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Preparing & Filing Your Thesis or Dissertation

Filing Deadlines

Check the calendar for deadlines for submission of the master's thesis or the doctoral dissertation with the committees in charge and with Graduate Studies. The deadline for filing with your committee is a recommended deadline to allow time for making revisions. The deadline for submission to Graduate Studies is firm. You are responsible for observing the filing dates and for preparing your thesis or dissertation in the proper form.

Filing Process

For a detailed guide to the filing process, click to view the 'How to File your Thesis/Dissertation Workshop' recorded on 10/13/20

All filing is currently being conducted remotely. Email a Senior Academic Advisor to submit forms and ask questions about the process.  Your SAA may ask you to make an appointment to assist with tracking, but you do not need to attend the appointment unless you have additional questions.

In order to file you will complete three steps (in any order):

  1. Upload your approved and formatted thesis/dissertation to ProQuest ETD - this will automatically send a notification to your Senior Academic Advisor in Graduate Studies.  Your SAA will conduct a brief formatting review to ensure your format matches the points listed on this page.
  2. Email all your paperwork except your title page to your SAA - See below for list of required paperwork.  If your program doesn't currently have an assigned SAA, select one from the contact page.
  3. Ask your committee chair or Graduate Coordinator to email your signed title page to your SAA with all the committee members CC'd - electronic signatures are accepted on the title page.

Your SAA will review your thesis/dissertation and paperwork and let you know if you need to make any formatting edits or are missing signatures.  When everything has been accepted, your SAA will file you to graduate and email you a degree conferral letter.

All published filing dates still apply.

Required Filing Paperwork

You must download PDF forms prior to filling them or your changes will not save.
  • One title page with digital signatures (thesis and dissertation). Faculty names must be typed beneath the signature line.
  • One copy of your abstract (thesis and dissertation)
  • Copyright/Embargo Agreement (thesis and dissertation)
    • You must sign on the Student's Signature line in the Embargo section
    • Embargo section must be signed by Major Professor even if you select "No Embargo"
    • Copyright section should be signed only if you register your thesis/dissertation through ProQuest ($50 fee charged during upload)
  • Graduate Program Exit Information Form (thesis and dissertation) – Graduate Coordinator signature is required
  • Graduate Studies Exit Survey (dissertation only) – this is an online survey
    • Proof of completion is required - supply four digit code or screenshot of final screen
  • National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates (dissertation only) - this is an online survey
    • Proof of completion of is required - provide certificate at end of survey after clicking 'Finish'
  • Report of Final Exam (doctoral students in Plan A or Plan C candidacy programs, no form required for Plan B) - signed by dissertation committee chair after final exam/defense
  • Designated Emphasis Report (doctoral students who completed a DE) - current DE Chair signature required

Candidate Degree Completion Checklists

Samples & Templates

Formatting Instructions

It is your responsibility to ensure that your thesis or dissertation conforms to the following requirements for submission.  Please read the requirements carefully. Aspects of the thesis or dissertation not listed here (content of material, order of preliminary pages, table of contents, etc.) should be approved by your thesis or dissertation committee, and are not reviewed by Graduate Studies.

Important note regarding formatting templates such as LaTex: UC Davis does not currently have an official, Graduate Studies sanctioned, formatting template.  You are welcome to use LaTex or any other formatting tool for your thesis/dissertation, but please be aware that our formatting guidelines may have changed since the template was created and editing the template can be difficult.  If using a template, we encourage you to review our sample or template title pages, the formatting instructions below, and to upload early if possible in case you're required to make changes.

  • File format
  • Your thesis/dissertation must be submitted via the ETD website as a single PDF file. No file compression, password protection, or digital signature are allowed.
  • Title/Signature Page
  • You must prepare your title/signature pages in accordance with the sample provided or use the title page template.

    One copy of your title page - signed by all committee members (electronic signatures are accepted) must be emailed to your SAA by either your committee chair or your Graduate Program Coordinator with all the committee members CC'd. 

    The title page in your uploaded thesis or dissertation will not include the signatures, but will have blank signature lines with the committee members names below.

  • Abstracts
  • Master’s theses and doctoral dissertations must include an abstract. Your abstract must follow the same format as the rest of your thesis/dissertation (1 inch margin on all sides, double-spaced, consecutive page numbering, roman numeral or arabic pagination, etc.).

    A separate abstract is submitted to ProQuest Information and Learning (PQIL) during the electronic submission process and must be formatted following the guidelines on the ETD website. It is important to write an abstract that gives a clear description of the content and major divisions of the thesis/dissertation, since PQIL will publish the abstract exactly as submitted.

