Dissertations, theses, field studies, creative works and starred papers are submitted electronically to the The Repository. Contact the School of Graduate Studies with questions regarding this requirement.
- Select a style guide with your advisor. Common style guides include:
- Chicago Manual of Style. - University of Chicago Press
- Form and Style: Research Papers, Reports, Theses. - By Carol Slade
- A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. - By Kate Turabian
- MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. - By Joseph Gibaldi
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Manual). - American Psychological Association
All matters of style should be consistent throughout the document, and conform to accepted practices in the discipline. It is the responsibility of the student and the advisor to ensure the document is formatted correctly.
Copyright permissions: Obtain permission letters for copyrighted materials used in the culminating project beyond Fair Use guidelines.
Regardless of the disciplinary style guidelines selected for a culminating project, certain specifications and guidelines must be adhered to.
These specifications will ensure the culminating project complies with the School of Graduate Studies requirements.
For most culminating projects, the online submission process will automatically convert a Microsoft Word document to a PDF. However, if the culminating project uses special characters, such as foreign language fonts, Greek fonts used in mathematics, or the International Phonetic Alphabet, use a current version of Adobe Acrobat Pro to convert the file to a PDF prior to submission.
For further information, see “Embedding Fonts” below.
Adobe Acrobat software, required to create a .pdf document, is available as part of the Adobe Creative Suite in general-access computer labs across campus.
- Size: No size limit for culminating projects submitted to the Institutional Repository (IR).
- Names: Use only Roman letters, underscore lines for blank spaces, and Arabic numbers for file name (e.g., ksmith_androgyny_patriarchy_rev2).
You must use one of the following formats to assure the best chance for future migration as formats evolve:
- MS Word (.doc or .docx)
- PDF (.pdf)
Submitted as supplemental files during submission:
- TIFF (.tif)
- JPEG (.jpg)
- GIF (.gif)
- MPEG (.mpg)
- MPEG 3 (.mp3)
- WAV (.wav)
- Multimedia video or audio files that are part of a culminating project should be submitted as supplemental files during the submission process.
- Security restrictions: Do not incorporate restrictions (e.g., password protection, copy/paste prohibition, or compression prohibition) into the document. They are not allowed for several reasons:
- Security restrictions inhibit future document management and migration.
- Security restrictions reduce the functionality of the document for users.
- Security restrictions prohibit adding archival information to the document file.
Bookmarks allow readers to jump between sections of the culminating project, improving the usability and navigation of the project.
- Bookmark the:
- Title Page.
- Table of Contents (TOC).
- Each Chapter.
- Each Sub-section within a Chapter.
- Each Appendix.
- References or Bibliography.
- Set the document to open with bookmarks visible.
- In Word:
- Highlight the text (e.g., chapter title, sub-section title, or bibliography) where a bookmark is to be inserted.
On the Insert tab, in the Links group, click Bookmark.
- On the pop-up screen, enter the name of the bookmark, usually the highlighted heading as it reads.
- Click the Add
- To display where there are bookmarks, click on the File tab, then scroll and select Options.
- Click on Advanced. Scroll to the section Show Document Content and select on Show Bookmarks.
- Bookmarks will display in [brackets].
- In Adobe Acrobat Pro
- Click on the File tab, and then select Document Properties.
- Select Initial View from the left in the Dialog Box.
- Select Bookmarks Panel and Page from the Show
Use the font type and size recommended by the selected disciplinary style guide (MLA, APA, etc.) or these guidelines:
- Consistency of font use and text size within the culminating project is important to enhance readability and use.
- Use one font type or style.
- Either a serif font (such as Times New Roman, Goudy Old Style, Book Antiqua, or Bookman Old Style) or a sans-serif font (Helvetica, Arial).
- Use the same font (as used in text) for headings and labels.
- Use the same size consistently (11-pt or 12-pt)
- This should be bold.
- Headline Capitalization style.
- Only capitalize exceptions when they are the first word of the title or subtitle following a colon.
- Example: The Androgyne Patriarchy in Thailand: Contemporary Issues in Gender.
- Select an easy-to-read font. Generally, serif font is preferred for the body of the text.
- Use the same font throughout the body.
- Do not bold, underline, or italicize text in the body unless required.
- Use italics for titles of journals, books, newspapers, films, television shows, long poems, plays of three or more acts, operas, musical albums, or works of art (e.g.,American Historical Review, Moby Dick, Rubber Soul, or Mona Lisa).
