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Dissertation Formatting

Guide for the Perplexed:

Submitting Your Dissertation

You’re almost there! You’ve passed your defense and your dissertation is approved, so you’re ready submit it and receive your degree. The process of formatting and uploading the document involves a few tricky steps, but after only about an hour of work you will be finished!

Below is a checklist of steps for submitting your dissertation after you had made any needed changes following your defense. The rest of this guide includes step-by-step instructions on completing these steps.

The instructions in this guide have been vetted for multiple recent versions of Microsoft Word. If you use something else, consider exporting your dissertation to a .docx format and then using Word to complete these steps.

While using this guide, have the following additional resources on hand for easy reference:

  • The GSAS Policies and Procedures Handbook, especially Appendix F (p. 72-76).
  • ProQuest’s Preparing Your Manuscript for Submission document (available at this link).

Arrange Your Document according to requirements

Arrange the components of your dissertation in the following order within your document:

  1. Title Page. Format this page based on the sample provided in Appendix F of the GSAS Policies and Procedures Guidebook. Confirm that the title of your dissertation matches the paperwork that you filed with your proposal. If you have changed your title, you need to submit another Dissertation Title form.
  2. Dedication or Acknowledgments. This section is not technically required, but most people include it as a way of thanking the many people who supported them through the long and winding path of doctoral studies.
  3. Table of Contents. Make sure to double-check your page numbers before saving the final file. Include the Abstract and Vita on the Table of Contents, but do not include a page number for these sections.
  4. Preface (if used).
  5. Introduction.
  6. Chapters.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. Bibliography.
  9. Appendices (if used).
  10. Abstract. This is a summary of your dissertation. It covers the major turns of your argument and your findings in an abbreviation space. The abstract cannot exceed 350 words. Do not include a page number on this section. For a formatting example, refer to Appendix F of the GSAS Policies and Procedures Guidebook.
  11. Vita. This is a brief biographical statement that should be no longer than one page. For an example, refer to Appendix F of the GSAS Policies and Procedures Guidebook.

Format your dissertation file according to requirements

Margins

All margins should be 1 inch, with no printing in the margins. In most versions of Word, this already happens by default. To confirm that this is the case for your document:

  1. Go to the Layout ribbon.
  2. Select the Margins setting. Typically, the “Normal” format already uses 1-inch margins on all sides of the page. If your document is not already formatted this way, adjust the margins accordingly.

Pagination

The pagination requirements for dissertations are very specific:

  • For the first page of any chapter, page numbers are in the center of the bottom of the page, one double space below the last line of text, approximately 5/8 to ¾ inches above the bottom edge.
  • For all other pages, numbers are placed one double space above the first line of printing and just inside the right margin. This needs to be approximately 5/8 to ¾ inch from the top edge and 1 inch from the right edge.
  • The Abstract or Vita should not include page numbers.
  • It’s common practice to have a pagination scheme for the Dedication and Preface using Roman numerals and then start the Introduction with page 1. These instructions assume that you will follow this practice.

To make this pagination possible, you need to begin by creating a new section in between each component or chapter of your document. For example, between each chapter or between components like your conclusion and bibliography, you not only need to start a new page, but also an invisible marker that tells Word to follow the pagination scheme that you will set up momentarily. In between each chapter or component of your document, do the following:

  1. Go to the beginning of each new chapter or component.
  2. In the Layout ribbon, select the Breaks menu. Under Section Breaks, choose Next Page or Continuous, depending on if you already have a page break between chapters.

Go to the first page you would like numbered with Roman Numerals. Double-click the footer of the document. The Header & Footer ribbon appears.

  1. In the Header & Footer ribbon:
    1. Deselect the Link to Previous option.
  2. If you’re using a Mac:
    1. In the same ribbon, select Page Number > Page Number.
    2. For the Alignment option, select Center.
    3. Click Format. Select “i, ii, iii”. Start page numbering at i.
  3. If you’re using a PC:
    1. In the same ribbon, select Page Number > Bottom of Page.
    2. Choose the centered option (Plain Number 2).
    3. Select Page Number > Format Page Numbers.
    4. Select “I, ii, iii”. Start page numbering at i.

Go to the first page of your introduction. Double-click the footer of that page. A Header & Footer ribbon appears.

  1. In the Header & Footer ribbon:
    1. Select the Different First Page option.
    2. Deselect the Link to Previous option.
  2. If you’re using a Mac:
    1. In the same ribbon, select Page Number > Page Number.
    2. For the Alignment option, select Center.
    3. Click Format. For the Number format, select “1, 2, 3”. Start your page numbering at 1.
  3. If you’re using a PC:
    1. In the same ribbon, select Page Number > Bottom of Page.
    2. Choose the centered option (Plain Number 2).
    3. Select Page Number > Format Page Numbers.
    4. Select “1, 2, 3”. Start the page numbering at 1.

Go to the header of the second page of your introduction.

  1. If you’re using a Mac:
    1. In the Header & Footer ribbon, select Page Number > Page Number.
    2. For the Alignment option, select Right. Click OK.
  2. If you’re using a PC:
    1. In the same ribbon, select Page Number > Top of Page.
    2. Choose the right-justified option (Plain Number 3).
  3. If the page number appears closer than a double-space from the text, enter an additional space below the page number.

Follow these instructions for the first page of each subsequent chapter:

  1. Go to the header or footer for the first page.
  2. In the Header & Footer ribbon, select Different First Page. The page number shifts automatically to the bottom of the page.
  3. If the page number appears closer than a double-space from the text, enter an additional space below the page number.

