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Preparing Your Work

Taking time to understand the formatting requirements to properly prepare your work for submission can save you time and avoid delays. And it is worth your while to take publisher agreements into consideration to avoid conflicts with current or future publications.

Formatting a Thesis or Dissertation

The university is committed to presenting theses and dissertations in a consistent, professional academic format. Doing so reflects well on the university and on the individual scholars whose work we present. While issues of content are paramount, the presentation is an important final piece that will ideally make a graduate’s work more accessible and understandable.

The Coordinator of Student Services reviews all submitted works to ensure that they conform to these requirements. If all requirements are not met, the submission may be returned to the student to be resubmitted with corrections. This can add time to the process and delay graduation, so it is important that students make certain that their submission is formatted correctly.

The Coordinator of Student Services, Abby Sherman, has been holding Format Chat, a virtual session about preparing your thesis or dissertation.

Tips on Formatting

Although the Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations is exhaustive, there are a few recurring issues that are of particular note.

The Graduate School has developed a video to illustrate common mistakes that you can be sure to avoid.

Need Help with Using Software?

If you need help learning how to do any of the formatting in software such as Microsoft Word, UT Students have access to LinkedIn Learning, which has online tutorials to help you.

Preparing to Work with Publishers

In some cases, the public nature of the dissertation or thesis has the potential to conflict with the policies of current and future publishers. It is important to keep these in mind when preparing the ETD for submission. The Coordinator of Student Services can offer suggestions on how to work with publishers in instances such as the following:

Preliminary Review

All graduate candidates in a thesis or dissertation program must submit a draft electronically to the Coordinator of Student Services early in the process to be reviewed for formatting. The process for doing this involves submitting the work to TRACE, as outlined in the submission process.

Only documents submitted to TRACE can be reviewed in this fashion. Please do not send the document by email.

When to Submit for Review

All submissions for preliminary review must be sent by the deadline for the term in which the student intends to graduate. However, up to that point, it is essentially never too early to send a draft of a thesis/dissertation for a formatting review.

The draft submitted for preliminary review does not have to be complete. The consultant is only reviewing the document for formatting, not content. Formatting includes page sequence, table/figure placement, bibliography, table of contents, abstract, font, margins, etc. The more complete it is (formatting-wise), the better. Most first drafts have at least an outline—for example, there might be a page that says “Abstract” although the abstract has not yet been written.

When to Expect Review Feedback

Submissions are reviewed in the order they are received. The timeline for receiving feedback varies and depends on the volume of submissions. Generally, during a low volume period a student can expect to receive feedback within 2-3 business days. During a high volume period (on or around the preliminary deadline) a student can expect to receive feedback within 2-3 weeks. If feedback has not been received within 2 weeks of the submission the student can email the Coordinator of Student Services to inquire about the review status.