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Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide - Electronic Method
This guide is constantly updated.
Please check back frequently.

Last revised on 12 December 2014.

Deadlines Checklists
Continuous Enrollment Policy Formatting Guidelines
Plagiarism Pagination and Sequencing Table
Review Process for Defended and Corrected Copy Preliminary Materials
Final ETD Submission Process Sample Pages
Embedding Document Fonts Manuscript Text
Binding Fee for Personal Copy Level Heads Guidelines


This preparation guide specifies Graduate School requirements pertaining to style, organization, and formatting for electronic theses and dissertations. Students should become familiar with this guide at the time they begin the first draft of their thesis or dissertation.

Students are encouraged to use publications within their discipline (i.e., refereed journals) for help with formatting author reference citations, setting up bibliographic form and content, tables and figures, the use of numbers and mathematical equations, etc. In addition, academic departments may have additional formatting requirements or may specify requirements.

Requirements set forth in this guide take precedence over certain requirements in style manuals or refereed journals. 


2.1 Continuous Enrollment

The continuous enrollment policy applies to all students writing a master's thesis or a doctoral dissertation. Students must be enrolled in thesis or dissertation credit for each Fall and Spring semester until the document is complete. Once students have enrolled in the maximum number of hours allowed, they may continue to enroll in one additional hour. Students planning to defend during the summer semester must also be enrolled in thesis or dissertation credit. Failure to register will result in the student being charged tuition for each semester he/she did not enroll, along with applicable late registration fees.

The only exception to this policy is if the student's major professor is on leave or otherwise unavailable. In such cases, the approval of the appropriate college director of graduate studies and the Dean of the Graduate School is required. In case of serious medical circumstances, students may request a leave of absence, subject to the approval of the program graduate studies coordinator, the college director of graduate studies, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Retroactive approval will not be granted. A leave of absence does not extend the time limitations for a degree program.

2.2 Thesis/Dissertation Faculty Committees

Before undertaking any work on your document, a faculty committee must be formed, and the Graduate School must be notified of said committee (minimum of three members for a master's thesis committee; minimum of four members for a doctoral dissertation committee). It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all committee members are current members of the graduate faculty.  Students should not defend their final document until all faculty members, whether on campus or outside the university, have been granted graduate faculty status. (Click here for a current listing of all graduate faculty members). 

The University of Memphis maintains six levels of graduate faculty: full, associate, affiliate, adjunct, research co-mentor, and teaching adjunct. Only full graduate faculty members may chair doctoral committees. Full or associate graduate faculty may chair master's committees. Associate members may direct theses in an academic unit other than their own at the discretion of the graduate coordinator and/or the chair of that unit. If the chair of a student's committee leaves the University of Memphis, that person can no longer serve as chair and must be replaced by another graduate faculty member.

Affiliate or adjunct graduate faculty may be members of doctoral and master's committees in their areas of expertise, but may not serve as chair. Faculty members employed outside the University of Memphis must apply for Adjunct Graduate Faculty Status.

No more than one adjunct or affiliate graduate faculty member may serve as a voting member of a student's committee. If a student has two adjuncts or an adjunct and an affiliate member on their committee, both members can participate in the final defense meeting, but only one of the two can sign the final thesis or dissertation approval page.

Teaching adjuncts members may not serve on committees.

2.3 Institutional Review Board

2.3.1 Human Subjects 
All University of Memphis faculty, staff, or students who propose to engage in any research activity involving the use of human subjects must have prior approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is responsible for safeguarding rights and welfare of all persons participating in research projects, whether funded or non-funded.

Human subjects means a living individual about whom an investigator (whether a professional in the field or a student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual or (2) identifiable private information. Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalized knowledge.

Students who fail to comply with University policy may jeopardize the awarding of the degree they seek.

The appropriate IRB or IACUC approval form must accompany an approved Thesis/Dissertation Proposal form. In addition, a copy of the IRB or IACUC approval form and examples of informed consent forms must be submitted with your thesis or dissertation. For further information, contact the IRB coordinator in the Office of Research Support Services at (901) 678-2533.

