Frequently Asked Questions

Quick Links

How do I expedite the thesis format approval process to meet a specific deadline?

We can provide expedited processing for students who anticipate meeting a specific deadline. Follow this link for more information on expediting your manuscript.

Whom do I contact with questions about University of Utah format and electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) submission?

Click here for contact information.

How do I produce the format required by the University of Utah?

The Handbook for Theses and Dissertations provides detailed information about process and formatting. Sample pages are available on The Graduate School website.

How can I get a preliminary format review of my thesis or dissertation?

Any time prior to your defense, you may submit a single-sided unbound hard copy of the thesis or dissertation. We do not conduct preliminary reviews during the reading period between the submission deadlines and the ProQuest upload deadline.

When do I submit my thesis or dissertation for Format Approval?

You may submit your thesis or dissertation for Format Approval by the Thesis Office only after the defense and after the final version is approved by the committee chair and department chair. Manuscripts submitted without departmental approval will be rejected. The signed (in ink) Supervisory Committee Approval form and Final Reading Approval form (download for master’s students or for doctoral students) must be filed in the Thesis Office prior to submission of the thesis or dissertation for Thesis Office approval. Please specify the style guide (from the list of department-approved style guides) you followed to the Thesis Office. Manuscripts will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.

How do I know if my manuscript meets University of Utah requirements?

You will be notified by the Thesis Office if revisions are needed. Manuscripts with the following problems will NOT be reviewed for Format Approval:

  • Unacceptable font style and size
  • Incorrect margins (correct margins are 1 1/4 inches on the left and right and 1 inch on the top and bottom)
  • Inconsistent spacing of headings and subheadings
  • Large gaps in the text
  • Citations, references and textural stylistic choices such as treatment of numbers, abbreviations, etc. that do not conform to the department-approved style guide
  • Incorrect placement of tables and/or figures
  • Serious typographical and grammatical errors (evidence that the manuscript has not been proofread by the committee)

What are the deadlines for submission?

The Thesis Office calendar is available on The Graduate School website.

After I receive Format Approval, how do I get my document into PDF format?

You may use the converter available during submission or any of the campus or departmental converters. Additional information on converting documents to PDF, including LaTeX to PDF conversion, can be found on ProQuest’s website.

May I request a delayed release of my thesis or dissertation due to patent or copyright/journal publication concerns?

Yes, you may submit a request for up to two years.

Where can I obtain information about U.S. copyright law?

The Handbook for Theses and Dissertations contains a general description of U.S. copyright law. For more detailed information, go to The forms Permission to Quote Copyrighted Material (download for master’s students or for doctoral students) and Multiple Author Release (download for master’s students or for doctoral students) are available on The Graduate School website.

Will the Marriott Library continue to produce a bound hard copy for the departments?

No. Departments may produce their own hard copies or require that students provide a bound hard copy for them.

What are my options for producing bound hard copies for me and my department?

Several on- and off-campus self-publication and/or binding options are available. Please consult the Handbook for Theses and Dissertations for a listing of the options and prices.

How do I locate the published version of my electronic thesis or dissertation?

After your graduation, your thesis or dissertation will be available electronically at:

How may I verify that I have completed all requirements for graduation?

After the Thesis Office notifies you that the ETD was approved, you may monitor your graduation status by logging into the Campus Information System and clicking on the personal graduation information link.

The Thesis Log says I received a Format Review, what does that mean?

Before the editors read a manuscript, they check the manuscript for major formatting errors. If major formatting errors are found, the formatting errors are noted on the manuscript pages and the document is marked as a Format Review in the Thesis Tracking Log and returned to the student to have the formatting errors corrected. If you see this when you check your status, come into the Thesis Office and pick your manuscript up, or email the thesis editors for further instruction. For what constitutes a major formatting error, see the question “How do I know if my manuscript meets University of Utah requirements?”

What is the difference between Format Approval and Thesis Release?