- Use italics for names of individual trains, planes, or ships (e.g.,Spirit of St. Louis,Sunset Limited,USS Eisenhower).
- Use italics for Latin names for genus and species (e.g.,Cypripedium reginae).
Headings and Sub-heads
St. Cloud State accepts five levels of headings
- Use heading guidelines from specific style guide (APA, MLA, etc.)
- Culminating projects must contain chapter headings and a minimum of one sub-heading.
- Use the same font as the text body.
- Use bold for all headings.
- St. Cloud State accepts five levels of headings. If selected style guide allows for more than five, please use the top five levels as recommended by the style guide, or follow the following guidelines:
Chapter 1: Introduction
Centered Heading (optional)
Paragraph heading. Continue on with paragraph
Paragraph 3rd level heading. Continue on with paragraph.
- Line spacing
- Use double-spacing for the body of the text, including headings.
- Footnotes, bibliographic citations, and long quoted passages should be spaced according to style guide.
- One-inch on all sides—top, bottom, and sides.
- Larger margins are acceptable when approved by the culminating project committee.
- Left justification/alignment should be used in the body of the culminating project.
- “Orphans” (headings or sub-headings not followed by text at the bottom of a page) and “widows” (short lines ending a paragraph at the top of a page) should be avoided.
- Page Numbering
- Page numbering begins with the title page.
- There is no page number on the title page. Page numbers appear starting on page 2 (using Arabic numerals) and continue throughout the remainder of the paper.
- Format as recommended by the selected disciplinary style guide or use the following guidelines:
- Page numbers may be placed on the top right corner within the side margins, 1-inch from the top of the page (set header to 1-inch; hit return after typing page number—this assures the 1-inch margin is maintained); OR
- Page numbers may be centered within the side margins, 1-inch from the bottom of the page (set footer to 1-inch; hit return after typing page number—this assures the 1-inch margin is maintained).
- Use the same font style and size as the body of the text.
- Be consistent.
- Use only the plain Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.).
- Do not use leads (e.g., ………1……..) or dashes (e.g., -1-) or bold (e.g., 1)
- Title page
- Bold font may be used for the title only. Find examples on the Culminating Project Support D2L page.
- Do not us “Dr.” or “Professor” titles before committee members’ names.
- Abstract (not required for creative works or starred paper)
- Heading should be centered and bold.
- The body of the abstract must be single-spaced and should not include graphs, charts, tables, or other illustrations.
- List any multimedia supplements included with the culminating project submission.
- Preface and/or acknowledgment (optional)
- Heading should be centered and bold.
- Quoted statement or short poem significant to the culminating project
- Do not use bold font on this page.
- Table of contents
- Heading should be centered and bold.
- List of tables (required when tables are used in the body of the paper)
- List of figures (required when figures are used in the body of the paper)
- List of files (required only when supplementary files are submitted in addition to the culminating project).
- Body of text
- This section must be divided into appropriate chapters or sections appropriate to the culminating project.
- Bibliography and/or references
- Title and format page according to a specific style guide (APA, MLA, etc.)
- Appendix/Appendices, as necessary
- If IRB approval was sought, include the approved IRB application and supporting documents.
Tables and Figures
Tables and figures should be formatted as recommended by the selected disciplinary style guide or these guidelines.
- Include throughout the project; do not group at the end.
- Double-space before and after tables.
- For a small table or figure, place as close as possible to where it is mentioned. Do not wrap the body of text around the table or figure. Provide sufficient room for a heading and caption on the same page.
- For a large table or figure, place on the page following the page where it is mentioned. Provide sufficient room for heading and caption on the same page.
- For very large data sets that would require an oversize sheet to display, submit the data set as a supplemental file and reference by file name and title in the body of the project.
- Each table or figure should be numbered sequentially according to the chapter in which it appears
- Number tables and figures separately.
- For example, Table 1.1 (chapter 1, table 1), Table 1.2, and Figure 1.1 (chapter 1, figure 1) could be in the same chapter.
- Table headings must be placed above each table using the same font size as used in the body of the text.
- Font face should match the font used in the body of the text.
- Table headings should be centered or justified/aligned with left edge of table. Consult with specific style guide to determine.
- Figure or Image headings may be placed either above or below, depending on style guide.
- Figure or image headings should be justified with left edge of table, or centered depending on style guide.
- For large tables or figures using landscape page preference, headings must be oriented to the table, either above or below.
If you are completing a dissertation, thesis, or starred paper that requires submission to the Repository, uploading your document to the Repository is the only way to initiate final format review or to submit corrections. Papers are reviewed in the order in which they were submitted to the Repository.
