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E-thesis, Project, and Dissertation Submission Guide

Welcome

ETD Submission Welcome

At CSUSM, every Master's degree program is required to include a culminating experience. The form of this experience differs according to degree programs, but all Master's students must satisfactorily complete either a thesis, a project or a comprehensive examination. A finished Master's thesis is a scholarly work that is the product of extensive research and related preparation. 

Electronic theses, projects, and dissertations are also known as ETDs. This guide contains all of the information that you will need to submit your thesis, project, or dissertation. Please be aware that this process may take several days. DO NOT wait until the last minute!

The following 45min video will show you an overview of this submission guide. It is strongly recommended that you watch this video and read the entire guide before you begin the process!

ETD Workshop Recording 2018

Office Hours

Carmen Mitchell and Amy Dyess will hold open office hours for assistance with E-thesis submissions and ADA compliance in Kellogg 3400. 

  • Monday, December 2nd, 2:30pm-4:30pm
  • Tuesday, December 3rd, 2:30pm-4:30pm
  • Wednesday, December 4th, 2:30pm-4:30pm
  • Thursday, December 5th, 9:00am-12:00pm

 

Deadlines

The ETD submission deadlines are always at noon on the last Thursday that classes are scheduled:

  • The Fall 2019 deadline is December 5th at noon.
  • The Spring 2020 deadline is May 7th at noon.
  • The Summer 2020 deadline is August 6th at noon.

The library does not have the ability to grant extensions for ETD submission. Please contact your faculty advisor as early as possible if you know that you will not be able to meet the deadline. Your faculty advisor should communicate with your department coordinator, and the department coordinator will request the extension from the Dean of Graduate Studies. If granted, an extension can be anywhere from one day to one week. If you need more than a one week period of time, you will need to enroll for a course the next semester. Please seek guidance from your faculty advisor or department coordinator. 

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.

Required Forms

ETD Forms

On this page are some of the forms you will need to complete in order to submit your thesis or project to the library.

1) Download the E-thesis checklist to make sure you don't miss a step in the ETD submission process.

2) Download the Certification Form and obtain signatures from your Thesis/Project Committee Chair and your Department Graduate Program Coordinator. 


 

3) Download the correct Signature Page 

Departmental Signature Pages for a Thesis:

If you have two faculty members on your thesis committee:
 thesis_signature_page_3_lines.docx

If you have three faculty members on your thesis committee:
 thesis_signature_page_4_lines.docx

Departmental Signature Pages for a Project:

If you have two faculty members on your project committee:
 project_signature_page_3_lines.docx

If you have three faculty members on your project committee:
 project_signature_page_4_lines.docx

 

MBA Project Signature Page:

The MBA Program has their own signature page:
 mba_signature_page.docx

The Submission Process

ETD Submission Guidelines

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 advisor. 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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_Fall2019.pdf

Step 2: Pay the Fee. 

There are two options available to you for paying the $25 fee. If paying by check, you must pay by November 21st, if paying with a credit card, payment is due by November 28th. Cash payment may be made at any time.

  1. Paying online:  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. 
  2. Go to the Cashier's Office and pay the $25 thesis/project fee.  The CSUSM Cashier's Office is located in Craven Hall, 3800. The office hours are Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. At the Cashier's Office, you will receive two receipts for your payment: one for your records, and one for the library. If paying by check, you must pay November 21st, if paying with a credit card, payment is due by November 28th. 

Step 3: Gather the Documents, Submit your File.

In order to submit your file online, you need to login at the ScholarWorks website. Go to ScholarWorks, click on "Login", and login with your CSUSM user name and password. After you enter your user name and password, it will bring you BACK to the ScholarWorks homepage. This means you have successfully logged in! STOP HERE and please email the following information to Carmen Mitchell at cmitchell@csusm.edu

  1. Your full name
  2. Your CSUSM email address
  3. Your graduate program
  4. If you are part of an online cohort or a group project

Carmen Mitchell will email you a confirmation when your registration is complete. This may take a couple of days, so plan accordingly! After you have received confirmation of your registration, follow the PDF icon scholarworks_submission_instructions.pdf to submit your thesis or project to ScholarWorks. After submitting your PDF to ScholarWorks, staple the library copy of the receipt to your E-Thesis Certification Form and the ETD Submission Checklist and bring them to the 3rd floor of the library. Place them in the Electronic Thesis and Project Certification Form drop box located at the Research Help Desk. 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 to ScholarWorks 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 drop off their form and receipt to the library 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 CSUSM 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 advisor 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 applys to you or your group, your faculty advisor 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 advisor 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.

Questions?

