Thesis Writer's Guide

Guide to Thesis Writing

Thesis Prep

You should begin your thesis process by the second semester of classes as a master’s student, or at least one year before you plan to receive your degree as a PhD student. Below are some items to consider as you begin the thesis process.

Review OGS requirements

You are encouraged to communicate with the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) staff to verify that you are following the necessary guidelines for producing the thesis. You should also be certain that you understand the process of registering for research credits.


Review department requirements

Departments may have additional requirements specific to their discipline. It is your responsibility to know the deadlines specific to your department and whether or not special organization and formatting are required. If special department or committee requirements contradict the information in this guide, you must resolve the conflict before writing the thesis.


Request thesis advisor and committee

At both the master’s and Ph.D. levels, the student is responsible for choosing a thesis advisor. The Dean of Graduate Studies appoints the thesis committee, based on the recommendations of the student, thesis advisor, and department head. A signed Advisor/Thesis Committee form must be filed with the OGS.


Present research proposal 

After a thesis topic has been selected, a research proposal is written. The research proposal is a description of the research the student intends to undertake, which will be reported in a more detailed and comprehensive fashion in the thesis. The proposal is your opportunity to convince the advisory committee of your ability to pursue the project to a successful conclusion. The thesis proposal itself does not need to be approved by the OGS.



A template for preparing theses is available for any Mines student to use in the program LaTeX. In this template, all the OGS formatting guidelines have been automatically incorporated, by the author, Claudia Schrama. You may access the template and users guide using the links below, or it can be found via Overleaf. If you are not yet a regular user of LaTeX, we recommend the LaTeX guidance resources offered by the Mines Library. More information on the LaTeX template can be found on the GSG website.


CLICK HERE to download the LaTeX Thesis Template (.zip)

CLICK HERE to download the Template User Guide (.pdf)


A Word thesis template has recently been developed for preparing theses. The Word template incorporates OGS formatting guidelines and instructions, although student users must ensure that they check the content carefully during preparation, and must compare their final version to the Sample Thesis and OGS Formatting Checklist (available in the next section) for best results. This template was developed by Wonuola Olawale and Michelle Kent (


  1. Click on the link below to open a file in OneDrive
  2. Choose “File -> Save a Copy” to download a copy to your own computer to use
  3. Open the downloaded file on your own computer
  4. Choose “Enable Editing” and “Enable Content” (this alludes to the fact that the file contains macros)
  5. Save the file with a new name
  6. Read through the file – it contains a combination of elements coded in different ways:
    1. things that you will replace with your own content (e.g. Title, names, Abstract, chapter headings, text, figures, tables, Appendixes etc etc)
    2. instructions, warnings, notes and guidelines – you will delete these when done
    3. things that will stay in the thesis (like page #s, certain headings, etc – see descriptions on the Instructions page)
  7. Start entering and pasting in your own content when ready!
    1. the original file will always be available for you to go back to if needed
  8. Cross-check with 2 important resources on the Thesis Writers Guide webpage: the OGS Formatting Checklist and the Sample Thesis pdf  MinesThesisWordTemplate_test version 1.0.docm


Sample Thesis and Format Checklist

Registering for Copyright

Your copyright is protected by the U.S. Copyright Law automatically upon creation regardless if your register your copyright or not. Registering the copyright of your thesis could provide some advantages if an infringement suit should occur. This “Why Copyright” document from ProQuest has a list of the potential advantages.
If you wish to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, for a fee, ProQuest will register your thesis at the time of submission. For more information on registering the copyright of your thesis, review the information on the ProQuest website and the U.S. Copyright Office website. Regardless, if you choose to register your copyright, ProQuest will deposit a copy of your thesis with the Library of Congress as a formal record.
If an official copyright is registered, the copyright page is the second page in the thesis, but the copyright page is never numbered.
The thesis copyright page contains the 1) author’s name, 2) the date, and 3) the statement, “All Rights Reserved,” centered on the page.

Using Copyrighted Material

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure copyright permissions for any previously published articles and any co-authors not on your committee are obtained. If in doubt, get permission. The Office of Graduate Studies is not responsible for any copyright issues.

Your thesis or dissertation contributes to the scholarly conversation and builds upon previous publications in your field. While writing, you may paraphrase and/or quote texts as well as reuse data, figures, and tables from other authors’ publications and/or your own previous publications.  In some fields, it is common for candidates to publish their research results prior to completion of the degree and to include material from these prior publications, in whole or in part, in the thesis. To the extent that this practice encourages student participation in the wider research enterprise and a wider dissemination of student research results, we encourage departments to adopt this model.

Most of these previously published materials are under protection of the Copyright Law. In additional, re-publication of journal articles as part of a thesis or dissertation is not explicitly covered under section 107 of the copyright act; the so- called “fair use” section.

