At Texas A&M University, each master’s thesis option and doctoral program calls for completion of an electronic thesis, dissertation or record of study (ETD) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the awarding of the degree. The ETD should be presented in a scholarly, well-integrated and properly documented manner and should report the original work done by the student under the supervision of the advisory committee.
ETDs must be submitted to the Thesis Office for compliance review and approval in time to meet appropriate deadlines for graduation in a given semester or obtain official certification of completion by the Office of Graduate Studies. Format requirements are outlined in the Thesis Manual and semester deadlines can be checked online.
Texas A&M University students must adhere to the Aggie Honor Code when preparing the ETD. The ideas or data of others must be properly used and acknowledged, and when necessary, permission must be secured from copyright holders. All research must be conducted following appropriate ethical standards for the responsible conduct of research. For further information see the following:
Copyright of ETD
Except in special circumstances, the graduating student is the copyright owner of the ETD, thus he/she retains the right to publish or otherwise distribute it (for exceptions, see Intellectual Property section of Graduate Catalog). At the time of submittal, however, the student must sign a non-exclusive distribution license giving Texas A&M University rights to archive, maintain, and make the work available on the Internet via the Texas A&M Universities Libraries in perpetuity.
After the ETD is submitted electronically to the Thesis Office, students may make only those corrections required by the Thesis Office. Additional corrections requested by the student, the chair, or other committee members will be accepted only in rare and exceptional circumstances.
Publication and Embargo
Texas A&M University is a public institution, and therefore all research is performed for the ultimate benefit of the public. Following graduation, all ETDs are available on the Internet via the Texas A&M University Libraries. In addition, dissertations are published electronically by ProQuest (UMI) and are available from that source.
An embargo, or delay in public release, is possible in limited instances. Release of the ETD may be delayed temporarily only for patent/proprietary or publication issues. Committee chairs are cautioned against allowing a student to use classified or proprietary information in ETDs because these documents become available to the public upon submittal to the Office of Graduate Studies.
Beginning fall 2011, Texas A&M University policies allow three options regarding release of ETDs:
- Release ETD for immediate access on the internet.
- Restrict access to ETD for an indefinite period for resolution of patent/proprietary issues.
- Restrict access to full text of ETD for two years for resolution of publication issues (with possible one-year extension). Title, abstract, author and program information will be accessible during restriction period.
ETDs written in Spanish will be acceptable in some instances. Use of Spanish for a manuscript must be approved by the student’s academic committee. Some sections must be shown in both Spanish and English. See guidelines for Spanish-language manuscripts for more information.
Time Limits for Submittal and Clearance
ETDs may be submitted to the Thesis Office only after the student has successfully passed the final exam and the advisory committee has officially approved the content of the ETD. All signatures must be complete on the Written Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form prior to submittal.
Following submittal, students must ensure that all corrections have been made and that the ETD clears the Thesis Office within one year from the date of the applicable final exam. In extenuating circumstances, the student may submit a formal request for extension to the Office of Graduate Studies, but the extension is not valid until approved and granted by the Office of Graduate Studies.
Use of Pre-Published Material
A graduate student may have authored material that has been previously published but needs to be used as part of the ETD. Copyright agreements signed when a journal accepts an article for publication, or in other instances of previous publication, assign defined copyrights to the publisher. In some cases, all rights are assigned to the publisher.
The student is responsible for ascertaining the status of copyrights for any material used in the ETD. When appropriate, the student must obtain written permission from copyright holders to include copyrighted material in the manuscript even if the student authored the material. If the permission is not obtained and/or rights have not been retained by the student, copyrighted material cannot be included in the ETD. In all cases, proper acknowledgment must be made in the text.