awaiting a first review.
 
If my document is “unreviewable,” does that mean you don’t accept it?
Unreviewable is not the same as unaccepted. If the document and the Written Approval form were turned in by the submission deadline, then the document was accepted. A comprehensive first review cannot begin until the document meets the minimum formatting guidelines of page size, margins, and page numbers.
 
Where do I upload my corrected document?
The student can upload their corrected document to Vireo (etd.tamu.edu) after having carefully and completely made the corrections that were requested and converted the document to PDF.
 
How do I leave a note/question for my reviewer?
There are a number of ways to leave a note or question for your reviewer. You can leave a note within Vireo, email the reviewer directly, email us at thesis@tamu.edu, or call us at 979-845-3631.
 
How long do I have to make the edits?
There are no specific time limits placed on making edits. With that being said, the sooner you return a corrected document, the sooner we can review it again. In general, we would like to see a corrected document back within a week of sending out the review just to keep the process going. However, please be aware of any impending deadlines that might make a faster turnaround necessary.
 
What happens if I’m not done by graduation?
We do our very best to clear as many students as possible before 5 p.m. on the day of degree audit (check the deadline calendar for the specific day), but sometimes life happens and a student can’t complete the process in time for graduation. In that case, the student can still walk at graduation but they will not receive their diploma at the graduation ceremony.
 
The student then has until the last day to clear (again, check the deadline calendar for the specific day) to still be considered a graduate for that semester.
 
I really need to graduate ASAP. Is there a way to expedite the review process?
We review documents in the order they are submitted, so if you have an important deadline, please be sure to submit early. If you have extreme circumstances that require special consideration, please contact our office.

Go to Top
 

Writing and Formatting

Is there a page number minimum/maximum for the ETD?
No, we’ve received ETDs ranging from 20 pages to over 600 pages. Certain sections within the ETD have maximum restrictions, such as the Abstract, Dedication, and Acknowledgements. See the Thesis and Dissertation Manual for further specifics of each section’s requirements.

Should I use Word or LaTeX to create my ETD?
LaTeX is a typesetting system that uses code to produce scientific papers. While anyone can use it, LaTeX is especially helpful for students who will be including formulas or mathematics in their ETD. Since LaTeX requires prior knowledge of coding, students who choose to use LaTeX for their ETDs are usually already familiar with it.

If a student is not planning to use LaTeX, then they would use Word to create their document. Be sure to check out the LaTeX and Word templates. Note that there are instructions accompanying the templates to provide guidance.
 
Is there a preferred font?
The font size must be 12 point. The font style must be one that is found in a scholarly journal, most often Times New Roman or Arial.
 
May I come in for a pre-review before I submit?
While we don’t officially offer a pre-review, you may email or call us with specific questions. During non-peak review times, you may also call and make a 15-minute appointment with a reviewer to discuss questions you may have regarding your ETD.
 
How do I sign up for a Pre-Submittal Conference?
Pre-Submittal Conferences are highly recommended for all students. At Pre-Submittal Conferences, a presenter will spend a little over an hour covering the ins and outs of formatting, discussing common mistakes, and providing an overview of the review process. Afterwards, students will have an opportunity to ask specific questions about their document. You can sign up to attend a Pre-Submittal Conference through TAMU’s Event Registration System.
 
May I use a template that my friend gave me?
Each semester, the Thesis & Dissertation Manual is updated to reflect any new formatting requirements. Consequently, the templates are also updated. Thus, we recommend that you use a template downloaded directly from our Templates page, rather than use a potentially outdated one from a friend.
 
What can I do if I’m having trouble aligning my page numbers?
Manually creating a Table of Contents, List of Figures, and List of Tables can be challenging since aligning page numbers can be impossible to accomplish. We highly recommend that you automatically generate these pages. 
 
How can I fix the preliminary page numbers in the Table of Contents from appearing in all caps?
Word automatically formats the preliminary page numbers in the Table of Contents as all caps. If you change them to lowercase, without changing their formatting, then they often pop back up as all caps when you convert your document to PDF.
 
