An electronic thesis or dissertation is the student’s original research produced, submitted, archived and accessed in an electronic format. The components and structure of the document may be basically the same as paper theses and dissertations or may incorporate more innovative uses of available technology such as audio, video, 3-D models, animations, simulations, and more. In the final stage, the documents are converted to and stored as PDF files instead of printed and bound as books. A PDF is a Portable Document File, created in a universal file format that allows data saved in one format to be converted into a format that can be read on any computer utilizing free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, like many universities around the world, is accepting electronic theses and dissertations (ETD’s). The submission of electronic theses/dissertations offers numerous benefits. The ETD process helps to train students in the electronic publishing and technical skills they will need as professionals. On a larger scale, the immediate and wide-spread availability of ETD documents provides world-wide access to scholarship. ETD’s allow researchers to build on the work of those before them, even those whose work was completed in recent months or even weeks. The world-wide access displays the scholarship of the University.

ETDs contribute to UNCG’s Mission to be “[a] research university where collaborative scholarship and creative activity enhance quality of life…” (The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, The UNCG Vision and Mission Statement, 2012)

In addition to the standard use of words, tables and figures, electronic submission allows a variety of opportunities for students to display their research/creative work. ETD’s can include examples of scholarship and creative ability that are not possible in print. These can include video images, audio clips, and even 3-D models.

The ETD Submission Process
For detailed instructions regarding PDF conversion options and maneuvering the ETD online submission site, please see the “Guide for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations.” The following information provides a detailed order of events relating to the submission of electronic theses and dissertations.

The Approval Copy – Doctoral Students

  1. Submit the approval copy of the dissertation (PDF file) via the online submission site. Please note that there is a deadline for the submission of the approval copy. See the University calendar.
  2. Mail or deliver the signed originals of the Title Page and Approval Page to The Graduate School. Items must be received by the approval copy deadline.
  3. The Thesis/Dissertation Evaluator will respond to your online submission, informing you of any necessary corrections. In some cases, The Graduate School will send you a link to “The Survey of Earned Doctorates.”
  4. Make the corrections in your original document and save again as a PDF..

The Approval Copy-Master’s Students

  1. Submit the approval copy of the thesis (PDF file) via the online submission site. Please note that there is a deadline for the submission of the approval copy. See the University calendar.
  2. The Thesis/Dissertation Evaluator will respond to your online submission, informing you of any necessary corrections.
  3. Make the corrections in your original document and save again as a PDF.

The Final Copy – Doctoral Students

  1. Submit the final copy of the dissertation (pdf file) via the online submission site. Please note that there is a deadline for the submission of the final copy. See the University calendar.
  2. Mail or deliver the completed ETD Release form and the Survey of Earned Doctorates completion certificate, if provided to you by the Thesis/Dissertation Evaluator, directly to The Graduate School, UNCG, 241 Mossman Bldg, 1202 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC 27412

The Final Copy – Master’s Students

  1. Submit the final copy of the thesis (PDF file) via the online submission site. Please note that there is a deadline for the submission of the final copy. See the University calendar.
  2. Mail or deliver the signed originals of the Title Page and Approval Page and the completed ETD Release form directly to The Graduate School, UNCG, 241 Mossman Bldg, 1202 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC 27412

*Download the document: How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes

Columns: Consider using tables without borders instead of tabs to format text or numbers into neat columns.

Equations: MS Word users should not use Word’s Equation Editor. Instead, use italic Times Roman font and Symbol font, along with superscripts and subscripts to create equations.

Fonts: It is best to use standard fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial. If using unusual fonts, be sure to use embeddable Type 1 or TrueType fonts. In Word, you can also choose to embed fonts as you prepare the document by choosing Tools, Save, and check “Embed TrueType Fonts.” Fonts that are available to all PDF viewers and do not need to be embedded include: Arial, Courier, and Helvetica (Bold, Oblique and BoldOblique), Times (Roman, Bold, Italic, BoldItalic), Symbol, and ZapfDingbats. For more information of embedded fonts, visit the ProQuest ETD submission website: http://dissertations.umi.com.

Graphics: The best method to include graphics is to use EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) files rather than bitmaps, GIFs, or JPEG images. Use a high resolution such as 600 dpi. Avoid using graphic editors that are part of a word processor.

Landscape Page Numbers: Remember that page numbers must be placed in a header or footer in portrait orientation even when the text of the page is in landscape orientation. For detailed instructions on how to make this change in Word, visit the Microsoft website.

Multimedia Objects- In Word, use the Edit, Copy and Paste functions to add a multimedia object in your document. Remember to reference the figure in the text and to provide a figure number and title.

