Required Format for Electronic Thesis & Dissertation

Some master’s and all PhD programs require the completion of a thesis or dissertation, which embodies the results of original research and makes an original contribution to the discipline. This guide is designed to aid students in submission that adheres to a professional style and format.

Submission of your thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School is a requirement for degree conferral. After your degree is awarded, your work will be catalogued and made publicly available in perpetuity through UB’s Institutional Repository and to subscribers of the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses scholarly database. It is the responsibility of the candidate and the academic department to ensure that the standards of organization, presentation and documentation traditionally proscribed for publication in your discipline are observed. Similarly, the thesis or dissertation must be substantially free of errors before submission to the Graduate School.

Choosing a style manual

Style Manuals: When beginning to construct your thesis or dissertation, the very first step is to choose the style appropriate to your specific discipline. If you are unsure what style is appropriate, confer with your advisor and/or department. Be sure to follow the chosen style consistently throughout the document. Listed below are websites of a few widely recognized style manuals:

• American Psychological Association: http://www.apastyle.org/

• Modern Language Association: http://www.mla.org/

• University of Chicago, Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/

Formatting the Document

Font Size: Select fonts between 10 and 12 characters per inch. Smaller or larger fonts are generally too hard to read and should be avoided. Use the same font style and print size throughout the document.

Pagination: The title page is to be unnumbered, but should be counted as “page 1”. With the exception of the title page, all of the pages in your document should be numbered, including the principal text, all tables, diagrams, maps, etc. Roman numerals (I, II, III) should be used on the preliminary pages and Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) are used on the pages that follow the abstract.

Page Numbering Placement: Generally the page number is placed in the upper right, lower right or bottom center of the page. Regardless of where you place the page numbers, be sure they are consistent throughout the document.

Spacing: Use double-spacing consistently throughout the document, except for long quotations, footnotes and endnotes, which are typically single-spaced. Check your selected style manual for further details on spacing.

Blank Pages: There should be no blank pages in your PDF. If you wish to leave a blank page, it must be labeled as follows: “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”.

Page Order and Page Numbering

Page Order and Page Numbering:

Your document should adhere the following prescribed order.

  • Title page (required). Do not number the title page. While it is technically Roman numeral i, the number is not displayed on the page itself. The title page must follow the format in the sample title page document. Be sure to use your department's official name and your full legal name. The title on your manuscript must match the approved title on your M-form. When possible, incorporate word substitutes for formulae and symbols.
  • Copyright page (optional). If you decide to copyright your manuscript, the date of your defense should be listed on the title page and a copyright page follows the title page in the following format. In the center lower third of the page, just above the bottom margin, type the following (*the Roman numeral II is to be centered at the bottom of the page):

                Copyright by
            (your name in full)
             (the current year)
                      (ii)*

