ETD Formatting Advisor:

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,although an appointment is recommended. Feel free to email the formatting advisor to make an appointment.

The Formatting Advisor accepts your thesis or dissertation (ETD) on behalf of The Graduate School and ensures your document conforms to the standard formatting or manuscript option guidelines to uphold a look of professionalism and a level of consistency amonng ETDs submitted to MSU. The formatting advisor does not provide technical or editing support and will not format your ETD for you. It is the student’s responsibility to create a professional document that conforms to the Graduate School’s formatting guidelines. We encourage students to start this process early and read the formatting guidelines before the semester of graduation. 
When you are ready to submit your ETD to The Graduate School for an initial formatting review or for final approval, send your document to You will be notified of any changes necessary for your document to be approved. Please review the formatting guides before submitting a draft.

Formatting Guidelines and Sample Pages

The Graduate School has formatting standards in place which all ETDs must meet before they receive final approval as a fulfillment of graduation requirements. Please familiarize yourself with the formatting guidelines. The guidelines are explained in our Sample Pages with explanations (PDF).

Two options are available:


In order to help make your ETD accessible to everyone, we ask that you do your best to address accessibility issues when formatting your ETD.

Please review our information on accessibility, and check our Formatting FAQ for help with questions about formatting.

Word Processing or Document Preparation Software:

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

Microsoft Word

The Graduate School provides templates for front matter (title page, copyright page, etc.) in .docx format:

Note: the formatting requirements and Templates were updated in August 2020 to allow for a 1" left margin. Papers with 1.5" left margins are also still acceptable.

Video Tutorials

For a walk-through on using the templates and commonly seen formatting errors, please visit the Video Tutorials page.


For instructions on how to achieve various formatting tasks, please visit the Formatting FAQ.


The Graduate School links to a LaTeX Template Page provided by Mechanical Engineering Professor Mark Owkes. The Graduate School does not provide technical support for LaTeX and all ETDs formatted in LaTeX must comply with all formatting guidelines. Students using LaTeX templates from this website are responsible for ensuring that the resulting document conforms to all formatting guidelines regardless of the current template configurations.

Typist/Editor List

The Graduate School maintains Typist & Editor List as a resource for students. The individuals listed are independent contractors and are not employed by The Graduate School. The Graduate School does not guarantee the availability or credentials of the individuals on this list. Fees, credentials and any other necessary information are solely the responsibility of the student hiring the typist/editor.