2.3.2 Vertebrate Animals

All uses of vertebrate animals must receive prior approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

2.3.4 Biohazards

Research involving recombinant DNA, radioisotopes, or other hazardous material must receive prior approval by the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

2.4 Use of Copyright Materials

Excerpts to be reprinted from other sources, such as maps, figures, tables, or text, must meet the same paper and margin requirements for the thesis or dissertation. Students must obtain permission from the author or publisher of copyrighted materials used beyond the limits of the "Fair Use" doctrine. The general fair use practice states that quotations of a brief prose passage or several lines of verse do not require permission. However, fair use nowhere is spelled out exactly. Check the U.S.Copyright Office for further information. In any case, the student must quote accurately and credit the source. An explanation of copyright law and fair use, along with a guide to obtaining written permission from copyright owners, may be found in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

For doctoral dissertations, University Microfilms International (ProQuest) requires the author to sign a certificate that use of copyrighted material beyond brief excerpts has the written permission of copyright owners and that the student is responsible for any copyright violations. A copy of all letters of permission for use of copyrighted materials must be submitted along with the microfilming/copyright agreement form (given to the student AFTER the defended, corrected copy has been reviewed by the Graduate School).

Master's students may write to the Information Section, U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559 to request forms. Telephone: (202) 707-3000 or the forms may be downloaded and printed for use in registering or renewing a claim to copyright. The forms and the information may also be accessed and downloaded through the Copyright Office web site.

 2.5 Plagiarism

The term plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full or clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. Published or unpublished work might include art, graphics, computer programs, raw data, web sites, music and any other type of creative expression. The most obvious form of plagiarism is copying word-for-word without enclosing the copied work in quotation marks and without citing the original source in the text.  For University of Memphis's plagiarism policy, see this website:

2.5.1 Guidelines for Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Use Your Own Words and Ideas. 
  • Give Credit for Copied, Adapted, or Paraphrased Material. If you repeat another's exact words, you MUST use quotation marks AND cite the source. If you adapt a chart or paraphrase a sentence, you must still cite the source. Paraphrase means that you restate the author's ideas, meaning, and information in your own words.
  • Avoid Using Others' Work with Minor Cosmetic Changes. Examples: using "less" for "fewer", reversing the order of a sentence, changing terms in a computer code, or altering a spreadsheet layout. If the work is essentially the same, you must give credit.
  • There Are No Freebies. ALWAYS cite words, information, and ideas you use if they are new to you (learned in your research). No matter where you find it--even in an encyclopedia or on the Internet -- you must cite it.
  • Beware of Common Knowledge. You don't have to cite "common knowledge," but the fact must be commonly known.
  • Source: Student Judicial Affairs, October 1999-2001. The University of California, Davis.


Under no circumstances should a previously submitted thesis or dissertation copy, whether electronic, library or departmental copies, be used to format your document because formatting requirements do change over time, and you could be copying someone's mistakes.

3.1 Font Type and Size 

  • Arial or Times New Roman (Including page numbers and footnote numbers)
  • 12-point font size

3.2 Margins

  • 1.0" top, right, and bottom
  • 1.5" left
  • .5" page numbers

3.3 Justification and Hyphenation 

  • Align all text with the left-hand margin, except centered headings, paragraph indentations (at least 5 spaces required, although most styles require 10 spaces or .5" indentations for paragraphs), or block quotations (indent 5 spaces only, not 10).
  • Full justification of margins is NOT acceptable; the right-hand margin must be jagged.
  • Hyphenation at the right-hand margin is allowed as long as it does not cause difficulty in reading.

3.4 Spacing

  • Double space all text. Double space between all footnote entries. Double space between all bibliography or reference entriesDouble space between all paragraphs within centered/and or subheadings.
    • EXCEPTION: You may single space data in long tables, quotations more than 4 lines in length (block quotations), multi-line figure captions, and bibliography or reference entries.
  • Triple space before and after all tables and figures within the text.

