Dissertation & Thesis Information

Dissertation & Thesis Help 

The Graduate School has partnered with the University Libraries to offer virtual office hours for graduate students seeking assistance with their dissertations and theses.  

Staff can help with submittal deadlines, formatting questions, publishing options, reuse of copyrighted or previously published materials, reuse of social media content, the UAlbany online repository Scholars Archive, and more. These sessions are an open format where students can ask specific questions concerning their individual dissertation and thesis submissions.

Additionally, topic specific sessions will also be offered throughout the semester relating to publishing permission, open access, contracts, fair use, and copyright.
 

Register for a session 

June sessions

General Office Hours

12 p.m. Thursday, June 10, 2021
Register for the June 10 General Office Hours session.

Formatting Focus

6 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Register for the June 23 Formatting Focus session.

July sessions

General Office Hours

11 a.m. Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Register for the July 6 General Office Hours session.

General Office Hours

6 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, 2021
Register for the July 29 General Office Hours session.

August sessions

Formatting Focus

1 p.m. Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Register for the August 10 Formatting Focus session.

General Office Hours

6 p.m. Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Register for the August 18 General Office Hours session.

September sessions

General Office Hours

1 p.m. Thursday, September 9, 2021
Register for the September 9 General Office Hours session.

General Office Hours

6 p.m. Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Register for the September 28 General Office Hours session.

Additionally, the University Libraries offers free workshops on video editing, research strategies and more. Visit the iLearn Workshop calendar for a list of current offerings and registration information. 

 

Research & Writing Resources

University Library Resources

To get started, familiarize yourself with the Graduate Students Library Guide

The University Libraries offer several print books on writing a thesis or dissertation. We suggest these two e-books on the topic: 

Use the search page to find additional options.

The University Libraries has also published this list of resources for researching, writing and publishing.  

We recommend these guides and tip sheets from the University Libraries: 

The structure of your thesis or dissertation should be determined based on your discipline’s style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) but must also follow the Graduate School’s overall formatting requirements. 

Note: If you choose to link to works using a URL, we recommend using a permanent URL to guarantee access to readers. Information and free creation of a permanent URL can be found at Permalink.cc.

For discipline-specific questions, please reach out to your Subject Area Librarian.  

You may also want to visit the University Libraries’ Frequently Asked Questions website.
 

Library Access 

Please note that access to University resources — including library services and databases — is limited to currently enrolled students. 

Students with Incomplete grades without future enrollment will be limited in their access. Students who have graduated have access to alumni services at the University Libraries

Some scholars use the unpaywall browser extension to skip peer-reviewed journal’s paywalls. 

Before your current enrollment ends, be sure that you’ve downloaded or have open access to the literature you may need. Feel free to contact the Library for assistance.

Other University Resources

Software 

See what software is available for download onto your computer by visiting the ITS Software Catalog
 

IRB Approval 

Research involving human subjects, animal subjects or biohazardous materials must be approved by the appropriate research review committee before the research begins. 

If applicable, please contact the appropriate University compliance committee: 

The approval forms are considered administrative and should not be included in your PDF submission. However, you should include blank copies of the survey instrument and informed consent forms used as part of your research, if applicable.

Copyright, Fair Use & Permission to Reuse Material

The University Libraries offer a Copyright Guide, which includes a section on Fair Use. Columbia University offers a Fair Use Checklist.

You can also download “Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities,” from ProQuest ETD. 
 

Reusing Published Material that You Authored 

Keep in mind that published materials that you have authored are also subject to copyright and require permission from the publisher to reuse.  

Review your contract with the publisher to determine if you retain authorship and if you can reuse those materials in your dissertation or thesis. 

Formal permission from the publication is required and must be uploaded as part of your ETD submission. Additional information can be found in the formatting guidelines below. 

Journal articles under consideration don’t require permission to be included in your ProQuest submission. Only formally accepted or published materials require permission of reuse.
 

Social Media 

As with the use of other third-party materials, your ability to use content off social media depends on your use and whether it is fair. 

You also need to consider the type of account profile the user has set up. If the account is private, we recommend you obtain permission. If you do not have permission, we recommend redacting the user’s name and handle. 

Additionally, please review the social media platform’s terms of service and copyright information. 

Previous UAlbany Dissertations & Theses

You can read a dissertation or thesis previously submitted by another UAlbany student. However, the location depends on what publishing options the student chose. 

If the student did not place restrictions on publication, the dissertation or thesis can be viewed using the ProQuest database. You’ll need to log in using your NetID and password. 

A dissertation or thesis doesn’t have to be open access for it to be downloadable as a PDF on ProQuest. (Open access means that something can be freely shared without needing an institutional subscription to ProQuest.) However, some authors may choose to restrict access and only provide an abstract. 

