Submission Procedures

Important: Your ETD must be approved on or before 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 for initial review 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.

  • Formatting Checklist

The formatting checklist summarizes the formatting requirements and covers some of the most frequently seen formatting errors. Please review this checklist before submitting your ETD.

  • Master's Degree and Doctorate of Nursing Students 

Submit your ETD via email to the Formatting Advisor for initial review. After you have completed your defense and made all the changes required by your committee, submit your final ETD as a PDF. The Graduate School does not require a bound paper copy of your thesis or dissertation.

  • Filmmaking Students

Science and Natural History Filmmaking students must also submit a copy of their film. Submit a compressed H264 file (under 5GB) or a sharable link to the Formatting Advisor. If your film is larger than 5GB please contact the Formatting Advisor for alternate submission options. Films will be archived on the ETD Film archive with MSU Domain access only

  • Doctoral Students (Ph.D. and Ed.D)

Submit your ETD via email to theFormatting Advisor for initial review. After you have completed your defense and made all the changes required by your committee, submit your final ETD as a PDF via email to the Formatting AdvisorThe Graduate School does not require a bound paper copy of your thesis or dissertation.

After approval, you can optionally submit your ETD as a PDF through ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing. 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. (NB: your document will be in the MSU Library's open access database ScholarWorks.)  

Complete a Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED).

Doctoral Students: 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.

  • Supplemental Files

Files containing data partaining to your ETD should be emailed to the Formatting Advisor. Doctoral students should also submit the same files through ProQuest/UMI. Non-proprietary, openly documented formats are always preferred:

    • Text: plain text (ASCII, UTF-8), PDF/A, CSV, TSV, XML
    • Image: PDF/A, JPEG/JPEG2000, PNG, TIFF, SVG (no Java)
    • Audio: FLAC, AIFF, WAVE
    • Video: AVI, M-JPEG2000
    • Compressed/archived formats: GZIP/TAR, ZIP
      • Files should only be compressed and/or archived when it is necessary due to large file size or the need to gather files together in a particular directory structure in order for them to be understood.
      • We encourage the use of structured organization, such as the BagIt format, within a compressed/archived file.

Important: Please notify the Formatting Advisor if you have any supplemental files!

  • Raw Data Files

Raw data files can be included in ScholarWorks along with your ETD and any supplemental files. The library may also suggest you publish your data through an online repository; find out more by viewing the ETD Seminar slides. Please review the preferred file formats in the Supplemental files section.

Visit the Library Data Services for more information on a data management strategy.


Along with your ETD, you must submit a signed Certificate of Approval (COA) to our office. Please allow enough time for your committee to sign your COA before the published deadline to ensure there are no delays in publishing your ETD.

The Certificate of Approval serves as the official record of your ETD submission to The Graduate School and documents that your ETD has received final approval from your advisory committee. Because this form is used to archive your ETD with the MSU Library, please ensure all information is legible. The information on your COA should include the same information approved on the title page of your ETD. Original signatures are preferred; electronic signatures are acceptable.

Important: If sending your Certificate of Apporval (COA) electronically, it is considered safer to list the last four digits of your GID on the form, instead of the full GID. For help using DocuSign to sign your COA form, watch this DocuSign video tutorial.