Format approval is granted after the editors have determined that the manuscript is formatted correctly, adheres to the chosen style guide, and is free of grammar and spelling errors. When you receive format approval you have permission to upload your manuscript to ProQuest. Thesis release is issued after the document has been uploaded to ProQuest, checked to make sure that it has remained free of formatting errors, and all required signed forms have been received by the Thesis Office.

I’ve received Format Approval and uploaded to ProQuest! I’m graduated now, right?

No. Once you’ve uploaded to ProQuest, the Thesis Editor will check your upload to make sure that the manuscript is error free and matches what we’ve given Format Approval. The Thesis Editor works through the queue in order, and depending on the number of uploads it can take a few weeks to get through them all. The Thesis Editor will issue a thesis release after approving your upload. After receiving thesis release you may or may not be ready for graduation depending on whether or not you’ve met your other requirements, but you’re finished as far as we’re concerned.

I’m using LaTeX, I found a template on another website/my friend gave me a copy of their template, can I use this?

No. The only LaTeX template that our office has approved for use is the template found on this website [link]. The others will create incorrectly formatted documents.

I have a job that depends on my having graduated/met all the requirements for graduation. Can you expedite Thesis Release?

We edit and publish an average of 150-200 manuscripts a semester. We have many more submissions than this that require so much editing that they are not published by the semester deadline. Most of these graduate students are anxious to graduate on time. The speed a manuscript moves through our office depends in large part on how well the graduate student has prepared their manuscript, and how available they are to make the corrections we require of them. Students that read the handbook carefully, submit their manuscript for a preliminary review to identify issues early, and make corrections in a timely fashion will move through our office quickly. If you have an urgent need to prove that you’ve completed all the requirements for your degree, once we’ve issued Thesis Release, you can ask the Dean of The Graduate School for a letter stating that you have completed the requirements for your degree to use until you officially graduate.

When do I need to defend in order to graduate in a specific semester?

The earlier you defend in a given semester, the more likely you are to be able to graduate that same semester. Check the Thesis Calendar (link) to see when the submission deadline is. You need to defend far enough ahead of that deadline that you can make any changes to the text required by your committee and ensure that the manuscript adheres to your chosen style guide and Thesis Office requirements by the deadline. Be aware that if you submit your manuscript on the deadline and there are any formatting errors you will not graduate that semester. The sooner you turn your manuscript in the more likely you are to graduate in that semester.  As a general rule of thumb, plan to defend in the first 2 months of the semester if you want to graduate that semester.

How long does this whole process take?

How long it takes to get a manuscript from first submission through Thesis Release is dependent in part on how available the student is to participate in the editing process, and how many manuscripts we are processing at the time. We read and process each manuscript in the order it’s received. Due to the high volume of manuscripts we receive each semester, even a perfectly formatted manuscript with no errors in the text can take a month or more to grant Format Approval and then Thesis Release depending on what is needed by the manuscripts ahead of it in the queue. Each time a manuscript must be returned to the student for corrections increases the time to Thesis Release. Most manuscripts require at least 2 rounds of corrections and take about 2 months to be released from our office.

What if I’m missing a committee member’s signature?

We cannot read a manuscript for format approval until we are certain that there will be no further changes to the text required by the committee. You must have a majority of signatures from the members of your committee on file with the Thesis Office before we will begin working on your manuscript. For a Master’s committee that means you must have 2 committee signatures and the signature of your Department Chair. For a Doctoral committee you must have 3 signatures and the signature of your Department Chair. If a committee member is not local, you may send them a blank copy of the signature sheet and they may sign that copy and return it to our office. We will add that signature sheet with their signature to your file.

I submitted my manuscript a day after the deadline for graduation in the semester, is there any chance I’ll get thesis release in time to graduate for the semester?

After the deadline we are busy working on processing and editing those manuscripts that were turned in on time. We do not begin processing manuscripts that were turned in after the deadline until we’ve finished with all the manuscripts that were turned in on time. If you turn in your manuscript after the deadline for the semester you are at the top of the queue for the next semester. So give yourself a pat on the back for being so early for the next semester!