Thesis and Dissertation Preparation
Students enrolled in degree programs that require a thesis or dissertation are expected to plan, execute and report on a research project or creative endeavor that creates, analyzes, assesses, or otherwise advances knowledge in the discipline of study.
Timeline for the Thesis/Dissertation Process
- Prepare and present your thesis/dissertation idea via a prospectus or summary, and get approval (if needed) for research involving humans, animals or hazardous materials. A good thing to ask at this time: What style should I follow when writing up my manuscript?
- Submit your approved prospectus (or summary) and the thesis/dissertation committee form to the Graduate School. This form also indicates admission to candidacy and is required before you can register for thesis/dissertation hours (5999, 6999, or 7999).
- Apply for funding if needed! There is funding available through a competitive grant process managed by the Office of Student Research (http://www.osr.appstate.edu). There are several different programs, each with different deadlines. Follow the "apply" link on the OSR site for more information.
- Lots of hard work on thesis/dissertation preparation.
- Typeset the manuscript, with input from your committee (be sure to follow the appropriate style guide).
- Publically defend your work (which is recommended to occur at least 10 days prior to the last day of classes). Be sure to ask your committee chair to announce your defense to the department, the college dean. and the graduate school dean.
- Submit to the Graduate School signed signature pages on bond and one copy of the manuscript on regular paper (which must occur at least 7 calendar days prior to the last day of regular classes). The summer "semester" ends on the last day of second summer session.
- The graduate school will review your manuscript (plan on 10-14 days if turned in by the deadline).
- Complete any edits (hopefully minimal!) and return the manuscript to the Graduate School for final approval (by the official date of graduation for that term).
- Dean Huntley signs your thesis/dissertation, your grades are changed to "S," and you graduate!
- Once we receive your bound copies back from the Library Bindery, we will send you any copies you ordered for yourself and we will post your thesis/dissertation in the online repository, which is indexed by WorldCat.
The Grad School will be holding open houses and has arranged for workshops each semester on the thesis and dissertation review process. All students and mentors are welcome. We strongly recommend that you participate in one of these sessions! Contact Graduate Student Services for information (828.262.2130).
- Check out the Graduate Student Community at http://workshops.appstate.edu/ for times.
The Learning Technology Services Office also holds workshops on how to use software such as MS Word to format theses, and you can find their schedule at: http://workshops.appstate.edu/
Once you have your committee assembled and your prospectus or research summary prepared, you should work with your Committee Chair / Research Mentor to complete and submit the Committee and Prospectus Form to the Graduate School. If you need to change a committee member later, do not forget to inform the Graduate School by submitting a Committee Change Form.
If you are working with humans,animals or hazardous chemicals in your research, you may also need to complete the appropriate research ethics training and submit a proposal for approval to the Office of Research Protections. For more information see the website. In particular, you should talk to your mentor about contacting Research Protections if your research will involve:
- Human subjects (including any data related to interviews, questionaires, experiments, or invasive procedures)
- Vertebrate animals
- Chemicals, biological samples or agents, ionizing or non-ionizing radiation, or nano-materials
Students are required to submit an electronic copy of their final manuscript for inclusion in the electronic database of theses and dissertations. You will be required to submit two copies on archival quality paper (ASU Bond prefered) to be bound, one for the library to archive and one for your home department. You can purchase as many additional bound copies as you wish for your private use.
Producing an electronic copy of your approved thesis is not difficult. The format required for the text components is PDF, with all pages including UNSIGNED signature pages. More information on converting to PDF and the electronic submission process.
You should email the document to Holly Hirst (HirstHP) unless the PDF file is too big, in which case you can mail us a CD or bring a USB drive to the graduate school to transfer the document.
There are two forms required as well when you submit your electronic copy:
- The release form (a PDF fill in form you need to print out, complete, and sign)
- The indexing information form (a Microsoft word document you need to fill out and send as an email attachment)
The Thesis and Dissertation Handbook contains valuable information for students at all stages of the process, from building your committee through submitting your final draft to the Graduate School for review. We have also created some additional information for you on common styles (APA, Turabian, MLA) and on MS Word. The documents below are all PDF files. If you have trouble opening them, please let us know!
- Thesis and Dissertation ONLINE Handbook
- MS Word templates: Thesis Frontmatter / Dissertation Frontmatter / Vita
- Addendum on APA Style (PDF)
- Tips for a Quick Graduate School Review (PDF)
- MSWord Pointers (PDF)
- Academic Research Writing Tips
- Thesis and Dissertation Handbook (PDF)
Q: I don't have my formal prospectus complete yet; can I still sign up for thesis hours?
A; Yes, but we will need your committee form and a brief summary of your research topic before we will process your registration.
Q: I don't think I can get all the edits and everything done by the official graduation date; can I have an extension?
A: Extensions through the day before the start of the next term will be granted. If it takes longer than that you will graduate in the next term.
Q: I am finishing in the summer; when are the deadlines for that?
A: The same rules apply (7 days before the last class day), meaning the last day of second summer session.
Q: I don't know what style to use; what should I do?
A: You should ask your mentor what style to use. A general rule of thumb: Arts and humanities use MLA or Chicago/Turabian; social sciences and education use APA or Chicago/Turabian; sciences use APA or the guidelines for a specific journal. If you use journal publication guidelines, be sure to include a copy of the guidelines or a sample article when you submit your manuscript for review.
Q: Can I use color graphics?
Q: Can I include electronic files?
A: Yes; for bound copies include a formatted and burned CD for each one.