The process of completing a thesis, dissertation or record of study can seem overwhelming. As part of the Office of Graduate Studies, the Thesis Office is available to help students manage the process and smooth the road to graduation.
In addition to guiding students through the process of preparing theses and dissertations, the Thesis Office receives, reviews and approves the required electronic file of each thesis, dissertation or record of study (ETD) when it is complete.
Note: Texas A&M University requires that your name on your ETD match your University records exactly. Please verify that the name on your manuscript reflects the spelling and form of your official name, including the use of middle names and/or abbreviations.
Editorial Style of ETD
- Margins and page numbering.
- Capitalization of headings and subheadings.
- Figure captions and table title location and format.
- Citation and reference format and content.
The Thesis Manual provides guidance regarding traditional academic style that is generally applicable to ETDs. However, students are responsible for determining if their academic departments or disciplines call for a specific editorial style. For example, some ETDs follow the style of respected, scholarly journals well known in the relevant subject matter field. Standard editorial styles such as those detailed in the Modern Language Association Handbook, Chicago Manual of Style, or American Psychological Association Manual might be applicable in some fields. The Thesis Manual indicates formatting that is not allowed in an ETD, regardless of chosen style.
Organization of ETD
ETDs may follow either traditional dissertation organization or organization based on journal articles, a relatively new option. Using journal article organization and style allows authors to compose ETDs in a manner that facilitates publication in journals. More information regarding the traditional versus journal options can be found in the Journal Article Style Thesis/Dissertation Format handout or on the Department of Educational Psychology website.
The journal organization option centers around a common research theme that enables the chapters to be separated into stand-alone documents or combined to create a single cohesive manuscript. The manuscript created must follow the organization and editorial style of one well-respected academic journal, be approved by the student’s department, and fulfill the requirements of both the academic committee and the Thesis Office. Either organization option must meet Thesis Manual requirements.
Copyright and authorship issues are two factors of particular consideration when deciding which organization option to choose, as both pre-published material and articles the author intends to publish come with copyright considerations.
Resources for Preparation
- Thesis Manual — The Thesis Manual (Download) assists graduate students and their committee members in preparing ETDs. The manual provides guidelines on uniform standards of style and format while allowing enough flexibility to satisfy the acceptable practices of each academic discipline.
- Template files — These word processing template files include preset conditions reflecting required margins, predefined styles, and other aids in preparing ETDs and verifying correct format. Several templates are available to meet departmental and student needs.
- Tutorials, workshops, and seminars — The Office of Graduate Studies offers online tutorials on a number of subjects, including ETD preparation and submittal. Upcoming seminars are listed on the Office of Graduate Studies training page.
- Instructional reference materials— Standard grammar and spelling reference materials will help students when writing the ETD. In addition, archives of past Thesis Office presentations may help with answers to specific questions.
- Abstracts for Graduate Writing (from University Writing Center)
- Changing Document Page Size
- Changing Page Numbers from Roman Numerals to Arabic Numbers
- Copyright and Your ETD
- Copyright Essentials for Graduate Students
- Creating PDF Files
- Customary Ways to Cite Material in the Text
- Landscape Figures/Tables: Re-orienting pages in Word
- Notes and Endnotes
- Oversized Illustrative Material
- Oversized Illustrative Material Sample
- Page Numbering in Word 2003
- Page Numbering in Word 2007
- Subheading Tips
- Vertical Spacing in Word
- Citation styles — Students can verify citation style by comparison with the specific chosen style for the ETD or by following guidelines in the Thesis Manual. Use of software programs such as EndNote and RefWorks are recommended to promote consistency and accuracy of citation and reference styles.
- Copyright compliance — Students can verify correct handling of copyrighted information used in the ETD through information provided by reviewing the following links: Copyright Basics and Copyright Resources.
- Resource persons — Students will find resource persons available to help them with writing, editing and formatting through the University Writing Center or by arrangement with an independent typist or editor.
A pre-submittal conference with the Thesis Office is recommended prior to the student’s defense of the ETD. Pre-submittal requirements for students prior to submitting an ETD include:
- Complying with all Office of Graduate Studies due dates and deadlines.
- Passing any preliminary or final exams required by the applicable department or program.
- Successfully defending the thesis or dissertation.
- Satisfying any requirements of faculty in the academic committee.
- Obtaining approval signatures of academic committee members on the Written Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form.
To assist students in preparing an ETD prior to submittal, the Office of Graduate Studies offers tutorials, maintains a Checklist for Master’s Students and a Checklist for Doctoral Students, and provides an overall Thesis Preparation Checklist.