Electronic Theses & Dissertations (ETD)

Formatting ETDs

WVU ETD documents must conform to the standards detailed in the Submission Information Packet.

  • Use prescribed verbiage on the title page (see Sample Title Page in the ETD Submission Information Packet)
  • Abstract page must immediately follow the title page
  • Abstract page must have heading including the word “Abstract”, the document title and the author’s name (see Sample Abstract Page in the ETD Submission Information Packet)
  • Front matter (preliminary pages) must be numbered in lower case Roman numerals
  • Suppress the page number display on the title and abstract pages
  • Document must include a Table of Contents
  • Body (Chapter 1 through end of document) must be numbered in Arabic numerals, starting over as page “1”, etc.)
  • Except for the above specifications, any discipline-specific style manual may be used at the Committee Chair’s discretion

Copyright and Intellectual Property

You automatically have copyright to your work unless some other agreement has been made with a publisher or funder. Registering your copyright by filing directly through the U.S. Copyright Office is optional.

Copyright Information

  • If statutory copyright has been or will be claimed, a copyright notice is normally listed in the manuscript (see the sample title page). You may apply for copyright registration by filing directly through the U.S. Copyright Office, or you may wish to use the copyright registration service offered by UMI. You can find information about UMI’s service in the ETD Submission Information Packet. Students who desire the copyright service offered through UMI should click the item ” Requesting ProQuest/UMI to file for U.S. Copyright Registration”. The $55 fee will be assessed and on-line payment information will be required before the submission is completed.
  • The student is required to obtain written permission from the author or publishers to quote extensively from copyrighted material. Such permission is usually granted on condition that acknowledgment is made. If payment is required, this is the student’s responsibility. Permission for the use of all such materials must be obtained before the thesis or dissertation is submitted to the University Libraries.
  • Reprints may be used in the body of a thesis or dissertation if the student is the primary author or has been primarily responsible for the publication. This assumes the student has had primary responsibility for the research as well as the preparation and the editing of the manuscript. Permission to use reprints may be required by the publisher.


  • All master’s and doctoral students who submit an electronic thesis or dissertation are required to participate in the ProQuest / University Microfilms Inc. (UMI) Abstract publishing program (participation for Problem Reports, Project Reports or Research Projects is optional).
  • Each participant’s abstract shall be published in the Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations Abstracts International database.
  • As your publisher, ProQuest/UMI offers your dissertation for sale and pays you royalties in any year in which your 10% accrues to $10.00 or more when you select the “Traditional Publishing” (print-on-demand/royalty) option. If you did not restrict distribution of your dissertation when you signed your author agreement, Proquest assumes that you want the broadest possible distribution of your work. If you are no longer comfortable making your work broadly available, they can restrict sales of your work per your instruction. You can contact their author relations team at disspub@il.proquest.com or 1-800-521-0600, extension 7020.
  • You may also limit distribution via ProQuest at the time of graduation by simply selecting the appropriate restriction options on the Publishing Agreement form. To re-authorize ProQuest/UMI to distribute copies of your thesis or dissertation, you may send an email request to disspub@umi.com to make arrangements for this. You will need to cite your name, document title and Proquest publication number along with your request.
  • ProQuest/UMI Open Access Distribution Option:
    The now-common usage of the term “open access” means freely available for viewing or downloading by anyone with access to the internet, indefinitely. The cost for the ProQuest open access service is $135.00 for theses or dissertations. In this publishing scenario, the student pays an up-front publishing fee which allows the public to access the ETD free of charge in perpetuity and the author forgoes royalty payments. At WVU, students typically select “Open Access” for “wvuScholar” repository distribution while simultaneously selecting “Traditional Publishing” for ProQuest distribution.
  • An archival microfilm master copy will be produced from the electronic document (where applicable), which is retained in perpetuity in the ProQuest/UMI and Library of Congress archives. For preservation purposes, ProQuest/UMI may utilize alternate storage media such as CD-ROM for use in situations where multimedia submissions cannot be reproduced by conventional means.

