ETD 101: Completing the ETD Process

ETD 101: Completing the ETD Process

By UM Grad News

ETD 101: Completing the ETD Process

By UM Grad News
Master’s and doctoral students in programs that require a thesis or dissertation should familiarize themselves with the ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) process.

March, a month full of allergies, college basketball brackets, and defenses. Defenses? Yes. DEFENSES. The month of March is usually a busy time for graduate students and defense committees. As peak defense season approaches, the Graduate School team has prepared a brief guide to navigating the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) process. You can find this information and more on the Graduate School’s ETD webpage.

Know the deadlines for your graduation semester

Graduate students must follow specific deadlines related to defenses and the ETD Process. You should review these deadlines at the start of the semester you intend to graduate. The deadlines for defense, document reviews, and final submission are posted three semesters in advance on the Graduate School’s ETD webpage.

Setting a date for your defense

Once you and your committee have decided on a firm date, time, and location for the thesis/dissertation/doctoral essay/lecture recital essay defense, you must fill out the Defense Notice Form online. Defenses are a public event, so the information is published on the Graduate School’s website.  If you have never been to a defense before, this page can be a great resource to check out other defenses happening in your department, so you know what to expect.

Preparing your ETD document

Some students put together their ETD document only after they have defended, while others work on it progressively throughout their last semester(s). In either case, you’ll need to submit your ETD document to the Graduate School for review. You can make this task as hassle-free as possible by knowing what to expect and making a plan for getting things done on deadline. Do yourself a favor—don’t wait until the last minute and risk having to move your graduation date to the next semester. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Submission Instructions for the ETD Process
  2. Microsoft Word front matter templates to help you format the unnumbered front matter: The unnumbered front matter must look the same in all ETDs so download the appropriate template and use it to format the Title, Copyright, Signature, and Abstract pages.
  3. Graduate School formatting guidelines: These are formatting items that deviate and supersede the main style guide you and your committee have chosen for your document.
  4. Access to required ETD forms: All required ETD forms (Certificate of Defense Approval form, ETD Final Content Approval form, and ETD Availability Agreement form) can be submitted online to the Graduate School—no hard copies or signatures required. The Graduate School must receive these forms fully signed (by your chair, other committee members, and/or program director) in order for you to obtain permission to upload the final PDF in the ETD repository.
  • E-mail your draft document to the Graduate School’s Associate Director of Programs for formatting review to ensure the document is formatted per Graduate School requirements. Tip: Allow time for more than one formatting review.
  • If you need it, seek out help with Microsoft Word on your document’s formatting and final PDF conversion from the ETD Formatting Support Team in Richter Library, The team is currently assisting students by e-mail, phone, and Zoom.

Scholarship@Miami Institutional Repository

Have a look at final documents in Scholarship@Miami, the University’s ETD repository, that were previously submitted by students in your program. Doing this can allow you to see what a final thesis/dissertation/doctoral essay/lecture recital essay looks like and what particular committee members might expect you to include—content-wise—in your own document. In the Scholarship@Miami repository, you’ll find a searchable open-access collection of UM electronic dissertations and theses since 2007.  You’ll also be able to view ETD documents submitted prior to 2007 by students in your program by searching and accessing UM dissertations from 1961 through part of 2007 available from ProQuest. Scholarship@Miami is also the database where your final ETD will reside.

Final ETD Upload and Approval

Once you have passed your defense, finished your ETD document, and had it reviewed by your committee and the Graduate School, you’ll be given permission to upload the final PDF of your thesis or dissertation in Scholarship@Miami, the University’s ETD repository. The Graduate School will review your upload and approve the ETD if there are no issues. Upon approval, your ETD requirement will be completed!

Have questions? Contact Doreen Yamamoto, Associate Director of Programs at the Graduate School, for any ETD-related matter:



  • Embargos

    Q: If I elect to embargo my thesis or dissertation, how is the submission acknowledged after it is approved? What, if anything, will be "viewable" to the public?

     A: If you embargo your dissertation, the existence of the document will be viewable publicly after the Graduate School has approved the dissertation, but the document will not be downloadable from anywhere for the duration of the time period selected. You can view examples of documents that are embargoed or available for open access in the UM ETD repository: Scholarship@Miami

  • Survey of Earned Doctorates and UM Doctoral Exit Survey (doctoral students only)

    Q: The ETD process steps mentions that doctoral students must complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates and UM Doctoral Exit Survey as part of completing the ETD submission. Once the dissertation is uploaded, by when am I supposed to fill these out?

    A: Doctoral students should take the two surveys after uploading the final document in the ETD repository. Your dissertation won’t be approved by the Graduate School until the two surveys are completed. Students receive information about the two surveys when they are sent the permission-to-upload e-mails that allow upload of the final PDF in the ETD repository.

