Thesis Writer’s Guide
Thesis Writer’s Guide
The Colorado School of Mines Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) publishes this guide for graduate students in all departments who must prepare a masters thesis or doctor of philosophy dissertation as part of the requirements for a CSM graduate degree. In this guide, the word “thesis” refers to both the thesis and the dissertation, unless otherwise noted.
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 Ph.D. student. Below are some items to consider as you begin the thesis process.
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.
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.
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.
Using Student Models or Templates
Using Student Models – Formatting rules change, so Do Not use any other student’s thesis as a template for your thesis. If you need a template, please use the Latex template.
Unofficial LaTeX Thesis Template
For a number of years, the GSG has maintained an unofficial thesis template using LaTeX. Please click here for more information, or to download, this template. The Office of Graduate Studies has found this template to be very useful for students, but please note that template is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The entire risk as to the quality and performance of the template is with you. Should the template prove defective, you assume the cost of all necessary servicing, repair or correction.
How to Format Page Numbers and Page Orientation
For your PDF thesis/dissertation to print correctly, you will need to embed all your fonts.
If you are using MS Word, use these directions (scroll down to 3rd page)
If you are using Latex, use these directions
The Office of Graduate Studies staff and the Writing Center staff are NOT experts on embedding fonts, so we will not be able to assist with this step. Students are not required to embed fonts, but if the thesis is printed without all fonts embedded and the thesis does not print properly, the student will need to work with the vendor who printed the thesis to resolve the issue.
Registering for Copyright
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).
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:
- 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 to 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.
- 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 http://libguides.mines.edu/copyright/permission.
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:
Article already published
Article accepted for publication
Article submitted but not yet accepted/rejected for publication
Future article submission
No Permissions needed
- 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, Ye Li, provides individual consultations if you need help with reuse permission requests. Contact her at email@example.com .
Input the main text content for your module here.
Thesis Publishing Process
When you upload your thesis into ProQuest, you will be required to select between:
- Traditional Publishing (in ProQuest Thesis and Dissertation Database) Free option
- 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.
To view the publishing differences, please click here.
For questions about publishing, contact ProQuest at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Requesting an Embargo
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.
Options for Restricting Access to an ETD (Embargo)
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
For questions regarding the electronic submission of your thesis, publishing options, ordering copies of theses, contact ProQuest directly.
Available 8:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m. E.S.T.
Monday through Friday (excluding U.S. holidays)
Before You Upload and the Formatting Review Process
- 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.
- Make sure you have read the Graduation Requirements
- Schedule defense with department. Consult with department to see how far in advance you need to schedule.
- Defend thesis at least 1-2 weeks prior to upload deadline
- Take check-out form and submittal page to defense for signatures
- 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
- After the May 18, 2018 check-out deadline, OGS will no longer print a copy of the thesis for students or the departments, so if you want copies, you must order them.
- Make sure you have the correct spelling for all your committee member’s names.
- Make sure your fonts are embedded
- Turn in signed submittal page 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.
- Upload content approved thesis in ProQuest by no later than midnight on the upload deadline.
- OGS will begin format review only after all steps above have been completed.
- Check the email you entered in ProQuest daily (or multiple times a day) for revisions. Multiple revisions may be needed.
- 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.
- Submit completed check-out form and with all required surveys completed and initialed on the form by no later than 5:00p.m. on the check-out deadline. If your check-out form is complete, you may submit at the same time you submit the signed submittal page.
Thesis Components - Page Sequence
The starred/bold items (*) are required in every thesis; lists of figures and tables are required if they appear in the thesis; the other items are optional.
1) Title page * no page number
2) Copyright page no page number
4) Abstract* page iii
5) Table of Contents*
6) List of Figures Required if figures are included in thesis
7) List of Tables Required if tables are included in thesis
9) Dedication ↑ lower case Roman numerals: front matter (items 1-9)
General Formatting Requirements
_____Style: Times New Roman or Arial
_____Size: 10-12 point type
_____Same font size and style used consistently throughout thesis
_____No handwritten symbols in text or equations
_____ To print correctly, all fonts must be embedded (see section on How to Embed Fonts)
_____Pages are centered, 3/4 inch from the bottom of the page.
_____Font style on the page numbers needs to match the font style in the main text
_____Front Matter: lower case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, etc)
-Title page is not numbered
-Copyright Page, if included is the page after the Title page, but is never numbered
-Submittal page is always page ii
-Abstract is always page iii
_____Body of Thesis: Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.)
_____Chapter one is the first page of the main body and it always is page 1
_____1” from all edges
_____Text, figures, tables, equations, etc. may not go into the 1″ margin.
_____Any figure or table that is too large to fit within the 1 inch margin on all sides must be either:
-Be shrunk to fit within the margins
-Uploaded as supplemental files
-Tables that cover more than one page need to be labeled correctly
-Figures with multiple images more than 1 page (single image figures cannot be split).