    Students completing their requirements under Doctoral Plan A should provide copies of the abstract to their dissertation committee during the examination.

  • Style and Format
  • You should be guided on matters of style by the chair and members of your thesis/dissertation committee. Graduate Studies is not concerned with the form of the bibliography, appendix, footnotes, etc. as long as they are done in a consistent and recognized manner approved by your committee.

  • Margins
  • Every page of the dissertation or thesis must have a one inch (1") margin on all sides (top, bottom, left and right).  However, the page number may appear outside of these margins. These specifications also apply to all figures, charts, graphs, illustrations and appendices.
  • Spacing
  • Double spacing should be used in typing the thesis or dissertation, except in certain places on the title page, and those places where conventional usage calls for single spacing – footnotes, indented quotations, tables, and the bibliography.
  • Pagination
  • The preliminary pages, including the title page are numbered with lower case Roman Numerals centered at the bottom of the page. Begin numbering the preliminaries in lower case Roman Numerals with the title page as "i".

    The body text and all other pages of the thesis or dissertation, including charts, figures, caption pages, maps, and appendices are all numbered consecutively starting with Arabic numerals. These page numbers should also be centered at the bottom of the page. (In most cases, this will start with the Introduction or Chapter 1.) Do not renumber pages at any point in the body of your thesis or dissertation.

    With the exception of a copyright page (which should not be numbered or counted in the numbering sequence), every page must be numbered consecutively and there must be no blank pages.

  • Typeface/Font
  • Any font style is acceptable, as long as the font  size and style are used consistently throughout. Use a font size between 10 and 13 points. All your fonts must be embedded fonts - see the instructions for embedded fonts on the ETD website.

  • Paper
  • Your thesis/dissertation must be submitted electronically.  Graduate Studies does not require a printed copy, but members of your committee and/or your graduate program may require a hard-copy.  Consult with your graduate program and thesis/dissertation committee regarding printed copies.
  • Overall appearance
  • You are responsible for the appearance of your manuscript in PDF. It will appear and may be downloaded exactly as you submit it.  

  • Page Orientation

  • Landscape oriented pages are allowed.  You must still maintain the 1" margin on all sides.  Page numbers on landscape oriented pages must be centered, on the left-hand side, and sideways - as if you turned a portrait oriented page ninety degrees clockwise. 

  • Tables, Graphs, and Captions
  • Charts and tables may be placed horizontally or vertically, but in either case must fit within the required margins. It may be necessary to use a reducing copier in order to achieve this. If necessary, wide tables, charts, and figures can be placed sideways. Figures may be embedded in the text or take up a full page. Each figure or table must be numbered consecutively and have a caption. Do not renumber each chapter unless you include chapter numbers, e.g., Fig.1.1, Fig. 2.1, etc.

  • Photographs, Illustrations, and Maps

  • Plates, figures, illustrations, maps and photographic reproductions must be clear and distinct. Pagination must be consistent.
  • Oversized Material
  • Consult the ETD website guidelines for uploading supplemental files with your manuscript.
  • Using Previously Published Material
  • Published reports of research undertaken during graduate study at UC Davis, having been approved by the thesis or dissertation committee, may be accepted in printed form as all or part of the master's thesis or doctoral dissertation. If you are not the sole or first author of the published material submitted, the materials must be approved by the department or graduate group.

    The pages of the published material must meet the same formatting guidelines. Each chapter may have an abstract of its own. There must be a general abstract covering the entire dissertation.
  • Obtaining Permission to Use Copyrighted Materials
  • Since the submission of your thesis or dissertation to the University Library and/or its being made available by PQIL may constitute a form of publication, you may need to obtain permission to use (or quote) copyrighted material, such as permissions in most journal articles or books. It is the author (you) who is responsible in the matter of copyrighted materials. The agreement, which you submit to PQIL, specifically absolves them of any such responsibility.

    If you quote extensively from a particular author, especially in fields such as fiction, drama, criticism, or poetry, or if copyrighted maps, charts, statistical tables, or similar materials have been reproduced, you must write the copyright owner(s), describe the use which you are making of the materials, and request permission to use it in the dissertation or thesis.

    For your protection, a statement listing such materials should be included in the acknowledgements of the dissertation or thesis. The statement should inform the reader (1) that permission has been granted for their use, and (2) the source of the permission.

How to Submit Electronically (ETD)

UC Davis requires all theses and dissertations to be submitted electronically via the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) website.  Start by creating an ETD account on the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) website. Log in to your account to submit your manuscript and view/revise an existing submission.