  • ProQuest/UMI

    What ProQuest/UMI Is

    Q: While uploading my ETD in the repository, I was asked if I want to also publish my document for inclusion in the ProQuest/UMI database. If I do, I’m asked to complete the ProQuest/UMI publication agreement. What is this about and is it mandatory that I submit my ETD to ProQuest/UMI?

    A: ProQuest/UMI is a private company that publishes a database of dissertations going back many, many years. Before there were online databases, graduate students sent a hard copy of the dissertation document to ProQuest/UMI for microfilming. ProQuest/UMI would sell access to the microfilmed documents as subscriptions to libraries all over the world to support the widest possible dissemination of a student’s work. Today, ProQuest/UMI still collects electronic documents from graduate students for inclusion in their subscriptions and many libraries still purchase the subscriptions. The UM Library currently has a number of ProQuest/UMI subscriptions in its collection. Like many universities, UM once required students to submit their document to ProQuest/UMI, in addition to submitting the document to the home university, but like many universities, UM no longer requires students to submit their work to ProQuest/UMI. The decision to submit or not submit the ETD to ProQuest/UMI is now optional and up to the student to decide.

    If you are interested in submitting your document to ProQuest/UMI, you’ll receive information from the Graduate School about how to do this when you are sent the permission-to-upload e-mail after you’ve produced a final PDF that is approved for upload in the UM ETD repository.

    Embargo Option and ProQuest/UMI

    Q: If I choose to submit my ETD to ProQuest/UMI, can I embargo my ETD there, too?

    A: Yes, if you choose to submit your document to ProQuest/UMI, you will have similar options to embargo your ETD for a period of up to two years.

    ProQuest/UMI Offer to File Copyright

    Q: What should I make of ProQuest/UMI’s offer to file the copyright application for my ETD?

    A: As the ETD author, a student automatically owns the copyright to the thesis or dissertation. However, some students choose to formally copyright their ETD with the U.S. Copyright Office as insurance/proof that they own the copyright should the work be plagiarized or used without permission by someone else. Formal copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office provides proof of ownership of the work in a court of law should legal action be necessary. For a handling fee, ProQuest/UMI offers to file the copyright application with the U.S. Copyright Office for you; this fee is in addition to the copyright application fee. Alternatively, you could file the copyright application yourself directly with the U.S. Copyright Office and save yourself the extra handling fee.

    Please note that the Graduate School does not require that you formally copyright your work.

    If you are unsure whether copyrighting your ETD is necessary or not, please speak with your main advisor or other committee member. As experts in your field of study, they will know best how to guide you in this matter.

  • Bound Copy of ETD

    Q: I’d like to have a bound copy of my thesis or dissertation. Can you recommend a binder?

    A: If you are interested in obtaining a bound copy of your thesis or dissertation, you will have to find and engage a binder. UM students have reported using:

    1. iaDigital Printing on the RSMAS campus, which does a foil-covered hard copy that looks professional and is reasonably priced.
    2. PhD Book Binding in Austin, TX, offers three different kinds of bound copies that are also professional. The three versions are paperback, foil-covered hard cover, and a hard cover with a more durable vinyl cover.

    Make sure you request one-sided printing from any binder you engage if you are printing the hard copy from the final PDF you produced. The final PDF you will produce has an offset left margin of 1.5 in. so a hard copy printed on both sides of the paper will not print correctly, and the bound copy will look unsightly. The two binders mentioned above will print your document on one side of the paper only if you request it.

  • Degree Conferral

    Q: My ETD has been approved by the Graduate School. Does this mean I’m all done and my degree will be conferred right away?

    A: When your ETD is approved by the Graduate School, you will have completed the thesis or dissertation requirement for your degree but the degree will not be officially conferred until after the semester is over. It is recommended that you check in with your department after your ETD is approved to make sure all the other stuff needed to clear and confer your degree are in order. For example, grades and exams passed must be recorded; transcripts and other documents must be on file; and more must be in place in order for your clearance to move forward. Degree clearances begin with your department/program, not the Graduate School. The department/program will send your name to the Graduate School for clearance once they’ve made sure all the grades are recorded, documentation is in order, etc., after the semester has ended.

    Q: If my degree won’t be officially conferred until the semester is over, how can I obtain proof for an employer before then that I’ve completed all the requirements to receive the degree?

    A: Students in need of documentation that they have completed the requirements for the degree and will have it officially conferred after the semester is over should contact Alex Mas, Assistant Director of Programs at the Graduate School,, to inquire about obtaining a Letter of Completion.