You've done the hard work, and are ready to submit your master's thesis or project to the library. This process has several steps, so please use the checklist to make sure that you have followed them all. 


Step 1: Prepare your thesis or project.

  • You must have your completed thesis or project saved as an ADA accessible PDF, and should follow the style guidelines set forth by your academic program. If you are not sure what the style guidelines are, please consult with your faculty adviser. Please keep at least one back-up copy of this file in another location that is NOT on your computer.
  • When you are preparing for your defense, you should download the Departmental Signature page from the Forms section. You will need to obtain all of the signatures of your committee members. This is often done at the defense or soon after defense is completed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your forms will be signed electronically using Adobe Sign. Please contact your advisor for more information about how to route the Certification Page and the Departmental Signature Page.
  • Download the Certification Form and obtain signatures from your Committee Chair and your Department Graduate Program Coordinator. If you have a compelling reason to restrict or embargo your thesis or project, your Committee Chair will need to approve the embargo. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your forms will be signed electronically using Adobe Sign. Please contact your advisor for more information about how to route the Certification Page and the Departmental Signature Page.
  • When your defense has been completed, and the Departmental Signature Page signed, you need to make the Signature Page ADA compliant and then merge it as the first page of your thesis or project. For information on merging Adobe Acrobat files, go to the FAQ section.
  • Save the merged document in PDF format and verify it for ADA compliance. When you save the file, the name of the saved document name must use the following format:     

Last nameFirst name_TermYear For example: DoeJohn_Summer2020.pdf

Step 2: Pay the Fee. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic you must pay the $25 fee online.

  1. Paying online:  This method is required during the COVID-19 pandemic. To pay online, you may use an electronic check. This method is free. Or you may pay using a credit card. If you use a credit card, a convenience fee will apply. MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and Visa are all accepted.You will receive a receipt by email for your online payment. Please make sure to save a copy to submit to the library.

Step 3: Gather the Documents, Submit your File.

In order to submit your file online, you need to complete the Thesis/Project Upload. Make sure you have your final, ADA compliant PDF document ready to submit.

You will receive an email confirmation that your submission has been received. This may take a couple of days, so plan accordingly!  

After submitting your PDF via the Thesis/Project Upload, save the scan of the library copy of the receipt along with your E-Thesis Certification Form and the ETD Submission Checklist and Email them to AND For students in an online-only program, your program coordinator will make sure the paperwork is delivered to the library.

Group Submissions

Group projects should only be submitted via the Thesis/Project Upload once. It may be easiest to designate someone to submit the project on behalf of the entire group. Each student is still responsible for completing the ETD certification form, and for paying the fee! Each student MUST Email their form and receipt to Carmen Mitchell AND by the deadline in order for the project to be submitted. Group projects will not be reviewed until ALL members of the group have completed their paperwork.

Multimedia/Website Submissions

If your project or thesis has multimedia files (audio or video) or a website component, please let Carmen Mitchell know. For websites, it will take two business days for us to prepare a copy of your website. For captioning video files, it may take up to a week. Please plan accordingly!

Publication and Availability

After your uploaded document is verified, it is made public through ScholarWorks approximately two weeks after the end of the semester. Your document will be publicly accessible to anyone on the web. A link to the document will be available through the library’s online card catalog (see the FAQ for information on redactions or embargos). CSUSM adopted an Intellectual Property Policy in 2012. This policy states "copyrightable works prepared by students as part of the requirements for a University degree program are deemed to be the property of the student. Unless otherwise agreed upon, research records for a graduate theses or dissertation are the property of the University, but the student-creator may retain a copy of the work." You should talk with your faculty adviser if you have questions about the material contained in your thesis or project.

Confidential Information

If you are dealing with confidential information in your file, an embargo may not address your concerns. You might want to consider a character string replacement to replace the confidential info with generic info. Please contact Carmen Mitchell for assistance with this.

For some disciplines, you may have signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in order to complete the work necessary for your project or thesis. If this applies to you or your group, your faculty adviser may request that you submit a "reduced content" thesis or project to ScholarWorks. This request is handled the same way that an extension request is handled: Your faculty adviser should communicate with your department coordinator, and the department coordinator will request the reduced content exemption from the Dean of Graduate Studies. Please do NOT wait to make this request, as it may take some time for a decision to be made. Please contact Carmen Mitchell if you have any questions.

The CSUSM Library will not retain paper copies of your thesis/project/dissertation.


For more information about the CSUSM ETD submission procedures, please contact:

Carmen Mitchell, Scholarly Communication Librarian