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Thesis/Dissertation Submission Check List and Overview

Prior to the defense date: 

1) File your Declaration of Intent to Graduate Form by the deadline posted in the Graduate Academic Calendar for the semester in which you will earn your degree. 

2) Doctoral students must also submit a completed “Survey of Earned Doctorates.” At the time of graduation clearance, the Registrar's Office sends all doctoral candidates a link to the Survey. 

3) If you are requesting an embargo of your thesis or dissertation, you will need approval.  Please see the Embargo Form at the end of this Guide. 

4) Two weeks prior to your defense, but no later than the DRAFT submission deadline listed on the Graduate Academic Calendar; submit a copy of your complete final draft. Make sure this initial thesis/dissertation submission is formatted to meet all formatting requirements and contains no blank sections. Keep a copy of the original file you used to create your PDF in case you need to make revisions prior to your final submission. Always use the most up to date version of Adobe Acrobat to convert your document to a PDF. (Students sometimes submit multiple drafts; please always use the notes section to let the ETD Administrator know whether your submission is a draft, or if you are submitting your final version. Once you submit your final version, you will NOT be able to make additional changes.) 

5) Students must pay the $50 Thesis/Dissertation archival charge online, prior to uploading your draft document to ProQuest.   

6) Two weeks prior to your defense, your thesis/dissertation defense MUST be posted to  All thesis and dissertation defenses are open to the public. The student and his/her advisor are responsible for posting this announcement. 

Your defense announcement should include all of the following elements:  The ___(College)________________, Department of _______________, invites you to attend a _____(Master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation)__________________ defense by ___(Student Name)___________ on “___(title of thesis or dissertation )_______________.  

Candidate Name: 
Degree (check as appropriate): (  )Doctoral (  )Master’s   
Defense Date: (Day of the week, Month, Day, Year)        
Time (from/to):        
Location (Room number, building, campus):       
Thesis/Dissertation Title:       
Advisor (Name, Department, University):         
Committee Members* (For each, list Name, Department, University or Company)   
Brief Abstract: 

NOTE: Your advisor must be a UML faculty member and at least 2 additional committee members must be as well. Rules for committee members are detailed in the Graduate Academic Catalog. 