3.5 Page Numbers

  • All page numbers should stand alone without any form of punctuation and should be 1/2" from the bottom of a page. The last line of text must be 1" from the bottom.
  • Preliminary pages, such as the Copyright, Dedication, Acknowledgement, Abstract, Preface, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures, or List of Abbreviations, etc. must be numbered in small Roman numerals beginning with "ii" and must be centered on the page.
  • Pages in the body of text must be numbered using Arabic numerals and must be centered at the bottom of each page.

Pages must appear in the following order.

Page Order Pagination Page Number
Listed in
Table of Contents
Preliminary Pages Small Roman Numerals Location Yes/No
Title Page Count/Do not Number None No
Copyright Notice (optional) Count/Number Center Bottom No
Dedication (optional) Count/Number Center Bottom No
Acknowledgments (optional) Count/Number Center Bottom No
Preface (optional) Count/Number Center Bottom No
Abstract Count/Number Center Bottom No
Table of Contents Count/Number Center Bottom No
List of Tables (for 5 or more only) Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
List of Figures (for 5 or more only) Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
Key to Symbols or Abbreviations (optional) Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
Text Arabic Numbers Starting at 1 Location Yes/No
Introduction Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
Thesis or Dissertation Text Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
Summary or Conclusions Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
Recommendations Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
Reference Pages   Location Yes/No
Glossary (optional) Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
Bibliography/References Count/Number Center Bottom Yes
Appendix or Appendices Count/Number Center Bottom Yes

3.6 Subheadings 

  • Chapter and section heads should be consistent throughout the entire document.  
  • Preliminary page titles (i.e. Abstract, Table of Contents, etc.) should each be treated as chapter titles in terms of formatting.
  • Do not begin any subheading or other divisions on separate pages.
  • If a subheading falls at the end of a page without any accompanying text, move it to the top of the next page.
  • Do NOT include any extra lines between sections.
3.7 Running Headers, Footnotes, and Endnotes 
  • Running headers and endnotes are NOT allowed.
  • If footnotes are used, they must conform to margin requirements. They must also begin on the page they are cited.
  • Footnotes must be in size 11 font (whereas all other text must be size 12).
  • Indent the footnote number and first line footnote text .5", then flush each subsequent line with the left margin.
  • Double space between each footnote entry.
  • Footnotes are NOT to be numbered consecutively throughout the text. At the beginning of each new chapter, begin each footnote number with the Arabic number "1."

3.8 Widows and Orphans

A thesis or dissertation will not be accepted if it contains "widows or orphans." Widow lines occur when the last line of a paragraph appears alone at the top of a page. Orphan lines occur when the first line of a paragraph appears alone at the bottom of a page. Most word processing programs have an "Orphan and Widow Control" feature that will automatically manage this once it is activated.  Instances in which you might have to manually correct orphans and widows include:

  • A subheading at the bottom of a page must have two lines of text below it. Otherwise, the subheading and text must begin at the top of the next page.
  • A new paragraph at the bottom of a page, must include two lines of text. Otherwise, the entire paragraph should begin at the top of the next page.
  • When ending a paragraph at the top of a page, there must be at least two lines of text.
  • You may allow more than 1" at the bottom of a page in order to avoid widows and orphan lines. 


4.1 Final Committee Approval Form for Electronic Thesis/Dissertation Submission

This forms serves as the official approval page for an electronic thesis or dissertation. This form must have original signatures of all committee members and must be submitted to the Graduate School with the paper copy for review. Please do NOT submit to the Graduate School prior to review copy submission. The approval form must NOT be included in the electronic submission document.

4.2 Checklists

  • APA Checklist (For students using the American Psychological Association Style Manual)
  • Non-APA Checklist (For students using journals or style manuals other than the APA Style Manual)

4.3 Title Page. The title page must exactly match the wording, spacing, and formatting of this example page.

4.4 Copyright Page (optional). The copyright page (if included) must exactly match the wording, spacing, and formatting of this example page.

