When writing your thesis or dissertation, there are some issues to consider that can help you avoid delays in the approval process due to formatting or conflicts with publishers due to the public availability of your work after submission.
The Graduate School can help with the process to avoid delays and frustration. This page has information on the following topics:
- formatting requirements and instruction on how to satisfy the requirements
- suggestions for working with publishers when considering current or future published work related to the thesis or dissertation
- information on how to get feedback on draft submissions, to find issues early in the process
The Coordinator of Student Services, Abby Sherman, has been holding Format Chat, a virtual session about preparing your thesis or dissertation. View the first session (requires NetID).
Formatting a Thesis or Dissertation
UT has a number of formatting requirements for all dissertations and theses published by graduating students. 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 thesis/dissertation consultant 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 Graduate School has published a Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, which goes through the different elements of a properly formatted thesis or dissertation and discusses necessary styles. Reading this guide thoroughly while still early in the writing process can save time and effort down the road.
The Graduate School also offers templates for your review or use. Note that while they are examples of acceptable formatting, they do not represent the only ways to correctly format a thesis/dissertation to fulfill UT requirements.
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.
- Sequence of Pages
- Formatting of the Title Page
- Multi-part Theses and Dissertations
- Including Multimedia
Working 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 of your work. It is important to keep these in mind as you prepare your work for submission. The thesis/dissertation consultant can offer suggestions on how to work with publishers in instances such as the following:
- Incorporating material you have previously published, such as journal articles
- Writing books based on your thesis or dissertation
If desired, a draft can be submitted electronically to the thesis/dissertation consultant 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. In order to take advantage of this service, please contact the thesis/dissertation consultant.
Only documents submitted to TRACE can be reviewed in this fashion. Please do not send the document by email to the consultant.
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 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. Therefore, 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
The process of reviewing electronic submissions may take several days (especially around the preliminary review deadline). If you need feedback by a certain date, please allow the consultant one week to review the draft (two weeks if the submission is on or around the preliminary review deadline). However, if feedback has not been sent in a few business days, please send an email to make sure the file was submitted correctly.