Thesis & Dissertation


The role of The Graduate School in the thesis/dissertation process is two-fold: we validate the formatting of your scholarship and we act as the gateway for publishing your document electronically.


Please review the corresponding guide for important information regarding forms and timing that are releveant to the Thesis/Dissertation process:


In order to best preserve and share your work with other scholars, we require consistency of form and appearance for all documents. We have provided a simple guide, with examples to help you through the process:

  • Format Guide: every thesis/dissertation must conform to the requirements in this guide in order to be accepted.
  • ETD Samples: examples of properly-formatted theses/dissertations.
  • Templates: pre-formatted MS Word files.
  • LaTeX: pre-formatted LaTeX files.


Before you submit, you must review the Format Guide to ensure that your document conforms to the format requirements. Our submission process is completely electronic; no paper theses/dissertations will be accepted. After you have verified that the format of your document meets the requirements in the format guide, click the “Submit Your Document” link below to visit the ETD Administrator site. ETD Administrator is the system that we use to receive and store theses and dissertations. On that page, you should see a box that says “Ready to begin?” with a link to “Submit my dissertation/thesis”. After clicking that link, you will have to create a new account; this account is not connected to any account you already have for USC, and is only for the purpose of submitting your thesis/dissertation. After creating your account, you will be prompted to input all of the information about your thesis/dissertation, and upload your document as a PDF.

When you complete that process and click submit, our staff will be notified here at The Graduate School, at which point your document will be reviewed for format compliance. You will be notified if there are any changes that must be made to your format. The email address that you used to create your ETD Administrator account will be the method used to contact you, so be sure to check that inbox for correspondence regarding your submission (don’t forget to check the spam/junk folders, just in case). It may take several days until you hear back from a staff member. After you have made the required revisions, you will need to go back to the ETD Administrator page and click “View/revise existing submission” in order to submit your new version – DO NOT create a new account. You will use the same account for the entire submission and review process – there is not a separate process for format check and final submission.

Once your submission has passed the format check, it will be accepted for final submission. At that point, there is no other step that you need to take in order to submit a final version. The latest version that you uploaded and that has been accepted will become the final version after graduation.

On our calendar, you may verify the deadlines for submission. On or before the Format Check Deadline, you must submit for the format check. The content of your thesis/dissertation does not have to be finalized by this deadline, but you must make a good faith effort to submit a document that adheres to the format requirements. You are encouraged to submit early for the format check, if possible, so that you will have more time to make any changes that may be necessary before the Final Submission Deadline. On or before the Final Submission Deadline, you must submit a document in which all of the content is finalized, and that conforms to all of the format requirements.


ACCESSing your published Thesis/Dissertation

To users with valid USC ID’s, UMI/Proquest will provide Full Text – PDF access to USC theses and dissertations from the USC UMI/Proquest portal.

Theses and dissertations may also be accessed from the ProQuest website from any location in the world, but full text access is restricted when this database is not accessed through the USC library link. This public ProQuest database does provide viewers the option to purchase theses and dissertations with a royalty payment back to the author.

Delayed Release/EMBARGO

After graduation, theses and dissertations are stored and made available in two places: UMI/ProQuest’s database, and USC’s institutional repository, Scholar Commons. Students can elect to delay the dissemination of their manuscripts with what is commonly referred to as an embargo. An embargo may be appropriate for some types of creative work, intellectual property with commercial potential, or politically sensitive materials. Typical embargo options include 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years. During the electronic submission process, students will have the opportunity to indicate their desired UMI/ProQuest embargo length (if any), which will effectively prevent the full-text of the thesis/dissertation from being available in the UMI/ProQuest database until the embargo period has elapsed. In order to delay release of the thesis/dissertation in USC’s institutional repository, students must indicate the requested embargo length on the required signature form (TSF for theses; DSF for dissertations), and also attach a justification memo or letter signed by both the major advisor and program graduate director.

Bound Copies

UMI/Proquest provides a binding service for a fee. To find out more about ordering from UMI/Proquest, download the Order Form.

Quick Copy in the Russell House University Union provides a binding service for a fee. To find out more about ordering from Quick Copy, visit their website.


Want to learn more before you make a decision? ProQuest offers some guidance on publishing options and things to consider before submitting your graduate work.


UMI/Proquest answers frequently asked questions ranging from technical support to general queries about submitting your document.

The Writing Center can help you at any stage of the thesis or dissertation writing process. They are located on the 7th floor of the Byrnes Building and are open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 10-5:30 and Tuesdays 10-7. To make an appointment call (803) 777-2078.

If you have questions about the format requirements or the submission process, you may contact The Graduate School’s Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Coordinator, Zach Lukemire at