Graduate School
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Frequently Asked Questions about Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Electronic theses and dissertations are valuable for several reasons. Electronic theses and dissertations become accessible much quicker and are available to a larger audience. ECU research is accessible to the world via the Internet. The skills required to develop an electronic document are the skills needed for participation in research and publication in this era of digital publishing. In addition, ETD’s offer students the opportunity to present information in new ways by including audio, video, 3-D models, animations, simulations, and more in their papers. Students benefit from a savings on the cost of paper copies and the library benefits from space savings.

Electronic submission of theses and dissertations will be optional for students during spring term 2009 and fall 2009. Electronic submission will be mandatory beginning in spring 2010.

No. All documents are submitted electronically, including the signed signature page (by all except the Dean of the Graduate School) and the ECU Non-Exclusive Distribute Agreement.

Students are to consult their committee chair to determine the department’s preferred manual of style and refer to the Graduate School’s formatting guidelines found in the Manual of Basic Requirements for Theses and Dissertations.

For security reasons, signatures are not to be a part of any ETD so create your signature page to be submitted electronically with typed names only. The signature page bearing all signatures should be submitted to the Graduate School by you or your department. Committee signatures must be on file in the Graduate School for you to be cleared for graduation and your document to be submitted to ProQuest.

Only after the defense has occurred and all final edits are approved by your committee. Documents will only be reviewed after signature page bearing committee signatures is on file in the Graduate School. After submissions, please patiently allow sufficient time for the thesis/dissertation editor to review the document for formatting. You will be notified if revisions are needed and/or if your document has been approved.
Please see the University Academic Calendar at for the submission deadline for the term in which you wish to graduate. Please note that if you choose to submit close to or on the deadline that there may be a delay in the response from the Graduate School with the revisions needed and a shorter period of time to submit revisions to meet degree requirements for that term.
PDF is the only accepted format for the text portion of the document; additional digital fields may be attached including audio, video, pictures, etc. See the Electronic Guide for Electronic Submission on this site or the ProQuest website for a listing of all acceptable electronic formats as well as general FAQs about submission:
There is free conversion software available on the submission site during the submission process; PDF conversion is available on Microsoft Word 2007. For assistance, you may visit or call the Academic Computing Lab in Austin.
Yes. The Proquest submission site will only accept files up to 100MB. Files that exceed this size should be saved as a pdf on a CD and brought to the Graduate School for the format check. The Graduate School will mail the CD and other supporting documents to Proquest/UMI.

Yes. The submission software provides a method for written restriction requests up to two year embargo. During that time your document would not be made available through ProQuest/UMI or the ECU Institutional Repository. At the end of the requested period, your document will join all other theses and dissertations available to the public through UMI and Joyner Library.

Discuss your choice of publishing option with your committee chair. If you choose Open Access with ProQuest, your graduate work will be available online free of charge to users rather than for a charge. There is an additional fee of $95 for this option. If you choose the Traditional Publishing option, this is the sales and royalty model. The copy in the ECU Institutional Repository will be made available to the general public at no charge. Information on UMI Publishing Agreements can be found at
Your committee chair or advisor is the first point of contact for information as well as published general information about patent, trademark, service mark and copyright at and Although copyright registration is not required, it is recommended. If you wish to copyright your thesis or dissertation, ECU requires that you include a copyright notice. This notice should follow the Title page. Typical copyright notices take this form: Copyright 2008, Jane E. Student Or @ 2008, Jane E. Student.
Copyright is the legal mechanism available to protect original works, including those published online. Copyright applies to the work as it is created in a tangible form. Therefore, you are automatically protected by copyright laws. You may wish, however, to include additional protection by registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. This process can be done by choosing the “yes” option for copyright during the online submission process for an additional fee of $65 or you can file the copyright yourself directly through the U.S. Copyright Office. For more information, visit

If you have already published a journal article and wish to include it in your thesis/dissertation, you should discuss this option with your committee and the publisher. If you include the article, you need to cite the publication in your references. Or, if the publisher gives you a signed release, you can include the publication in your document, as allowed by the release. If the publisher restricts access to the article, you will need to exclude the article from the thesis/dissertation submitted to the Graduate School.

If the article has already been published, you have three options which should be discussed with your committee and possibly the publisher. First, you can cite the publication in your references. Secondly, it may be possible to link to an online publication (with the permission of the publisher). Lastly, the publisher can supply a signed release allowing you to include the publication in the thesis/dissertation. If the publisher restricts access to the release, you may need to develop two versions of your document—one with and one without the published article.

The library will no longer provide copies since the entire document will be a printable .pdf on the library website; however, some departments may continue to require students to provide a bound copy to them.
You may order bound copies through the UMI site or you use an external publisher of your choice.
After graduation, your document may be available electronically at the following locations, subject to any embargo period you selected:

ECU Institutional Repository/Joyner Library
Proquest Digital Dissertations
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD)

Once submitted, you may contact Ms. Marquerite Latham at 252-328-5792 or

Visit the Academic Computing Lab in Austin and/or contact Charlie Justice at Email:;  Telephone: 328-9128

The Graduate School plans to offer training sessions each semester. Consult this website for a schedule of training times and locations.