Pagination: When preparing the preliminary materials, use Insert, Page Numbers, and uncheck the box to “suppress the number on the first page.” This change will prevent the preliminary page number i from printing on the Title Page. Use Insert, Page Numbers, and Format to set the small Roman numerals for the preliminary materials and then the Arabic numbers for the text of the document.

Also, you may want to use the section break feature (Word) to separate the three sections of the document that are paginated differently: abstract and title page (no page numbers), other preliminary materials (small Roman numerals centered at the bottom of the page), and the text, references and appendices (Arabic numbers). If you write the document in a series of sections, remember that all sections must be saved as one file.

Spacing: Use tabs to align text instead of a series of spaces. Use line breaks to force a new line instead of starting a new paragraph. Insert page breaks instead of a series of paragraphs or returns to start a new page. Use section breaks to change the format between pages in the document (for example, sections where pagination style differs).

Table of Contents: There are numerous ways to prepare the Table of Contents. One simple way to develop a Table of Contents that follows the various formatting requirements established in the “Guide” is by using tabs.

Word 2007 and later versions: Be sure that your document view includes the ruler toolbar. Type the heading and word CHAPTER.
Set your first tab to align the Roman numerals for the chapter titles by their periods.

  • Click on the arrow in the lower right corner of the “Paragraph” section. This opens a box. Click on “Tabs” in the lower left corner. This opens a “Tabs” box. Type the actual position from the ruler bar into the “Tab Stop Position” box (for example: .5). Then, under “Alignment,” select “decimal.” Under “Leaders,” select “none.” Hit Set and then OK.

In the document, where you want to place the title of chapter I, type the I at the left margin. Place the cursor in front of it and hit the tab. It will automatically set the position. Type your title.

Set the next tab to right flush the page numbers.

  • Click on the arrow in the lower right corner of the “Paragraph” section. This opens a box. Click on “Tabs” in the lower left corner. This opens a “Tabs” box. Type the actual position from the ruler bar for your right margin into the “Tab Stop Position” box (for example: 6.0). Then, under “Alignment,” select “right.” Under “Leaders,” select option #2 with the dots. Hit Set and then OK.

In the document, after the title of chapter I, type the page number. Place the cursor in front of the page number and hit the tab. It will automatically place the page number at the right margin with the dot leaders.

Set the next tab to place a subtitle, if needed.

  • Click on the arrow in the lower right corner of the “Paragraph” section. This opens a box. Click on “Tabs” in the lower left corner. This opens a “Tabs” box. Type the actual position from the ruler bar where you would like the first level subtitles to start into the “Tab Stop Position” box (for example: 1.0). Then, under “Alignment,” select “left.” Under “Leaders,” select “none.” Hit Set and then OK.

In the document, at the left margin where your subtitle should be placed, hit the tab key twice. It will take you to the position you pre-set. Type the subtitle, type the page number, place the cursor in front of the page number, hit the tab and your subtitle, dot leaders and page number are done.

Adobe Acrobat is the most commonly used software for creating PDF files. A PDF file is a Portable Document Format that allows the document to be read on any computer using the free Reader download.

Creating PDF files within Word
If Acrobat is on the computer, the Adobe Acrobat application symbol should appear on the Word toolbar.

  1. Click on the Acrobat button to “Create Adobe PDF.”
  2. In the Save as dialog box, choose a location and type in your filename. Click “Save.”

If you select the View Result option, Acrobat will automatically open your new PDF file as a temporary, unsaved file. When you close this file, you are prompted again with a Save as dialog box. Be sure to type in the filename and click “Save” or the file will be deleted.

Bookmarks
In a PDF file, bookmarks can be used to take the reader quickly from one location to another. For example, the author can bookmark the Table of Contents to the text or the data results with corresponding tables or figures in the appendix. Bookmarks can also be used to allow an action, such as run a video clip or play a sound. For additional information on these action features, use the Help Guide in Adobe Acrobat.

To establish standard bookmarks, open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. Scroll to the location you’d like to access with the bookmark. Select Document, Add Bookmark. Then, click in the bookmark window and type in the specific name of the bookmark just created.

Combining Multiple PDF Files
Open the file in Adobe Acrobat. Select File, then Create PDF. Choose Merge Files Into a Single PDF. The “Combine Files” box will appear. Click on the Add Files in the top left corner. This will open the option to search the various on your computer. Find your dissertation files. Select the first PDF of your dissertation by double-clicking on it. Then, start the process again with Add Files in the top left corner. Repeat until all of the dissertation PDF files are listed. Click Combine Files in the lower right corner. A “Save As” box will appear. Select where you want to save the new, single PDF file, type in a name for the new document, and Save. Be sure to check the new PDF carefully to be sure that all items and pages are included and the formatting (margins, etc.) are still correct.