I’ve defended. Now what do I do? 
Once the thesis/dissertation has been successfully defended and the final version is approved, the student must: 
Submit the original signature page, dated and with signatures of the thesis/dissertation advisor and all committee members to the Registrar’s Office no later than the deadline for submitting the final thesis/dissertation to the ETD website ( Remember you will need a scanned copy of the signature page to submit with your final manuscript, so keep a copy!  
Double-check your final, approved document to make sure it is formatted in accordance with the standards published in this guide.  Your document will be published exactly as it looks in PDF form, so check it carefully!   
Submit your document to the ETD website. Your document must be defended, revised (if required by your committee), and fully formatted before you submit it. You must have the paper copy of your signature page signed by your full committee before you submit your final document. Submit a PDF of your document via the UMass Lowell ETD website UMass Lowell’s ETD administrator must approve your submissions and will authorize the release to ProQuest for publication.  
PDF conversion  
Your materials must be a PDF (Portable Document Format). If you have any problems, contact ProQuest customer service at 800-521-0600, email:, or and a representative will assist you. 
Supplemental Files 
You may also include other items in supplemental files such as datasets and larger tables, figures, or appendices. Supplemental files will be included on a CD in the bound volumes.
“Fair Use” and copyright permissions  
Remember that for submissions of previously copyrighted materials that exceed the parameters of "Fair Use" as that term is used in U.S. Copyright law, submitters must obtain permission from rights holder. For more information, please visit the U.S. Copyright Office at  
Requesting an Embargo  
A student might want to restrict access to his or her work for reasons including a patent pending, data sensitivity, and pre-publication concerns. (Since most books produced from dissertations require considerable revision, there is a strong argument that depositing a thesis or dissertation in the repository would not amount to a prior publication.) The ETD submission software provides a method for written restriction requests. Any requests for embargoes must be pre-approved for a 6 months, one year, or two-year period as recommended by your advisor, and approved in writing by your graduate program director, and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in your college (or his/her designee). At the end of the requested period, your document will join all other theses and dissertations available to the public at ProQuest and via the UMass Lowell library. The period of embargo that you select in ProQuest in the “Publishing Settings & Copyright” section for Traditional Publishing (ProQuest) must be consistent with the period of embargo approved by the University. Regardless of whether you elect to embargo your document, your dissertation/thesis abstract will be publically available.  
Copyright Information  
A thesis or dissertation automatically falls under general copyright protection as soon as it is fixed in final form (including storage as an electronic file). No fee or formal registration with the Library of Congress is required. However, you are required to include a copyright notice; this page comes after the title page. If formal registration is desired, you may either contact the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress ( or you can request copyright registration as a supplementary service ($55) from ProQuest when the thesis/dissertation is submitted. Students retain their copyright without registering; however, should a student’s copyright be infringed upon, only copyright holders who have had their copyrights registered would be eligible for statutory damages and attorney fees.  Unregistered copyrights only allow for actual damages and not attorney fees. 
An electronic copy of your abstract may be kept by Library and may be published (hard copy or electronically) as part of collections of abstracts, theses and/or dissertations.  
University of Massachusetts Intellectual Property Policy, University of Massachusetts Lowell (Doc. T96-040) states: “Theses and Dissertations - The texts of all student theses and dissertations, and derivative works of these works, are considered Exempted Scholarly Works; therefore, the student will own copyright to the Scholarly Work …., subject to a royalty-free license to the University to reproduce and publish the Scholarly Work…..,” 
Purchase Requirement 
When you submit your document you will be required to purchase one bound copy for your program. If your program does not require a bound copy, this copy will be released to your advisor. During the electronic submission process, you will be able to order personal copies, too. Below is a table indicating which departments require a bound copy. If your department does not require a bound copy, please include the name and office address of your advisor in the notes to the ETD administrator. 
Program List - Thesis Masters and Doctoral Programs Only (updated spring 2019).
Program by CollegeRequired departmental copy? If no, this copy will be given to advisor.
Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Applied Psych $ Prevent Sci (Ph.D.)NO
Autism Studies (MS)YES
Community Social PsychologyYES
School of Criminology and Justice (MA/PHD)YES
Global Studies (PHD)NO
Peace & Conflict Studies (MA)YES
History (MA)YES
Music Education (MM)YES
Sound Recording Tech (MM)YES
Applied Biology (PHD)YES
Biology (MS)YES
Chemistry (MS/PHD)YES
Computer Science (MS/PHD)NO
Environmental Studies (MS)NO
Mathematics (MS)NO
Physics (MS/PHD)YES
Polymer Science (PHD)YES
Radiological Science (MS)YES
Education (PHD)NO
Leadership in Schooling (EDD)NO
Chemical Engineering (MSE/PHD)YES
Civil Engineering (MSE/PHD)YES
Computer Engineering (MSE/PHD)NO
Electrical Engineering (MSE/PHD)NO
Energy Engineering (PHD)YES
Energy Engineering (MSE)NO
Energy Engineering Nuclear (MSE)YES
Energy Engineering Renewable (MSE)NO
Environmental Studies (MS)NO
Mechanical Engineering (PHD)YES
Mechanical Engineering (MSE)NO
Plastics Engineering (MSE/PHD)YES
Biomedical Eng/Biotech (MS/PHD)YES
Marine Science & Tech (MS/PHD)YES
College of Health Sciences
Health Informatics & Management (MS)NO
Nursing (MS)NO
Nursing (PHD)YES
Pharmaceutical Sciences (MS)NO
Pharmaceutical Sciences (PHD)NO
Work Environment (SCD)NO
Business Administration (PHD)YES
The UMass Lowell ETD administrator verifies your submission and sends the final version to ProQuest for publishing. The copy you order for your program will be delivered to the University approximately eight to ten weeks after the end of the semester.    
Any personal copies you ordered will be mailed to you by ProQuest. Please make sure ProQuest has your most current address. If you move, please contact ProQuest customer service at 800-521-0600 to update your contact information.
1. Your thesis or dissertation in PDF format; make sure there is no password protection on the file.  
2. An electronic copy of your abstract to cut and paste  
3. Supplemental files that are part of your document, if any.  
4. Signed Signatory Page, which should be included in your PDF. Also, send a copy of the original signed signature page to the Registrar’s Office. Please note: Your final submission is not complete and will not be reviewed without an electronic copy of your signed signature page.  
5. A list of your Chairperson and Committee Members names and titles  
6. Subject Categories - ProQuest will ask you to assign categories to your document.  
7. Credit/Debit Card for payment. (You will be completing two separate transactions. One payment is to UMass Lowell for the library archival fee; the other payment is to ProQuest.)   
Make sure you include a note in the “notes to the ETD Administrator” section specifying whether your submission is a draft or the final version.

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