Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines

As part of the graduation requirements for students completing theses, dissertations, or doctoral projects, once final documents are accepted by the Graduate College as complete, approved, and properly formatted, students must then submit their final approved document electronically to ProQuest and Digital Scholarship@UNLV by the appropriate deadline each semester.

Theses and dissertations must be properly formatted according to both the style guidelines used in your discipline and the format required by UNLV.

The sections below will guide you through the entire thesis/dissertation process: from getting started to formatting to submitting.

1. Tools to Help with Research

  • UNLV Research Librarians
    UNLV Libraries have many resources to help with the research process prior to writing your thesis or dissertation. The most important resource the library offers is your college’s research librarian. You can find contact information and helpful research tips
  • UNLV Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs)
    A good starting place for research is seeing what has been done by students in your department. Open access to e-theses and e-dissertations (ETDs) benefit graduate students, as research can be shared with prospective or current employers, a valuable career tool. Open access makes research accessible to a global audience and has potential for increased use and higher impact of your work. Students can incorporate interactive features such as multimedia, hyperlinks, and supplemental files by using various forms of creative scholarship.

2. Before You Start Writing Your Thesis or Dissertation

If you have concerns about how to start writing the thesis or dissertation so that it complies with the Graduate College policies or if you have concerns about what forms need to be submitted prior to and after your master’s and/ or doctoral defense, this section should help alleviate these concerns. The “Things to Think About Before Writing the Thesis or Dissertation” provides helpful suggestions about how to start the formatting before you start writing. Presetting your formatting will ease formatting-induced frustrations in the long-term. The “Paperwork to Complete Your Master’s Defense and Degree Program” and “Paperwork to Complete Your Master’s Defense and Degree Program” help with concerns about making sure all paperwork has been turned in when it should be. Finally, check the graduation and submission deadlines for the semester you wish to graduate. Make sure you submit your graduation application, defend, submit, and upload your thesis or dissertation on or before the listed deadline.

3. General Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations

This section just provides some general guidelines for the theses and dissertations. Reading it will help to answer questions about whether the theses or dissertation is collaborative (it is not), how to choose a style guide, who is responsible for judging the acceptability of the thesis or dissertation, and so forth.

4. Use of Previously Published Material

This section discusses the nature of using previously published material. Please read if you are planning on incorporating such material into your theses or dissertation.

5. Organization of the Thesis and Dissertation

6. Thesis & Dissertation Checklist

All theses, dissertations, and doctoral projects are checked by reviewers using this checklist. We recommend that students compare their document to this checklist prior to Graduate College format review.

7. Copyright Information

Thesis or dissertation authors automatically own the copyright to their documents since it represents the author’s original work, fixed in any tangible medium.

Registering a copyright on a thesis or dissertation is optional. Students may consider it because they want the public record to show they own the work’s copyright; they want a certificate of registration; or because in successful litigation, works that are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office may be eligible for attorney’s fees and statutory damage.

Students can register a copyright on their thesis or dissertation with the U.S. Copyright Office by:

  • Working through ProQuest, which collects a fee for its service
  • Filing a registration of copyright themselves by sending an application form, a nonrefundable filing fee, and a non-returnable copy of their thesis or dissertation to the U.S. Copyright Office

More information on copyright is available on the U.S. Copyright Office’s website. Answers to frequently asked copyright questions on the FAQs page.

If students choose to register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, they must indicate it with a copyright page in their thesis or dissertation. This page is optional, but encouraged, for students who do not register a copyright.

Please follow the guidelines below if including a copyright page:

  • The copyright page is inserted after the title page
  • This page is not numbered 
  • This page does not have headers or footers in the margins 
  • The most common copyright page consists of two lines, centered on the page and double-spaced: 
    • First line: Copyright by Name (First then Last), YEAR
    • Second line: All Rights Reserved
  • If submitting in December, date for January of the following year. 

8. Creating a PDF

This document discusses how to create a pdf. This is the format required for when you submit your document (thesis or dissertation) to the Graduate College for review.

9. iThenticate

All theses and dissertations must be submitted to iThenticate for a similarity check prior to submission of the final document to the Graduate College. A copy of the similarity report must be submitted to the student’s advisory committee at the time of the final defense, and it will be taken into account when determining the outcome of the defense. If the student passes their defense, the report shall be attached to the Culminating Experience Results form before submission to the Graduate College.

10. Format Review

Please submit your committee-approved thesis, dissertation or doctoral project through our submission website. Note: You can only submit your document using your Rebelmail account. If you are simultaneously logged into other Gmail accounts, you will need to sign out of them and log in to your Rebelmail account only.

Theses, dissertations and doctoral projects must be submitted to the Graduate College for format check through the online submission form. If you have any difficulty with your online submission process please email grad.td@unlv.edu so we can assist you as soon as possible. 

11. Thesis and Dissertation Submission Process

Once the formatting of your thesis, dissertation, or doctoral project is approved by the Graduate College, you will receive your final document and instructions on how to submit it to ProQuest and Digital Scholarship@UNLV. Students must submit their final document electronically to ProQuest and Digital Scholarship@UNLV by the appropriate deadline each semester as part of their graduation requirements.

Option to Embargo

Some students may have a compelling reason to embargo their thesis or dissertation for a period of time to protect intellectual property rights or due to other publication restrictions.