You can also visit the University Library’s database finder and type in “Dissertations & Theses @ SUNY Albany” to access previous submissions.  

Informational Videos and Presentations

The University Libraries has created helpful videos discussing various subjects for graduate students. Below are the video links, the presenter, and details regarding the materials covered in each video.

Copyright for Graduate Students

  • Copyright Issues with Karen E. Kiorpes, Head of the Preservation Department
    • What is copyright?
    • What does it protect?
    • How long does it last?
  • Copyright Issues with Ann Kearney, Collections Conservator
    • Using Third Party Materials
    • Public Domain Material
    • Openly Licensed Work
    • Fair Use

Author Tools & Tips for Graduate Students

Managing Your Scholarly Identity

  • Managing Your Scholarly Identity with Jesús Alonso-Regalado, Subject Librarian for History, Latin American Studies and Romance Languages
    • ORCID iD
    • Google Scholar
    • Institutional Repositories
    • Academic Social Networks
    • Social Media

Formatting Requirements and Tutorials with Colleen Davis, Julie Deden, and Regina Testa

Templates 

These templates are available for general student use. Please check with your department about discipline-specific formatting, as departments may have more specific requirements. You must also review and follow the “Submission Information" listed below.  

Please note that the purple text boxes can be deleted in the Dissertation and Thesis Template documents, which include prefatory pages and a landscape page example.

The structure of your thesis or dissertation should be determined based on your discipline’s style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) but must also follow the Graduate School’s overall formatting requirements. 

For discipline-specific questions, please reach out to your Subject Area Librarian

 

Submission Information 

The University at Albany publishes all dissertations and theses through ProQuest ETD (Electronic Thesis & Dissertation).  

Please create a ProQuest account before you’re ready to formally submit your dissertation or thesis. There are questions and publishing options that must be determined before formal submission can occur.   

The Graduate School suggests converting your document to a PDF before uploading it to ProQuest, since using ProQuest's document converter may cause formatting issues and/or blank pages.

As the content creator, you retain the rights to your material until you give it away. You sign a non-exclusive license with ProQuest when you submit your dissertation or thesis — giving them the right to distribute and sell your material, while you retain the copyright and can also distribute and sell your material.

You can view your ProQuest license within your submission information. Log into your account and click on "Publishing Settings & Copyright." Under this category, click "View Agreement" to see your license. You can then either print the browser page or copy/paste the information into a Word file. 
 

Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines & Forms
Master's Thesis Guidelines & Forms
Deadlines & Timeline

Deadlines

You cannot submit your dissertation or thesis until you have defended it and your committee has approved it.  

The submission deadline refers to the electronic submission of your faculty-approved dissertation or thesis. The deadlines are as follows: 

  • Fall: December 1 

  • Winter: January 15 

  • Spring: May 1 

  • Summer: August 1 

You cannot make academic content edits after the initial submission.  

However, you can make required formatting edits after the initial submission and this will not affect your degree conferral term.

 

Timeline

When scheduling your defense and planning your degree completion, please take the following factors into consideration:
 

  • Electronic Submission Deadline: Review the published deadline for the semester in which you plan on completing your dissertation or thesis. Your defense date should be schedule with this date in mind. We recommend that defenses not be scheduled too close to the electronic submission deadline.
     

  • Committee member availability: Provide your committee members with enough time to coordinate their schedules and determine their availability for document review and defense scheduling.
     

  • Departmental coordination: Contact your department to determine if you'll need certain resources or facilities.
     

  • Committee Requested Edits: After defense, your committee members may determine that edits are required before final approval of your dissertation or thesis. This will affect your electronic submission date, which is why we recommend not scheduling your defense too close to the submittal deadline.
     

  • Employment or Post-doctoral Positions: If you have secured employment or a post-doctoral position, you will need to ensure that your degree is awarded before your start date.
     

  • Formatting Review: The format review process can take time, depending on the number of edits that are necessary. Submissions near the semester deadline are considered peak processing time and will add additional time to the review.

ProQuest Cost & Publishing Options

ProQuest Costs

Traditional ETD publishing through ProQuest is required and costs $26 at minimum. 

You may have a higher total cost if you want additional publishing options, such as making your submission open access ($95) or having ProQuest submit a copyright application on your behalf ($75). 

You can also order bound book copies of your submission

Access ProQuest ETD Resources
 

Open Access Alternative 

Open access means your submission is available to the public, outside of a paywall or subscription service.  

Because ProQuest is a subscription service, they charge an additional $95 to make your submission open access. You can minimize your additional costs by using the University’s Scholars Archive instead. 