-Figures that can fit on the page without the caption may have the caption on the 1st page, followed by the figure on the next page.
_____ Do Not split a single items/image over 2 or more pages
_____ Do Not split a caption over 2 pages
_____Use only 8.5 x 11 size pages
Line Spacing and Indenting
_____1½ or double line spacing in front matter
_____1½ or double line spacing in all text in paragraphs
_____Be consistent: if you use double spacing in the front matter, use double spacing in the main body text
-Figure and Table captions are single spaced
-Multi-line titles, subheadings, captions and references in the Table of Contents, Lists and References are single spaced.
_____Use appropriate spacing between the text of paragraph and the Figure/Table captions to differentiate.
_____Indent at the beginning of each paragraph
_____Left margin is justified
_____Right margin is typically not justified
-Only justify right margin if the spacing between words is not too large. Since this must be consistent throughout the thesis, it is better to not justify the right margin.
(Title Page, Table of Contents, List of Figure/Tables, Chapters, References, etc)
_____Each new section or chapter begins on a new page
_____Titles are 1 keyboard stroke below the 1 inch margin
_____Centered on page horizontally
_____All UPPER CASE letters
_____Same size font and style of font as main text (do not make any titles larger than the main text)
_____Titles are NOT in bold font or italic font
_____Chapter + number on the top line, followed by the chapter title on the line below
Exception: If all your chapter titles are short, then it is OK to have the CHAPTER + number + the title on one line.
_____Multi-line chapter titles are in an inverted pyramid shape, just like the title page
White Space and Blank Pages
_____Text must extend to the bottom of the page.
-No more than 3 inches of white space to the edge of the page (2.25 inches to the page number)
_____ Figures/Tables do not need to directly follow the text referring to the figure/table.
If a figure/table won’t fit on the page:
-Refer the reader to the page where the figure/table can be found
-And move the next section of text up to the page with the white space.
_____ No blank pages
_____ White space is only allowed:
-At the end of a chapter
-When a figure/table fills more than 50% of the page and no other text is added to the page (figure or table stands along on the page)
-If the first 2 lines of a paragraph will not fit at the bottom of the page
-If the next subheading + 2 lines of text won’t fit at the bottom of the page
How to Resolve Excessive White Space:
-Extend text to the bottom of the page
-If text refers to a figure/table and the figure/table will not fit on the page:
-Make a note in the text referring to the figure/table (i.e. see Figure 3.1 on page 8).
–Then move the next lines of text up to fill the white space and finally add your figure or table in the next most appropriate spot.
-To fill a page, you may increase the size of figures/tables. Just make sure that they do not look out of proportion to the other text, figures or tables.
-It is acceptable to break equations between pages.
-It is acceptable to split a table over more than one page.
-It is acceptable to split a multi image figure over more than one page. It is not acceptable to split a single image figure.
Thesis Length and File Size
_____No upper page limit and No file size restriction
-If you are having difficulty uploading multiple supplemental files, contact ProQuest.
Thesis Components - Front Matter
_____Shows Thesis Title and Authors Name (with by above the name)
_____No other words, symbols or images are allowed on the title page
_____No page number
____ Title is in all UPPER CASE letters
____ Title is the same size font and style font as main text (title is not larger)
____ Title is NOT in bold font
____ Title is centered vertically and horizontally on page
____ Multi-lined titles appear as inverted pyramid
____ Special characters in title are spelled out (section not §)
_____Preceded by the word by (all lower case), followed by a space, then the authors name
_____Name is 1 inch above bottom margin
_____Name is centered horizontally
_____Name is is upper and lower case letters
____Numbered page ii
____Electronic copy uploaded as part of thesis in ProQuest (no signatures)
____Original submitted to OGS (with signatures) by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the upload deadline
–Submittal page should not be signed until student has passed defense and all revisions are complete.
-OGS will not begin format review until we have the signed Submittal page.
Thesis Components - Main Body of Thesis
_____ Consistently formatted throughout the entire thesis
_____ Centered on page
_____ All CAPITAL letters
_____ Same size and style font as main text (not larger)
_____ Titles are not in bold font
_____ Every chapter begins on a new page
_____ Every chapter is labeled with the word Chapter + the chapter number + the title
_____ Chapter + chapter number is one keyboard stroke below the 1 inch top margin, followed by the title on the next line
_____ Chapter titles that cover more than one line need to be in an inverted pyramid shape.
Headings and Subheadings
_____ Consistently formatted throughout the entire thesis
_____ Same spacing before every heading & same spacing before every subheading
-Do not add extra space before a heading/subheading just to fill a page. If you add space before one heading/subheading, you must add the same amount of space before every heading/subheading throughout the entire thesis.
