Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Thesis and Dissertation Preparation


As you prepare your thesis/dissertation, you should refer to the Thesis and Dissertation Format Manual. Using this manual and the templates provided, prepare your thesis/dissertation. During your final semester, complete steps 1-3 in the End Game sequence (e.g., submit an application for a degree, complete the diploma application, and set up a final oral examination). After you submit an application for a degree, the Graduate School will send you a link to these instructions (step 4) on how to complete an electronic thesis and dissertation, or ETD, as well as a link to the ETD Rights, Permission and Contact Form.

If you are a doctoral degree candidate, you will also need to complete step 5, which is to complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates.

You are then ready to take the final steps (steps 6-11) toward completing your thesis or dissertation, which are as follows.


The following formatting requirements are imposed by the Graduate School to be consistent with guidelines for publishing electronic theses and dissertations through ProQuest/UMI.  The following formatting requirements supersede any formatting guides described in the above style guides.


Most 12-point nonitalicized, serif fonts are acceptable for text and 10-point font for footnotes and subscripts. Fonts less than 10 point are not recommended even for superscripts and subscripts. Generally, “Times New Roman” font in 12 point is an appropriate choice. A consistent font must be used throughout the manuscript.

Spacing: All standard manuscript copy must be double-spaced. Use a 0.5 inch standard indention for the first line of all paragraphs. Text within a chapter must be continuous. Add extra space following a section or subsection title, but add no more than one extra line of space between paragraphs. (See also the paragraph below about the placement of figures and tables and the spacing around these elements.)

Single spacing may be used for long tables, block quotations, subheadings and chapter titles, figure legends, footnotes or notes, appendix material and all bibliographic entries.


Top, right and bottom margins must be 1 inch. For an electronic thesis or dissertation, the left margin should also be 1 inch for all pages beyond the preliminary pages. The preliminary pages should have a 2-inch top margin.

The first page of each chapter, including the first chapter, should have a 2-inch top margin. All other text pages, including those with figures or legends, should have a 1-inch top margin.

Page Numbers

Page numbers must be centered and should be between 0.5 to 0.75 inches from the bottom of the page.


Every page in the manuscript must be numbered except for two: the title page and the copyright page (which does not count as a page). The title page is counted as Roman numeral page “i.” However, for reasons of appearance, the title page must not show this numeral. Due to this consideration, the first page number to appear on the manuscript will be the lowercase Roman numeral “ii” on the first page of the abstract.

LOWERCASE ROMAN NUMERALS (ii, iii, iv, v) must be used to number the preliminary pages.

ARABIC NUMBERS (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) must be used to number the text through the references. The first page of text must be numbered “1.” The remaining pages will be numbered sequentially using Arabic numbers.

Page Breaks

Start a new chapter or major section on a fresh page. Do not divide words at the bottom of a page and carry them over to the next page. A sentence ending a paragraph should not end as a partial line at the top of the next page.

Running Heads

Do not use running heads.

An example of the preliminary pages is HERE.

Complete Your Thesis/Dissertation Document and Complete the Final Examination

This is the hard part. Refer to the Thesis and Dissertation Format Manual.  Note that schedules and events get very congested toward the end of semesters, so try to plan in advance to complete your document and have your final oral examination before things really pile up. And be aware that you may have to make some revisions to your document after the examination. By policy, final oral examinations must occur before the week set aside for final exams in courses.

The supervisor of graduate records will review your thesis or dissertation for basic formatting requirements. However, the Graduate School cannot serve as an editor or writing coach. You may find assistance with writing at the Writing Center, and there are also professional editors who will provide assistance for a fee. However, the fundamental assumption is that a candidate for an advanced degree must be able to write a coherent document in the style of the discipline.

Report of the Final Oral Examination

After you successfully complete the final oral examination, make sure your adviser submits the Report of a Final Oral/Written Examination Form to the Graduate School. When your thesis or dissertation has been approved by your adviser and committee without need for revisions, have the faculty sign the signature page for the thesis or dissertation. Also, by this time you should have discussed the option on the ETD Rights, Permissions and Contact Form. You should decide, with advice from your adviser, whether to submit your ETD as Traditional versus Open Access publishing, whether you want to embargo viewing access for a period of time and whether you wish to pay a fee to register copyright for your document with ProQuest/UMI.