To change this, highlight a preliminary page number, right click, choose “Font,” then uncheck the “all caps” box and click “OK.” Do this for each preliminary page number.
 
Can my Abstract be longer than 350 words?
Abstracts should be short summaries of your research, therefore we recommend they be limited to no more than 350 words, not exceeding two pages.
 
May I change my name?
The name on your ETD must match official Texas A&M records. If you are interested in changing your name, please contact the Registrar’s Office.
 
Is it okay if some figures/tables run into the margin?
No. All content within the document, including figures and tables, must be contained within the document’s normal margins.
 
What do I do if I have large images that won’t fit on an 8 ½ by 11” sheet of paper?
Sometimes students have figures that cannot be reduced to fit on an 8 ½ by 11” sheet of paper, even if landscaped, without losing either quality or readability. In that case, we offer the option of an oversize page (11” by 17”). These may be located in the main text or appendices of your document and must be landscaped.

What if I have unusual formatting questions or I am unsure about the format I'm using?
Thesis and Dissertation Services always welcomes phone calls, emails, or short walk-in consultations (preferably by appointment). You may also bring your document to a Pre-Submittal Conference.

Go to Top

Forms and Surveys

Are scanned signatures accepted on the Written Approval form?
Yes, we will accept scans for signatures, EXCEPT for the head of department. The head of department’s signature must be original. Electronic signatures, on the other hand, are not accepted.

May a friend/coworker/chair, etc. deliver my Written Approval form for me?
Yes, we recommend having someone you trust turn in the form if you are not able to do it personally. We DO NOT recommend using campus mail; missing the deadline because the form was not delivered or was lost is not an acceptable reason for a late submission.

What should I do if I am having trouble obtaining all of the signatures for my form?
In most cases, you should contact your departmental staff advisor for assistance in locating your committee. You may also contact OGAPS/Thesis and Dissertation Services for additional guidance on this issue.

May I email the Written Approval form to you?
No, since the head of department signature must be original (i.e. not scanned or copied), the Written Approval form needs to be hand delivered to the OGAPS office.
 
Is the Written Approval form the same as the Proposal Approval form?
Despite these two forms having similar names, they are very different. The Proposal Approval form accompanies your proposal. The Written Approval form approves the content of the thesis/dissertation/record of study and must be turned in with your final document in order to start the review process.
 
How do I know which hold choice on the Copyright & Availability form to choose?
The Copyright & Availability form (a.k.a. the C&A form) determines what happens to your ETD after you have cleared our office.

  • Immediate Release – The document is published shortly after the student’s graduation semester to both OakTrust at Evans Library and to ProQuest (if doctoral student).
  • Document Only Hold – Only author, title, metadata, and abstract are published for two years. This embargo hold is most often chosen because the student is planning to publish part of the ETD in the future.
  • Full Record Hold – The entire ETD is withheld from being published, meaning none of it is published for two years. This is usually chosen if the research is expected to culminate in a patent or if specific funding contracts require it.

 
How do I submit the Copyright & Availability form?
There are many ways you can submit a Copyright & Availability form. You can upload it to Vireo, email it to thesis@tamu.edu, or bring it to OGAPS.
 
Where do I find the Survey of Earned Doctorates and AAUDE Survey?
You can find the two surveys combined online at AAUDE and SED. Be sure to set aside at least 15 minutes to complete the surveys. Also, please remember to have  a copy of the completion certificate sent to thesis@tamu.edu so that we can update your record.

Go to Top
 

Submission

Where do I submit my thesis or dissertation PDF file (ETD) for review?
Thesis and Dissertation Services uses the online Vireo program for ETD submission; follow http://etd.tamu.edu for the submission site.

When may I submit my ETD for review?
Your ETD may be submitted after you have successfully defended, made all requested changes from the committee, and all committee members have signed the Written Approval form.