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

Carmen Mitchell, Scholarly Communication Librarian

Email:cmitchell@csusm.edu

Making your File Accessible

ADA Formatting Information

ADA compliance: What is it and why is it important?

When working on your thesis, project, or dissertation, PLEASE NOTE that it must be made accessible. What does "accessible" mean? It means that the file will be accessible to screen readers and other assistive computer technologies. This means MORE people can possibly access and reference your paper online. If you still have any questions PLEASE watch this short  video on ADA issues.  *For assistance, email thesisada@csusm.edu and let Amy Dyess know what you have tried and where you are stuck. Amy provides ADA formatting assistance Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM by email, virtual meetings, and in-person.

 

Have your file made ADA Compliant for you!

The ADA team will now make students thesis and projects ADA compliant for them. To have your file made ADA compliant you must email your thesis or project -drafts are accepted- to thesisada@csusm.edu by November 18th, 2019.  Please follow the below instructions to prevent any delays when processing your file. 

Please send the following in an email to thesisada@csusm.edu.  

Your full name

The name of the program that you are in.

The Word file for your Thesis/Project. Drafts are accepted, and please include a title page!

Before emailing us, please check the formatting for the following: (Note: Please only include the file/s if it should appear in your thesis/project. You should decide with your advisor what is important to include in your file.)

  • Does your thesis/project contain PowerPoint slides? If so, please include the original slides.

  • Does your file contain a survey? If so, attach the survey in a Word file. If you do not have access to the survey in a Word file, please attach the PDF.

  • Does your document contain a form? If so, attach the form/s as a Word file. If you do not have access to the form as a Word file, please attach the PDF.

  • Is there a companion website as part of your thesis/project? If so, please include a link to your website.

  • Does your thesis/project contain podcasts, videos, or other multimedia files? If so, please include a link to the files or email them to us.  

  • If your thesis/project is too large to send via email, please upload it directly to Sharepoint: Fall 2019 ETD files. (You will be required to log in with your CSUSM user name and password.)

  • Do you have tables in your thesis/project? If so, make sure that the tables are editable and not images. If you only have an image of a table you will need to recreate and type up the table before including it in your file.

  • Do you have any worksheets in your file? Make sure that the worksheets are editable and part of the Word document. Do NOT take an image of a worksheet and insert it into your thesis/project.

  • Do you have any "official correspondence" as part of your file? For example, permission letters, approval letters, research information letters or emails, etc. If so, please include the Word or PDF file of the official correspondence.  (Word is preferred, when possible.)

  • Do you have an IRB form? If so, please include the image of each page of the IRB Form in your thesis/project Word file.

  • Do you have any ‘SmartArt’ in your file? We will reconstruct it into a table or other text information. Smart Art is not ADA-compliant.

  • Do you have a signed, departmental signature page?

    • If yes: please attach the PDF of the signed departmental signature page.

    • If no: once you receive the completed departmental signature page, email it to thesisada@csusm.edu, and the library will make it ADA compliant and email it back to you. If you have completed your thesis/project, please email it to us as well and we will merge the two files for you.

Accessibility Help Main Page


To check your thesis, project, or dissertation for accessibility it is recommended that you use Word 2011 or later. These versions have a built-in accessibility checker. We also recommend that you do not use Google Documents to make your thesis, project, or dissertation ADA compliant as work you do in Google Documents often does not convert properly to Word or Adobe. You can learn about the accessibility checker from the Microsoft accessibility checker page.  Microsoft also has how-to guides for creating accessible Word documents. 

After you have validated that you fixed all issues detected by the Word accessibility check, save your page as a PDF. Go to Adobe Acrobat Pro and check for accessibility. Students may download the Adobe Creative Cloud including Acrobat Pro from Technology Support ServicesAdobe has created a how-to guide to create and verify PDF accessibility.  That site has tips/recommendations on how to resolve issues.

 

ADA Workshop

Please watch this recording of our ADA Workshop for an overview of how to make your file ADA compliant. Contact Amy Dyess for more information

https://hermes.csusm.edu/Mediasite/Play/c1e915850be045acb72f512a06e1cb291d

 

Steps to Make Your Paper ADA Compliant

Adding “Heading Styles”

 

Creating “Alt Text” for ALL Images, Figures, and Graphs, etc.

 

Adding “Table Headers”

Making your Signature Page Accessible: It's easiest to make your Departmental Signature page accessible *before* merging it into your thesis or project. These instructions will walk you through this process in Adobe Acrobat. (Online Students: Your signature page requires an extra step due to the DocuSign protections. You must "Print" your signature page to Adobe PDF and then follow the instructions.) 

 

How to check your paper for accessibility:

  • Accessibility Links : Microsoft Word (Word) or Adobe Acrobat Pro (PDF) or Adobe Acrobat Pro (website).