Thus, to reuse others or your own published materials, you need to:

  • Reuse ethically to avoid plagiarism and self-plagiarism, i.e. properly paraphrasing and citing the original work.
    • Exception: When reusing your own article as a whole, no paraphrasing is needed if the the original publication is explicitly cited and the publisher / co-author permissions are properly stated and attached. (See section below on “Reuse copyrighted materials authored or co-authored by you”)
  • Reuse legally by request permissions in writing from the copyright owners of the work (even for those articles you authored in many cases).
If you quote more than a few sentences, reuse figures or tables or other extensive material from a copyrighted work, you must obtain the copyright owner’s permission in writing. The source should appear in the References Cited section. You are also required to include the written release to use copyrighted material in an appendix to the thesis.
The two sections below will further explain when you need to and how to request permissions to reuse copyrighted materials.


Request permission to reuse copyrighted materials from publishers
For most traditional publications (e.g. journal articles and book chapters), the academic authors usually sign agreements to partially or completely transfer their copyright to the publisher. Thus, the publishers usually has the authority to grant permission to reuse the copyrighted material or can refer requests to the copyright owner or designated representative. The copyright owner may charge a fee for permission to reuse. But many publishers would waive the fee if you explain the reuse is in a thesis or dissertation. MIT’s Thesis content and article publishing guides summarizes policies from major publishers. Please still check the specific publishers for most up-to-date information.

You may follow these steps to request reuse permission:

  1. For “All Rights Reserved” materials,
    • Look for the publishers’ reuse policies for thesis and dissertations on their website and follow their instruction. (e.g. IEEE Reuse Permissions FAQ or ACS FAQ about Copyright. )  Some publishers provide a document or policy statement on their website that explicitly allows materials produced by the candidate to be included in their thesis or dissertation without obtaining explicit permission. Others provide links and directions as how to obtain the necessary permission from the publisher. Follow the instruction in the policies to request permissions or/and give appropriate attributions in your thesis.
    • If no specific policies or instruction for reusing in a thesis or dissertation is available, request permission via one of the following approaches. Ensure the publisher knows that you are reusing the material in a thesis or dissertation.
      • Through the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) form linked on the article page as “RightsLink” or “Rights & Permission” etc. Make sure you save the confirmation email.
      • Through a publishers’ online form or contact email on the reuse policy page if the CCC link is not available. It may take a few weeks for some publishers to respond to your requests. So, seeking for the permissions earlier than later. Make sure you save all the communications.
  2. When you submit your thesis, copies of the permission should be uploaded as part of the thesis or dissertation as directed by the ProQuest website. Emails granting copyright permission are acceptable. And make sure appropriate attributions (e.g. “Reuse with permission ….” + copyright or license statement +  citation information of the original work) as directed in the permissions are included inline with the reused materials. 

Please be aware, that despite a candidate’s best efforts, publishers are not obligated to respond to requests for permission to re-publish. If a candidate has attempted to contact a publisher but has received no response, existing Copyright Law requires that this non-response be interpreted as a denial of permission to re-publish.
For more information, see


Reuse copyrighted materials authored or co-authored by you
In addition to those articles authored solely by you and your advisor(s), in some disciplines, it is normal to consider the inclusion of materials that are multi-authored in a thesis or dissertation. This is particularly true when collaboration and co-operation are required for researchers to undertake basic research efforts at the frontiers of their disciplines, either because of the nature of the work or the nature of the facilities involved. For materials included in a thesis or dissertation, however, it is presumed that the candidate is the primary owner of the intellectual activities described.
If co-authored material is to be included in a candidate’s thesis or dissertation, the Thesis Committee and the Department Head/Division Director of the candidate’s home department/division must approve of the appropriateness of the inclusion of this material in the thesis or dissertation. Additionally, if the material was co-authored by authors other than the candidate’s advisor or thesis committee members, the candidate must obtain permission from each co-author who is not on the candidate’s committee to reproduce the material as part of the thesis or dissertation. Copies of this permission should be uploaded as part of the thesis or dissertation as directed by the ProQuest website.

Copyright permission is required if:










  • OGS does not have a Copyright permission form.        
  • Permissions may be in the form of an email.
  • Add permissions at the end of the thesis or upload in ProQuest.          
  • Do not upload signatures for permissions.

The Scholarly Communications Librarian, Seth Vuletich, provides individual consultations if you need help with reuse permission requests. 


Publishing Options


When you upload your thesis into ProQuest, you will be required to select between:

  1. Traditional Publishing (in ProQuest Thesis and Dissertation Database) Free option
  2. Open Access Publishing (in ProQuest PQDT OPEN). Students choosing this option will be charged a fee.

However, regardless of which option you choose, one copy of your thesis will be deposited into our own Mines Institutional Repository and made Open Access on this platform.

The following flowchart depicts the publishing process. See ProQuest Publishing Agreement and FAQs for additional information.