The Scholars Archive is an open access digital repository operated by the University Libraries that does not charge a fee. It can also provide you with download metrics regarding your submission. 

Email [email protected] (and CC [email protected]) if you would like your submission to be published by Scholars Archive. If you have an embargo, please include that information in your email. 
 

Copyright Alternative 

You can also file your copyright separately through the U.S. Copyright Office, where it subsequently becomes available in the Library of Congress.  

Copyright can also be filed retroactively, so this does not have to be an immediate cost.  

As the author of your document, you own the copyright automatically. However, some students file for an official copyright in case they need to pursue legal action against someone.

ProQuest automatically adds a copyright page to your submission on your behalf.

Non-Text Supplemental Materials

There is an option within ProQuest for uploading supplementary files, which may include large database files, videos, audio and other media essential to your submission.  

Students who participate in our Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition may want to consider uploading their presentation video as part of their ProQuest submission as a supplementary file. 

Supplemental files are not included in the microfilmed copy submitted to the University Libraries as part of the archives.  

Embargoes

An embargo delays the formal publishing of your submission for six months, one year or two years. 

Students can request an embargo if they plan on submitting their dissertation or thesis for publishing with a journal, requesting a patent or submitting to other types of publishers.  

Embargoes are an option to increase incentive for downstream publishers to publish your work before it becomes available on ProQuest.  

Embargo requests must be endorsed by the student’s committee chair and submitted to Julie Deden ([email protected]) or Colleen Davis ([email protected]) from the Graduate School. The specific time period must be included in your embargo request.

Please consider these items before requesting an embargo: 

  • Read your contract with the publisher and pay particular attention to any language dealing with copyright and reuse of materials. Who retains the copyright if you publish with them? Can you reuse your materials without copyright infringement? You do not want to give away your copyright. Review this sample addendum for retaining rights when you are signing publishing contracts. 

  • Once your dissertation is approved through ProQuest, the embargo start date will begin once ProQuest processes the submission (roughly four to six weeks after approval). 
     

  • For submissions that are embargoed and subsequently have externally published materials, you do not need to provide those permissions to ProQuest after the fact. 
     

  • If you are applying for a patent, you will want to do this earlier than your defense. A dissertation defense is considered public disclosure, which may cause problems when applying for a patent. 

ORCID iD

ORCID iD is a free website that allows scholars to track their work’s progress, impact and access. 

We recommend you create and use an ORCID iD for your published documents so people can find all your submissions — especially if you publish under multiple names. 

Your ORCID iD can be included in your ProQuest submission and, if applicable, your Scholars Archive submission. 

Note: The name on your dissertation or thesis, ProQuest account and diploma must match your official name on our student information system. We are unable to produce a diploma or allow ProQuest to reflect a different name than what is officially on file.  

If you intend on publishing under a different name in the future, we suggest creating an ORCID iD so your publishing is connected regardless of name.  

If you recently changed your name and need to update our student information system, please contact the Registrar’s Office.    

Additional Considerations

899 Doctoral Dissertation & 699 Master’s Thesis Credits

Only doctoral students who have been admitted to candidacy are eligible to register for 899 doctoral dissertation credits within their discipline.  

Each academic program has different requirements for admission into candidacy.  

Common requirements include, but are not limited to, research tool, doctoral examinations, residency requirements, completion of required academic coursework, a minimum GPA of 3.0 and proposal defense and/or approval. 

Please contact your academic department for information on their requirements and visit the Graduate Bulletin for program-specific requirements. 
 

Summer & Winter Registration 

Summer and winter registration are not generally required, even if you are completing your program during those terms.

However, some departments may require doctoral students to register for 899 doctoral dissertation credits during these terms if they are conducting research in the lab and there are resource implications. Please contact your academic department for further information. 

Master’s students who have taken the amount of 699 master’s thesis credits required for their program do not need to register for additional 699 credits. 

International doctoral and master’s students should discuss this with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) because they may be required to register during the summer or winter terms to maintain their I-20 status. 

Virtual Defenses & Electronic Signatures

Departments can schedule virtual dissertation and thesis defenses using technology supported by ITS, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The procedure is otherwise the same. 

Electronic signatures will also be accepted on dissertation and thesis approval forms.  

If obtaining an electronic or physical signature is not possible, committee members can indicate approval by sending a message from their institutional email account to the appropriate department. 

Departments should submit completed departmental approval forms with the electronic signatures and emails, as well as their completed checklist, to Julie Deden ([email protected]) or the general Graduate School inbox ([email protected]).

Forms are not uploaded into ProQuest as part of the dissertation or thesis document.