Web Distribution Options at WVU

Upon completion of the ETD approval process, your thesis or dissertation is deposited into the WVU Libraries’ institutional repository, WVUScholar. When submitting your ETD paperwork you choose how you would like your ETD to be made available.

Open Access

  • The University and ETD Task Force recommend making your ETD freely available worldwide.
  • It should be noted that historically this option may have been perceived by a few book or journal publishers as “publishing” the work, thus they may have seen a conflict with this level of distribution of the thesis or dissertation. However, today the vast majority of publishers (in fact over 80%) support the archiving of a thesis or dissertation in an open access institutional repository such as the WVU ETD collection. Presently over 75% of WVU students use the open access option. Recent studies by Suber, Harnad, etc. demonstrate that scholars who deposit their works as open access increase their citation rates between 2 and 5 times more than simply relying on academic journal article publishing. The recognition factor is vital for budding scholars, hence we embrace open access to scholarship.
  • Students may choose “Open Access” at WVU while simultaneously choosing “Traditional Publishing” option via ProQuest (included in base ETD submission fee) at no additional cost.

Campus Access

  • Makes the ETD freely available only to the WVU community (via login to the WVU eTD system) and as requested through the OCLC Interlibrary Loan (ILL) lending program.
  • Access will be provided by interlibrary sharing of electronic or printed copies as requested.
  • Campus only distribution will continue from year to year without special notification for a period of up to five years after the submission date, after which time it will revert to ‘World Wide Distribution’. You may change the Web distribution to “World” access at any time by sending an email to ETDreview@mail.wvu.edu.
  • This option addresses situations such as when a book or article is planned, and the book or journal publisher is concerned that prior publishing through a digital library will negatively impact on sales.
  • Limiting distribution to “Campus Only” is generally accepted to be the equivalent to the “paper copy on the shelf”.
  • Our best advice is for the student to contact prospective publishers to learn about their publishing policy. Many publishers have this information provided on their Web sites; if not, usually a simple email query to the editor will resolve any questions.
  • Special exception allowed for MFA Creative Writing program students.

No Access

  • Secures the entire work for patent, proprietary, data sensitivity and/or third-party funding sponsorship purposes for a period of one year.
  • During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in future works, without prior authorization from West Virginia University.
  • At the end of the one year period, either the student or proxy may request an automatic extension for one additional year. Student or proxy may detemine a post-embargo status of option 1 (open access) or option 2 (campus access) for the duration of the the 5 year restriction limit.
  • Students (or designated proxies) may change the Web distribution to open access at any time by sending an email to ETDreview@mail.wvu.edu.

Suggested Document Organization

Proper arrangement and construction of the parts of a thesis or dissertation manuscript will likely vary according to the styles adopted by different disciplines. The following are suggestions concerning the organization of the manuscript. They should be taken as a norm from which deviations may be made under the guidance of your advisor or committee.

Front Matter

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Dedication (optional)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • List of Symbols, Abbreviations, or Nomenclature
  • List of Multimedia Objects or Files


  • Introduction
  • Review of Literature
  • Text of Investigation
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • Recommendations

Back Matter

  • Bibliography
  • Appendix

Suggested Style Guide

Since practices vary greatly in different disciplines, you are expected to learn the styles of your field of study and are advised to follow the recommendations of your advisors and committee members on all matters not covered here. The content of the thesis or dissertation manuscript is outside the provenance of this guide. The mandatory WVU ETD format requirements are listed on the “Format Requirements” page. If you would like a Word document template for your ETD, you can start with this style sheet.


  • Electronic copies presented must be clean, clear, and uniform, with high contrast for quality screen and print resolution.
  • Keep in mind that because of duplicating and microfilming needs, the print must be letter quality with dark characters that are consistently clear and dense.