4.5 Preface. 

  • If a Preface is included in your document, it should contain a brief statement of the scope or purpose in writing the paper. It may also explain the author's choice of subject and his/her belief in its importance.
  • The Preface must not contain any material covered elsewhere in the paper, in the Abstract, the Introduction, or the Summary and Conclusions.
  • If articles submitted for publication are used as sections or chapters in your manuscript, the Preface should specify which journal(s) each section or chapter have been submitted to or accepted for publication.
4.6 Abstract PageThe abstract page must exactly match the wording, spacing, and formatting of this example page.  
  • The abstract should be the last part to be written. It must show the reader both the context and content of the work and must include the purpose of the work, including any hypothesis to be tested or major question asked; the approach used; the main findings; and the conclusions.
  • The abstract must NOT include internal headings or author citations.
  • Mathematical formulas, diagrams, and other illustrative materials must be avoided at all costs.
  • If using journal articles as chapters, do NOT include additional abstracts or other information that the journal might require.
 4.7 Table of Contents
  • The Table of Contents must reflect the outline and organization of the thesis or dissertation.
  • Headings included in the Table of Contents must be worded exactly as stated in your document.
  • Page numbers in the Table of Contents must correspond to the page numbers in the document.
  • Single space within each chapter listing, but double space between chapters.
  • The Table of Contents formatting must match the example sheet (see link above).
4.8 List of Tables (Required for 5 or more)
  • A separate page (inserted after the Table of Contents) must be titled "List of Tables."
  • Single space each table title more than one line in length and align the second and subsequent lines with the text on the first line.
  • Double space between each title entry.
  • The wording of table titles must be consistent with your document.
  • Page numbers in the List of Tables must correspond to the page numbers in the document.
  • List of Tables formatting should match the Table of Contents example sheet (see link above).

4.9 List of Figures (Required for 5 or more)

  • A separate page (inserted after the List of Tables) must be titled "List of Figures."
  • All other requirements for the List of Figures is the same as the List of Tables.

4.10 Copyright Permission Letter. This must be included if any materials in the paper are under copyright and extend beyond the Fair Use Policy.


5.1 Main Body
If appropriate to your discipline, the following format should be used; otherwise, adhere to the guidelines in the style manual or journal preferred by your department.)

  • Introduction. The introduction should contain a clear statement of the purpose or hypothesis to be tested, an overview of the problem or subject as it is known from the literature, and a broad statement summarizing the findings.
  • Literature review. The literature review should be a comprehensive discussion. It should provide a unique and valuable reference resource for other scholars in your field.
  • Statement of research objectives (if not explicitly stated in the introduction). This statement should consist of specific objectives to be addressed by the research published in the thesis or dissertation.
  • Body of the work (methods and materials, results, and discussion in scientific disciplines).
  • Overall conclusion (if not explicitly stated in the discussion). The discussion or last chapter or section should be followed by an overall conclusion. This section should include a brief restatement of your conclusions presented in the body of the text.
  • Bibliography or References section. The bibliography or reference section should appear in one location at the end of the thesis or dissertation BEFORE any appendices (unless specified differently in a scientific discipline) and should include ALL cited references. Citations should be listed alphabetically and should conform to a single format that is accepted as standard within your discipline. Try to avoid breaking bibliographic entries onto a following page. All sources that are cited in the body of the text should appear in the bibliography, and all sources that are cited in the bibliography must also be cited in text.  Separate bibliographies for each chapter are NOT acceptable, unless your manuscript consists of articles submitted or accepted for publication.
  • Appendices (if needed). The majority of the materials included should represent the work of the student. The format may include individual tables and/or figures with legends, text alone, or whole chapters. The same format rules that apply to the text of the thesis or dissertation must also apply to all appendices. References included in the appendices must be included in the comprehensive bibliography or reference section.

