Thesis and Dissertation Support
Nearing completion of your degree?
Learn how to successfully complete and submit your thesis or dissertation from completing paperowrk to format checking and electronically submitting your work through ProQuest.
How to Complete Your Thesis or Dissertation
The student and their committee are jointly responsible for seeing to it that the thesis or dissertation follows a correct form of scholarly style and usage. The student can follow the guidelines outlined in the Style Guide or may follow the style specified by their committee or department as long as the style is consistent throughout the paper.
Submit your manuscript to your committee several weeks before your defense so they have time to read it. Please review the Format Checklist before submitting to your committee.
A list of formatters and editors is available from the School of Graduate Studies if you are looking to hire someone.
Each member of a candidate’s advisory committee must have made their criticisms and have seen and approved the revisions the student has made. Such approval is tentative acceptance of the content, organization, form of expression, style and usage.
- The committee approval shall be executed on the Preliminary Approval and Notice of Defense form and filed in the School of Graduate Studies by the deadline. The signed approval is a commitment that the members of the committee will require no major changes of the content, organization, or style after the final copy has been prepared.
- The Preliminary Approval and Notice of Defense form must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies two weeks prior to the scheduled oral examination date and on or before the Preliminary Approval deadline.
Please note that it is expected there will be content revisions needed after receiving feedback from you committee. However, it is also expected that the document is ready to defend, meaning that your document is in its final stage of completion.
The candidate and committee members must be physically present at the defense unless the program has developed clear guidelines and instructions by which the candidate or committee members may participate at a distance using real-time synchronous technology. Any technology used to facilitate distance participation by the candidate or committee members must be supported by UND, capable of real-time audio and video, compatible with “presentation” software, such as PowerPoint, and must be open and accessible to the candidate, committee, and public.
The Final Report on Candidate form and Approval page will both be initiated and signed after your successful defense. Both of these forms are available in DocuSign and can be found on the forms page.
The Approval Page must be included in your final manuscript, but you have the option to include an unsigned copy or the DocuSign signed copy. You will receive a PDF of the completed form to insert into your document if you choose to do so.
Students may hold their defense in-person, virtually, or hybrid. Technology adds an extra layer to a virtual or hybrid defense and we want you to be successful.
The School of Graduate Studies has approved Master’s and Doctoral defenses to be done virtually via Zoom.
Scheduling Your Zoom Defense
Zoom links can be included on the Preliminary Approval and Notice of Defense form.
Advisors and student should work with department chairs and graduate program directors to ensure that all parties involved in the defense have access to the technology necessary to conduct defenses in real-time synchronous fashion.
Zoom Defense Tips
- Assign someone on the committee – not the student defending – to setup, manage, and moderate the Zoom call so that the student doesn’t have to manage that extra potential stress. Make sure that the committee provides for extra time and backups in case things go wrong. Set up the connection early (15+ minutes) and ask the committee to show up early to check everything is working. Have one or more backups including something as simple as a phone-based conference call.
- If the defense incorporates a presentation, ask all committee/audience participants to mute themselves at the start or have the committee member managing the call mute them all centrally. It’s easy to forget you aren’t muted and unintentionally interrupt the candidate.
- A Zoom defense will be new territory for many; as such, having committee and audience members using video is especially important – barring bandwidth issues – so that the candidate, to the degree possible, can see audience reactions. This will be especially important during the private portion of the defense, with just the committee members. Audience and committee members should consider exaggerating your positive responses; clear head nods, thumbs up, big smiles, can all help mimic the normal positive audience cues and non-verbal feedback of an in-person defense. Giving a presentation without clear audience response can be really difficult. Of course, if there are bandwidth issues, the committee member managing the call should alert everyone and ask for audience members to stop their video until the issue is resolved. And in the event that the candidate prefers not to see the audience, that can also be accommodated.
- As technology access allows, a candidate can use a 2 monitor setup that will let them see those attending the talk plus their slides and notes. You can show a whole screen of faces – using gallery view – on the second monitor. During Q&A, the ‘hand raise’ function can help prevent voice collisions. The committee moderator can help manage this as well.
- When it comes time for the student to “step out of the room” while committee members deliberate, one option is to have the committee member managing the zoom conversation put the student “on hold”. Committee members might also move into a break out room.
