Theses and Dissertations: Submission Deadline, Review and Public Disclosure - Graduate Students

Formatting the Thesis

A thesis, when required for a master’s program, must be written on a subject approved by the candidate’s advisory committee. The thesis must be the student’s own work and must demonstrate a capacity for research and independent thought. Refer to the Master’s Degree section for details.

Formatting guidelines may be found here and/or on the Graduate School's Canvas organization site. Students must follow the style manual recommended by their academic program. All work must be properly cited and permission to use copyrighted materials must be obtained prior to submission.

Formatting the Dissertation 

A dissertation is required for doctoral degrees and must be written on a subject approved by the candidate’s advisory committee. The dissertation must include the results of original and significant investigation, and it must be the candidate’s own work. Refer to the Doctoral Degree section for details.

Formatting guidelines may be found here and/or on the Graduate School's Canvas organization site. Students must follow the style manual recommended by their academic program. All work must be properly cited and permission to use copyrighted materials must be obtained prior to submission.

About Third-Party Copyright

If your work contains material that has been copyrighted by another party, you may need to seek permission to use the material in your thesis or dissertation. Examples of materials for which you would need to seek copyright permission include, but are not limited to: third-party software, images, graphics, large portions of text and maps. If copyright permission is needed, you must submit written approval for the use of the copyrighted material along with your thesis or dissertation.

Substituting for Copyrighted Materials in Theses and Dissertations

The purpose of the thesis and dissertation is to advance knowledge in the student's discipline or field. The Graduate School encourages students to seek permission to use copyrighted material in their theses and dissertations. Your work is published after it is submitted in approved form to the Graduate School, and it will be available to audiences who wish to know more about the subject you investigate. The more full and complete the thesis or dissertation, the better the experience for your reader and, therefore, the better the response your scholarship and creative work. However, if you are unable or unwilling to obtain copyright permission for some of the materials in your research, you may substitute for the copyrighted material as described below.

Acceptable substitutions include:

  • Redrawing or tracing of maps, images, graphics, etc.
  • References to URLs, printed documents, or physical locations where the copyrighted material can be found

A student whose thesis or dissertation has had copyrighted material removed prior to submission must have their advisor sign a document reading:

[Student’s name] has removed copyrighted material from the copy of the thesis or dissertation submitted to the Graduate School for electronic publication. I certify that:

  • I approve the thesis or dissertation in this form;
  • The student has presented accurate information as to where the removed, copyrighted material can be found.

Advisor's name (signature line) Date (date line)

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Submission Deadline for a Thesis or Dissertation Following Committee Approval

Each semester the Graduate School establishes semester deadlines for the Report of the Examining Committee (master’s & EdS students), Report Dissertation Defense (doctoral students), and submission of theses, dissertations, and supplemental materials. Those deadlines may be found on the Graduate School's website.

After successful defense of the thesis or dissertation, students must comply with their academic program’s and/or the International Center’s enrollment requirements.

Generally, based upon input from the thesis/dissertation committee, a student will make corrections to a thesis/dissertation. The student will prepare the final document and supplemental materials in the required format and submit everything to the Graduate School by the semester deadline. In the event the student misses the current semester deadline, the student is required to submit the final dissertation or thesis by the end of the following semester after a successful defense. If an extension is needed, the student’s advisor and program’s DGS must submit a request for an extension letter to the Graduate School. The student's degree will not be conferred until the final document is submitted and approved by the Graduate School. if it is submitted after a semester deadline, the degree will not be conferred until the following semester, which can include summer. 

Submission Requirements and Forms

A thesis or dissertation must be presented before the deadline to the Graduate School. The preferred submission method is via Canvas, however submissions on high-quality CD are also acceptable. The thesis or dissertation must be contained in a Portable Document Format (PDF) file, with the appropriate margins and formatting. Additional electronic files must be included on the CD as PDF documents with the appropriate file name. If all files will not fit on one CD, a DVD or multiple CDs may be used, as long as no single file is split between CDs.

Additional Documents that Accompany the Electronic Submission

Several other documents must be submitted electronically or on CD, including the original signed Approval of the Committee page, electronic release form, processing fee, and more. Please review the required supplemental materials at this link.

Review of Theses and Dissertations by the Graduate School

Before a manuscript can be accepted for publication in scholarly journals, it is examined by editorial board members, for conformance to specific format style guidelines, in addition to quality of content. In much the same manner, Graduate School staff, acting as an editorial board, reviews every submitted thesis and dissertation for conformance to University guidelines. Failure to meet the appropriate standards will result in the rejection of your work.

Copies of Theses and Dissertations

The MU library catalogs all thesis and dissertations in the Merlin system. To locate a thesis or dissertation go to the MOSpace repository. 

Specific Questions about MU Theses or Dissertations?

Specific questions should be directed to the academic advising staff of the Graduate School, 210 Jesse Hall, 1-800-877-6312.

Thesis and Dissertation Research Must be Open to Public Disclosure

Students are prohibited from using research (e.g., data, results, methods, other content) in their theses or dissertations that could restrict subsequent publication or public disclosure of these documents. Examples of restricted information include classified or proprietary materials. It is important to note that these restrictions do not apply to non-thesis or non-dissertation research that is approved by the student's advisor and allowed by University of Missouri policies. 

Freedom to publish and disseminate results are major criteria for assessing the appropriateness of any research project, particularly those involving graduate students. Consistent with the mission of the University of Missouri, the integrity of a student’s academic/research experience shall be preserved, including the ability to complete and publish a thesis or dissertation and to freely publish, present, or otherwise disclose the results of research both within the academic community and to the public at large. The University precludes assigning to extramural sources the right to keep or make final decisions about what may or may not be published with respect to a student’s dissertation or thesis project. Within this general understanding, the University also realizes that circumstances may arise where certain restrictions or limitations may be appropriate. Short, reasonable delays may be appropriate, for example, to allow the research sponsor to review publications for inadvertent disclosures of proprietary data or potentially patentable inventions. When at all possible, these potential delays should be discussed with the student as early in the research process as possible. In the case of a dissertation or thesis, the review MUST be completed prior to submitting the document to the Graduate School. Policies that govern graduate student thesis/dissertation publication allow for a short embargo of the dissertation/thesis but it is advisable to ensure the dissertation, in its entirety, contains no proprietary information prior to submission. Once submitted, the dissertation/thesis is linked to the degree and withdraw of the dissertation could require rescinding the associated degree. 

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