Carnegie Mellon University
Thesis Completion Guidelines

Thesis Formatting and Completion Guidelines

Dissertation Formatting Guidelines and Miscellaneous Completion Information

Contact the department's Graduate Coordinator (Vicki Finney) for questions on this information.

I. Defense announcement posting (required)

College rules state a Notice of Final Public Oral Examination must be posted a minimum of two weeks before a defense takes place.   Students are required to complete the template found on the EPP Doctoral Studies Blackboard site and submit it electronically to Debbie Kuntz ( and Vicki Finney ( for posting.

II. Formatting your dissertation

Guidelines for proper formatting of your dissertation are posted on our College website here. Students should read and follow these formatting guidelines. Ignore item 2, “submittal copies.” This procedure has changed and the Dean’s Office will, at some point, update this item.  For now, follow the submittal guidelines provided below in item III.

The College guidelines provide templates for both the Thesis Title Page and the Thesis Signature Page.  The Thesis Title Page is straight forward and correct. The Signature Page, however, is not correct. Accordingly, do not use the signature page templates provided on the College website.  Instead, Vicki will prepare the Signature Page ahead of time, just send her the thesis title and the how you would like your name to appear.

Key items when formatting your thesis:

  1. Acknowledge your financial support on the Acknowledgements page.
  2. Do not list your thesis committee anywhere except on the Acknowledgements page.
  3. If copywriting your thesis, include a separate page with the copyright information. See item IV below on where to find information on copyright and publishing options.
  4. Use only the date (date = month & year) on the title page that your PhD will officially be conferred.  For example, December 2017 graduates will use 'December, 2017' even if the final thesis was submitted much earlier. To put it another way, the only official months that Carnegie Mellon confers degrees are May, August, and December, therefore only these months can be  used on the title page.

III. Submittal of your final dissertation to the department and required documentation

These guidelines supersede those on the College website referenced above

After successful completion of the thesis defense, the following documentation must be submitted on or before the thesis submission due date to the EPP Graduate Program Administrator (Vicki) before official certification of the PhD can be granted:

Final submission (submitted in two places):  

  1. A pdf of the final version must be submitted via email.  The email should indicate that this is the final version as approved by the thesis chair, and the thesis chair/s should be cc’d on the email.            
    • the pdf title should read:  LastNameDepartmentYear (e.g., SmithEPP2017)
    • do NOT include the signature page in the pdf final version.  The dissertation should begin with your title page.
  2. A pdf of the final version must also be submitted directly, by the student, to the ProQuest website: Bound copies of your thesis may be ordered here as well.  (Refer to Item VII Copying and Binding for more information on thesis copies.)

When you click on the ProQuest link, follow the instructions and complete the forms as  requested. You may encounter a problem with wording on the University’s Research Agreement document that our library has included on that site. We are told by the Dean’s Office to just agree to the terms – they are working with the library to fix the language so that it doesn’t conflict with students who have already submitted parts of their thesis to journals. Please inform the graduate program administrator if you encounter this problem.

2. The Survey of Earned Doctorates Completion Certificate.

Any student receiving a doctorate the United States is required to complete the online Survey of Earned Doctorates.

The survey is coordinated through the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel of the National Research Council in Washington, DC.  Survey responses become part of a national data bank dating from 1920 to present, and are used to serve policymakers at federal, state, and university levels.

IV.  Information on Copyrighting, What to Do with a Disseratation, and Explanation of ProQuest Publishing Options

The CMU Libraries provide guidance on copyrighting your thesis (determining copyright ownership, copyright permissions, registering copyright).  

V. Students in joint degree programs whose home department is not EPP

Students who are pursuing a joint degree with EPP, but their home department is not EPP, should follow their home department’s completion guidelines. However, EPP requires the following: two unbound copies of your final thesis, a copy of your signed signature sheet, and a pdf of your thesis on a cd or emailed to the graduate program administrator.

VI.  Dissertation Submission Dates

Final dissertation submission deadlines set by our Dean's Office are as follows:

May graduation: The final dissertation on a CD, two paper signature pages signed by thesis chair, the Survey of Earned Doctorates Completion Certificate, the University Library Dissertation Checklist, and the ProQuest form (if applicable) must be submitted to the department's graduate coordinator 10 business days before the final grade deadline; and to the Dean's Office on the final grade deadline.

August and December graduation: The documents noted above must be submitted to the department coordinator two (2) days before the final grade deadline; and to the Dean's Office on the final grade deadline.

VII.  Dissertation Copies & Binding

Once the final dissertation and required documentation have been submitted to the department, at some point each student is to provide three (3) additional unbound copies of their thesis to the Graduate Program Administrator to be sent for binding. So that there is no expense to you for these copies, you are encouraged to make the copies here in the department using any of the department printers or copy machines. The Graduate Program Administrator can provide high-quality paper for the printing.  

These copies will be sent for binding and will be distributed as follows: one will be given to you, one will be given to the Department Head, and one will be retained in the department. The department does not provide copies for advisors. 

If you wish to order additional copies, for advisors or personal use, you may do so directly from  ProQuest as noted in item III.1.b. above.