5.2 Using Journal Articles as Chapters or Sections

  • In some departments, the document may include, as chapters, articles that have been published or have been submitted to journals for publication. A thesis may include one or more articles; a dissertation may include two or more.
  • The student MUST be the primary author of each article submitted.
  • Individual manuscripts serving as chapters may not all have the same internal structure. Instead, each chapter should be presented in the style appropriate to the refereed journal.
  • A Preface MUST be included in your manuscript and must state the name of the journal(s) to which the articles have been accepted or have been submitted for publication.  The preface should also indicate which chapter each article is now listed as in the Table of Contents.
  • The document must include a chapter introducing the research and a concluding chapter that ties the results together. Do NOT include the preliminary material (such as title page, abstract, authors' contact information, running heads, etc.) required by the journal.The Graduate School's requirements for margins, figures, tables, and other items covered in this guide will still apply and take precedence over the journal's guidelines. 
    • The Introduction should contain a clear statement of the purpose or hypothesis to be tested and a brief overview of the problem or subject. The Introduction should also contain an explanation of the theme tying the articles together. The Introduction need only be 2 or 3 pages long.
    • The last chapter should be followed by an overall 1 to 2 page Conclusion. This section should include an explanation of the student's contribution to the research and a brief restatement of your conclusions presented in the body of the text.
    •  The Introduction and Conclusion may be presented in the style of one of the journals in the document.
  • References will follow the style of the journal to which the article was submitted.
  • Continuous pagination is required throughout the entire manuscript.
  • When submitting your document to the Graduate School for review, include sample articles for each chapter and the journal's style guide or "Instructions to Author" to serve as a guideline for formatting references and citations.

5.3 Tables and Figures

  • All tables and figures, including the caption, must meet margin, font, and format requirements.
  • Triple space before and after all tables and figures within the text.
  • The table number and its corresponding caption must be typed ABOVE the table. Use Arabic numbers and single space the caption.
  • The figure number and its corresponding caption must be typed BELOW the figure. Use Arabic numbers and single space the caption.
  • The figure caption must appear on the same page as the figure; the figure may be reduced to accommodate the caption but still must be readable.
  • If a table and/or figure is continued onto one or more pages, repeat both the table title and the table column header row. 
  • Do NOT show full grid lines within the actual table, the only lines in a table should be the ones above and below the column header row and at the bottom of the table. They may, however, be used only for needed visual clarity.
  • All tables, figures, diagrams, drawings, illustrations, etc. must be explicitly mentioned in the text.  
  • All diagrams, drawings, and figures must be clear, sharp, and large enough to be readable.
  • Color figures, illustrations, or charts are acceptable.
  • Tables and/or figures one half page or less in length must appear on the same page with text either above or below. If a table and/or figure is larger than one half page, it should be inserted on a single page.
  • Two small tables or figures should be placed together on a single page, with a triple space between them.
  • Extra-wide tables or figures should be placed in landscape orientation (broadside). The table number and title should be closest to the 1.50" left margin AND the page number should also be placed in landscape orientation.
  • Master's students may place tables and/or figures in the body of the text or in a separate appendix UNLESS several tables and/or figures are listed together and interrupt the flow of the text, then they MUST be placed in a separate appendix.Due to the required microfilming of all doctoral dissertations, tables and figures MUST be incorporated within the text. Insert each table and/or figure as close as possible after it has been referenced in the text.
    • If tables and/or figures are placed in a separate appendix, please be sure to reference this information in the text.  For example: "Please see Table 1 in Appendix A."

 5.4 Images

  • All images (color or grayscale) included in your document must be clearly readable both onscreen and when printed.
  • The format embedded in the PDF version should be bitmaps, GIFs, or JPEG images.
  • Large images, including maps, plates or charts, which require high resolution must be included in the main document.