Final Visit to the Graduate School

After you have completed the final oral examination and have put the final touches on your thesis or dissertation, visit the Graduate School and bring the following documents:

  1. Signed signature page – thesis or dissertation
  2. ETD Rights, Permissions and Contact Form
  3. For doctoral students, confirmation that you have completed the Survey of Earned Doctorates

If you completed the SED online, you should have had an email notification sent to; otherwise, bring some verification that you have completed the SED. Also, if your adviser or department has not submitted the Report of a Final Oral/Written Examination, make sure that the Graduate School receives a copy. The supervisor of graduate records will then give you information on how to electronically upload your thesis or dissertation. You may wish to view the ProQuest/UMI tutorial before submitting your document. You should view Preparing your Manuscript Guide from ProQuest and the Thesis and Dissertation Format Manual.

There are a few special tips for preparing your thesis or dissertation for submission to ProQuest/UMI. You can either convert the document to a PDF before submitting, or you can use a conversion tool at the ProQuest/UMI site. You should carefully check the PDF version to make sure that the formatting has been converted correctly. All fonts must be embedded in the document before PDF conversion, and you should not use compression or password protection in the PDF conversion. The signature page should not be included in the ETD. In fact, you should not include signatures anywhere in your document (e.g., do not include signed IRB forms), to prevent someone’s signature from being electronically captured. Also, you should use 1 inch margins for an ETD, as opposed to the wider left margin for a bound document.

If your thesis or dissertation contains links to multimedia files or some special formatting, check the instructions at the ProQuest/UMI website. A number of multimedia files can be included in your document.

Electronically Submit Your Thesis/Dissertation

Once your document is ready and you have an account, go to the ProQuest/UMI website, log in, and follow the steps to submit your document. You will then be given the following options.

Select Publishing, Copyright and Binding Options:

Select among the following publishing options:

  • Traditional Publishing: This means that the thesis or dissertation title and author (citation information) will be listed on the ProQuest/UMI online database.  The full content will be viewable by authorized PQ users by paid subscription and by University of Mississippi students, faculty and staff (via the UM Library’s PQ license). Others will have viewing access only to the title page, abstract and first few pages. Others may purchase full access by paying a royalty to the student author.
  • Traditional Publishing with an Embargo Period: This means that the thesis or dissertation title and author will be listed on the ProQuest/UMI online database. However, further viewing access to the thesis or dissertation is blocked for the embargo period, which may be selected to be six months, one year or two years. Select this option if your work includes patentable and/or proprietary information or if you are in one of a few disciplines where publication of a thesis/dissertation may deter acceptance of a manuscript by a journal. Confer with your adviser if you are uncertain. You will be given an option to embargo your document for six months, one  year or two years.
  • Open Access Publishing: This means that the full text of the document is immediately made viewable (published) by ProQuest/UMI. The consequence is that your scholarship is more widely disseminated and becomes searchable by Internet search engines. It also means that you are unlikely to earn royalties from the sale of your document by ProQuest/UMI, and you will be charged an open access fee by ProQuest/UMI.

Copyright Registration Option: You will be given an option to register copyright on your thesis or dissertation for a fee. As soon as your thesis or dissertation is published by ProQuest/UMI, you will own copyright to your ETD, according to copyright law, regardless of whether you purchase the additional copyright registration. Consult your adviser as to whether to purchase this copyright registration.

Binding: The Graduate School and University Libraries no longer require that you submit a bound version of your thesis or dissertation. However, you may still wish to purchase bound copies through ProQuest/UMI for a fee. You may also have your thesis or dissertation bound locally by University Printing Services.

Pay ProQuest/UMI Fees

Depending on the options selected, you will have to pay, via a credit card, the fees charged by ProQuest/UMI. These fees are $95 for open access publishing, $55 for copyright registration and a minimum of $56 for binding your document. Should you have any questions regarding the benefits of publishing with UMI, feel free to refer to the authors’ page:

Review by the Supervisor of Graduate Records

By the above steps, you have submitted your thesis or dissertation. But it is not published yet. The supervisor of graduate records will review your document for formatting and completeness. If any revisions are needed, you will be contacted. This is why we need your current contact information on the electronic permission form. Once the supervisor of graduate records approves your document, it will be published by ProQuest/UMI.