ETD Approval Deadlines

Graduating Fall 2023: Friday, December 8, 2023 at 5:00PM
One-Credit Extension: Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at 5:00PM
Graduating Spring 2024: Friday, May 3, 2024 at 5:00PM

You must be approved (not just submitted) before 5:00PM on the deadline date of the semester in which you plan to graduate. To ensure your ETD is approved by the deadline, it is highly recommended that you submit a draft through the Submission Portal for initial review well in advance of the deadline. Please do not submit your ETD for the first time on the deadline day. This may result in your having to take a one-credit extension or graduating in the following semester.


What are theses and dissertations (ETDs)?

Theses or dissertations are original written product that 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.

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. Students should consult with their departments and committee for how this guidance applies to their discipline.

All ETDs are published on an open access platform, ScholarWorks, by the MSU Library after they are approved by both the Graduate School and the degree granting department. Scholars from around the world visit MSU's ScholarWorks page to view ETDs written by our graduate students. The formatting standards set forth by the Graduate School are to ensure consistency and professionalism across these documents. 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.

All ETDs are submitted to The Graduate School electronically. The Graduate School does not require a bound paper copy of your thesis or dissertation.

How does the ETD formatting process work?

Essentially, students...

  • Format their ETD according to the guidelines set forth on this website;
  • Submit a draft to the Submission Portal to be reviewed by the Formatting Advisor;
  • Receive feedback on their submission and make any necessary corrections;
  • Repeat this draft process using the Submission Portal until the Formatting Advisor indicates that they may submit a final draft;
  • Submit a final draft to the Submissions Portal; and
  • Receive confirmation that their ETD has been approved (not just submitted) before the ETD deadline.

Further Details on the Formatting Process

Please see the below video for additional details about the process. Keep in mind that all formatting requirements are available to you on this webpage - the more effort you put into formatting your drafts, the fewer drafts you will have to submit for corrections.

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


We recommend that students

  • begin by downloading an ETD template,
  • watching the accessibility standards video that covers how to use the template,
  • and then finally comparing their ETD side-by-side with the sample pages

to ensure their formatting is correct before submitting a draft. The more effort you put into formatting your drafts, the fewer drafts you will have to submit for corrections.

You CAN and SHOULD format your ETD and submit a draft for formatting feedback before you are finished writing your paper. The Formatting Advisor gives feedback on formatting only, and does not read the content within your ETD. You may also submit only portions of your ETD for formatting feedback (for example, submit only the Table of Contents or submit only Chapter One), as long as that section is fully formatted.


The Formatting Advisor will personally email you to let you know when you may submit a "final" version of your ETD through the Submission Portal. Please do not submit a "final" until the Formatting Advisor has personally said that your latest draft looks great and you can submit a final.


Students will receive a confirmation email from the Formatting Advisor when their document has been approved. This email serves as official notification that the student's ETD has been accepted by the Graduate School. Once a document has been approved, changes cannot be made, so be sure to review for typos and numerical errors.


After ETDs are approved by the Graduate School, they will be posted on ScholarWorks by the MSU Library according to the release option selected during the final upload to the Submission PortalScholarWorks is the open-access digital repository for the research and creative work of the University community and is maintained by the MSU Library. The Graduate School handles the publication process for students.