Theses and Dissertations FAQ

Q: What is an ETD?
A: ETDs (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation) are an electronic version of a thesis or dissertation. These documents are similar to the paper copies but are readily available (as designated by the student) to the world via the World Wide Web. They can be prepared using almost any word processing program and converted into a pdf format. They also have the ability to incorporate multimedia elements. ETDs eliminate the need for multiple paper copies and are less expensive. 

Q: What are the benefits of ETDs?
A: More exposure to your work. ETDs enable graduate students to present their research to a broader audience. Authors may allow their thesis or dissertation to be freely assessable to the world. 

Expanded creative options: The creative possibilities are expanded, since more vivid diagrams, maps, hyperlinks, audio, video, animation, etc. can be incorporated into the document. 

Cost savings and efficiency: The dissertations do not have to be microfilmed before publishing which reduces the time before you report becomes accessible online.  

Q: What software is needed to view ETD documents?
A: To view ETDs you need a Web browser (i.e. Mozilla, Internet Explorer) and Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader is available at no cost from

Q: How are ETDs accessed?
A: Your thesis or dissertation receives broad exposure, and is accessible via 
Stevens Library Catalog, Search engines like Google and Proquest Digital Dissertations and Thesis Database

Q: Why should I make my ETD freely available?
A: ETDs increase the visibility and availability of theses and dissertations to students and scholars worldwide. In some instances, you may need to restrict access to your work for a period of one year while patents are processed or while you submit papers for publication. In general, having free and easy access to your work might lead to many more opportunities for you.

Q: What should I know about intellectual property rights?
A: At Stevens, students retain the intellectual property rights for their theses and dissertations. It is important, however, to recognize that issues may arise with copyright if a thesis or dissertation consists in part of work that has been published in books or journals prior to completion of the thesis or dissertation. UMI/Proquest provides this guide to understanding copyright and copyright infringement:

UMI/Proquest also includes information written by Kenneth Crews, a professor at Indiana University on the issue of copyright.  His work covers how to request permission from publishers, and sample permission letters:

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all portions of their dissertation adhere to copyright law.

Q: What are the policies regarding copyrights?
A: The author retains to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation as well as the right to use all or parts of it for future work (such as articles or books). The student has the option to put the work under copyright or creative commons copyright. However, the student grants Stevens institute of Technology and its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible the dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. 

If you intend to work with a publisher regarding journal or book publications, you should understand any policies and agreements that you might be required to sign with them. (

Q: Is there a limit to the size of the files we submit as part of our ETDs?
A: There is no absolute size limit, but we ask that you keep the file size as small as possible without compromising the quality of the work. 

Q: Am I required to submit a paper version as well as my ETD?
A: You are required to submit three paper copies of your thesis or dissertation to the Library along with your ETD. One copy goes into the Library's Archive and the other two print copies are sent to your department. 

Q: Should I submit my signature page with signatures on it?
A: Do not submit your ETD with signatures on the signature page of your thesis or dissertation.

Q: What are the accepted file formats for ETDs?
A: The only format that can be accepted is a single Abode PDF (Portable Document Format) file.

Q: Why must the file be a PDF?
A: Your ETD file must be a single PDF because this format is easy to create, it is easy for the Library to manage, and it works on multiple platforms.

Q: How do I create a PDF from my file?
A: There are multiple ways to create a PDF from your file. Below are links to provide you with help in this conversion. It is recommended that you have access to the full version of Adobe Acrobat. You should be able to find the full version of Acrobat in the computer labs on campus if you do not own the software already. 

Creating from Word: Open your document in Word. As long as the computer you are working on has Acrobat you can go to File > Print. Select the printer as Adobe PDF. It is basically printing your file to a PDF instead of to paper. 

Online helps: Word processing formats to PDF 
Through UMI's converter (only for Word and RTF documents)

Adobe offers an online service for PDF file creation at

DocMorph at

TeX/LaTeX to PDF: 
PDF-LaTeX at

Q: If I have multiple original documents, how do I get them converted into a single PDF document?
A: Under File in Adobe Acrobat, select create PDF > From Multiple Files and follow the instructions. Do I need to do anything differently when writing my document? You do not need to do anything differently, just write as you normally would. But keep these tips in mind:

Spacing and pagination:

Use tabs instead of a series of space to align text.
Insert page breaks instead of a series of paragraphs to start a new page.
Use section breaks to change the format between pages in the document.
Use your word processor's tools for creating tables of contents and cross  references to ensure that pagination (page numbering) is consistent.


We recommend using standard fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial. If you do use unusual fonts, be sure to use embeddable Type 1 or TrueType fonts.


It's best to use EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) files rather than bitmaps, GIFs, or JPEG images.
Use a high resolution such as 600 dpi.
Avoid graphic editors that are part of the word processor.


Microsoft Word users should NOT use Word's Equation Editor. Instead use italic Times Roman font and Symbol font along with superscripts and subscripts to create equations. 

Q: Should I embed my fonts?
A: Yes, all fonts should be embedded so your thesis or dissertation is viewed exactly as you created it.

Q: How do I embed fonts?
A: Embedding fonts means that the font you used will show up when someone views the pdf. If the fonts are not embedded, the computer will assign a font for viewing. This assumes you are writing in Microsoft Word. When you go to print the document to Adobe PDF, the properties of printing to PDF have an option to embed the font. Make sure to check that box. You can also embed fonts in Adobe Acrobat.

Q: How do I ensure that my ETD survived the transition to PDF?
A: Use Adobe Reader to view your PDF file. Go to File > Document properties and look for the font tab. It should inform you on what fonts are embedded and if they are TrueType or Type I fonts (which they need to be). Visually inspect your PDF file to be sure it is all correct.

Q: May I use my previously published work in my dissertation?
A: If you are including previously published material as part of your dissertation, either as an appendix or as part of the body of your paper, you must obtain written permission from the publisher to have the work included as part of your paper.   Even if you are the author of the published material, you still must get permission from the publisher.   It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all portions of their dissertation adhere to copyright law.  

Any questions regarding the submission of a thesis should be directed to:

Doris Oliver
Assistant Curator
Phone: 201.216.5415
Fax: 201.216.8319
[email protected]