Carnegie Mellon University
Thesis Completion Guidelines

Thesis Formatting and Completion Guidelines

Dissertation Formatting Guidelines and Miscellaneous Completion Information

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

I. Defense announcement posting (required)

College rules state that a Notice of Final Public Oral Examination (defense announcement) must be posted no less than two weeks before a defense takes place. Students are required to complete the defense announcement template found on the EPP doctoral studies Canvas site and submit it electronically to Vicki Finney ( for posting.  

II. Formatting your dissertation

Students will need to adhere to the formatting guidelines found on the Thesis and Dissertation Standards page of the College of Engineering website.

These College guidelines provide templates for the Thesis Title Page, Thesis Signature Page, Copyright Page, Thesis Committee Signature Page, and a Thesis Submission Checklist.  You are only responsible for preparing your Thesis Title Page as indicated in the guidelines, and completing the Thesis Submission Checklist when you are ready to submit your final thesis.   Vicki will prepare the Thesis Signature Page and Thesis Committee Page before your defense and email a copy to you and your thesis chair.  To prepare the Thesis Signature Page, you will need to send her your final thesis title and indicate how your name will appear on your title page. 

Some key items when formatting your thesis:

  1. Acknowledge your financial support on the Acknowledgements page.
  2. Only list your thesis committee members on the Acknowledgements page.
  3. If copywriting your thesis, include a separate page with the copyright information. As noted above, a copyright template is provided in the College guidelines. If you do not wish to copyright, you must indicate this on the Thesis Submission Checklist.  Copyright and publishing options information is provided in Items III and IV below and also in the College guidelines.
  4. On your Title page use only the date (date = month & year) that your PhD will be officially conferred.  For example, May 2021 graduates will use “May, 2021” even if the final thesis was submitted early in the semester. The only official months that Carnegie Mellon confers degrees are May, August, and December, thus only these months may be used on the Title Page.
  5. Once you have formatted your thesis according to the College guidelines, it is recommended that you email it (or the first few pages) to Vicki to review formatting.

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

Once the defense is over, the following documentation must be submitted electronically on or before the thesis submission deadline as follows:

  1. A pdf of the final thesis emailed to Vicki.  The email should note 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 file title should be as follows:  LastNameDepartmentYear (e.g., SmithEPP2021)
    • the dissertation should begin with your title page
  2. A pdf of the final thesis to the ProQuest ETD Administrator Repository.  When you click on the ProQuest link, follow the instructions and complete the information as requested.   Choose "Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering" for your submission.  Once in ProQuest you will need to indicate that you also wish to deposit your dissertation with the CMU Institutional Repository (KiltHub).  In both repositories you will need to choose publishing options.  Traditional publishing is free in both repositories.  Open Access is free in KiltHub, but there is a $95 fee in ProQuest.  Note, you do not need to choose the same publishing option in both repositories.
  3. The Thesis Submission Checklist emailed to Vicki.  As noted above, the checklist is found on the College guidelines (Thesis and Dissertation Standards) webpage.
In addition to the above, students may wish to complete the 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, ProQuest and Kilthub Repositories, and Publishing Options

The CMU Libraries website provides excellent guidance on copyrighting your thesis (determining copyright ownership, copyright permissions, registering copyright).  If you have specific questions on copyright, placing embargoes on your work, the benefits of depositing your thesis into both the ProQuest Repository and the CMU Institutional Repository (KiltHub), contact our CMU library liaison, Jessica Benner

V. Students in joint degree programs 

Students pursuing a joint degree with EPP within the College of Engineering, whose home department is EPP, should follow EPP’s completion guidelines and deadlines.

Students pursuing a joint degree with EPP within the College of Engineering, whose home department is not EPP should follow their home department’s completion guidelines and deadlines. However, EPP requires the following:  (a) a copy of your signed thesis Committee Sheet; (b) a copy of your thesis Signature page; and, (c) a pdf of your final thesis emailed to Vicki.

Students pursuing a joint degree with EPP outside of the College of Engineering, should meet with Vicki prior to thesis submission.

VI.  Dissertation Submission Dates

Final dissertation submission deadlines, as noted in the College guidelines, are:

May graduation: The final (electronic) dissertation, Thesis Checklist, and Survey of Earned Doctorates Completion Certificate, must be submitted to the department's graduate program administrator (Vicki) 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 administrator two (2) days before the final grade deadline; and to the Dean's Office on the final grade deadline.

Specific deadlines for EPP's thesis submission are found here.

VII. Migrate Your CMU Computing Resources

Soon after graduation, you’ll lose access to your CMU accounts. Migrate your email, cloud storage files, personal websites, and other work so that you have what you need to succeed in your next steps.

Before You Graduate:

  1. Transfer Files to a Personal Account
  2. Uninstall CMU-Licensed Software
  3. Update Personal Account Emails
  4. Set Up Your Alumni Email
  5. Export Your Google Data

To learn more about how to migrate your computing resources, review Move your Student Services.

If you have questions or need assistance, contact the Computing Services Help Center at or 412-268-4357 (HELP).

VIII.  Dissertation Copies & Binding

Once the Dean’s Office has approved your final thesis, Vicki will inform you via email and include a copy of the dean-signed Committee and Signature pages for your records. If you would like to receive a bound copy of your thesis, the department will provide you with one. You will need to provide an unbound, double-sided copy of your thesis. So that there is no expense to you, you may print the copy on a department printer. See Vicki to obtain the high-quality paper needed for printing. If you prefer, we can handle the printing for you in the department. Inform Vicki of your preference.

The copy will be sent for binding, and when returned, we will contact you for a shipping address.  Please note that we can only ship within the U.S. The department will only provide a copy for your primary thesis advisor upon request. If your advisor wishes to receive a bound copy, please let Vicki know. Additional bound copies can be purchased through ProQuest ETD.