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Clemson University Graduate School

Deadlines and Forms

  • What deadlines must I meet to graduate?

    There are several deadlines students must meet to graduate. To make sure that you stay on track, review the graduation deadlines. These are in addition to any departmental deadlines that may apply; your advisor can tell you about departmental requirements.

  • What happens if I miss a deadline?

    We try to help you make sure that missing thesis/dissertation deadlines won’t delay your graduation. Depending on which deadline you miss or how late you are, however, you may have to pay fines or delay your graduation. Refer to the About Deadlines section on the Thesis & Dissertation overview page for details. Plan ahead so that if problems crop up, you’ll have time to fix them. Be sure to stay in frequent contact with your committee as your defense approaches and immediately afterward so you will know about any travel plans or other circumstances that might make getting a member’s signature on your GS7M or GS7D form and other paperwork difficult. Ask your advisor to contact Jill Bunch, the Graduate School’s Director of Communications, if you know you are going to miss a manuscript-related deadline. If you are going to miss another type of deadline (for defending your paper, filing the GS2 or GS7, etc.), contact Enrolled Student Services at 864-656-5339.

  • What is the GS7 form?

    The GS7 is the form on which your advisor and committee verify with their signatures that you have successfully completed your final comprehensive exam and have successfully defended and properly formatted your thesis or dissertation (if you’re in a program that requires a thesis or dissertation). You can review the graduation deadlines to determine the last date for filing the GS7. There are separate versions of the form for master’s and doctoral candidates. The GS7 should NOT be included in your electronic manuscript file.

  • What should I do if my advisor or one of my committee members is unavailable to sign my GS7?

    You can foresee and avoid most situations in which a committee member is unavailable shortly before the submission deadline by staying in contact with all of your committee members in the days and weeks leading up to your defense. Emergencies do come up and in the case of a committee member who is incapacitated or called away for an urgent matter, the Graduate School and Enrolled Student Services can work with you and your advisor to keep your graduation on track. Check with Enrolled Services beforehand if you think you’ll have difficulty getting your GS7 form to one or more committee members for signing. Communicate with your committee to plan your defense, allowing enough time between the defense and the final submission deadline to make any revisions that your committee requires or recommends. If the plan changes, check in with your committee to find out if they will be available to review your manuscript and sign your GS7 either in person or electronically before the deadline.


  • Why are the Graduate School’s formatting requirements so important?

    Now more than ever, your thesis or dissertation will be viewed by many other scholars, since it will be available to an international audience via the Digital Commons open access platform and the Clemson University Libraries’ TigerPrints catalog. Proper formatting makes the manuscript easy to read, presents your valuable work in a professional form and upholds Clemson University’s reputation for high standards by ensuring that all of the published theses and dissertations conform to minimum common formatting requirements.

  • Does everyone have to use the same writer’s style guide?

    No — the Graduate School does not require that you use one particular style handbook for your thesis or dissertation. Your department may recommend a recognized style manual for writers of academic papers, such as the MLA or APA style manuals. If you are unsure about what style is generally accepted in your field and your department does not specify a style guide, consult your advisor and, together, choose a style that is suitable for your discipline.

  • Where do I find content-related requirements?

    You and your committee are responsible for your document’s quality and content. Your graduate program handbook may contain basic information about thesis or dissertation requirements. When you have questions concerning the content of your work, you should ask your committee chair or someone in your department who is familiar with your work and the practices of your field.

    The staff of the Manuscript Review office can help you interpret our formatting requirements, but your committee is the best source of advice for writing and organizing your work. While the Manuscript Review staff may point out noticeable inconsistencies in grammar, spelling or usage for you to revise or may catch a typo in a prominent text element, we do not check your manuscript word-for-word.

  • Does the Manuscript Review staff proofread my paper? Or can I use an editor?

    No, the review process does not include proofreading. As noted above, the reviewer may call your attention to typographical, spelling or grammar errors in highly visible portions of your manuscript. Note, for instance, that the default setting for Microsoft Word’s spellcheck tools overlooks words in all caps, which can sometimes lead to typos in headings and we’ll point those out if we see them. But we don’t read word-for-word or critique either the mechanics or content of your writing.

    The Graduate School does provide a list of typists/formatters and editors/proofreaders on the Templates, Links & Tools page. These are individuals or companies who have expressed an interest in engaging with Clemson graduate students to provide thesis/dissertation support services.

  • Does the Manuscript Review staff check my paper for plagiarism?

    No. Although we offer you the opportunity to use the Turnitin anti-plagiarism app through Canvas (described on the Theses & Dissertations overview page) to check your citations, avoiding plagiarism is your responsibility.

