Dissertations and theses can draw on a variety of epistemological frameworks, including a western science approach, indigenous research methods, qualitative and quantitative methods, cultural, social, and historical scholarship, and critical analysis of creative works.

The common characteristic is that each dissertation and thesis must contain original scholarship that communicates advances in the field. Students can also include chapters on the broader impacts of their scholarship on society.

The abstract can be written in the student’s language along with an English translation.

Given that much of human endeavor is collaborative, each dissertation and thesis is the result of shared work. It is the responsibility of the student to acknowledge the contribution of others. Joint authorship of chapters is possible after discussion with the student's committee.

Studentsshouldconsult with their departments and committee for how this guidance applies to their discipline.

ETD Approval Deadlines

Recommended submission at least 1-2 weeks prior to deadline. ETDs must be approved by 5:00PM on the deadline.

Fall One-Credit Extension: Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 5:00PM

Spring 2023: Friday, May 5, 2023 at 5:00PM

Spring One-Credit Extension: Friday, June 2, 2023 at 5:00PM

Workshop Dates

Feel free to attend one of our ETD workshops with the Formatting Advisor, MSU Library, and the MSU Writing Center for information on formatting, publishing, copyright, and writing.

ETD Formatting Presentation #1: Tuesday, October 4 from 11:00AM-12:30PM in Reid Hall 333

Presentation #1 Slides

ETD Formatting Presentation #2: Thursday, November 3 from 3:30-5:00PM in Reid Hall 333

ETD Formatting Drop-In Help: Friday, November 18 from 12:00-2:00PM in Jabs Hall 415

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ETD Introduction Video


Note: For a transcript of the video, visit the ETD Introduction Video with Transcript page.


NEW: As of January 2021, students will be asked to submit drafts and final copies to a submission portal. The submission portal will replace the Certificate of Approval form, as well. Read more information on the Submission Information page.

After your ETD has been given final approval by The Graduate School and the degree granting department, your ETD will be published on ScholarWorks, the Montana State University open-access ETD repository. Scholars from around the world visit MSU's ScholarWorks page to view ETDs written by our graduate students. Students may choose to have their ETDs available worldwide or hold their work for a period of up to one year. After one year, all ETDs will be available online through ScholarWorks. All theses and dissertations (ETDs) are submitted to The Graduate School electronically. The Graduate School does not require a bound paper copy of your thesis or dissertation. A well-prepared document speaks highly of your abilities as a scholar and The Graduate School wants to ensure your ETD formatting is of the highest quality. 

When you reach your final semester, begin the formatting process, as a final PDF of your ETD must be approved by the Formatting Advisor by 5:00 pm on the published deadline. Please check the Graduate School Dates & Deadlines page for the exact date for each semester.

Formatting Advisor

Whether you are just starting to write your thesis or it is your final semester of Graduate School, it is never too soon to reach out to the Formatting Advisor! Communication between the Formatting Advisor and students is often through email; however, students are welcome to stop by the office to discuss formatting if an appointment is recommended.

MSSE Students

If you are an MSSE student, be aware that your process is slightly different, as the MSSE Office will assume the duties of the formatting advisor. Please visit the MSSE Students requirements page for more information.