  • Dedication and/or acknowledgements pages (optional). If you decide to have an acknowledgement section, be sure not to omit any members of your committee. While this section is optional, if included, it should be numbered with Roman numerals.
  • Table of contents (required). The table of contents (TOC) page(s) should also be numbered with Roman numerals. Include the dedication/acknowledgment, abstract and any lists within the TOC. Do not include the title page, the copyright page or the TOC page(s). While a TOC is required, it may follow any format acceptable to your advisor and committee as long as it includes all main divisions and subdivisions within your text and the format is consistent.
  • Lists of tables, figures, illustrations, charts and graphs (optional). Follow the format used for your TOC. Use a separate page for each type of list. Be sure to number with the appropriate Roman numerals.
  • Abstract (required). The abstract page should be numbered with the appropriate Roman numeral. An abstract of your thesis or dissertation is required. It should be a succinct and concise narrative description of your work. Briefly state your topic or problem, describe the procedures and methods you used and summarize your findings or conclusions. Do not use tables, graphs or figures in your abstract.
  • Chapters or main divisions of the document (required). The text should be double-spaced and each page must be numbered consecutively beginning with the number 1. As you turn the content of your research into a professional document, be sure to use a writing style appropriate to your subject and discipline. The document also needs to consistently follow acceptable standards of punctuation, spelling and format. See the "Choose a Style Manual" of this guide for a listing of familiar style manuals. Check with your advisor and department for their recommendation. Be sure to type chapter titles and any subheadings in bold face. It is best to include tables or other illustrative materials as necessary in the main body of the document when they are essential to the text.
  • Subheadings: For clarity and flow, it is best not to begin any subheadings or other divisions on separate pages unless the preceding page is filled. If the subheading falls at the very end of a page, move it to the next page unless at least two lines of text can follow the subheading on that page. Be sure to keep subheadings consistent in position and style throughout the document.
  • Footnotes/Endnotes: Place footnotes, if used, at the bottom of the appropriate page, at the end of each chapter or at the end of the document. Refer to the style manual you have chosen. Notes are usually single-spaced. If you group your notes at the end of each chapter, begin them on the first page following the text of that chapter. Also begin the first page in each note section with the heading “Endnotes to Chapter___” or “Notes to Chapter___.”
  • Appendix (if applicable): Appendices are used when you wish to add materials (such as charts, graphs, surveys, etc.) not essential to the text. The appendix is generally placed before the bibliography or references section, and after the last page of the last chapter of text. These pages also need to be numbered. Remember to include a list of appendices in your preliminary pages if you have more than one appendix.
  • Bibliography or references (required): The bibliography or list of references should be single-spaced for each entry and then double-spaced between entries. Group all entries in strict alphabetical order or in another way that seems appropriate to your research and helpful to your readers. Be sure to use the format that is consistent with the format style approved by your advisor and committee. These pages must be numbered as well.

Final Check: Review your document carefully to be sure it is correctly formatted, that all spelling and grammar is correct, and that the document is totally free of errors. Check that there are no blank pages, omitted paragraphs or missing sections. Be sure the preliminary pages of your document are in the proper order and the pagination is correct.

Converting the Document to a PDF

Electronic submission of your thesis or dissertation in PDF format is mandatory. When you are ready to submit your PDF document, go to the ProQuest's ETD submission website.

Write your document as you normally would any other research paper while keeping in mind the following tips on how to format your thesis or dissertation in a PDF-friendly manner, to ensure that your later conversion from MS Word, LaTeX, etc., will go smoothly. Refer to the ProQuest Support Center for more tips and helpful hints.

  • Spacing and pagination: Use tabs instead of a series of spaces to align text. Insert page breaks instead of a series of paragraphs to start a new page. Use section breaks to change the format between pages in the document. Use your preferred software for creating tables of contents and cross-references to ensure that pagination is consistent even if the generation of the PDF file causes the pages to shift slightly. 
  • Fonts: We recommend using standard fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial. If using unusual fonts, be sure to use embeddable Type 1 or TrueType fonts. 
  • Graphics: It's best to use EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) files rather than bitmaps, GIFs or JPEG images. Use a high resolution such as 600-dpi. Avoid using graphic editors that are part of a word processor. 
  • Equations: Microsoft Word users should not use Word's Equation Editor. Instead, use italic Times Roman font and Symbol font, along with superscripts and subscripts to create equations.
  • Orientation: Portrait, rather than landscape, orientation is preferred. Utilize standard 8 ½” x 11” page size. Avoid including multiple book pages on one single PDF page, as this will diminish appearance and printing quality.
  • Supplemental files (optional): Supplemental files (images, data, etc.) that are an integral part of the thesis or dissertation, but not part of the full-text should be uploaded along with your PDF during the submission process. Supplemental files should be titled according to the following naming convention: Supplemental_File_Title (i.e., no spaces or punctuation marks in the file name. You may use dashes or underscores).

