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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 detailed guidance on the filing process, watch the recorded in Spring 2021 'How to File your Thesis or Dissertation Workshop' held on 4/22/21 with Senior Academic Advisors Sarah Mooney & Rachel de los Reyes.

All filing is currently being conducted remotely.  Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisors (SAA's) will assist you through the process, answer questions, receive your paperwork, and file you to graduate.  To identify which SAA is assigned to your program, find your program name on the SAA Contact Us webpage.  Your SAA may ask you to make an appointment to assist with tracking, but you're not required to attend 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)
  • UC Davis Thesis/Dissertation Release Agreement (thesis and dissertation) - (replaced the Copyright/Embargo Agreement on 3/11/21)
    • Must be signed by you and your Major Professor 
    • Graduate Chair signature only required if you want to embargo longer than 6 years
  • 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

Title Page Sample/Template

The title page is the most common place we ask for formatting edits.  We recommend you review the Sample title page, and/or use the Template to include as the first page of your thesis or dissertation.  The template is an editable MS Word document.  If your thesis/dissertation is not in Word, you can save the completed template as a PDF and insert or replace the version in your paper.  

The spacing, language, and capitalization on your title page should match the sample/template below exactly.  You may change the font, text size, and position of the page number in the template to match those used in the rest of your paper.  Consistency is key.

Remember, the title page included in your ProQuest ETD upload will be unsigned with blank signature lines.  The title page sent to your SAA during filing will be the signed version.

Formatting Guidelines

It is your responsibility to ensure that your thesis or dissertation formatting conforms to the UC Davis standards below.  Please read the guidelines 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 formatted 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 with Arabic numerals starting at 1 (in most cases, this will begin with the Introduction or Chapter 1). These page numbers should also be centered at the bottom of the page. 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), 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.

Important Note: Because your thesis or dissertation will be openly accessible through eScholarship, you should NOT opt for the Open Access Plus publishing option available through ProQuest ETD.  This option requires payment of a fee for a service that is provided to UC Davis students automatically and at no cost.  

Tips for Preparing to Submit:

  • IMPORTANT FIRST STEP: You must have committee approval (the title page signed off by your committee) before submitting your thesis or dissertation electronically.
  • Ensure that your thesis or dissertation meets all of the formatting requirements listed above.
  • Review instructions for submitting your thesis/dissertation on the ETD website.  Discuss whether you wish to embargo and for how long with your major professor.  The ETD submission form requires an answer to that question. More information on the embargo options below.
    • How to select embargo in ProQuest ETD - In the Publishing Options section, you will select a response to the statement I want my work to be available in ProQuest as soon as it is published.  If you plan to embargo, select No, I have patents pending, or another reason why I need to delay access to the full text of my work, then select the length of embargo.
  • Discuss whether you wish to register copyright for your thesis or dissertation with your major professor.  If registering copyright in ProQuest ETD, you will need to select that option during the upload process and pay the fee at that time.  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.

Open Access Requirement

The University of California is committed to disseminating research and scholarship conducted at the University as widely as possible. The UC Policy on Open Access for Theses and Dissertations requires the deposit of theses and dissertations in an open access repository to be freely and openly available to the public, subject to an embargo obtained by the student. For more information on the policy visit the UC Policy webpage.

Through a partnership between UC Davis Graduate Studies, the UC Davis Library, and the California Digital Library, theses and dissertations filed for the Spring 2021 degree list and forward will be available for open access through eScholarship (UC’s open access repository and publishing platform), aligning UC Davis with the practice of the other UC campuses and with many institutions world-wide.  This means potential publishers, collaborators, and other interested parties may freely access your work.

More information about open access is available on the UC Office of Scholarly Communication website.

Immediate Release or Embargo

On the Immediate Release or Embargo Agreement, you are asked whether you would like your thesis or dissertation released to the public immediately after your degree is awarded or after a period of delay called an embargo.  Depending on your field, past or future publication considerations, and the content of your paper, you may or may not wish to delay open access.  Discuss your options with your major professor and committee. 

Here are three articles that may be helpful:

Immediate Release

Selecting immediate release means your thesis or dissertation will be delivered to ProQuest and separately made available for open access through eScholarship, as soon as feasible, after your degree has been officially awarded. 

The more accessible your thesis or dissertation is, the more likely it is to be seen and cited.  If you do not yet have a publishing agreement, open access may make it easier for a publisher to review your work.  Open access also builds collegiality and helps other researchers in your field, potentially expanding your own network.  


In academia, an embargo is a restriction placed on a thesis or dissertation that allows only the title, abstract, and citation information to be released to the public, while the full text of the work is kept unviewable for a period of time. Embargoes of the UC Davis thesis or dissertation are permitted for up to six years with approval of the major professor.  Longer or permanent embargoes must be reviewed and approved by the UC Davis Academic Senate.  See the UC Davis Thesis/Dissertation Release Agreement and talk to your Senior Academic Advisor for more information.  

A period of embargo is most often selected when the author has already published their work in full or in part or wish to publish their work in full or in part in the future, and do not want it publicly available until after that time, and/or the publisher has explicitly told the author not to release their work.

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 or dissertation is automatically protected by copyright when it is written (put in a "fixed form"). Release through ProQuest and eScholarship provides an independently verified date of record for your copyright.  You are the holder of the copyright for your work unless you transfer it, e.g. publishing in a journal often requires transfer of the copyright to the publisher.

Copyright registration is a legal formality that establishes a public record of your claim to the work.  It is not required in order for your work to be protected by copyright, but it is required in order to sue for copyright infringement in a federal court. If the work is registered within three months of its publication date or before a particular copyright infringement occurs, the copyright holder can recover statutory damages (monetary awards not necessarily connected to actual harm suffered by the copyright holder) and attorney fees if they are successful in the infringement suit.

Authors typically register copyright in one of two ways:

  1. When you upload your thesis or dissertation to ProQuest ETD, you may request that ProQuest register copyright on your behalf.  You will be charged a service fee, currently $75 (subject to change).  This service includes preparation of an application in your name, submission of your copyright registration application fee, deposit of the required copy or copies of the manuscript, inclusion of a copyright page in your paper, and mailing you the completed certificate of registration from the Library of Congress.
  2. Or, you may file for copyright directly with the US. Copyright Office through their webform on Currently, the fee for registering copyright directly is $35 (subject to change).

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 registration.

Publishing Options & Copyright Resources

  • Your first step in considering your publishing and copyright options should be to consult with your major professor, committee members, program chair, and other faculty mentors and colleagues who have published work in your field.  
  • Michael Ladisch ( is the Scholarly Communications Officer at the UC Davis Shields Library and available to discuss publishing options and copyright questions with graduate students.  You can email him for an appointment. 
  • Attend a quarterly Copyright Workshop presented by Michael Ladisch and hosted by Graduate Pathways Institute.  You can also view Michael’s recorded Copyright Workshop from 1/21/21. 
  • Your Senior Academic Advisor in Graduate Studies is available to support you during the filing process, and may be able to answer questions about publishing options and copyright, or help you to locate an appropriate resource. 

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. 

Ordering Printed Copies of the Thesis or Dissertation

If you’d like to purchase printed and bound copies of your dissertation or thesis you may order from ProQuest when you upload your paper, or after your paper is publicly released.  Please note, copies ordered through ProQuest will not be printed and shipped until after Graduate Studies delivers papers to ProQuest - approximately 8 weeks following your graduation date.

As a faster and less expensive alternative, we recommend ordering bound copies from UC Bindery based at UC Berkeley.  Fill out the online order form and upload a PDF of your thesis or dissertation.  Orders are typically shipped within two weeks.