Creating an account
- Begin by creating a personal account at the The Repository.
- Select "Collections" under "Browse" in the left navigation,
- On the page "Research unit, center or department."
- Choose "Expand All" and look for your school/college and department.
- Select the "Culminating Projects" series for the department.
- Select "Submit Research" in the left navigation.
- If not already logged in, you will be prompted to login.
- If you did not create an account in step 1, click "Sign up" to create a new account.
- Complete each field marked with an asterisk. You will receive monthly reports on the number of downloads your contribution receives. Use an email address you will use after you graduate.
- Please designate St. Cloud State University as your institution.
- You will receive an email at the email you designate that will confirm registration.
Uploading your project
- To upload, return to "My Account" and sign in using the email address and password you used to create your account.
- Be prepared to enter the following information.
- Title - The title of your thesis or dissertation.
- Author - Enter your full name. After you have created your account, type your last name in the Search box; once it appears, click on your name and it will populate the rest of the author data.
- Date of award - Date of graduation ceremony.
- Type - Choices are “thesis,” “dissertation," "starred paper," "creative work" or "Plan C Paper."
- Degree name - This is the program name for your degree (e.g.,, “Education Administration and Leadership: MS” or “Higher Education Administration: EdD”).
- Department - This is not the program, but the department through which the program is offered.
- First Advisor. This is your culminating project chairperson/supervisor.
- Second, Third Advisors. These are members of your culminating project committee other than your culminating project chairperson/supervisor.
- Creative Commons license - This helps you retain copyright control while allowing others to copy, distribute or make some use of your work so long as they credit you. The most restrictive license, commonly used for culminating projects, is Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works, and is the default.
- Keywords and subject headings - You may enter up to six keywords (individual words or phrases), separated by commas. This improves indexing and retrieval of your culminating project. Subject Headings will be added by library staff.
- Abstract - Copy and paste the full text of the abstract as it appears in your thesis or dissertation. If you are submitting a starred paper or creative work, you will need to provide an appropriate description of the culminating project in lieu of an abstract.
- Comment or acknowledgement
- A typical comment is to an article or conference presentation based in whole or in part on the research represented in the culminating project.
- A typical acknowledgement recognizes the mentoring or contribution of a professor or colleague.
- OCLC Number - This control number is created by the library to uniquely identify your deposit. You do not need to be concerned about this number.
- Embargo - An embargo period that denies public access to your deposit. This may be appropriate for selected culminating projects. This field should only be changed with prior approval from Graduate Studies.
- Return to "My Account" and login using the email address and password you used to create your account.
- Upload a new/corrected version to this account.
- Do not email the corrected document to the formatter. You must login to your account and upload the revised document in the Repository to be returned to the queue for review.
Theses, dissertations, creative works, and starred papers require submission to the Repository. Plan C papers are considered on a case-by-case basis. Contact the School of Graduate Studies.
The School of Graduate Studies will process graduations three times per year. Students wishing to graduate with a specific graduation date must meet posted deadlines for that graduation date or apply for the next available date.
Students are required to be enrolled in at least 1 credit in the term that they graduate.
- Attend a thesis/dissertation workshop addressing formatting guidelines and Electronic Theses and Dissertation (ETD) submission, view the associated PowerPoint presentation online (in Process), or meet with the format reviewer.
- Submit fully-formatted draft of culminating project to faculty committee two weeks in advance of final defense (final committee meeting).
- Students should submit the fully-formatted and approved final project to the Institutional Repository through ETD intake to request formatting review. (Student enters name, program, school or college, document title, abstract (thesis and dissertation), keywords, and chair/committee members’ names and emails).
- Submitted document must be formatted according to the approved disciplinary style and the guidelines outlined in the Preparation of Culminating Projects for Electronic Submission.
- Formatted document must include title page, abstract (not required for creative works or starred papers), table of contents, list of tables or images (if tables or images are included in the paper) and correct in-text citations, references and appendices.
- Citations and included references must be congruent. Accurate citations and references are critical to academic integrity.
- Papers found to contain plagiarism, at any time, can result in denial of award or revocation of the degree.
- A works consulted list may be included in an appendix for research reviewed but not cited in the body of the project.
- The document submitted to the Repository should be your best effort. The document should fulfill program requirements, contain all needed and congruent citations and references, and fulfill all formatting requirements.
- Student receives feedback from format reviewer in 10-15 business days (2 - 3 weeks).