ProQuest offers students the option to publish their thesis using Traditional Publishing at no cost or Open Access Publishing for a fee. Either option allows open access in the Mines Institutional Repository, but the Open Access Publishing also allows open access in the ProQuest repository.

View the publishing differences.

For questions about publishing, contact ProQuest.



You will be offered several options for restricting access (referred to as an embargo) when submitting your thesis through ProQuest. These same embargoes will be applied to the copy made available through the Arthur Lakes Library at Mines. Embargo options should be discussed with your advisor.

Effective Spring 2014, embargo agreements will no longer be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies. Please select embargo agreements in ProQuest under both the Publishing Settings & Copyright section and the Institutional Repository (IR) Publishing Options section. Please make sure that both sections in ProQuest match.


You will be offered two embargo options: six months and one year. These delay publication of your thesis through Arthur Lakes Library or ProQuest until the end of the embargo period. The title, abstract, attribution information, and subject classification will be available during and after the embargo in the Arthur Lakes Library catalog.

Below are some scenarios when an embargo should be considered:

  1. If your work is based on data generated through research that will support other publications from people on the research team (such as your advisor), it may be necessary to refrain from releasing that data, as it underlies your thesis, while other publications are prepared.
  2. If you plan to apply for a patent based on research that is discussed in your thesis, you should be aware of the rules governing prior publication of material for which a patent is sought. Generally, once patent applicants publish their ideas or invention, they have a one-year window in which to submit their patent applications. After one year, the applicant’s own publication may be considered “prior art” that could prevent the issuance of a patent. Since electronic distribution of your thesis through either ProQuest or Arthur Lakes Library is publication for this purpose, an embargo will delay the beginning of this one-year time clock against a potential patent application.
  3. If your thesis contains data or material that was generated pursuant to a grant or contract and is reviewable by the sponsor or grantor prior to publication, you should select an embargo option.
  4. If you are planning to publish all or part of your thesis and know that publishers in your field consider open access electronic theses to be prior publication, you may want to consider an embargo.


The Colorado School of Mines Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) uses ProQuest to Publish all theses.
Every thesis based graduate student must upload their thesis into ProQuest. After completing the CANVAS Checkout Course and after OGS receives your signed Thesis Defense Form and have uploaded your thesis into ProQuest, our office will begin reviewing your formatting.

ProQuest (create an account and upload thesis)

Contact ProQuest

For questions regarding the electronic submission of your thesis, publishing options, ordering copies of theses, contact ProQuest directly.
Phone: 1-877-408-5027
Available 8:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m. E.S.T.
Monday through Friday (excluding U.S. holidays)
ProQuest Website

ProQuest FAQs

Before you Upload and the Formatting Reveiw Process

  1. Before you begin writing your thesis, make sure you have read the Thesis Writer’s Guide and understand the formatting rules.
    • The Writing Center (operated under the Department of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) is a good resource for writing and formatting your thesis. Please note: the Writing Center is not an editing service.
  2. Make sure you have read the Graduation Requirements
  3. Schedule defense with department. Consult with department to see how far in advance you need to schedule.
  4. Defend thesis at least 1-2 weeks prior to upload deadline
    • Take Thesis Defense Form to defense for signatures. The Thesis Defense Form can be obtained from the Pre-Thesis Defense Quiz in the CANVAS Checkout Course.
  5. Create an account with ProQuest. You may begin this process earlier than your defense.
    • Decide if you want to pay to copyright your thesis.
    • Decide if you want to publish your thesis with Traditional Publishing or Open Access Publishing
    • Decide if you want to purchase printed copies of your thesis (you must order them)
    • Make sure you have the correct spelling for all your committee member’s names
    • Make sure your fonts are embedded
  6. Submit completed CANVAS check-out course by no later than 5:00 p.m. on the check-out course completion deadline.
  7. Turn in signed Thesis Defense Form to the Office of Graduate Studies, indicating that your thesis content has been approved by your committee, by no later than 5:00 p.m. on the upload deadline.
  8. Upload content approved thesis in ProQuest by no later than midnight on the upload deadline.
  9. Format review will begin only after all steps above have been completed.
  10. Check the email you entered in ProQuest daily (or multiple times a day) for revisions. Multiple revisions may be needed.
  11. Formatting must by approved by 1:00 p.m. on the check-out deadline. You will get an email saying “congratulations” when your formatting has been approved.

Summer 2023 Deadlines

Please review the full list of steps needed to graduate in August 2023 here. Note that after your successful thesis defense, you must make any changes to the thesis content requested by your committee and then upload it in ProQuest by August 18, 2023. You will then need to respond to any formatting revisions required by OGS, to receive final approval by August 31.

If you upload your thesis in late June – late July following a successful defense, please be aware that the timeline for OGS formatting reviews will vary due to variable staff schedules, travel, etc. If you have questions about review timing, or a pressing need for an expedited review due to a job offer, etc, please email

Writing Center


Office of Graduate Studies

Alderson 451