Follow these instructions to remove the page number from your Abstract and Vita:

  1. Go to the header or footer for the page.
  2. In the Header & Footer ribbon, deselect Link to Previous.
  3. Click the page number delete it by pressing the delete or Backspace key.

Font

ProQuest requires a TrueType font with a recommended point size of 12. The easiest way to meet these requirements is to simply use Times New Roman with a point size of 12 throughout your document. If you would like to use another font, refer to the ProQuest Preparing Your Manuscript for Submission Document for specifications. If you use special symbols, use the version within Word (rather than copying and pasting from elsewhere).

Save Your Dissertation as a PDF with fonts embedded

ProQuest does not recommend including images or media in the dissertation PDF itself but does accept separate files as supplements. Refer to the Preparing Your Manuscript for Submission document for more information if this applies to you.

Before you save your file, you need to verify that Word is going to embed the fonts that you use into the PDF file that you save. This is important because it will allow people to read your file even if they do not have the fonts used for your dissertation, which usually comes in handy if you are using an alternative font for languages other than English. To accomplish this:

  1. Open Preferences. (Mac: Word menu > Preferences. Windows: File > Options).
  2. Go to the Save preferences.
  3. Select the “Embed fonts in the file” option.

This option will make your saved files larger. Therefore, if you do not regularly save files for which it makes sense to embed fonts, you may want to undo this setting after you are finished submitting your dissertation.

Save the file as a PDF:

  1. In the File menu select Save a Copy or Export.
  2. For the File Format, choose PDF.
  3. If Word prompts you to choose a method for saving, select “Best for printing.”

Open the file in a PDF reader (such as Preview or Adobe Reader) to make sure that everything looks right. In particular, double-check that chapter page numbers match those indicated on the table of contents and that your formatting has been preserved.

Submit your dissertation to ProQuest. This step requires you to make decisions about how and when you want your dissertation to be available to others. It’s worth reviewing these options early to give yourself time to discern your choices.

It’s time to submit your dissertation to ProQuest! Go to this website. Sign up and open an account.

Once your account is established, follow the online prompts to upload your dissertation. You will be asked to make several decisions about the availability of your dissertation. Consider the following factors below as you make these choices:

Type of Publishing

You have two options for publishing:

  • Traditional Publishing. Your dissertation will be available to libraries that pay for access. Occasionally, you might receive a (very small) royalty check. This option is free. Most people select this option.
  • Open Access Publishing PLUS makes your research available from ProQuest’s Open Access portal. That means anybody in the world with an internet connection can access and read it. This option costs $95 and means that you will not receive royalties. It might make it marginally more likely that other scholars will find and cite your work. Some (though not all) publishers are hesitant about taking on projects based on dissertations that are open access, so make sure to clarify their policies if you expect to publish your dissertation another form.

Discoverability on Search Engines

ProQuest asks if you want a record of your dissertation (and, if you choose the open access option, a link) to be findable by search engines such as Google and Bing. Unless there is confidential or sensitive information in your dissertation, this is generally a good idea because it reinforces your professional online presence.

Delaying Release.

You have the option to delay release (or “embargo”) of your dissertation for six months, a year, or two years. The most common reason to do this is to gauge the feasibility of publishing your dissertation as a book or set of journal articles. Some (though not all) publishers prefer that articles or books not be based on dissertations that are already available on ProQuest.

Filing for Copyright.

ProQuest offers to file a copy of your dissertation with the U.S. Copyright Office for $55. You already retain copyright over your own work. The benefit to registering the copyright is that in the case of plagiarism, you can sue more easily in federal court and recoup attorney fees. This is rarely necessary for dissertations. You are probably safe not doing this. If you want this extra protection, however, consider registering the copyright yourself at copyright.gov. This takes only about a half hour of your time and saves you $20.

Here are some recommendations for these options based on what you plan to do with your dissertation after graduating:

  • If you plan on turning your dissertation into a book or set of journal articles, choose traditional publishing and delay the release of your dissertation for 2 years. This will keep your options open as you approach publishers about projects based on your dissertation.
  • If you are not turning your dissertation into a book or articles and have a strong ideological attachment to the open access movement, consider publishing open access if you can afford it. A release delay is not necessary.
  • If neither of these scenarios applies to you, choose traditional publishing without a release delay.

Fill Out the Survey of Earned Doctorates

The Survey of Earned Doctorates is a census of recipients of doctorates in the United States. It’s intended to track trends in graduate education. The data from this survey is used for analysis and policy within Fordham and across the country. By taking this survey seriously, you are helping give policy members, administrators, and higher education journalists a clear view of trends in doctoral study.

To take the survey, go to https://sed-ncses.org and follow the onscreen responses. Once you are finished, GSAS will receive a confirmation email that will be added to your graduation paperwork.

Verify that Your Dissertation Paperwork is All Set

The GSAS instructions mention a set of documents that need to be submitted for you to receive your degree. The department will take generally care of this. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to confirm that you are all set.

Check with Sue Perciasepe in the department office to verify that the following documents have been submitted:

  • Dissertation Prepared Under the Direction of Form
  • Report on Written Dissertation Form
  • Report on Oral Defense Form

The GSAS should have automatically received copies of the confirmation emails after you submitted your document to ProQuest and completed the Survey of Earned Doctorates. If in doubt, you can verify this by emailing adgsas@fordham.edu.