  • Are there different requirements for electronic vs. printed manuscripts?

    In the print publishing realm, yes. However, the Graduate School does not supply guidelines for printed manuscripts. The guidelines provided by the Graduate School are intended for electronic documents and if you submit a thesis or dissertation formatted according to these guidelines, your end product will be a fully functional, quality electronic manuscript.

    If you plan to purchase bound copies for yourself or your department, if required (see this list of departments requiring copies) and you follow these e-publishing guidelines, your manuscript may not meet traditional print publishing standards. For example, the first page of each main section will not start on a right-hand page and the binding margin will not be any wider than the outside margin — potentially causing text and/or images to be very close to, or hidden in, the binding. You may opt to adhere to more conventional formatting guidelines for printed manuscripts if you so choose, but the Manuscript Review staff will be unable to assist with formatting specifically for print. You should consult your advisors for additional guidance if you plan eventually to publish your manuscript as a bound book following academic book design norms.

  • What tools are available to help me format my manuscript?

    If you are using Microsoft Word, a formatting template is available for your convenience. To edit and use it, you’ll need to:

    1. Save the template to your hard drive and from there, open it in Word.
    2. Re-save the template with your preferred filename.
    3. On the title page, replace the text in parentheses with your manuscript title and other personal info as instructed.

    In addition to the formatting template, the Manuscript Review office provides PDF examples of each standard element of an academic paper and a sample manuscript. You will find all of these documents listed and linked on the Forms, Links, & Tools page.

  • What date should be on my title page?

    The date on your title page should be the month and year of your actual graduation ceremony (even if you don’t plan to attend) and not the date your paper was submitted or approved or the date you completed all your program requirements. Also, it’s just the month — no day and no comma. So, “May 2022,” not “May 7, 2022” or “May, 2022,” or “March 2022,” for example.

  • Does the text in my figures, tables or charts have to be the same font as my regular text?

    No, but to the extent possible, all figures, tables and charts should use the same font(s). At the very least, all table and figure captions or legends should be in a consistent font, even if the data inside those figures/charts is not in the same font.

  • What if my manuscript is made up of individual journal articles?

    Journal style is used when your thesis or dissertation consists of discussions of separate bodies of research. If your thesis or dissertation is made up (in full or in part) of journal articles you have written, this is the model you will likely use. When you use journal style, you typically list works cited at the end of each article. You may want to include a preface (which introduces the bodies of research to be discussed) at the beginning of the manuscript and a conclusions section (that comments on the bodies of research as a whole) at the end of the manuscript. You may include your co-authors or co-researchers under the chapter title, may have a separate abstract at the beginning of that article and may place separate references at the end of the article. Slight formatting variations between articles are permitted when your articles were previously formatted for different journals, BUT you must maintain 1–1.25-inch page margins consistently from chapter to chapter and single-column, double-spaced body text, per the Graduate School guidelines. It is not acceptable to insert a PDF directly from a journal into your document.

  • Do I have to include either three journal articles or five regular chapters in my ETD?

    Not necessarily; the Graduate School does not prescribe requirements for the body of your ETD. You and your advisor make content decisions such as this based on the nature of your research, the standards and requirements of your program and the expectations of your discipline.

  • What's happening with the rows of dots in my table of contents? Why can’t I make them line up?

    Microsoft Word has a set of automated table of contents tools that work nicely to create and update your table of contents, but you do need to use the heading styles from Word’s styles menu to generate the automatic table of contents. You may then customize your table of contents so that its fonts coordinate with the fonts you have used for the rest of your ETD.

    If you assemble your table of contents by hand, you’ll need to insert ellipses, also called leader dots: the series of dots that link entries to their page numbers in your table of contents (these things: . . . . . .). If you type a series of periods in an attempt to create ellipses, you won’t be able to line them up precisely because the spacing between the periods is affected by the letters to the left of the ellipses and the numbers to the right. To make uniform ellipses and to perfectly align entry page numbers, use the “tab leader” function in Word. If you use one of the Graduate School’s Word templates, the ellipses shouldn’t be a problem. If you accidentally delete the pre-set ellipses leaders or don’t want to use the templates, we’ve provided a “cheat sheet” — a table of contents instructions PDF — for creating your tabs for indents and ellipses leaders.

  • Where can I get help with Microsoft Word?

    Your first resource should be the Help files in Word itself. Depending on what issue you’re having, they can be extremely useful. Microsoft’s online Help section on Word is also very helpful. If a quick check of the Help documentation doesn’t solve your problem, you can email the CCIT Help Desk or call 864-656-3494. You will probably get best results if you go to one of the Help Desks in person with the file you’re working on (hours and locations are listed on the CCIT Support page). The Manuscript Review staff can answer specific document-formatting questions about Microsoft Word, but we are limited in the time and amount of help we can provide each student, particularly near a submission deadline.