What is the “submission deadline”?
The submission deadline is a firm deadline. All students who are planning to graduate must submit their ETDs and Written Approval forms on or before the submission deadline or they are not eligible for graduation in that semester.
Please see the deadlines calendar for the specific date of the submission deadline. Both the ETD and the Written Approval Form must be submitted by 5 p.m. on this day.

What does it mean to submit my document “in final form”?
“Final form” means that your document is in its final draft except for any small formatting tweaks that we might find. “Final form” does not mean that it needs to have already undergone the review process.
 
Once a student submits their document to Vireo, they may not make any further changes to the document except for changes we ask them to make.
 
I missed the submission deadline; can I still submit my ETD?
No, there are no exceptions for late submittal. Students submitting after the submission deadline cannot graduate until the following semester. The submittal site is closed for a few weeks after the submittal deadline.
 
What are my options if I miss the deadline/what is early clearance?
If a student misses the current semester’s submittal deadline, the student has the option of early clearance in the following semester. The student has a small window of opportunity to submit their document (and all required forms) and clear Thesis and Dissertation Services in order to make early clearance.  
 
Early clearance means that if the student clears Thesis and Dissertation Services by the early clearance deadline, the student will not have to pay that semester’s registration fee, in most cases. There may be additional requirements for international students.

How do I qualify for early clearance?
In order to qualify for early clearance, the student must have been registered in the previous semester and be able to clear our office by the early clearance deadline. Please remember that it can take a minimum of two to three weeks to complete the review process.
 
When can I submit my document for early clearance? Am I guaranteed?
Submission to Thesis and Dissertation Services does not guarantee clearance. If a student is serious about avoiding registration, the student needs to turn in their Written Approval form and submit their ETD as close to the date that Vireo reopens as possible. This date is listed on the OGAPS deadline calendar.
 
Please be aware that it often takes a minimum of two to three weeks to complete the review process. The earlier you submit, the more likely you will make the early clearance deadline.

May I make changes to my ETD after I submit my manuscript to Thesis and Dissertation Services?
No, once you submit your ETD to Thesis and Dissertation Services, no further content changes can be made. The submitted ETD needs to be in its final content form. The version submitted to our office has been approved by the chair and committee. The only changes allowed are those requested by Thesis and Dissertation Services reviewers.

Go to Top
 

Copyright

Who owns the copyright to my thesis/dissertation/record of study?
The student owns the copyright to his/her thesis, dissertation, or record of study.
 
How do I get a copyright permission?
There are several ways to obtain a copyright permission. Since some publishers will list their copyright policy online, many students start their search by checking publishers’ websites.
 
If the website doesn’t address author rights or is unclear, we recommend emailing the publisher or use Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink to request copyright permission.
 
How do I conduct a Fair Use Analysis?
You will need to complete a Fair Use Checklist (both Columbia University and Cornell have checklists online, for instance). Fill out a checklist for each figure and table that has been previously published. 
 
If the results of the checklist indicate that the figure/table falls under fair use, then you do not need to obtain copyright permission. However, if the checklist leans toward disfavoring fair use, you will need to contact the copyright owner and ask permission to use the figure/table in your document.
 
May I include an article in my document that has already been published?
If you have previously published an article that you would like to include in your document, you will need to obtain permission from the publisher to use it in your ETD. Please read the handout on using copyrighted material for more specific information.
 
If I am the author, do I need to get a copyright permission?
Even if you are the author of a particular work, it does not necessarily mean that you are the copyright owner. If the item has already been published, then it is likely that the publisher now owns the copyright.
 
Please determine who owns the copyright to the material and if someone else holds the copyright, ask for permission to use the work in your ETD.
 
May I use images I found on Google?
Nearly all of the images that appear on Google are copyrighted; thus, assume the ones you want to use are copyrighted. You will need to determine the identity of the author and conduct a Fair Use Analysis to determine if you need to seek copyright permission.