5.5 Mathematical Equations

  • Include an extra double space before and after all mathematical equations.
  • Equations should be centered or aligned with the left-hand margin.
  • Equation numbers (typed in either parentheses or brackets) must be aligned with the right-hand margin.

5.6 Citations
All theses and dissertations must use the standard citation style guide for their respective disciplines to cite their sources. Examples of these guises include, but are not limited to, APA, ASA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian styles.  For some disciplines, the accepted style guide is one of a particular journal.  

In keeping with plagiarism guidelines, any and all ideas, words, images, etc. that come from another source MUST be cited according to a standard style guide.  Most style guides offer citation rules for the major types of source information: books, journal articles, etc.  If the style guide does not cover a particular type of source, follow the standard format for the other types of sources. Always include as much information about each source as possible so that the reader could find the source again if need be.

5.6.1 Citation Generators
Citation software can be a great time-saver when working on a major project, but they are not perfect.  All citations must be proofread carefully to catch any mistakes.

5.6.2 Citing Electronic Sources
Some style guides have not caught up with the technology.  For internet and electronic sources, use the following list as a guide when citing:

  • The author's name (if known) or screen name/alias
  • The full title of the document or webpage cited as a journal article
  • The title of the complete work (the entire website)
  • The name of the party responsible for the website 
  • Version or file numbers (if applicable or known)
  • The date of the document's publication or last revision (if applicable or known--the copyright date is sometimes acceptable)
  • The full http address (URL)--some style manuals may require you to put the address in brackets
  • The date you most recently accessed the materials  


Submit the following items to the Graduate School to begin the review process, AFTER you have defended and made all corrections given to you at the time of your final defense:
  • A paper copy printed on standard computer paper must be submitted.
  • A completed Final Committee Approval for Electronic Thesis or Dissertation Submission form signed by ALL committee members.
  • A Thesis/Dissertation Defense form, if one has not been previously submitted by your department.The IRB or IACUC approval form or waiver, if human or animal subjects were used for your research.An APA or Non-APA checklist appropriate to your discipline. Both the student and major professor must check all applicable items and sign the form.
    • REMINDER: The Graduate School is required to have a Comprehensive Exam Results form for ALL degree seeking students. If you have not been administered a separate oral and/or written comprehensive exam by your department, the oral defense of your thesis will satisfy this requirement; therefore, this form must be submitted to Graduate School by your department.

The checklists are NOT to be used as a style guide for formatting purposes. They are used to ensure that you have followed specific Graduate School requirements, in addition to what is required in your style manual or refereed journal.
If you did not use the Chicago Manual of Style, APA, ASA, ADA, MLA, or Kate Turabian manuals for formatting purposes, you must submit a sample article from the refereed journal and the journal's style guide or "Instructions to Author" to serve as a guideline for formatting references and citations.



All document fonts must be embedded. Embedding fonts simply means that your font information used to create your document will always look the exact same way it does when stored in a PDF file. If your fonts are not embedded, Adobe Acrobat will substitute fonts available on a reader's computer. Any type of font substitution can result in significant differences between the original document and what the reader sees. Fonts can be embedded when you convert from Word to PDF. Embedding fonts will significantly increase your file size.  When converting Word documents to PDF, ensure that the "scale to fit" box is NOT selected as it creates problems with the document's margins.

7.1.1 How to Embed Fonts Using Microsoft Word 2010 on a PC:

  • You will need to first visit Word Options. To get there, click the File tab > Options > Save, and make sure that "Embed fonts in the file" in the textbox is checked.

