Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding thesis and dissertation (ETD) formatting. Click on the links below to see frequently asked questions in specific areas. If you have any questions beyond those answered on this page check out the Tip of the Month page or contact the Formatting Advisor!

The Graduate School does not provide technical support for Microsoft Word. However, you can review Microsoft’s Support Community for Word 2016 or take a Computer Applications course through the Gallatin College in Bozeman or MSU's Extended University. The MSU library also has an on-going series of workshops.

You can also hire a typist or editor. Check out our Typist/Editor List.

The following are the most frequently asked questions we receive about Microsoft Word:

  • How do I set margins in Microsoft Word? 

The directions for setting margins in MS Word are here. Your margins should be 1” on the top, right and bottom; the left should be 1.5”.

  • How do I get my page numbers to be accurate in Microsoft Word? 

Step by step directions (with screen-shots) for page numbering are available here. If you are having trouble with the different formats required for the front matter and body, try these tips. More page numbering tips can be found in this PDF.

  • How do I add a landscape page in the middle of my document?

Check out this video tutorial or download this How-To PDF

  • How do I get the page numbers in my landscape pages to be in the right direction?

Check out these downloadable PDFs for help in Microsoft Word for Mac and Microsoft Word for PC.

  • How do I line up the page numbers in my Table of Contents?

Download this How-To PDF for help aligning page numbers and creating a custom Table of Contents.

The Graduate School does not provide technical support for LaTeX. You can contact your department for help finding a LaTeX expert, review the Helpful Links on our LaTeX Guide, or visit Professor Mark Owkes' LaTeX Wiki.

These lines are double-spaced:Double Spacing Example

These lines are triple-spaced:Triple Spacing Example


Download the Hints for Spacing PDF here.

Download the How to Add Leaders Tips for Mac PDF here or the Tips for PC here.

Step by step directions (with screen-shots) for page numbering are available here. If you are having trouble with the different formats required for the front matter and body, try these tips. More page numbering tips can be found in this PDF.

The Certificate of Approval Form is the only form that must be submitted along with your ETD. This form must be signed by you and your committee when you turn in your final work to The Graduate School.

Montana State University gives you two options regarding electronic access to your ETD. The two options on the Certificate of Approval Form are:

  1. Freely available worldwide.
  2. Restrict access for a period of a one year, even disallowing access by the University community. This option addresses situations such as when a patents application is planned, or when proprietary interests are at stake.

Consider these options carefully. You can learn more about MSU Intellectual Property or ask Legal Counsel for advice, and be sure to discuss this with your advisor. If you intend to work with a publisher regarding journal or book publications, be sure you understand their policies and any agreements you might sign.

Doctoral students must consider their options when uploading their dissertation to the ProQuest/UMI website. Please review the Open Access Compared to Traditional Publishing and guide on Embargoes and Restrictions.

Please include keywords important to the content of your ETD. Include words from your Abstract. The entire ETD is searchable online so consider what words people might use when searching for an ETD on your topic. Keywords also help the library appropriately catalog your ETD.


If you have published an article or articles before you turn in your thesis or dissertation and you wish to accordingly receive credit for your graduate requirements, you have several options. These options should be discussed with your committee and possibly with your publisher:

  • Cite that publication in your references.
  • Link to the publication if it is online.
  • Include the publication in your thesis or dissertation (with a release from the publisher). Check out this sample permission letter. To find out if you qualify for the manuscript option, visit this page.

If the publisher restricts access in its release, you may want to have two versions of your thesis or dissertation — one with and one without the chapter in question.

ProQuest/UMI is a corporation based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that maintains a microform archive of about 1.5 million dissertations they have received since 1996. Most dissertations written in the US are submitted to ProQuest/UMI for archiving on microfilm, from which microform or paper copies can be produced. ProQuest/UMI functions as an on-demand book publisher that eliminates the editorial process. One of the services they offer is to help you with copyright and working with publishers. All dissertations at MSU must be submitted to ProQuest/UMI.

Before the ETD initiative, students had to fill out paperwork and provide an additional paper copy of their entire dissertation. When you submit a dissertation electronically, you go directly to the ProQuest ETD Administrator to upload a PDF of your dissertation.

NB: ProQuest/UMI only prints double-sided so if you choose to order hard copies of your dissertation through ProQuest/UMI, your recto/verso margins may appear to shift.

ScholarWorks is the open-access digital repository for the research and creative work of the University community and is maintained by the MSU Library. After ETDs are approved by The Graduate School, they will be posted on ScholarWorks in the MSU Library according to the release option selected on the Certificate of Approval form. The Graduate School handles this process for students. 

The University of Cincinnati has developed a database of links to publishers’ journal policies called the Academic Journal Policy Database (AJPD). Since publishers vary widely in their policies, it is wise to discuss your plans with publishers to which you are likely to submit your work. Details regarding protecting your work are found in this link from ProQuest. 

Please see this faculty-focused PDF to learn more about ETDs!


The Graduate School does not endorse any local or online printing companies. However, online options are readily available and offer many special printing options. Doctoral students may purchase a copy during the submission process to ProQuest/UMI; however, ProQuest/UMI offers only double-sided printing and thus margins will appear to shift from recto to verso pages. 

NB: Neither The Graduate School nor the Library requires a hard bound copy be submitted.

MSU libraries commit to electronic archiving of works received, making sure that these will be accessible in the future, regardless of changes in media and standards. By not accepting paper copies, the University reduces handling and library costs, saves you money, and makes it possible for access to increase.

NB: Your committee and/or department may still want a paper version.

Older bound copies of theses and dissertations are no longer available.

In 2015, the library made significant efforts to digitize old documents making the master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation of nearly every graduate student since 1902 available on ScholarWorks, the Montana State library’s open access repository of intellectual work. You can read about the project here.

Click here to search for theses and dissertations in ScholarWorks.