ETD Approval Deadlines

Graduating Spring 2024: Friday, May 3, 2024 at 5:00PM
One-Credit Extension: Friday, May 31, 2024 at 5:00PM
Graduating Summer 2024: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 5:00PM
One-Credit Extension: Wednesday, August 21, 2024 at 5:00PM


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. 

Publication Resources:


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.

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

Copyright Overview

"In the academic context, copyright is primarily about getting the most from your scholarly work, and it is less about legal complications with threats of possible liabilities. Taking the time to learn a little about copyright can give you the insight to know your options under the law, to make your dissertation more successful, and to help you avoid possible copyright conflicts and dilemmas in the future."

To read more, visit ProQuest/UMI - Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities (PDF).

Why Copyright?

Even though copyright protection is secured automatically upon creation, there are certain definite advantages to copyright registration.

  • Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
  • Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin. If made before or within five years of publication, registration establishes prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
  • Registering for copyright allow for the claimant to receive statutory damages set out in Title 17, Section 504 of the U.S. Code, which range from $750-$150,000, plus attorney fees, per copyright infraction.
  • If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions.
  • Also, registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against importation of infringing copies.

If you wish to download this information in a PDF format, please visit the ProQuest - Why Copyright? (PDF).

Frequently Asked Questions About Publication

No. The final upload to the Submission Portal replaces the old Certificate of Approval form, which was signed by your committee.

Montana State University gives you two options regarding electronic access to your ETD:

  1. Immediate publication; freely available worldwide.
  2. Restrict access for a period of a one year, even disallowing access by the University community. This option addresses situations such as when a patents application is planned, or when proprietary interests are at stake.

Consider these options carefully. You will choose a publication option when you submit your final ETD through the Submission Portal.

You can learn more about MSU Intellectual Property or ask Legal Counsel for advice, and be sure to discuss this with your advisor. If you intend to work with a publisher regarding journal or book publications, be sure you understand their policies and any agreements you might sign.

Doctoral students must consider their options when uploading their dissertation to the ProQuest/UMI website (upload to ProQuest is optional). Please review the Open Access Compared to Traditional Publishing (External PDF) and guide on Embargoes and Restrictions (External PDF).

If you have published an article (or articles) before you turn in your thesis or dissertation, and you wish to accordingly receive credit for your graduate requirements, you have several options. These options should be discussed with your committee and possibly with your publisher:

If the publisher restricts access in its release, you may want to have two versions of your thesis or dissertation — one with and one without the chapter in question.

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

ProQuest/UMI is a corporation based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that maintains a microform archive of about 1.5 million dissertations they have received since 1996. Most dissertations written in the US are submitted to ProQuest/UMI for archiving on microfilm, from which microform or paper copies can be produced. ProQuest/UMI functions as an on-demand book publisher that eliminates the editorial process. One of the services they offer is to help you with copyright and working with publishers. All dissertations at MSU can optionally be submitted to ProQuest/UMI as of August 2020.

Note: 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.

Since publishers vary widely in their policies, it is wise to discuss your plans with publishers to which you are likely to submit your work. Here are details regarding protecting your work (PDF) from ProQuest. 

The Graduate School does not endorse any local or online printing companies. However, online options are readily available and offer many special printing options.

Doctoral students who optionally upload through ProQuest/UMI may purchase a copy during the submission process; however, ProQuest/UMI offers only double-sided printing and thus margins will appear to shift from recto to verso pages.

Note: Neither the Graduate School nor the Library requires a hard bound copy be submitted.

MSU libraries commit to electronic archiving of works received, making sure that these will be accessible in the future, regardless of changes in media and standards. By not accepting paper copies, the University reduces handling and library costs, saves you money, and makes it possible for access to increase.

Note: Your committee and/or department may still want a paper version.

Older bound copies of theses and dissertations are no longer available.

In 2015, the library made significant efforts to digitize old documents making the master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation of nearly every graduate student since 1902 available on ScholarWorks, the Montana State library’s open access repository of intellectual work. You can read about the project thesis and dissertation project.

You can also search for theses and dissertations in ScholarWorks.