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Electronic Thesis/Dissertation FAQs
The UIC Graduate College would like to thank the UIUC Graduate College for use of some of the following and for continued collaboration with the ETD project.
Frequently asked questions are organized by the following topics:
- Electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD)
- Format and PDF conversion
- Thesis requirements
- Deposit process
- Thesis release options
- Related UIC ETD Pages
">Electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) FAQs
What is an ETD?An ETD is an Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Instead of the traditional submission process, in which a student submits paper copies to be bound, catalogued, and disseminated in hard copy through the University Library, ETDs allow for the creation, submission, and dissemination of graduate research in digital form. The components and structure of an ETD are essentially the same as a traditional paper thesis.
What is UIC Indigo?
UIC Indigo is the digital repository for research and scholarship produced at the University of Illinois at Chicago. UIC Indigo collects, disseminates, and provides persistent and reliable access to the research and scholarship of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Further information about UIC Indigo and Indigoin general.
">Format and PDF Conversion
How do I format my electronic thesis or dissertation?
All UIC theses and dissertations must adhere to the Graduate College thesis requirements. For ETDs there are a few differences from the paper submission. See Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Format.
Additional requirements for ETDs include:
- The document must be submitted as a single Portable Document File (PDF).
- The PDF file must be named Lastname_Firstname.pdf, where “Lastname” and “Firstname” are that of the student.
- Security settings should not be applied to the PDF file.
- The PDF file should not contain embedded multimedia.
How do I convert my document into PDF format?
MS Word and Adobe Acrobat are two options for converting files to PDF. Installing Acrobat onto a computer allows the user to generate a PDF file by selecting “Adobe PDF” as the printer from within the word processing program. Computers containing both MS Word and Acrobat Professional are available in computer labs on campus (not all computers in the labs have the software). On-site assistance with word processing and PDF conversion is available in the Instructional Technology Lab (ITL) and Student Media Labs (SML) - call for hours and availabilty of consultants. Additionally, students may contact the Instructional Technology Lab or Student Media Lab for call-in assistance.
MS Word and Adobe Acrobat, among other software, are also available to students at a discount through Micro/Station, UIC Computer Store. Adobe.com offers a trial five free PDF conversions (as of this posting - subject to change).
- Instructional Technology Lab (ITL)
- Email assistance for the ITL
- Phone assistance for the ITL - 312-996-9824
- Student Media Lab (SML)
- Email assistance for the SML
- Phone assistance for the SML - 312-996-9824
- Computer Labs
- ACCC Client Services Office consultation 312-413-0003
- ACCC Client Services Office consultation email@example.com
- Micro/Station, UIC Computer Store
- Adobe free trial of five free PDF conversions (subject to change by Adobe)
Before beginning the PDF conversion process, however, you are strongly encouraged to embed the fonts you have used in your thesis into the file to be converted. Embedding fonts will help to ensure that the material in your thesis will display correctly when viewed or printed from the PDF file. (To further ensure that material displays correctly in the PDF file, use of either a Type 1 or TrueType font is recommended. Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri are among the numerous TrueType fonts that are available in popular word processing programs.) For example:
- In MS Word 2003, fonts are embedded by selecting “Options . . .” from the “Tools” drop-down menu and then clicking on the “Save” tab. Place a check in the checkbox next to “Embed TrueType fonts” and remove any checks from the two checkboxes located immediately beneath. You will need to re-save your file.
- In MS Word 2007, fonts are embedded by clicking on the Office button located in the upper left corner and then clicking on the “Word Options” button. Select “Save” from the list on the left, place a check in the checkbox next to “Embed fonts in this file”, and remove any checks from the two checkboxes located immediately beneath. You will need to re-save your file.
When converting LaTeX files to PDF, students may find the following resources useful:
- LaTeX to PDF
- How to make a PDF document from a LaTeX source
- TeX Users Group
- Comprehensive TeX Archive Network
PDF conversion services may also be found online. Some of these online services are free and others are not.
Students are responsible for checking the PDF file of their thesis after the conversion process to verify that all material displays correctly.
My thesis file(s) are large (>512MB) in size. Will I still be able to submit them easily?
If any of your files are larger than 512MB in size, we recommend submitting them from a “wired” on-campus connection (e.g. any public computer lab on campus). It may also be possible to submit these files from off-campus if you are using a private, high-speed internet connection. However, it is not recommended to submit larger files from wireless internet available in coffee houses or bookstores, as these businesses sometimes limit the size of files you may transmit.
If you have any difficulties in uploading your thesis files, please contact the Graduate College Thesis Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 996-3958.
When do I electronically submit my thesis or dissertation?
You should only submit your thesis for review by the Graduate College Thesis Office AFTER
- your defense has occurred, and
- your advisor and/or committee has approved the final version of your thesis with all content corrected, and
- you have made all format corrections requested by your departmental thesis reviewer.
Documents submitted prior to departmental approval will be rejected.