If you are using LaTeX for writing your thesis or project, please use the tutorial that Jacek Polewczak from CSU Northridge created. 

Common ADA Errors

Watch these videos for instructions on how to fix common errors. Word 2016 is used for all videos.

Infrequent Headings Video

Repeated Blank Characters Video

Unclear Hyperlink Video

Merged or Split Cells & Check Reading Order Video

Frequently Asked Questions

ETD FAQ

An "ETD" is the electronic version of a thesis, project, or dissertation. Instead of being printed and bound, the file is converted to a Portable Document File (PDF) and submitted to the library. The library preserves and archives the PDF, and makes it available online through ScholarWorks at CSUSM, our Institutional Repository. The student's original research is produced, submitted, and accessed in electronic format. The components and structure of the document are basically the same as a paper thesis or dissertation. For example, it has figures, tables, footnotes, and references. 

Why ETDs? What is the benefit to CSUSM, and to me as a student?

ETDs provide increased visibility of research produced at the University. The immediate and widespread availability of ETD documents provides worldwide access to scholarship. The increased visibility and accessibility often results in increased readership and more citations. Electronic submission introduces students to electronic publishing and trains them in the technical skills needed for digital publishing. Publication of theses and dissertations in electronic format is faster, cheaper, and require less storage space.

How do I submit my thesis, project, or dissertation?

After a successful defense and committee approval, and the $25 fee has been paid at the cashier's office, you are ready to submit your ETD. Please follow the instructions on this guide under the submission guidelines. For students completing the CSUSM/UCSD Joint Ed.D. Program, please click on the CSUSM/UCSD Joint Ed.D Requirements tab. 

I have a project that I want to submit. Is that handled differently?

Starting with the Fall 2012 semester, the library will no longer accept paper projects. All projects must be submitted electronically. 

My project is a group project. Do we have a different process?

Group projects should only be submitted 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 drop off their form and receipt to the library 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.

Do I have to make an appointment to submit my ETD?

No, you do not need an appointment to submit your thesis or project. You DO need an appointment to submit a dissertation. If you have questions that are not answered in this guide, please email Carmen Mitchell.

How should I format my thesis/project/dissertation?

Students should consult with their committee chair and members of their advisory committee to determine the textual arrangement and reference format of the dissertation or thesis. Each discipline is different, and has different expectations for style. If you need assistance with citation styles, please contact the Research Help Desk or a librarian.

Do I need to obtain signatures?

YES! Both the Departmental Signature Page and E-Thesis Certification Form must contain signatures in dark blue or black ink. 

When should I submit my thesis/project/dissertation?

ETDs may be submitted any time AFTER a successful defense and the ETD fee has been paid to the cashier's office. ETD submission MUST be completed before the last day of classes. The deadline for Fall 2019 is December 5th at noon. If you require an extension, your committee chair will need to request the extension from Dr. P. Wesley Schultz, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

What if I don't have Adobe Acrobat Pro at home or work?

You will need Adobe Acrobat Pro in order to merge your signature page into your file, as well as check your file for ADA compliance. Adobe Acrobat Pro is available on all the computers on campus. If you are not on campus, you may download the Adobe Creative Cloud from the Student Technology Help Desk.

What if I have confidential or proprietary information in my thesis or my project? What are Character String Replacements and Embargo Periods?

If you and your committee agree to place a restriction on your thesis, project, or dissertation for patent or security reasons, you must indicate on the e-thesis/project certification form. An embargo means that your work will not be viewable by anyone without a CSUSM user name and password for the given period. After the restriction expires, the Library will make your work publicly available for anyone to see. An embargo must be authorized by your faculty advisor, and indicated on your certification form. Your advisor may ask you to submit a modified version of your abstract to ScholarWorks for embargoed items. Please let Carmen Mitchell know if you have any questions. 

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 applys to you or your group, your faculty advisor 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 advisor 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.

How do I Merge two PDFs using Adobe Acrobat Pro

To merge two PDFs into one document, use Adobe Acrobat Pro, which is available on all computers on campus.

  1. Open Acrobat Pro and click on the Tools menu on the tab
  2. Select the “Combine Files” tool
  3. Click the button for “Combine Files” in the middle of the screen and select your files. An icon of each file will appear on your screen. You can click and drag the icons to place them in the correct order, the signature page before the main file.
  4. When the items are in the order that you want, click on the “Combine Files” button in the upper right hand corner.
  5. Once the files have been combined, a window with this new PDF will open.
  6. Now you can save the file, following the naming conventions: <Last nameFirst name_TermYear> ex. <DoeJohn_Fall2018.pdf>

What about my rights as an author? 

