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Thesis and Dissertation FAQs

About 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 deadlines chart provided by the Graduate School. These are in addition to any departmental deadlines that may apply; your advisor can tell you about departmental requirements.

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What happens if I miss a deadline?

We try to help you make sure that missing thesis or dissertation deadlines won’t delay your graduation. Depending on which deadline you miss or how late you are, though, you may have to pay fines or delay your graduation. 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 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 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 deadlines chart to determine the last date for filing the GS7. There are separate versions of the form for master's and doctoral candidates.
What should I do if my advisor or one of my committee members is unavailable to sign my GS7?

We cannot overstate the importance of planning ahead. 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. 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 the committee to find out if they will be available to review your manuscript and sign your GS7 before the deadline.

Somebody mentioned a GS32 form. Do I need one of those?

No — the GS32 is obsolete now that Clemson University’s thesis and dissertation publishing is done electronically.

About Formatting

Why is proper formatting important?

Now more than ever, your thesis or dissertation will be viewed by many other scholars, since it will be available to a much larger audience via ProQuest’s website. 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 accepted theses and dissertations conform to minimum common formatting requirements.

What is the web address for The Guide?

All of the information that used to be in “The Guide” is now divided into more user-friendly sections on the Graduate School website. Formatting instructions begin with some introductory information that answers several formatting-specific questions.

What date should be on my title page?

The date on your title page should be the month and year of your graduation (no day and no comma), and not the date your paper was submitted or approved. So, “May 2015,” not “May 7, 2015” or “May, 2015,” for example.

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

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

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 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 (click here for hours and locations). The Manuscript Review staff can answer specific document-formatting questions about MS Word, but we are limited in the time and amount of help we can provide each student, particularly near a submission deadline.

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

Ellipses, also called leader dots, are 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 will never 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, use the “tab leader” function of Word or your other word processing program. 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 PDF instruction page for creating your tab and ellipses leaders.

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

In many cases, 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 and front-matter format standardization. Whenever possible, we accommodate the requests of your advisor or committee (except for the non-negotiable items listed in the formatting instructions). If in doubt, email manuscriptreview-l@clemson.edu or call 656-5338 with specific formatting questions.

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. Slight formatting variations between articles are permitted when your articles were previously formatted for different journals.

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

If your committee has signed your GS7 and you have no further content revisions to make to your thesis or dissertation, submit your GS7 to Enrolled Services (104-D Sikes Hall) and then you can begin the manuscript submission and review process by visiting the Home Page of the Graduate School's manuscript website.

About Manuscript Review and the Manuscript Review Office

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

The implementation of electronic thesis and dissertation submission is a huge benefit to students who have moved or are otherwise unable to make frequent trips to campus. When you return to campus for your defense, if your committee approves your manuscript that day, you can take your GS7 form to Enrolled Student Services and then complete the rest of the review and submission process from any Web-enabled computer. If your manuscript is not yet approved and you must leave town, arrange for a reliable trusted friend, colleague or committee member to make sure your GS7 gets to Enrolled Student Services after your committee signs off on it. You will not have to return to campus to take care of your manuscript after your GS7 is submitted.

Where is the Manuscript Review Office?

The Manuscript Review Office is in E-106 Martin Hall (Campus Map).

When is the Manuscript Review Office open?

The Manuscript Review office is part of the Graduate School administrative office. The Graduate School is open from 8:00am until 4:30pm, excluding weekends and University holidays.

I went to the Manuscript Review Office earlier today, and there wasn’t anyone there. Why not?

The Manuscript Review staff is composed of one full-time and one part-time employee, both of whom have many other responsibilities. We try to make sure that someone is always available in the office, but meetings, business trips and other obligations may mean that the staff members are out of the office at the same time. It’s best to email questions, whenever possible, to manuscriptreview-l@clemson.edu or to email or call ahead (656-5338) to make an appointment with one of the staff members. The staff is sensitive to the urgency students feel about manuscript issues and endeavor to answer email even when they’re out of the office or otherwise physically unavailable.

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

If you’ve checked the Graduate School's online documentation  (Conversion Information, Uploading Information) and are still having trouble, call ProQuest for uploading issues and issues related to the ProQuest PDF conversion tool (510-665-1200, ext 2 or email support@dissertations.umi.com; support is available Monday through Friday from 9:00am until 5:00pm PACIFIC time, excluding US holidays). The Manuscript Review staff can assist with other conversion issues. There is no document 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 manuscript before I defend to get a preliminary review?

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

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

You must allow at least one to two full business days for each review. Plan ahead. You’ll receive an email (sent to the address you used to set up your UMI account) when the review is completed.

Can I use the computers/printers/copier in the Manuscript Review office?

The computers, printers, and copier in the Manuscript Review Office are for staff use only. Please call the CCIT Help Desk at 656-3494 to locate the computer lab nearest you. However, if you 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.

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

No. Part of the review process is making sure your digital file is complete and correctly formatted for electronic publication.

About Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Submission and Archiving

What is ProQuest?

ProQuest Dissertation Publishing is the world’s oldest and largest publisher of dissertations. Virtually all doctoral institutions in the US use ProQuest to archive dissertations.

ProQuest is a corporation. What happens if they go out of business?

ProQuest is the designated digital dissertation archive for the US Library of Congress. If ProQuest ever were to cease operation, it is contractually obligated to surrender all holdings to the Library of Congress, assuring continued access and preservation of its content.

How can I or someone else get access to my thesis or dissertation after it’s published?

Anyone with internet access will be able to view your thesis or dissertation in its entirety on the Cooper Library’s website by searching the TigerPrints ETD database (beginning several weeks after your graduation). In addition, anyone can order a paper copy from UMI. You will be paid royalties for any copies sold at ProQuest (except those you order yourself). See the SUBMIT page for more information on royalties.

When will my manuscript be available online? If I ordered bound copies, when will I receive them?

You should be able to access your manuscript online and receive your printed copies about six to eight weeks after your graduation.

About Copies of My Manuscript

Do I have to order bound copies of my manuscript?

You may be required to order a single hardbound copy or multiple copies for your department; the Graduate School and the Cooper Library no longer require print copies. To see if your department requires that you purchase a copy for the department, be sure to check the Department List and ask your advisor.

Do I still have to submit copies of my manuscript to the library?

Your manuscript will be archived digitally, and the Graduate School will transmit copies to the library for digital filing. Therefore, you do not have to print a copy for the library’s collection.

What if I want to order extra printed and bound copies after graduation?

If you decide to order additional bound copies of your work AFTER your submission and acceptance process is complete, you will need to do so from ProQuest. To place your order online via ProQuest and receive an author discount, click the "Order Copies" button on your submission details page. For additional ways to order dissertation hard copies, please visit ProQuest's Order a Dissertation page. ProQuest's answer to this question, along with a link to contact their customer service staff, may be found here.

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