_____ In bold font with same font style and size as main text
_____ At least two lines of text after a heading or subheading before the end of a page
Chapter page-Double Numbering System
Chapter page-Three Level System
Journal Paper Format
_____ Matches example
_____ Follow Mines requirements for Journal Paper Format includes co-author and publisher permissions in an appendix
Figures and Tables
_____ Figures match example
_____ Must be listed in Front Matter in List of Figures or List of Tables
_____ Must be numbered, have captions, and be referenced in the text prior to appearing
– If the figure or table will not fit on the page immediately following the reference and there is too much white space on the page, you must bring text from the next section up to the page to fill the white space. In your reference to the figure/table, you will tell the reader what page the figure/table can be found.
______ Must fit within 1″ margins
______ Do not wrap text around a figure/table
______ Do not place figures/tables side by side -sequential figures/tables need to follow one after the other
Figure/Table Number and Caption:
_____ Captions are single spaced
_____ Font is black and same style and size as all other font throughout thesis
_____ Figure number and captions are placed directly below the figures
_____ Table number and captions are placed directly above the tables
_____1st number = chapter number and 2nd number = figure/table number within the chapter – Example: Figure 2.4 is the 4th figure in chapter 2
_____ Figures and Tables in the appendices will be numbered with the appropriate appendix letter, followed by the figure or table within the appendix (ie. the 2nd figure in appendix A is Figure A.2
-You may use dashes(-) instead of periods (.), but make sure you are consistent throughout the entire document.
– do not use 2.1 in the main body, then change to A-1 in the appendices.
Large Figures/Tables that (are):
_____ Single figures or tables take up more than 50% of the page, may stand alone on the page, centered on the page both horizontally and vertically.
_____ Fill the page with no room for caption: – 1st page: place label + number + caption on the page, centered horizontally and vertically – Followed on the next page by the figure/table
_____ Tables split over more than one page need to have: – The 1st page labeled with the Table + number and full caption
_____ Larger than 6″X9″: – Need to be shrunk to fit within the page with 1″ margins or
-if not integral to the thesis, uploaded as supplemental files. – Do not add pages larger than 8.5 X 11
Figures/Tables in Landscape Mode:
_____ Wider than tall need to be in landscape mode
Numbers and Equations
_____ Numbers in Text
– Numbers at the beginning of a sentence should always be spelled out (one, two,…ten, eleven, etc)
– Numbers in text; 1-9 spell out (one, two, etc), 10 and above use Arabic numerals (10,11, etc)
_____ Equations – Must appear on separate line from other text – Must be centered on the page or indented
– Are numbered – Equation numbers follow the same rule as figure/table numbers
– Example: Equation 2.4 is the 4th equation in chapter 2 – It is OK to split equations between pages
_____ Equations in running text do not need to be on a separate line an do not need to be numbered.
Thesis Components - Back Matter of Thesis (References and Appendices)
_____ Consistent academic style of the discipline
_____ Only references cited in the text are included in References Cited
_____ All references listed in References Cited are included in the text
– Double space between different references
– Single space individual references
_____ Do not type URLs in blue
_____References are typically placed at the end of the main body of the thesis (part of the back matter), with the References page beginning on a new page and the title “References” in all upper case letters, centered on the page.
-If adding references at the end of a chapter, make that section a heading (i.e. at the end of chapter 1, this could be heading 1.6 References). In this case, References is not a title and therefore it is NOT in all upper case letters.
_____All the formatting rules apply to the appendices
_____ Page numbers of appendices continue in same sequence and position as that used in body
_____ Appendices must be listed in the Table of Contents
_____ Figures and Tables in an appendix must be included in the List of Tables and List of Figures
_____ Figures and tables in an appendix must be numbered and have a caption, just like in the main body
_____ Figure, table and equation numbers in appendices are preceded with the appropriate appendix letter
– For example, the first figure in Appendix A is labeled Figure A.1, etc.
_____ Supplemental electronic files must have a separate appendix listing and describing the files
Thesis Components - Supplemental Files (optional)
Supplemental Electronic Files
_____ If you upload supplemental electronic files, you must included an appendix listing and describing the file example
_____ Supplemental files must be uploaded separately from thesis
_____ There is no file size limitation on supplemental files
-if you are having difficulty uploading supplemental files, contact ProQuest.