  • The preferred font size is 10 to 12 ( characters per horizontal inch).
  • The preferred font style is Time New Roman (traditional) or Arial (modern).
  • If necessary, different typefaces (font sizes or styles) may be used within headings, tables, figures, and appendices. Non-standard typefaces, such as script, are generally not acceptable except for commonly accepted symbols.

Spacing and Margins

  • All straight text should be single, one-and-one half, or double spaced. Keep in mind that single spacing is preferable for electronic documents. A good compromise would be 1-1/2 spacing. The preferred number of lines is 6 (single-spaced) or 3 (double-spaced) text lines per vertical inch.
  • Separate paragraphs by a line of horizontal space. Indent block quotes on the left and right. Single-space long tables, long quotations, footnotes, multi-line captions, computer programming, and bibliographical entries.
  • All pages should have a minimum margin of 1 inch on all sides of the page. This applies to the average text, illustration or table arrangement, where a professional and consistent format should be retained. Exceptions could be, for example, artistic renderings requiring full margin bleed. A left margin of 1.5 inches (binding offset) is also acceptable, if you and your committee desire. Electronic formats should normally be able to be reproduced on standard paper sizes such as 8 1/2” x 11”.
  • The placement of the footnotes at the bottom of the page or at the end of the manuscript is optional but must be consistent throughout. A form acceptable for publications in the discipline is recommended.
  • All footnotes must conform to the margin requirements.
  • All tables and figures should conform to the margin requirements. Photographic reduction may be necessary. Not more than 3 to 5% reduction is suggested to prevent indistinct print quality.
  • A subheading at the bottom of the page must have at least two full lines of type below it. Otherwise, the subheading should begin on the next page.
  • The last word on any page should not be hyphenated. The line should be short of the margin and the whole word typed on the following page.

Page Numbering

  • Each and every page in a thesis or dissertation, including all blank pages, should normally be assigned a number with no duplications in the numbering systems.
  • The preliminaries must be numbered with lower case Roman numerals (iii, iv, v, etc.). The numbers should appear in the upper right-hand corner or as indicated by your style manual, no closer than 0.75 inches from the edge of the page.
  • The title page counts as page i, but suppress the display (the number should not appear on the page).
  • The abstract page counts as page ii, but suppress the display ( the number should not appear on the page).
  • The remainder of the text (body) should be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals, starting with Chapter One or the Introduction. Numbering should begin with page “1” centered at the top or bottom of the page, or as indicated by your style manual, no closer than 0.75 inches from the edge of the page.
  • Avoid the use of letter suffixes as 10a, 10b, etc.
  • Electronic multimedia presentations may not always be reproducible with conventional pagination and should be used with some caution. However, formats other than pdf are acceptable for the body, appendices, or other supplementary material.


  • Some disciplines require the use of running headers in the document. This practice is acceptable, but its use should be avoided in the preliminary pages.


  • Tradition suggests that you use footnotes (as opposed to end notes).
  • Place any footnotes on the same page as the items that refer to them. Footnotes in main body text should be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals, starting with 1.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary files, those secondary to the main document, may be used for a variety of requirements, such as high resolution or specialized image files, data files, or other presentation materials. File formats should be accessible with public domain or commonly used platforms.

Tables and Figures

  • The word “Table” designates tabulated numerical data used in the body of the thesis or dissertation and in the appendices. Tables consist of an arrangement of facts, figures, and values in an orderly sequence usually in rows or columns. The word “Figure” designates all other nonverbal material used in the body of the dissertation and in the appendices, such as charts, graphs, maps, photographs, plates, drawings, diagrams, etc.