What format do I use to include multiple articles that have already been published?
Many students are now choosing to create ETDs that include multiple articles that they have already published. This creates documents known as “Journal Article Style” or “Sandwich Thesis” and is an acceptable form of thesis/dissertation. Please read through the Journal Article Style Format handout for specific requirements when using this style.

Go to Top
 

Release Options (Holds/Embargos)

What happens to my document after I clear?
Unless an embargo hold choice other than “Immediate Release” was chosen, all ETDs are published to OakTrust at Evans Library a few months after graduation. Additionally, dissertations are also published to ProQuest.
 
What do the three hold options on the C&A form mean?
The three hold choices on the Copyright & Availability form (C&A form) determine when the ETD will be published.
 
If Immediate Release is chosen, the entire document will be published shortly after graduation. If Document Only Hold is chosen, just the metadata, author, keywords, title, and abstract will be published, meaning the rest of the document will not appear online for two years. A Full Record Hold choice means that the entire document will not be published for two years.
 
Can I extend the hold on my document?
Absolutely. Please fill out a Hold Extension Request Form and send it to thesis@tamu.edu. Be sure to submit the form a few weeks before the hold expires.
 
Is there a way to change the type of hold that is on my document?
You may change your hold choice at any time prior to clearing our office. However, once the document has been published, there is no way to change the hold type.
 
How do I request removal of a hold on my document?
If you have a Document Only Hold, please email us at thesis@tamu.edu telling us that you would like your hold removed. If you have a Full Record Hold, your chair must email us with the request to remove the hold.
 
When will my ETD be published?
Publication usually occurs within six months from the end of a semester in which you graduated.
 
Go to Top
 

Clearing

What does it mean to “clear” Thesis and Dissertation Services?
Clearing means that all requested formatting corrections have been made and all other requirements have been completed. Those requirements include:

  • Applying for graduation
  • Registering for the current semester (or previous semester for early clearance)
  • Passing the oral defense
  • Turning in the Written Approval form
  • Turning in the Copyright and Availability form
  • Submitting (if necessary) copyright permission for previously published work
  • Submitting (if necessary) permission for figures and tables, or indicating that a Fair Use Analysis was done
  • Completing the SED/AAUDE Survey (Doctoral only)

 
How will I know if I have cleared?
When you have met all clearance requirements, you will receive an email at your TAMU email address with the subject “Clearance from Thesis and Dissertation Services.”
 
Can I have my ETD bound?
Yes, you can have your ETD bound; however, we do not provide that service. You will need to contact a printing service to have that done for you.
 
How do I obtain a Letter of Completion?
A student in a master’s thesis option or a doctoral program must have completed all academic degree requirements, including final clearance from Thesis and Dissertation Services, to be eligible to request a Letter of Completion.  This letter may be requested anytime from the point the student has completed all requirements for the awarding of the degree until five days prior to commencement. 
 
You may request a Letter of Completion by submitting this Letter of Completion form to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.  If you have any questions about this form, please contact ogapsprocessing@tamu.edu.
 
Can I make changes to my ETD after I have cleared?
No. Additional changes to your ETD are not allowed after you have cleared our office.
 
Go to Top
 

General FAQs

What is a record of study?
A record of study is very similar to a dissertation, but is the name given to the culminating document for Doctor of Education and Doctor of Engineering degrees.
 
What is the Thesis and Dissertation Services eCampus community I’ve been added to?
Thesis and Dissertation Services eCampus community provides online resources for formatting, Thesis and Dissertation Services processes, and Turnitin.com. The community also provides an opportunity to post discussion items with your fellow peers.

What is an ORCID iD?
ORCID provides a unique 16-digit scholar identifier to help you manage all of your research/professional contributions. When integrated with publisher services and databases on the Internet, it helps online searchers find all of your works of potential interest. It helps publishers, funding agencies, universities, and professional associations distinguish you from others with the same or a similar name.

Where do I find Turnitin.com?
If you are a thesis-option master’s student or a doctoral student with a degree plan on file, you have access to Turnitin.com through the Thesis and Dissertation Services eCampus community.

Go to Top