  • The Manuscript Reviewer tells me one thing about the format of my paper and my advisor tells me another. Who’s right?

    In many ways, formatting is more an art than a science, so there are rarely right and wrong answers, with the exception of the Graduate School’s basic requirements for title page appearance, front-matter order and format consistency. Whenever possible, we accommodate the requests of your advisor or committee (except for the few non-negotiable items listed in the formatting instructions). We know that some programs have very different standards or provide their own template. If in doubt, email with specific formatting questions.

  • What do I do after I secure my committee members’ signatures on my GS7 form?

    If your committee has signed your GS7 — whether or not they’ve asked for further content revisions — submit your GS7 to Enrolled Services (104-D Sikes Hall) by the GS7 submission deadline. The GS7 form may be submitted electronically, as scanned email attachment or as a printed copy.

Manuscript Review

  • What do I do if I’ve moved away from Clemson, if I’m a satellite campus or online student or if it’s difficult for me to get to campus during business hours?

    You can and may complete all the final ETD steps without visiting the main campus at all. Defense, ETD submission and format review, GS7 submission: All these steps may now be completed electronically. If your manuscript is not yet approved and you must be away from computer access, arrange for a reliable colleague or committee member to make sure your GS7 gets to Enrolled Student Services after your committee signs off on it.

    Email is the best way to correspond with the Manuscript Review office, so the reviewer can provide detailed help — including screen shots — if you’re stuck at any point in the formatting or submission process.

  • Where is the Manuscript Review desk?

    The Manuscript Review desk is in E-106 Martin Hall (Campus Map), within the Graduate School offices. Please email to make an appointment if you want to come by; this will ensure a reviewer is able to meet with you.

  • When is the Manuscript Review desk open?

    The Graduate School offices are open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., excluding weekends and University holidays. Please email to make an appointment if you want to come by; this will ensure a reviewer is able to meet with you.

  • What if I have trouble converting my manuscript to PDF or uploading my manuscript?

    If you’ve checked the Convert and Submit steps in the Graduate School’s web resources and are still having trouble, check the CCIT Knowledge Base for issues related PDF conversion (login required; search “PDF”) or contact the TigerPrints Coordinator for upload concerns. The Manuscript Review staff also can assist with PDF conversion issues. We have never met a manuscript that absolutely cannot be converted to PDF using one of the many available methods, so above all, remain calm and ask for help before you find yourself in danger of missing a deadline.

  • Can I submit my draft manuscript before I defend to get a preliminary review? And how do I do that?

    Yes, but please do so at least two weeks before the first submission deadline. Closer to the deadline, the Manuscript Review staff must devote their time to students who have already defended and obtained committee signatures.

    If you do choose to submit a draft of your manuscript for format review, you’ll do it by uploading to the same Digital Commons account that you will use for your final submission. This gives you the advantage of setting up your TigerPrints ETD submission account well ahead of the final submission deadline. In your TigerPrints account menu, there is a field for “Comments.” This is where you may indicate to the review staff that your initial submission is a pre-defense draft for a format check. We want to make sure we don’t mark your draft as “accepted” when you plan additional work on it. The manuscript Reviewer will remove your draft comment when your ETD is accepted.

  • How long does a review take? How will I know you’ve reviewed it?

    Please allow at least one to two full business days (excluding weekends and holidays) for each review. You’ll receive an email (sent to the Clemson email address you used to set up your TigerPrints account) when the review is completed. The Manuscript Reviewer will send an email to you (to the email address you provided in your TigerPrints account) with formatting feedback — details for any revisions needed or approval if you don’t need to revise.

  • Can I submit a paper copy for review instead of using the electronic process?

    No; all submission and review — including draft review — is done online via the TigerPrints Digital Commons ETD platform. Part of the review process is making sure your digital file is complete and correctly formatted for electronic publication. However, if you are still working on your manuscript and have a question that you think we could better address if we could actually see your original document, feel free to bring in your laptop or a CD, DVD or USB key with your manuscript on it. Please do not email your completed ETD directly to the manuscript reviewer for draft or final review.

ETD Submission and Archiving

Copies of Your Manuscript

  • Do I have to order bound copies of my manuscript?

    The Graduate School and the Cooper Library do not require and cannot provide print copies, but you may be required to order a hardbound copy or multiple copies for your department. To see if your department requires that you provide them with a copy, be sure to check the Department List and ask your advisor. A few departments specify a print service; otherwise you may engage a print-on-demand vendor of your choosing.