Students retain all rights to their work. 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 advisor if you have questions about the material contained in your thesis or project. However, students must also grant a non-exclusive license to the university at the time of submission when completing the E-Thesis Certification Form as well as on ScholarWorks during the submission process. The license confirms that the student is the creator and contributor of the work and grants the university permission to share the work for educational purposes.

Students submitting materials for which they do not own copyrights, (including research data sets) must certify that they have obtained permission from the copyright owner before making materials available online. If you are unclear about the material contained in your thesis or project, please talk with your faculty advisor. 

Students also give the university permission to make their work available to all users and to adapt it to accessible formats per American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance requirements. Requests for use of the work for purposes other than education will be referred back to the copyright holder.

Binding Options

Students who wish to purchase a paper copy of their thesis for personal use can contact binding vendors directly. Some students use www.GoldenRuleBindery.com. The Library does not require bound copies.

 

CSUSM/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program

UCSD/CSUSM JDP

The Joint Ed.D. in Educational Leadership is offered through a partnership of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) and University of California, San Diego (UCSD).You have successfully defended your dissertation, and are ready to submit the PDF to the library. To submit an electronic dissertation, follow the steps listed here. If you have questions regarding the process, or you do not understand the steps, please contact the Scholarly Communication Librarian. Dissertations are accepted by CSUSM on a rolling basis.

When writing your dissertation, PLEASE NOTE that the version you deposit with CSUSM must be made accessible. What does "accessible" mean? This means MORE people can possibly access and reference your paper online. If you still have any questions PLEASE watch this short  video on ADA issues. More information about making your file ADA compliant, including how to get assistance, is available on the "Making your File Accessible" tab. 

 

Step 1: After your final meeting with Sara Micelli, make an appointment with Carmen Mitchell.

Make sure to bring your “Report of the Completion of the Doctoral Project and Recommendation for the Degree of Doctor of Education" form with you to this appointment. When your dissertation has been accepted, the form will be signed by the Scholarly Communications Librarian then forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies for his signature. Once it has been signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies, CSUSM will email you a copy, and mail your signed form back to UCSD.

Step 2: Put your ADA-compliant dissertation on a thumb drive. When you save the file, the name of the saved document name must use the following format:    

Last nameFirst name_TermYear  For example: DoeJohn_Summer2019.pdf. 

You will need to bring the drive with you to your meeting with Carmen Mitchell. If you have supplementary files that you would like to submit along with your dissertation, you may do so. For text files, they must be submitted as accessible PDFs. For other types of files, please contact the Scholarly Communication Librarian. 

Step 3: Pay the fee.

There are two options available to you for paying the $25 fee: 

  1. Paying online:  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 of 2.75 % will apply if you use a credit card. MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and Visa are all accepted. 

  2. Go to the Cashier's Office and pay the $25 thesis/project fee.  The CSUSM Cashier's Office is located in Craven Hall, 3800. The office hours are Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. At the Cashier's Office, you will receive two receipts for your payment: one for your records, and one for the library. 

Step 4: Gather your file, your receipt, and meet with Carmen Mitchell.

At your in-person meeting with Carmen, she will take your dissertation files, a copy of the receipt from the Cashier's Office, and will sign your "Report of the Completion of the Doctoral Project and Recommendation for the Degree of Doctor of Education" form. You will need to sign a Student Agreement form that gives CSUSM the permission to place your dissertation into the Institutional Repository

If you have further questions, please contact Carmen Mitchell.
Email:cmitchell@csusm.edu

Publication and Availability

After your uploaded document is verified, it is made public through CSUSM 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 section below for redactions or restrictions).  The CSUSM Library will not retain paper copies of your dissertation.

Author Rights

Students retain all rights to their work.  However, students must also grant a non-exclusive license to the university at the time of submission. The license confirms that the student is the creator and contributor of the work and grants the university permission to share the work in an open-access digital environment for educational purposes.

Students and any co-authors retain all intellectual property rights for the dissertation. Students submitting materials for which they do not own copyrights, must certify that they have obtained permission from the copyright owner before making materials available online.

Students also give the university permission to make their work available to all users and to adapt it to accessible formats per American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance requirements. Requests for use of the work for purposes other than education will be referred back to the copyright holder.

Binding Options

Students who wish to purchase a paper copy of their dissertation for personal use can contact binding vendors directly. Some students use www.GoldenRuleBindery.com. The Library does not require bound copies.

Need Help?

Carmen Mitchell

Scholarly Communication Librarian
cmitchell@csusm.edu
(760)750-8358
Office Location: 
KEL 3307
Office Hours: 
Available by appointment

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