Montana State University

The Graduate School - Electronic Theses and Dissertations

General Guidelines for Electronic Theses or Dissertations


The Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) project at Montana State University is a collaborative effort between The Graduate School, MSU Libraries, graduate degree granting departments and students.

All theses/dissertations are submitted to our office electronically, known as an ETD. The Graduate School does not require a bound paper copy of your thesis or dissertation. Please check with your department for their requirements or suggestions for a bound copy.

ETDs are published to ScholarWorks. Students may chose to have their ETD freely available worldwide or hold their work for a period of up to one year. After one year, all ETDs will be available online to the general public.

A final copy of your ETD, in pdf format, is to be completed by 5:00 pm on the published deadline, which is typically 14 working days before the end of the semester you graduate. Please check our Dates & Deadlines page for the exact date each semester.

ETD Formatting Advisor

Jennifer Miller
Formatting Advisor
(406) 994-7518

Jennifer's role is to make sure your thesis or dissertation conforms to the standard formatting option or the manuscript option to uphold a look of professionalism and a level of consistency in ETDs submitted to MSU.  The formatting advisor does not provide technical or editing support, and will not format your paper for you.  It is the student’s responsibility to create a professional paper within the Graduate School’s formatting guidelines. We encourage students to start this process early and read the formatting guidelines before the semester you graduate and email the formatting advisor at anytime with questions.

When you are ready to submit your thesis or dissertation to The Graduate School for a formatting review or for final approval, please email your document to Jennifer at  Or use Dropbox account. You will be notified of any changes necessary for your thesis or dissertation to be approved. Please review the formatting guides before submitting a draft.

Formatting Guides

The Graduate School has formatting standards in place that all ETDs must meet before they recieve final approval as a fulfillment of graduation requirements. Familiarize yourself with the formatting guidelines. Two options are available, the Standard Option and Manuscript Option.

Word Processing or Document Preparation Software:

Most students use Microsoft Word or LaTeX for ETD preparation, but students may choose any program they feel comfortable with. The Graduate School does not provide technical support for document preparation. It is your responsibility to understand the program you choose for editing your thesis or dissertation.

  • LaTeX - WARNING! This LaTeX template has known issues that DO NOT conform to formatting guidelines. You will be required to fix these issues before final approval is given! The Graduate School does not maintain this template and supplies this link as a courtesy to students comfortable using LaTeX. Use at your own discretion!

    The Graduate School has a template that was provided by MSU graduate students. Students using LaTeX templates from this webpage are responsible for ensuring the templates conform to all formatting guidelines regardless of the current template configurations.
  • Typist/Editor List

    The Formatting Advisor maintains a list of typists/editors as a resource for students. The individuals listed are independent contractors and are not employed by The Graduate School. Students may contact individuals listed below for help with formatting a document in Microsoft Word, or for editing on a for-hire basis. The Graduate School does not guarantee the availability or credentials of the individuals on this list. Fees, credentials, and any other needed information are solely the responsibility of the student hiring the typist/editor. The Graduate School supplies this list only as a courtesy.

Procedure for submission

  • Checklist

    This is a checklist created by the Formatting Advisor summarizing the formatting requirements and some of the most frequently seen formatting errors. Please make sure you complete this checklist before submitting your ETD to the Formatting Advisor.
  • Master's Students

    Submit a final ETD in pdf format to the ETD Formatting Advisor on a CD, email, or use Dropbox account, before the published deadline. Science and Natural History Filmmaking students will also submit a DVD of film to the ETD Formatting Advisor. Films will be archived in the Renne Library Special Collections.
  • Doctoral Students
  • Submit a final ETD in pdf format through our web interface with UMI Dissertation Publishing before the published deadline. Please read the Publishing Guides and Publishing Agreement sections of UMI's website for important information. There is no fee for Traditional publishing. Open Access publishing is $95. Please read the Publishing Options Guide for a description of both.


Along with your ETD, you must submit forms to our office by the published deadline:

  1. Certificate of Approval Form for Theses & Dissertations: This form is used for archiving your ETD with the MSU Library. Please type this form; original signatures are preferred, faxed signatures are accepted in extreme circumstances.
  2. Doctoral students ONLY: Complete a Survey of Earned Doctorate online at

Deadline & Approval

Please remember that all students have the same deadline day. Because of the volume of ETDs coming into our office, please allow the ETD Formatting Advisor time to review your document and paperwork. You will recieve confirmation from the ETD Formatting Advisor when your document has been approved.