Prepare Your Document

The process of completing a thesis, dissertation, or record of study can seem overwhelming. As part of the Graduate and Professional School, Thesis and Dissertation Services is available to help students manage the process.

In addition to guiding students through the process of preparing theses and dissertations, Thesis and Dissertation Services receives, reviews, and approves the required electronic file of each thesis, dissertation, or record of study (ETD) when it is complete.

Texas A&M University requires that your name on your ETD matches your University records exactly. Please verify that the name on your manuscript reflects the spelling and form of your official name, including the use of middle names and/or abbreviations.

Editorial Style of ETD

ETDs must follow accepted editorial styles. Style considerations affect such items as:

  • Margins and page numbering.
  • Organization.
  • Capitalization of headings and subheadings.
  • Figure captions and table title location and format.
  • Citation and reference format and content.

The Thesis & Dissertation Manual provides guidance regarding the traditional academic style that is generally applicable to ETDs. However, students are responsible for determining if their academic departments or disciplines call for a specific editorial style. For example, some ETDs follow the style of respected, scholarly journals well known in the relevant subject matter field. Standard editorial styles such as those detailed in the Modern Language Association Handbook, Chicago Manual of Style, or American Psychological Association Manual might be applicable in some fields. The Thesis Manual indicates formatting that is not allowed in an ETD, regardless of chosen style.

Organization of ETD

ETDs may follow either traditional dissertation organization or organization based on journal articles. Using journal article organization and style allows authors to compose ETDs in a manner that facilitates publication in journals. More information regarding the traditional versus journal options can be found in the Journal Article Style Thesis/Dissertation Format handout. The journal organization option centers around a common research theme that enables the chapters to be separated into stand-alone documents or combined to create a single,  cohesive manuscript. The manuscript created must follow the organization and editorial style of one well-respected academic journal, be approved by the student’s department, and fulfill the requirements of both the academic committee and Thesis and Dissertation Services. Either organization option must meet Thesis Manual requirements. Copyright and authorship issues are two factors of particular consideration when deciding which organization option to choose, as both pre-published material and articles the author intends to publish come with copyright considerations.

Resources for Preparation

Thesis and Dissertation Services offers numerous resources to help students prepare ETDs and verify that the writing, organization, and style are correct and comply with University standards:


Pre-submittal Requirements

A pre-submittal conference with Thesis and Dissertation Services is recommended prior to the student’s defense of the ETD. Pre-submittal requirements for students prior to submitting an ETD include:

  • Complying with all Office of Graduate and Professional Studies due dates and deadlines.
  • Passing any preliminary or final exams required by the applicable department or program.
  • Successfully defending the thesis or dissertation.
  • Satisfying any requirements of faculty in the academic committee.
  • Obtaining approval signatures of academic committee members on the Written Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form.

To assist students in preparing an ETD prior to submittal, the Graduate and Professional School offers tutorials, maintains a Checklist for Master's Students a Checklist for Doctoral Students, and provides an overall Thesis Preparation Checklist.

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