The Thesis Office will not review your submission until we have received notification of departmental approval. In most cases, format reviews will be performed within three or fewer business days of the latter of either (a) submission of the electronic document or (b) confirmation of departmental approval. If you submit close to the submission deadline for a semester, the approval process may take up to three weeks. You will be notified by email of the outcome of the Graduate College's review, including a list of required changes (if any) and instructions for completing the deposit of your thesis. Review by the Graduate College may be more than three days at the thesis submission deadlines.
I have supplemental materials I’d like to include with my electronic thesis or dissertation. Can I upload these, too?
- For ETD submissions, students may upload supplemental electronic files as part of their thesis or dissertation. These files are considered appendix items, and an appendix page must be included as part of the thesis and should be numbered accordingly. This page should include brief information about the supplemental file(s), such as “Appendix A: Interview Transcriptions,” and a brief description of the material.
- The thesis or dissertation itself should be understandable without the supplemental appendix materials.
- As part of the thesis, it is the responsibility of the director of research and committee to review and approve appendix materials.
Can I use the same submission service to send a PDF of my thesis for departmental review?
No. Departmental format review is an independent process, and your department may require either a paper or electronic copy of your thesis for review.
What is the final date that I can submit my thesis electronically for the deposit?
Deposit deadlines are listed on the Graduate College's Academic Calendar. Thesis Office traffic increases prior to deadlines, so it may take the Graduate College several days to reply to an electronic submission. Keep in mind that revisions may still be required before your thesis is finalized by the Graduate College. Additional Forms/Payments/Receipt should be received by the Graduate College Thesis Office by the thesis deposit deadline of your intended graduation term. Any format corrections to the ETD after you have submitted it must be completed by the date given to you by the Graduate College after the initial review of the submission.
Your deposit will be confirmed in an email from the Graduate College Thesis Office after a correctly formatted thesis has been accepted and all required additional materials have been received.
Can I still submit a paper copy of my thesis?
Effective with submissions for Fall 2011 and forward only electronic submissions will be accepted.
Where will my electronic thesis be located?
Following acceptance, your document will be electronically available via UIC Indigo. Doctoral dissertations will also be listed in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database, the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world.
Will my department receive a printed copy from the Library?
No. The library does not provide a print copy of your thesis to your department. A printable PDF version of your thesis or dissertation will be available through the UIC Indigo web site. However, your department may still require you to directly provide it with a print copy.
Who do I contact if I have questions about submitting my ETD?
Who owns the copyright to my thesis?
The copyright to a thesis belongs to the student, according to the University's General Rules.As a condition of being awarded the degree, however, the student grants the University the non-exclusive right "to retain, use and distribute a limited number of copies of the thesis, together with the right to require its publication for archival use."
What if I have intellectual property in my thesis that is not covered by copyright (e.g., material that might be covered by patents, trademarks, etc.)?Please contact the University's Office of Technology Management.
How do I register my copyright?
You may register your copyright directly through the United States Copyright Office.
Am I required to register my copyright in order to deposit my thesis?
No. There are, however, certain benefits to registering your copyright. The U.S. Copyright Office provides a thorough explanation of these benefits.
Is there a way for me to retain my copyright when I submit an article for publication?
It could be possible for you to negotiate which rights you transfer to a publisher before you sign a publishing agreement. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has developed an author addendum(PDF) that students may find useful in negotiating the rights that they transfer.
Is my use of previously copyrighted material considered "fair use?"
The Graduate College does not advise students on what can or cannot be considered "fair use." Students are urged to consult the U.S. Copyright Office's explanation of "fair use." Also, consult with your advisor and Director of Graduate Studies. Students may find the following resources helpful in making their own determination--and documenting that determination--of whether permission is required for the use of previously copyrighted material in a thesis:
- Fair Use Checklist, offered by Columbia University's Copyright Advisory Office
- Fair Use Evaluator, offered by the American Library Association
How do I know whether the material I'm using is protected by someone else's copyright?
Did you create the material? If not, you will need to identify the owner of the work's copyright and determine whether the work's copyright protection has expired. You may find the following publication of the U.S. Copyright Office helpful: "How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work." (PDF)
What if I created the material? Is it possible that I no longer own the copyright to my own work?
Yes. If your work has been published, you may have transferred the copyright to the publisher. Check your publishing agreement: if the publisher owns the copyright to your work, you will need to request permission to reprint it in your thesis and elsewhere.
Do you have a sample permission request letter?
Yes, a detailed example of the content that should be included in the permission request letter is provided on page 4 of A Student's Guide to Copyrights and Fair Use (see "Copyright") a publication of the Office of Technology Management.
Will you help me obtain permission to reprint previously copyrighted material in my thesis?
The Graduate College does not provide such assistance. Please note that it remains the student's responsibility to determine what material requires copyright clearance.
">Thesis requirements FAQs
Is an abstract of my thesis required?
Yes, an abstract is required of all theses and dissertations. The abstract must be written in English and will be submitted in a text field in the electronic submission process. There is no word limit although it is strongly recommeded to keep the length to approximately 350 words.
How do I find a list of the current thesis requirements?