Illustrations and Charts

  • All illustrations and charts must be drawn in dark, opaque fashion and be of sufficient size to be readable. Remember that microfilming and printing are black and white photographic processes and colors will appear in varying shades of gray. Thus, cross-hatching and labels are often essential.
  • If a title or description of an illustration or graph is too long to be placed on the same page, it should be placed on the previous page.
  • Wide tables or figures may be placed broadside, (landscape orientation). The table should be placed so that the top of the table is nearest the binding side (left margin). The placement of the table or figure, vertical or horizontal, does not alter the position of the page numbering requirements set forth in this guide, and should remain consistent with pagination structure adjacent in the document.
  • Oversize pages complicate duplicating procedures and should be avoided. Often a different layout or the use of photographic reduction will resolve the problem.
  • If oversized maps or charts are used, they should capable of reproduction on standard paper size, or otherwise scalable.

Submitting ETDs

Before You Submit

You will need the following:

  1. Your final thesis or dissertation document, saved as a PDF and with all changes approved by your committee.
  2. Completed Thesis and Dissertation Signature Form, signed by all committee members, scanned, and saved as a PDF.
  3. PhD and DNP candidates must take the Survey of Earned Doctorates and save their Certificate of Completion.
  • The first two pages of the document must be a Title page and Abstract that are formatted like the example included in this instruction packet. These pages should not be numbered.
  • Document must include a Table of Contents.
  • The body of the document should follow whatever discipline-specific style is preferred by your committee or department.

You should know the following:

Your thesis/dissertation gets stored in two places:

  1. WVU Scholar
    • Hosted by our library
    • This is the equivalent of a print copy on the library shelves
  2. Proquest Electronic Thessis & Dissertations Database
    • A company that gathers theses and dissertations from all over the country:
    • Researchers can use this database to search for ETDs at several schools at once

Steps for Submitting


  • Fall 2015: Friday, December 11, 2015
  • Spring 2016: Friday, April 29, 2016


  1. Go to ETD Admin and choose the option to submit an ETD.
  2. Create an account on Proquest’s website. This will allow you to log into the ETD Administrator and return to your submission if you need to revise it. This is not your WVU account. You will need to create a new user name and password just for this process.
  3. Click on the link labeled “Submit new dissertation/thesis” and follow the step by step instructions provided to complete your ETD submission.
  4. Please see the next section, Your ETD Publishing Options, for an explanation of the choices you will be asked to make during the submission process.
  5. If you need to finish your submission later (for instance, if you need to update your PDF file before uploading it), you can save your information and come back to finish. No information will be lost.
  6. If you have questions about how to complete your ETD upload, please contact us and we will be happy to help! Let us know if you would like to schedule a time to come in for help with your ETD submission in person or over the phone.
  7. After submission of your ETD is complete, our office will review your submission, contact you about any changes you need to make, and notify you and your committee when approval is finalized, usually within five business days.

Publishing Options

Proquest Publishing Options

The Proquest Dissertations and Theses Database is a service that university libraries subscribe to that lets people search theses and dissertations from schools all across the country in one place. You may have even used it in your own research. If you choose the “traditional publishing” option on the PQ Publishing Options screen, your ETD will be in the Proquest database and people will be able to buy single copies of it from them. Each time someone does so, you will earn royalties, which Proquest will pay out to you after they reach a certain amount. (A good analogy might be that Proquest is to dissertations as Cafepress is to t-shirts.) You still own the copyright to your work, and can make contracts to publish it in journals or with other publishers. You are only giving Proquest limited rights to sell individual copies.

The other Proquest option is their “Open Access Publishing Plus” service. What this means is that instead of Proquest paying you royalties if someone wants a copy of your work, you pay a certain amount in advance and Proquest allows anyone to read and download your ETD for free through their website.

IR Publishing Options

WVUScholar is our own institutional repository, hosted by the university libraries. When you deposit your ETD, you choose one of two options: open access, which lets anyone on the web read your ETD, or campus access, which only lets people with a WVU login read your ETD, as well as people who request it through their library’s Interlibrary Loan. If you have a pending patent or publication, you will be able to choose a No Access embargo for a period of one year following your ETD deposit. Students in the MFA in Creative Writing program are able to choose a permanent campus access option for their work.