Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Thesis and Dissertation Manual

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Creative Writing Theses

All theses, including those in creative writing, are expected to conform to the basic organizational structure and formatting rules.  However, creative writing documents are permitted to deviate from the rules to properly display the work. For example, poems may be entered with customized spacing and margins.

Copyright Page and the Registration of Copyright

Master’s and doctoral students and their committees should give careful consideration to the desirability of copyrighting the manuscript.  A form must be submitted to the Graduate School showing that the candidate and his/her advisor have considered copyright matters.  All students are required to include a statement of ownership of copyright as the second page of each thesis or dissertation.  Students intending to register copyright through ProQuest/UMI will do so online when submitting their document electronically.  Note that registering copyright requires an additional fee, to be paid to ProQuest/UMI.

Use of Copyrighted Material

Students are required to obtain 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 Graduate School.  ProQuest/UMI requires each student to certify, when submitting an electronic thesis and dissertation, that any extensive use of copyrighted material in the manuscript has the written permission of the copyright owner, and to “save and hold harmless” ProQuest/UMI from any damages which may arise from copyright violations.

If the copyright owner grants permission to use the material, a letter of release must be obtained and included in the Appendix of your manuscript. Likewise, the copyright owner should be given credit in the acknowledgments of your manuscript.

IRB and IACUC Approval

Scientific research using human subjects and animals has produced ample benefits, but it also requires attention to important ethical concerns. The University of Mississippi’s Institutional Review Board’s and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee ensure that research with humans and animals is conducted ethically, humanely, and in compliance with all appropriate laws and guidelines. In order to comply with University and federal policies, submit all proposals for research with humans and animals to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs IRB or IACUC review committee before beginning your research.  The Graduate School does not require the corresponding approval forms to be included in the thesis or dissertation documents.

To determine if your research requires the above approval, contact either the IRB or IACUC at 915-7482 or find the guidelines and applications at the website of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs,

Papers within the Thesis or Dissertation

A thesis or dissertation may include manuscript versions of articles submitted to a professional journal. Some guidelines apply, however.

  • Individual papers must be integrated into a unified presentation. The thesis or dissertation must be a logical whole, not simply a compilation of individual papers.
  • A uniform style of headings, reference citations, and bibliographical format – in compliance with this guide – must be adopted for the entire manuscript. In other words, all parts of the manuscript must be formatted consistently, even if one part of the manuscript was originally submitted to a professional journal in another format. Consistency and uniformity throughout the manuscript are required.
  • A single bibliography should serve the entire thesis or dissertation.
  • Individual papers may be used as individual chapters within the manuscript as long as the above requirements are met. The above requirements stress the importance of creating a unified document. The Graduate School encourages students to pursue publication of articles in professional journals. However, if those articles are used in a thesis or dissertation, they must be seamlessly integrated into the manuscript.

Multi-Part Theses and Dissertations

With approval from the committee members, a thesis or dissertation may be divided into parts, rather than chapters or sections. This option should only be considered when research has been performed in two or more areas that cannot be practically combined into a single presentation. In this case, each part of the thesis or dissertation should be treated as a separate unit, with its own chapters, figures, tables, Bibliography or List of References, and Appendices. The entire manuscript (all parts) is then unified through the use of:

• A single set of Preliminary Pages
• A single introduction which provides an overview and summary of the entire project.
• A single Table of Contents
• A single List of Tables
• A single List of Figures

Consecutive pagination across all parts is optimum, since you will eventually have to convert the entire document into a single pdf file.  However, you can create a separate numbering system for the individual parts, such as numbering part A as pages A-1, A-2, A-3, etc., and part B as B-1, B-2, B-3, etc..

Photographs and Multi-Media Files

A variety of graphical, audio, and video files can be included in an electronic thesis or dissertation. See theProQuest/UMI web site for guidance.  Audio and video files will be uploaded as Supplemental files and can be linked from the text.  If you wish to include printed photographs, you should scan these into electronic files.