">Deposit process FAQs
May I make changes or revisions after my thesis is approved by the Graduate College?
Upon final deposit, the thesis becomes part of the student’s academic record. No changes may be made to the thesis or dissertation after it has been approved by the Graduate College Thesis Office.
When will my degree be conferred?
Students graduate in the three times a year, at the end of terms: Spring (May), Summer (August), and Fall (December).
">Thesis release options FAQs
What are the release options for my electronic thesis?
Submission of an electronic thesis or dissertation (ETD) allows you a choice of the timing of the release of your thesis and the audience to whom your thesis is released.
During the creation of your ETD submission profile, you will have the opportunity to select one of three options for the release of your work. Note that these options apply to UIC Indigo only.
- Option 1—Open Access: The thesis or dissertation will be publicly available through UIC Indigo soon after the date of degree conferral at the end of the graduation period for which the thesis or dissertation is submitted.
- Option 2—U of I Only: Access to the thesis or dissertation through UIC Indigo will be restricted to members of the University of Illinois community for a period of 2 years from the date of degree conferral of the graduation period for which the thesis or dissertation is submitted. The thesis or dissertation will also be available through the University Library’s Interlibrary Loan service during this period of time, after which the thesis or dissertation will become publicly available through UIC Indigo.
- Option 3—Closed Access: Access to the thesis or dissertation will be restricted such that it will not be available to anyone for a period of 2 years from the date of degree conferral of the graduation period for which the thesis or dissertation is submitted. Only author name and title information will be available during this period of time, after which the thesis or dissertation will become publicly available through UIC Indigo.
Can I extend the period of time during which access to my electronic thesis is restricted?
Yes. Options for restricting the release of your ETD (Option 2—U of I only; Option 3—Closed access) are renewable in 2-year increments. It is the student's responsibility to initiate a petition before the two year period is to end, including all justifications. Otherwise, the ETD automatically becomes open access on UIC Indigo at that time.
How do I change or renew the option I chose for the release of my ETD?
After the date of degree conferral of the graduation period for which your ETD is submitted, you may contact the Graduate College Thesis Office to change or renew your ETD release option.
I have special considerations and would like to restrict access to my ETD.
The three release options described above will accommodate the need to postpone publication for most UIC graduate students. However, due to publication norms in some disciplines, the Graduate College understands that occasionally students may wish to request other arrangements.
Petitioning an alternative release option for the ETD
- Students wishing to pursue other release options must make a formal request in writing via the Graduate College petition process.
- Students may petition for U of I Only Indefinitely release, in which access to the thesis or dissertation through UIC Indigo will be restricted to members of the University of Illinois community indefinitely. The thesis or dissertation will also have limited availability to off-campus users through the University Library’s Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service.
- Students should provide a clear justification of why distribution of their work should be limited.
- Completely limiting access indefinitely will be considered only in very exceptional circumstances.
Offering availability to the University of Illinois community as well as limited availability through ILL is consistent with the distribution practices of paper theses and dissertations. Before ETD, paper theses and dissertations were bound and catalogued by the University Library. These manuscripts are available for loan through the Library and are also available to off-campus users via Interlibrary Loan.
Submitting an ETD for deposit while a petition is under review
After submitting the petition to the Graduate College:
- Students should submit their ETD for review and deposit by creating an ETD submission profile and selecting from one of the three release options offered.
- The thesis or dissertation will be withheld from release into the UIC Indigo repository until the petition has been reviewed and a decision made.
- After the thesis/dissertation is released into UIC Indigo, it will become available according to the release option determined during the petition process.
How do I request that my thesis or dissertation be withheld for patent review?
A student may request to have a thesis or dissertation withheld from public release while patentability is assessed by completing a Thesis Withholding Request Form and submitting it to the Office of Technology Management (OTM) prior to deposit.
OTM will review the student’s request and notify the Graduate College Thesis Office that a thesis is to be withheld. Withholding a thesis for a patent review does not affect graduation or thesis deposit; all students are required to complete their thesis deposit by the deposit deadline.
How does a request for a patent review affect my options for the release of my ETD?
After submitting the Thesis Withholding Request Form to the Office of Technology Management (OTM), you may create your ETD submission profile and select from one of the three release options offered. Your thesis will be withheld from release into the UIC Indigo repository until the release is approved by OTM. After the thesis is released into UIC Indigo, it will become available according to the release option you chose during the ETD submission process.
Why am I asked to agree to the UIC Indigo deposit agreement during the ETD submission process?
All students depositing an ETD at the University of Illinois at Chicago are asked to read and agree to the UIC Indigo deposit agreement. Basically, your agreement to this non-exclusive license allows UIC Indigo to make your ETD available according to the release option you choose during ETD submission and to make backup copies of your ETD or to migrate it to future file formats as necessary for preservation purposes. Students retain the copyright to their own work.
If my dissertation will be published electronically through UIC Indigo, why am I required to accept the ProQuest/UMI agreement?
ProQuest provides several useful services for the University, including producing the microfilm copy of your dissertation.