Thesis & dissertation information

Students required to complete a thesis or dissertation must meet the Graduate School’s formatting guidelines and deadlines. One final copy of the thesis or dissertation must be submitted electronically to OhioLINK by the final deadline

Effective January, 2023: OhioLink now requires thesis or dissertation submissions to meet Minimum Digital Accessibility Standards (MDAS) prior to publishing. Compliance ensures that published manuscripts can be viewed on a variety of technology (laptop, mobile phone, personal data assistants, etc.), and be accessed by readers who may have a disability requiring use of a screen reader.

Please review the following information carefully as you are responsible for meeting the Graduate School’s formatting guidelines, and the digital accessibility standards. At minimum, the following must be addressed prior to publication of your manuscript:

  • PDF file includes full text
  • PDF accessibility permission flag is checked
  • Text language of the PDF is specified
  • Figures require alternative text
  • PDF includes a title and use of at least one heading level in the text of the document

Refer often to the Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Guidelines, and the Graduate School’s Digital Accessibility Guidelines. Also, be mindful of deadlines, as there will be NO extensions permitted.

Submitting your thesis or dissertation

  • Set a realistic schedule: You are encouraged to create a schedule for yourself that will allow you to defend your work during two to three weeks before the submission deadline to allow for any revisions required by your committee. Give consideration for time needed for accessibility checks as well.
  • Address your manuscript for digital accessibility: This step comes after your final committee revisions are made in your source document (usually Word), and before conversion to a PDF. The Digital Accessibility Guidelines provides guidance on completing this step, along with suggestions on how to obtain the required Adobe Acrobat Pro software. Please note that Acrobat Reader does not include the tools to successfully perform an accessibility check.
  • Electronic submission to OhioLink: After an accessibility check of the PDF, follow the procedures outlined below.
  1. Go to the OhioLINK website for electronic submission, and follow the steps to submit the “complete, finalized ETD.”
  2. Select the option for: “I am submitting: My paper’s bibliographic information, abstract, and full text.”
  3. Read the terms and click on the box to agree and continue.
  4. Select the school: University of Akron. Then click on the button “Continue to main form.”
  5. Complete “Information About Your Paper” and click on the box to save and continue.
    • When entering your name and the title of the manuscript, please use the format “An Analysis of VTOL Aircraft” DO NOT ENTER IN ALL CAPS.
    • Note: OhioLINK requires that an abstract be entered here even if one does not appear in your manuscript.
    • Note: OhioLINK allows you to select subject headings and keywords relating to your manuscript. The Graduate School highly recommends that you utilize these options. Entering keywords will allow people to find your manuscript via search engines without requiring that they know your complete title.
  6. Complete “Degree Information” and click on the box to save and continue.
    • Please complete the section for “Other Advisors/Committee Members”. Please include all advisors and committee members.
  7. Complete “Publication Information” and click on the box to save and continue.
    • OhioLINK Permissions: we recommend keeping the default of “Copyright, all rights reserved.” You may select one of the other options, but please read the links carefully before selecting one of those options.
    • Publication Delay: Manuscripts are not released for publication until after graduation. You
      will leave this as “I am not requesting any publication delay.”
      • If you will need a further delay than that, select “I am requesting that my school delay publication…” and select the length of the delay.
      • When choosing this option, a delay of publication request form must be submitted with the signature page along with the publisher’s policy. This can be found on their website.
    • UMI Publication: UMI Publication is mandatory for doctoral dissertations.
      • Doctoral Dissertations: “Upload my paper to UMI for the traditional publishing option.”
  8. Complete “Document Upload” by clicking the “Browse” button, selecting your pdf file, and clicking the “Upload Now” button.
  9. “Review and Complete Submission” and select “NO - Return to Editing” if there are errors or “YES – Submit My ETD Now” if everything is correct.
    • Note: Your paper is not submitted until you click on the “YES – Submit My ETD Now” button.
  10. A page will appear stating, “Submission Complete.”
  11. Students will be sent an email confirmation from OhioLINK that the manuscript was received and another once the Graduate School has approved it.


Formatting and writing tips

Recent thesis and dissertation writing workshop presentations

The format check process

The Graduate School format checks each graduating student's thesis or dissertation for adherence to the Graduate School Guidelines for Preparing a Thesis or Dissertation. Be sure to use these guidelines throughout your drafting process to make your format check process much easier. The guidelines walk you through formatting each special section of your paper (table of contents, lists of tables and figures, title page, signature page, etc.) and provides the guidelines for margins, spacing, and alignment throughout your document. Some guidelines may conflict with the style guide in your department. In these cases, the Graduate School Guidelines should be followed.

Once you feel that you have formatted your document in accordance with the Guidelines to the best of your ability, it is time to upload your document to OhioLink. Your document will not be visible to the public at this time. The Format Check office will then check your pdf from OhioLink and will send you the pdf with comments in the document for correction. You will then make the corrections, and send the newest version back for approval. Once approved, the Format Check office will replace the version you uploaded to OhioLink with your final version and will publish it after graduation.

Delaying electronic publication of a thesis or dissertation

In some circumstances, a student may wish to delay the electronic publication of a thesis or dissertation. While the University generally promotes the timely publication of theses and dissertations, it is recognized that under certain specific circumstances, a delay is warranted. These include:

  • when the student wishes to publish an article from the thesis or dissertation in a journal whose policy is not to publish anything that has already been published electronically;
  • when the student wishes to publish the thesis or dissertation with a publisher whose policy is not to publish anything that has already been published electronically and;
  • when the student is in the process of applying for a patent on research contained in the thesis or dissertation and does not wish to disclose its contents until the patent application has been filed.

Graduate students can apply to the Graduate School for a delay in the electronic publication of a thesis or dissertation for up to a five year period (renewable). Requests must be supported by evidence from the journal or publisher to show that the publication policy requires no previous electronic publication. (For the NEOMFA program in creative writing, the advisor’s endorsement is sufficient.) Evidence of intent to file patent materials is also required. The request for delay form must be signed by the student’s thesis or dissertation advisor and must be submitted at the time of the signed signature page. The request will be reviewed by the Graduate School before it is granted. Extensions may be requested with appropriate documentation.



Related: Graduation information for graduate students

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