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Electronic Thesis and Dissertation FAQs

What is an ETD?

An ETD is an electronic version of a thesis or dissertation. An ETD is formatted like a traditional (paper) thesis or dissertation (with pagination, table of contents, figures, references, etc.) but is saved as a PDF and submitted electronically to the Graduate School for review and approval. Shortly after degree conferral, your thesis/dissertation will be delivered to the UB Libraries and to ProQuest/UMI. Through ProQuest/UMI, your ETD will be microfilmed, indexed and stored in ProQuest’s Digital Dissertations and Theses database, the world’s largest recognized repository of graduate student research.

What are the benefits of ETDs?

An ETD makes your research quickly accessible to a broad audience, while reducing printing and binding costs for you and processing and physical storage costs for the university. The electronic format is widely accessible and can incorporate a range of enhanced formats, including multimedia.

Will the Graduate School accept a paper copy of my thesis/dissertation?

No. In 2005, UB moved from accepting paper copies to requiring only electronic theses/dissertations for publishing and archiving in the ProQuest/UMI Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) database. Even if your department requires a paper copy, your thesis/dissertation must be submitted electronically to the Graduate School.

When should I submit my thesis/dissertation?

You should submit your dissertation only after your defense and after all recommended revisions have been incorporated and approved by your major advisor and committee members. Your thesis/dissertation, M-form (and for PhD students, the Doctoral Degree Recipients Surveys) must be submitted by the deadlines for your anticipated conferral date. No extensions will be granted.

Are there formatting requirements?

Yes. While your manuscript may be written following whichever style is recognized and appropriate for your discipline, your final document must minimally adhere to certain formatting guidelines for publication. Review our Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Guidelines for details. Please pay particular attention to the format of the title page, table of contents, references and page numbering and be sure there are no blank pages in your document.

What should my title page look like?

Your title page must adhere to the format proscribed in the Sample Title Page document.

How should I submit my thesis/dissertation to the Graduate School?

You will submit your thesis/dissertation as a PDF via the ETD Submission Site. Your supplemental files may be uploaded in other formats, but the main text of your document should be submitted in a PDF File. 

How do I convert my MS Word Doc or LaTex file, etc. to PDF?

As you’re writing your dissertation, refer to the ProQuest site for tips on how to format your manuscript so that your later conversion to PDF from MS Word, LaTex, etc. will go smoothly. You can convert your Word document to PDF on the computers in UB’s libraries which are all equipped with Adobe Acrobat. Alternatively, during the thesis/dissertation submission process, you will have the opportunity to use a “PDF converter.”

What information do I need to have to begin the submission process?

  • Full text of your thesis/dissertation in PDF format.
  • Abstract
  • Optional supplementary files (images, sound, etc.) that are an integral part of the dissertation, but not part of the full text.
  • Advisor and other committee member’s names.
  • Subject category. You must choose one main category from the list provided during the submission process. Two optional supplementary subject areas may also be entered.
  • Keywords (optional; up to six)
  • Ensure that you receive written copyright permission for any previously published items that you plan to use in your thesis/dissertation. Such proprietary information includes long excerpts, tables, figures, photographs, and charts from previously published books or other print material, as well as “screen shots” or other images from copyrighted websites. Include any copyright permission letters in an appendix of your electronic submission.
  • Discuss ETD publishing and release options with your major professor and advisor. Information regarding the publishing and release options can be found in ProQuest/UMI Publishing Guides 3 and 4.

Should I choose “traditional publishing” or “open access publishing”?

With traditional publishing, the author contracts with ProQuest to reproduce, distribute and sell copies of the thesis/dissertation, and ProQuest provides the author with royalties from those sales. Open access publishing provides the broadest means of complete access to the thesis/dissertation for viewing or downloading by anyone with access to the internet. To make an informed decision regarding your publishing options, please review the guidelines and discuss the choice with your advisor. 

Should I file for copyright?

Copyright is established as soon as the dissertation is fixed in a tangible medium, i.e. saved on a computer hard drive. It is your choice whether or not to then register that copyright. Registering the copyright will allow you to file suit against anyone who infringes upon this copyright in the future. Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is not required in order to establish copyright. The rights of a copyright owner include the ability to make copies of the work, make derivative works, distribute copies of the work, perform the work publicly and display the work publicly. Whether or not you choose to register your copyright, you retain the rights to your dissertation and may authorize others (i.e., a publisher or another researcher) to exercise them.

If your manuscript contains previously copyrighted material, you must be sure to obtain written permission from the author(s). Ensure that you receive written copyright permission for any previously published items that you plan to use in your thesis/dissertation. Such proprietary information includes long excerpts, tables, figures, photographs and charts from previously published books or other print material, as well as “screen shots” or other images from copyrighted websites. Include any copyright permission letters as an appendix in your electronic submission.

Is there a fee associated with the electronic submission and publishing of my dissertation?

For the “traditional publishing” option, there is no fee. If you select the optional services of “open access publishing,” copyright filing or purchasing bound copies of your dissertation from ProQuest, there are associated fees.

  • Traditional publishing:  No Fee. 
  • Open access publishing:  $95.
  • Copyright filing by ProQuest/UMI to the U.S. Library of Congress: $55

To whom should I pay the fees for the optional services?

If you select the optional open access publishing and/or the copyright filing service, you will pay your fees via credit card directly to ProQuest/UMI during the on-line submission process.

When will my dissertation be accessible in the UB Libraries and the ProQuest/UMI database?

Your abstract and manuscript will be archived and cataloged in perpetuity in the ProQuest/UMI dissertations and theses database. Approximately 8 weeks after your degree conferral date, your thesis/dissertation will be available via this database to the UB community through the UB Libraries and to most other major research libraries worldwide. 

I have a patent pending on some of the material in my thesis/dissertation. What should I do if I do not want my manuscript to be immediately available through ProQuest?

You must complete and submit the Embargo Form to the Graduate School. Please refer to the Embargo Policy on the Graduate School’s website. 

I would like to have a bound copy of my dissertation. Where can I get my manuscript bound?

While the Graduate School does not endorse any particular vendor, we know of the following local binding options: Great Lakes Graphics & Printing,, 716-636-8440, on UB’s North Campus, or Quality Binder Services,, 716-883-5185, on Amherst St. in Buffalo.

During your ETD submission process, you will also have the opportunity to purchase bound copies of your dissertation from ProQuest. If you choose to purchase from ProQuest, keep in mind that it will be 8-12 weeks after your degree conferral date before you will receive your bound dissertation. Furthermore, if there are issues with that copy, you will need to communicate directly with ProQuest to return or correct any issues.  

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