7.1.2 How to Embed Fonts Using Microsoft Word 2007 on a PC:

  • Create your manuscript using either Times New Roman or Ariel fonts. 
  • Click the circular Office Button in the upper left-hand corner of Microsoft Word. A new window will open.
  • In the bottom right-hand corner is a button called Word Options. Click that button. 
  • Choose Save from the left sidebar. 
  • Check the box next to Embed Fonts in the file. Click the OK button. 
  • Save your document. 
7.1.3 How to Embed Fonts in Earlier Versions of Microsoft Word:
  • Create your manuscript using a TrueType font.
  • On the Tools Menu, choose Options.
  • Click the Save tab.
  • Select the Embed TrueType Fonts check box.
  • Save the document.
7.1.4 Using Microsoft Word on a Mac using Word 2011:
  • Convert your document to PDF.
  • Open the original PDF in the Preview application of your Mac.
  • Select File: Print
  • Click on the Preview button - a new document should be generated.
  • Select File: Print again (you should be in the newly-created document when you do this).
  • Click the PDF button, and then select "Save as PDF" from the pop-up menu.
  • Choose a filename and save the file; the file you just saves should have all of the fonts embedded.
7.1.5 Using Microsoft Word on an Earlier Version:
  • Microsoft Word for Mac does not have a feature that allows for embedding fonts. Consider using OpenOffice (which embeds fonts automatically while converting to PDF) or using a PC to embed fonts in your manuscript.
After all Graduate School corrections have been made, embed document fonts, and convert to a PDF file. Carefully review your document before submitting to the ETD site.
Do NOT assume that if the final Word document looks fine, the PDF will look fine. In particular, may close attention to charts, graphs, tables, equations, special accent marks, and any graphics you imported into your Word document. If something looks incorrect, re-convert your document again to PDF. There should be no difficulty including accent marks or special characters in your abstract as long as they are the basic ASCI character set (numbers 0-9, upper and lowercase letters A-Z, and typical English punctuation).
  • If you decide to use Adobe Acrobat Professional to convert your document instead of using Word, include bookmarks for all preliminary pages, for the first page of each new chapter, and for the first page of the bibliography or reference section and any appendices.

Log into the U of M ETD site at:

  • Click on the My Submissions tab.
  • Log in using your U of M UUID (Email) username and password.
  • Choose the "Add New ETD" option.
  • At the top of the front matter page, you will be able to set an access level  (unrestricted, restricted, or no access). (A brief summary of the restriction levels can be found at the end of this section). We recommended unrestricted access so that your research and scholarship will be most widely distributed. However, if, upon consultation with your committee, you want to change the access level, you may do so.
  • Indicate whether your manuscript is a thesis or dissertation.
  • Your e-mail address and name will automatically populate (if this information is incorrect, please call 901-678-8888 or go to your account at to update your University records). You MUST use your U of M e-mail account during the electronic process.
  • To complete the remainder of the form, you will need to have the following information handy: Please type your abstract from scratch. Do not copy and paste your Word document abstract into the text box. If you do copy and paste, HTML code will appear and could cut off sentences in the middle.  Remove the header paragraph containing your name, degree, university, date conferred, title, etc. The entire abstract must be single spaced; however, indent seven spaces at the beginning of each new paragraph. The font type and font size must be Arial, 12 point.
    • the names and e-mail addresses of your committee members;
    • the exact title of your document, which must be entered using BOTH uppercase and lowercase letters (no ALL uppercase letters, please);
    • up to 10 keywords that describe your document's contents for search engines;
    • and the exact abstract from your document--350 words or fewer for dissertations; 150 words or fewer for theses.
  • Complete as much of the front matter form as you wish and then select "Add." After the front matter has been completed, upload your document and any audio/visual supporting files. Your document MUST be a single PDF file and must include all figures, graphics, and tables; you may submit up to 6 audio/visual supporting files.Once your document has completely uploaded, click the "Submit" button. Your document will be sent to the ETD manager in the Graduate School for final approval.
    • When you access the form a second time, you will be asked to Save rather than Add. DO NOT ADD A NEW FORM TO THE SYSTEM. Work with your original submission.
  • After submission, you will NOT be able to change your file. (NOTE: If you do not click the "Submit" button, your document will go to the "In Progress" queue and will never be submitted to the Graduate School).
  • You will receive e-mail notification once your document has been opened for review by the ETD manager. Notification will be sent only to your U of M e-mail account.
  • If your document is not approved, you will receive e-mail notification of further needed changes.
    • Make these changes in the original version of your Word document. Convert once again to PDF format, connect to the ETD web site, and log in.
    • Click "View" to get to your document; click "Edit" and "Delete" the previously uploaded file (look for a "Trash Can" icon at the bottom of the form). "Add" your revised document, click the "Back" button in the ETD system, not your browser Back button, then click "Submit" again.
You will receive e-mail notification when your document has been approved by the ETD manager. Your document on the ETD server will be available immediately for public viewing, depending on your requested access level (see next section).