- Response is dependent on the time of year and your position in the queue. One month or more is normal if submitted on the deadline for Spring, Summer or Fall completion and will delay your graduation.
- Student makes formatting corrections and revisions required by the committee.
- Advisor reviews revisions and sends signed committee approval form to School of Graduate Studies.
- Student uploads final, approved and formatted culminating project revisions to the Institutional Repository through ETD intake.
- Following advisor approval, the School of Graduate Studies reviews the final submission for formatting -- adherance to disciplinary style guide and Graduate Studies requirements for title page, table of contents, lists of tables or images as required, abstract as required, and appropriate appearance (page numbers, margins, headings, font etc.)
- An approved paper is placed in the queue for publishing to the Repository.
- Graduate Studies notifies Office of Records and Registration that the culminating project is complete.
- Student, advisor and college dean receive notifications that the culminating project has been accepted and published to the Repository.
- If additional formatting corrections are needed, or the chair does not approve submitted document, the student receives notification that additional changes are needed.
- The student makes changes as required prior to final deadline and uploads corrected document through ETD intake using the existing account.
- Format reviewer does final check and accepts the re-submitted document. The committee chair is notified that the final copy is again available for review and approval.
- Following advisor approval, the School of Graduate Studies reviews the final submission and places the document in the queue for publishing to the Repository.
- Graduate Studies notifies the Graduate Records Specialist that the culminating project is complete.
- Student, advisor, and college dean receive notifications that the culminating project has been accepted and published to the Institutional Repository.
- Direct student as to which disciplinary style guide should be used for formatting, or direct student to the St. Cloud State University formatting guides for electronic submission.
- Direct student to submit the formatted culminating project to the School of Graduate Studies and the culminating project committee two weeks in advance of the final oral defense. Notify Graduate Studies if you want a preliminary review.
- Provide student with feedback on content, disciplinary style (if used), in-text citations and references (citations/references should be in the disciplinary style and accurate).
- Complete the Culminating Project Committee Results form following the final defense.
- Advisors may:
- Immediately submit passing or failing results for review by the graduate director and submission to Graduate Studies; OR
- Hold form until student has completed any corrections required by the committee, approve and submit to Graduate Studies.
- Review the notification of final formatting approval and immediately communicate any concerns to the School of Graduate Studies.
School of Graduate Studies responsibilities
- Provide formatting and submission workshops in a variety of formats, as to be accessible to all students and disciplines.
- Preliminary review of formatting and citation/referencing for culminating projects in the Electronic Theses and Dissertation intake.
- Provide feedback to student on formatting, style, referencing, citations, etc. within 10-15 business days of submission. Response is dependent on the time of year and your position in the queue. One month or more is normal if submitted on the deadline for Spring, Summer or Fall completion and will delay your graduation.
- Perform the final review of formatting and citation/referencing for culminating projects in the Electronic Theses and Dissertation intake.
- Notify the faculty chair that the final document is ready for review and approval.
- Receive final approval and publish the Electronic Theses and Dissertation to the Repository.
Learning Resources Responsibilities
- Maintain the Institutional Repository.
- Support electronic submission of theses and dissertations, and other culminating projects.
Binding specifications of the School of Graduate Studies
- Hard cover
- Black buckram (color)
- Gold lettering
- White, acid-free paper or 100 percent cotton blend
- Appropriate number of required copies (1 minimum)
- Front-cover wording (optional/extra charge)
- Thesis/Dissertation/Starred Paper
- Month and year
- Spine wording (required)
- Last Name
- Month and Year
- The student contacts the company and completes a form that asks name, title, number of copies, etc.
- The student uploads their project, completes shipping information and submits payment.
- Costs and delivery times are estimates based on “average” metrics (e.g., single-sided, 114 pages, 10 pages in color, 4 copies, hard cover, acid-free white paper).
Companies accept culminating projects electronically
University of Minnesota
- Estimated cost including printing, binding, shipping
- $236 for 4 copies
- $179 for 3 copies
- $121 for 2 copies
- $ 64 for 1 copy
- Delivery: 10 business days
FedEx Office (local drop-off and pick-up)
- Estimated cost including printing, binding, shipping
- Time to pick-up: 5-7 business days
PHD Book Binding
- Estimated cost not including shipping
- Delivery: Orders ship on the fifth business day of each week
Additional options for binding a personal copy or gift copy
- Copies Plus
- Atwood Memorial Center
- Estimate: $2.85 each
Soft Cover Bind
Need in-person assistance with formatting?
Email the format reviewer GA at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an individual appointment through Zoom.