Writing Center Services

Graduate students seeking advice or assistance during the writing process, should contact the director of the Writing Center at 662-915-7686 or by E-mail at

Submitting the Document to ProQuest/UMI

See the instructions given in The End Game and in Submitting an Electronic Theses and Dissertations, which can be found on the Graduate School’s web site.

Last Minute Filing

Filing the thesis or dissertation at the last minute can be disastrous.  If the final thesis or dissertation is not submitted (uploaded into ProQuest/UMI) by the stated deadline, the student will not graduate at the end of that semester and will be required to enroll in a subsequent term and apply to graduate (though a second graduation fee will not be charged).  The policies in this manual are University regulations and can never be waived or overlooked. Filing early gives students time to deal with unforeseen problems. Remember, the thesis or dissertation can be submitted at any time during the final semester.

Important Phone Numbers and Websites

For questions regarding the format of the manuscript:
Supervisor of Graduate Records …………………… (662) 915-7474
Office hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday
Thesis/Dissertation Formatting Templates on the web at:

For questions regarding the writing process and formatting concerns:
Director of the University Writing Center ………….… (662) 915–7689
Appointments for free writing consultations should be made on the web at:

Questions regarding fee payments:
Office of the Bursar ……………………………………. (662) 915–7256
202 Martindale

Questions regarding electronic publication of the dissertation:
ProQuest (UMI) ………………………………………. (800) 521–0600, Ext. 7020

Most Common Errors

As part of the review and completion of your thesis or dissertation prior to submission please make sure that you have avoided the most common errors, which we have identified after many years’ experience reviewing submissions! This list is not exhaustive but highlights those errors that should have easily been corrected prior to submission.

  1. Title page layout and wording does not follow the preparation guide and specimen examples.
  2. Double-spacing is not used throughout the entire document (except as noted above).
  3. Do not center-justify the pages within the manuscript. Center-justify only the title and copyright pages.
  4. Date (year) of submission of the manuscript must be recorded on the title and copyright pages.
  5. The Abstract must not exceed 350 words.
  6. Check for spelling errors.  Do not rely on your software’s spell checker.
  7. Acknowledgments can be spelled either way (Acknowledgments OR Acknowledgements), but you must be consistent within your own document, especially between the actual page and the Contents page.
  8. Avoid errors in ordering of pages. You must have all of the required preliminary pages and they must be in the order set out in the preparation guide.
  9. Common errors in page numbering:
    • All pages must be numbered, except the title page and copyright page.
    • Duplicated page numbers.
    • Omitted page numbers.
    • Page numbers must appear in the bottom center of each page which is numbered.
    • All preliminary pages are numbered using lower case Roman numerals.  All manuscript body pages (including References and Appendices) are numbered using Arabic numerals.
    • The pages of the manuscript should be in correct numerical order.
  10. Omitting a Table of Contents.
  11. Errors in the Table of Contents and the List of Figures, Tables, etc., such as titles that do not match exactly with headings used in manuscript or incorrectly indicated subdivisions. The title of every chapter must correspond with the table of contents.
  12. Page number references in Table of Contents, List of Tables, and/or List of Figures do not match the actual page number.
  13. Inconsistencies in formatting of headings and section titles for the same level headings. Second level headings must be formatted identically with each other throughout especially upper or lower case formatting of letters.
  14. Errors in text references:
    • All text references must be listed in the references section at the end of the manuscript.
    • Names and dates appearing in the text must exactly match those in the reference section.
  15. Margin errors.  For ETD submissions the new 1-inch margin requirements apply.  A 2 inches top spacing is still required for the first page of each preliminary section AND the first page of each chapter or major section in the main body of the manuscript, including References and Appendices.
  16. Orphaned lines or words. You should have at least two lines of print on each and every page.
  17. Placement of tables and figures. As a general rule, the Graduate School prefers tables and figures to be placed in the body of the manuscript next to or near the narrative that refers to them, not at the end of the manuscript as one section.
  18. Font color must be black throughout document. The Graduate School will not accept submissions where multicolored fonts have been used within the text. Color may be used for photos, figures, and illustrations but only in the image and not in the title or narrative.  Font size must be the same throughout the document. Do not use larger font sizes for different levels of headings.


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