- Final revision feedback should clearly distinguish between:
- Recommendations for changes required prior to submitting final paperwork (e.g. final report)
- Recommendations for changes required for the thesis or dissertation prior to ProQuest submission
- Recommendations for further development of the thesis/dissertation post-graduation
Submit as a PDF
The manuscript of your thesis or dissertation must be submitted to ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing in Adobe PDF format. When preparing the PDF, the following must be done:
- Embed all fonts (information on how to embed fonts can be found on the ProQuest website.)
- Make sure there is no password protection on the PDF.
- Ensure that security settings allow printing.
View Proper Formatting
ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing makes no changes to the formatting and content of submitted manuscripts. Therefore, the burden of how the manuscript looks when it is accessed or printed is entirely the responsibility of the author. ProQuest strongly recommends that individual authors take responsibility for reformatting the document into Adobe PDF, for checking the reformatted document for accuracy, and for submitting the PDF document to the graduate school via the ProQuest ETD Administrator Site for publication.
ProQuest does not have a word limit on your abstract, as this constrains your ability to describe your research in a section that is accessible to search engines, and therefore would constrain potential exposure of your work. However, we continue to publish print indexes that include citations and abstracts of all dissertations and theses published by ProQuest/UMI. These print indexes require limits of 350 words for doctoral dissertations and 150 words for master’s theses. Additionally, our print indexes allow only text to be included in the abstract. In the editorial process for these print publications, we will simply truncate your abstract if it exceeds these word limits and remove any non-text content. You may want to limit the length of your abstract if this concerns you. The abstract as you submit it will not be altered in your published manuscript.
After you make the required changes or corrections, you will electronically upload the final version of your manuscript in PDF format to the ProQuest ETD Administrator site at UMI/ProQuest.
Once you electronically submit your final manuscript for publishing, no changes are made to the format or content. Therefore, the burden of how the manuscript looks is entirely the responsibility of the student author.
Steps for Thesis/Dissertation Electronic Submission
When you submit your final PDF to ProQuest/UMI Publishing, it will be logged, indexed, and published. ProQuest/UMI is a private company that has served for many years as the publisher and distributor for most theses and dissertations written in the United States. Please keep in mind that ProQuest acts as a publisher and does not own the copyright to your manuscript. As the author, you retain control of your work’s intellectual content.
Your document will be available after approximately 8 weeks in the ProQuest/UMI database, unless you restricted it. The Chester Fritz Library will receive your bound copy that will be available in the Library periodicals as well as an electronic copy that will be available in the UND Scholarly Commons.
Traditional – this choice will meet the needs of most students. There is no fee and this choice allows UMI to reproduce, distribute, and sell copies of your work-0 with royalties paid to you as the author.
Open Access – this optional service makes your work freely available for viewing or downloading by anyone with access to the Internet. The Open Access publishing fee is $95.
You have the option of restricting access to your manuscript for up to two years. If you choose to delay access, your work will default to whichever publishing method you have selected at the expiration of the embargo.
There is a fee for Copyright registration (an optional service). You automatically own the copyright to your electronic work as soon as it is published without any special requirement of notice or registration. International copyright law provides full protection and establishment of the author’s rights. However, ProQuest offers an additional copyright registration service that registers your copyright, establishes your claim to copyright, and provides certain protections if your copyright is violated. This means that ProQuest will submit your application to the United States Copyright on your behalf and provide you with the certificate from the Library of Congress. The cost to have ProQuest register your copyright with the Library of Congress is $55.
There is no submission fee for submitting your document electronically through ProQuest/UMI. The publishing fee is waived when submitting electronically. The only required charge when submitting your manuscript is $30 for a hard-bound copy to be kept at the Chester Fritz Library. A credit card is required to place this order. You may also choose to order personal bound copies of your manuscript during the submission process for an additional fee.
All costs for the manuscript or optional services is subject to change without notice.
You are required to purchase, thru ProQuest, one copy of your thesis/dissertation that will be mailed to the UND Chester Fritz Library. Be aware that they are printed double-sided, so margins may need to be adjusted.
Additional copies may be ordered through ProQuest or you may order personal copies through a third-party site. The Chester Fritz Library no longer offers binding services.
This survey is for Ph.D. Students only, this does not apply to Ed.D. or D.A. students.
- Ph.D. students need to complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) online.
- The School of Graduate Studies, as well as yourself, will receive a confirmation email after you have completed the survey
Past Theses and Dissertations
Previous UND Graduate Student Theses & Dissertations are available for review.
For general questions about submitting your thesis/dissertation online, contact Staci Ortiz.
For technical assistance through UMI ETD:
Available 8:00 – 19:00 EST Monday through Friday