7.3 Access Restrictions and Embargoes

Access to the University of Memphis Electronic Theses and Dissertations is determined by the student author and may fall into the following categories:

  • Open Access - open to anyone with Internet access.
  • Embargoed - The author has chosen to prevent online access for 3 or 5 years from the date of creation to protect their creative rights.
  • No Access - Due to patents included or other intellectual properties, the author has chosen not to make their work available online.

Eighty to 90% of publishers of professional journals (e.g., Elsevier) have decided that theses or dissertations that are made available online do not qualify as a prior publication, and therefore do not deter future publications. However, other publishers have reached the opposite conclusion.
If you have patent concerns or concerns that posting to the ETD site might prevent later acceptance of your work by professional journals or book publishers, consult with your committee and with possible future publishers to make an informed decision. Most professional journals publish "Instructions for Authors" on their website where this specific issue is addressed.

7.4 Final Requirements for Doctoral Students

7.4.1 AFTER your dissertation has been approved in the ETD system, submit the following items in a 9" x 12" envelope:

    • a final PDF version of your dissertation on a CD, which must be included in a hard plastic case with a label containing your name, institution, and year of graduation
    • an extra title page
    • an extra abstract (with pages unnumbered)
    • the completed copy of the ProQuest Dissertation Publishing Agreement form (see below). Attach the following items to the agreement form: (1) permission letters for previously copyrighted materials and (2) permission letters to reproduce copyrighted images, videos, graphics, animation, data and images of individuals
    • the confirmation page for the Survey of Earned Doctorates (see below)
    • Fee receipts for the following items:
      • Dissertation microfilming ($35) Optional copyright fee ($55).
      • For doctoral students who live outside the Memphis area, mail your fee payment check (made payable to The University of Memphis) to the Bursar's Office, Wilder Tower 115. Attach a note asking that a duplicate receipt be sent to Michelle Stout in the Graduate School, AD 215

The dissertation process is considered complete only after all the above items have been submitted to the Graduate School.

7.4.2 ProQuest Dissertation Publishing Agreement
ProQuest (formerly University Microfilms International, Inc.) microfilms all doctoral dissertations, which can then be distributed in whole or in part for publication. After your CD and additional items are sent for microfilming, your work will become available through the ProQuest dissertation database. Publication is usually completed within 8 to 10 weeks of receipt of the manuscript. Your dissertation is published exactly as it is submitted to ProQuest. The abstract (350 words or less) will appear in ProQuest's monthly publication, Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI).

7.4.3 Survey of Earned Doctorates
Once your dissertation has been approved on the ETD system, please go to: and complete the on-line survey. Send confirmation of completion to
This survey is generated by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), a self-governing, not-for-profit corporation, affiliated with The University of Chicago. The basic purpose of this survey is to gather objective data about doctoral graduates. These data are important in improving graduate education by providing governmental and private agencies with the information necessary to make program and policy decisions.
The information provided on the survey questionnaire remains confidential and is safeguarded in accordance with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The survey data are reported only in aggregate form or in a manner that does not identify information about any individual.

Students who wish to have bound copies of their thesis/dissertation may contact:

J & K Bindery
4602 Quince Road
Memphis, TN 38117
Phone: (901) 685-0446

The minimum cost for binding is $25 per copy.

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Last Updated: 12/12/14