Public Access of Theses and Dissertations Policy

UB requires that all research and scholarly work conducted by graduate students and incorporated into theses and dissertations be made publicly available through the University at Buffalo’s Institutional Repository (UBIR). Shortly after degree conferral, your manuscript is made available for viewing through the UBIR and through ProQuest. When you submit your thesis or dissertation as a requirement for conferral of your degree, you are granting a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free perpetual license to the University at Buffalo, as set forth in the Public Access Agreement, which you will sign during the ETD submission process. Visit the Graduate School's policy library for the full Public Access of Theses and Dissertations Policy.

Embargo (Delayed Release) of Thesis or Dissertation

If you wish to embargo (delay the release of) your thesis or dissertation containing patentable material or content being submitted to peer-reviewed journals, or to a commercial publisher, you must complete and submit a Request for Embargo (Delayed Release) of Thesis or Dissertation form to the Graduate School at the time you are submitting your ETD. During the ETD submission process, remember to select the embargo option and set forth the desired embargo timeframe.

Please visit the Graduate School's policy library for the full Embargo (Delayed Release) of Thesis or Dissertation policy.

ProQuest Publishing Options

For publishing with ProQuest, you may choose traditional publishing or open access publishing.

  • Traditional publishing gives ProQuest the right to sell copies of your published thesis and to provide you (the author) with royalties from such sales.
  • Open access publishing provides the broadest means of free and complete access of the thesis or dissertation to students and scholars worldwide. For a comparison of these options, see the ProQuest Publishing Options Guide.

Copyrighting: You can choose whether or not to copyright your thesis or dissertation. Copyrighting protects your rights as the author. These rights include the ability to make copies of the work, to distribute them, to make derivative works or to perform or display the work. By copyrighting your thesis or dissertation, you can control the rights to it or may authorize others (i.e., a publisher) to exercise those rights. The copyright will be in effect for your lifetime plus an additional 50 years. You should consult with your advisor and discuss this issue before making your decision.

ProQuest can act as your agent with the Library of Congress Copyright office when your thesis or dissertation is submitted. This is done only if you specifically request such services from ProQuest when you submit your ETD. Please note that it is only mandatory to digitize your thesis or dissertation, while copyrighting is optional. Alternatively, you may apply for copyright registration by filing directly through the U.S. Copyright Office.

Since theses and dissertations involve considerable effort on the part of the major professor (and sometimes other faculty members) as well as the student, you should make arrangements for publication and/or copyrighting only after consulting with your major professor and committee members.

Fees Associated With the ETD Submission Process

  • There is no fee for ETD submission and cataloging through the UBIR.
  • Traditional publishing through ProQuest is free. If you select the ProQuest Open Access publishing option and/or request that ProQuest file copyright on your behalf, there will be associated fees. Open access publishing is $95, copyright filing is $55.
  • Payments will be made via credit card directly to ProQuest during the online ETD submission process.

Checklist for Submission

  • Does the title on the thesis or dissertation match the title on your M-form, exactly?
  • Does the title meaningfully describe the content of the thesis or dissertation?
  • Are words in the title substituted for formulae and symbols?
  • Is every page of the document numbered correctly, as indicated in the table of contents (except the title page, which should be counted, but not numbered)?
  • Have you correctly spelled the names of your major professor and dissertation committee members in your manuscript and on the ETD submission site?
  • Are all charts, graphs, formulas and other non-text materials perfectly legible in the PDF version of the thesis or dissertation? 
  • Does your document contain only 8 1/2 x 11 size pages?
  • Has the PDF conversion gone smoothly and is it free of formatting errors?
  • Is the PDF manuscript free of blank pages?  If you wish to leave a blank page, be sure to label it “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”.
  • If the thesis or dissertation is to be copyrighted by ProQuest, have you indicated this in the online agreement form?
  • If you want to delay the release of your thesis or dissertation in the UBIR and ProQuest, have you submitted a Request for Embargo (Delayed Release) of Thesis or Dissertation form to the Graduate School, as required?

Questions? Contact Megan Dishman (mdishman@buffalo.edu).