Tips for Preparing to Submit:

  1. IMPORTANT FIRST STEP: You must have committee approval (the title page signed off by your committee) before submitting your thesis or dissertation electronically.
  2. Ensure that your thesis or dissertation meets all of the formatting requirements listed above.
  3. Review all instructions for submitting your thesis/dissertation on the ETD website.
  4. Discuss whether you wish to embargo with your major professor to decide if your dissertation should be embargoed or not, and if so, for how long.  The submission form requires an answer to that question. More information on the embargo options below.
  5. Discuss whether you wish to copyright your thesis or dissertation with your major professor.  You will need to indicate whether you wish to copyright or not and pay a fee if you choose to register your copyright.  More information on copyright below.

If you have questions or concerns about electronic submission or formatting guidelines, contact the Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisor responsible for your program.

ProQuest Information and Learning (PQIL)

As a master’s or doctoral candidate, you will be asked to complete a publishing agreement with PQIL. You will also be given the option to register for copyright, but it is not required. If you would like to register copyright, please see the copyright and publication option on the ETD website.

Public Access and Embargo 

As the University of California is a public university, our scholarly activity is subsidized by the tax paying public.  Thus, our scholarly efforts must be available to the public.  After filing, your dissertation or thesis becomes a public document, one that may be searchable on the web. If your dissertation or thesis contains material that you will want to publish elsewhere before it is released to the public, you can request an embargo for up to 6 years.  You should consult with your major professor or other mentors on this question. If your work contains sensitive information that could cause harm to you or others if published, you may request a longer or permanent embargo.  Discuss extended or permanent embargo with your Senior Academic Advisor in Graduate Studies. 

ProQuest provides a helpful embargo article to assist in your decision whether to embargo and for how long.  Please note, this article was published in 2013.  As content has become more widely available online, some contemporary publishers have moved away from required embargo - this varies across fields.  If you already have or are pending a publishing agreement, ask the publisher whether they would like you to embargo your paper.  If you are hoping to publish, but haven't secured a publisher, it may be in your interest to not embargo.  Ask your advisor and committee members what they recommend.  

For additional information, view the University of California Open Access Policies page.  

Copyright and Registration

The copyright law of the United States is quite complex. The information contained in this section is only a general guide – more detailed information can be found through the University Library's Copyright Page or this copyright information document (sponsored by ProQuest).  If you have additional questions, you can email Michael Ladisch, the Scholarly Communications Officer from Shields Library.

Your thesis/dissertation is automatically protected by copyright when it is written (put in a "fixed form"). Publishing through ProQuest provides an independently verified date of record.  When you submit your thesis/dissertation on ProQuest ETD, you will be asked if you'd like them to register the copyright on your behalf.  Registering copyright allows you to receive statutory damages and funds for attorney fees if you need to initiate a copyright infringement case.  Authors without copyright registration can only claim actual damages and receive no assistance with legal fees.  Copyright registration is not required, and we encourage you to review information online and ask questions to help determine if copyright registration is a good choice for you.  

You have two options if you choose to register copyright, you can 1) allow ProQuest to register copyright on your behalf ($75 fee paid at the time of your ETD upload) or 2) register copyright yourself, at anytime, through submission of forms on copyright.gov ($35 if using the e-form, $65 if using the paper form.  You can register copyright any time, even after your paper is published by ProQuest ETD.

Should you decide to register your copyright, you must include a separate unnumbered copyright page after the title page.  Whether or not you register the copyright for your thesis or dissertation, you retain the right to publish all or any part of it by any means at any time, except for reproduction from a negative microfilm as described in the agreement with PQIL.  Previously published materials, currently available in the public domain, are not eligible for copyright.

Degree Conferral Letters

Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisors will email you a PDF degree conferral letter after they have received your final documents and have filed you to graduate. The conferral letter confirms you have completed all graduation requirements and will be awarded your master's or doctoral degree on the conferral date.  Many employers, organizations, and governments who require verification of degree will be satisfied by this letter in the time before your transcript is updated and your diploma is mailed.  If you need the letter by a certain date in order to secure employment, notify your Senior Academic Advisor. 

Transcripts, Diplomas, and Additional Verification

Learn how to obtain your diploma, when your transcript will be updated, and more on our Diplomas, Transcripts, and Verification webpage.

Computing Account & @ucdavis Email

Information about your UC Davis Computing Account (access, email, listservs, Library, etc) after graduation is available on Knowledge Base: IT.  You maintain student-level access until the end of your final enrolled or filing-fee quarter.