UW Graduate School

Thesis/Dissertation

To graduate with a master’s (thesis program) or doctoral (dissertation program) degree, students are required to submit an Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) and a Committee Approval Form to the Graduate School through the UW ETD Administrator Site. ETDs are distributed by ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing and made available on an open access basis through UW Libraries ResearchWorks Service.

The Graduate School partners with the UW Libraries to provide comprehensive resources for students as they write, submit, and publish academic theses or dissertations. These pages outline information and policies related to preparing your thesis/dissertation, including formatting, deadlines, copyright and distribution decisions, and, ultimately, graduation. We also encourage you to review the ETD Library Guide for additional information.

Policy for Deposit and Dissemination of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations

A thesis or dissertation constitutes an important contribution to scholarship. Disseminating such contributions is consistent with the University of Washington’s mission to share its scholarly work with other scholars, students, and the public. Therefore, the University views the wide and timely dissemination of thesis and dissertation results as an obligation of students.

The Graduate School requires that all theses and dissertations be deposited electronically and made available through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database, and through the University of Washington Libraries’ ResearchWorks repository service—which makes them available to other UW researchers and the general public. This Graduate School requirement is in addition to previous or planned publication of a thesis or dissertation in part or in its entirety. It is expected that this will usually take place upon degree conferral, although students may choose to delay full public access via ResearchWorks for up to five (5) years.

ETD Information Session

As a starting point, students submitting an ETD are encouraged to review the below information session hosted by the UW Libraries and Graduate Enrollment Management Services. You may jump to specific sections of the presentation by referencing the time markers below and slides are provided below for reference.

Table of Contents and Time Markers

01:22  The Big Picture: Graduation

03:36  Dates & Deadlines

04:46  Student Responsibilities

06:22  Required Sections for Your Document

09:38  Common Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

14:00  Committee Approval Forms

17:14 Open Access and Publishing Options

21:46 ETD Submission Process: After Submitting

26:40  Registration Waiver Fee

30:20  Commencement

Language Policy

Your document must be written in English. If you need to write your document in another language to accommodate the main audience, you must get prior approval to do so by submitting a petition the dean via MyGrad. If the petition is approved, the required sections (title page, copyright page, abstract) must still be written in English.

Writing and Publishing Considerations

Writing a thesis or dissertation is a rewarding, but challenging process. Working with your advisor and committee to identify your topic, planning and conducting your research, and doing the writing will likely be your top priorities. However, paying attention and building your understanding of copyright, publishing, and open access in the early stages of your planning is also important.

Your electronic thesis/dissertation (ETD) will be published by ProQuest and by the UW Libraries ResearchWorks. When you submit your ETD for review and publication, you will be required to read and accept two separate publishing agreements. You will also have to decide whether to publish your work right away or to delay its release. Additional pages within this section will outline all the considerations to keep in mind, when deciding how to make your work available to the scholarly community.

Copyright Information

All students writing a thesis or dissertation should review the UW Libraries Copyright Research Guide. Understanding copyright law is another critical aspect as you write your thesis or dissertation.  As you compose your work, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you referenced others’ work? If so, you either need to get explicit permission from the rights holder or to determine that your use is Fair.
  • Have you previously published any part of the work? If you’ve signed your copyright over to your publisher, you will need permission to use your material in your thesis.

Additional Resources:

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is using words, ideas, diagrams, and other content from publicly available work without appropriately acknowledging the sources of these materials. This definition constitutes plagiarism whether it is intentional or unintentional and whether it is the work of another or your own, previously published work.

Plagiarism is a very serious offense that the University of Washington does not tolerate. Evidence of plagiarism may prevent granting of your degree.

Fees and Ordering Bound (Paper) Copies of Your Document

There are no required fees, although you have the option to register your copyright via ProQuest for a fee. If you want to order bound (paper) copies of your document, you may do so through the UW Copy Centers or through ProQuest. Questions should be directed to the UW Copy Centers or to ProQuest at 1.800.521.0600, ext. 77020—available 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday (excluding U.S. holidays).

Questions?

For questions about the following, contact Graduate Enrollment Management Services at uwgrad@uw.edu or 206.685.2630.

For questions about the following, contact the UW Libraries at uwlib-etd@uw.edu.