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Thesis and Dissertation

ETD (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation)

Before applying for graduation, a graduate student should have completed all course work on his or her approved program of study or be currently registered for the remaining courses. During the final semester and/or the semester of final oral and written examinations, a graduate student must register for at least 2.0 credit hours or 1 credit hour for those graduating in June. Under special circumstances, students may pay an equivalent minimum registration fee through Graduate Studies for the required hours. Audit and independent study credits are not acceptable. Students who miss the graduation deadlines for any given semester must register for at least 2 credit hours or 1 credit hour for June graduation (preferably project, thesis, dissertation, or internship credit) or pay the equivalent minimum registration fee and will graduate the following semester/term.

Final Oral Exam

You must have committee approval of your thesis or dissertation prior to scheduling your final oral exam.

  • The final oral examination (defense of the dissertation or thesis) will be scheduled by the department after consulting with you and all committee members about availability.
  • Final examinations may not be held during the interim periods between semesters or terms.
  • In order for students to pass the final defense (with or without qualifications), they must demonstrate a sound understanding of their work and its implications.
  • The student and the committee chair must be present for the defense. Other members can attend remotely but must be approved by petition to Graduate Studies.

Writing Guidelines

If you are writing a thesis or dissertation in your graduate program, you are responsible for learning about and following the style guide(s) your department and college use.

ETD (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation)

All graduate students who are writing a thesis or dissertation must submit it as an ETD (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation) as part of the graduation requirements. Your work will be made available worldwide through the BYU library.

After your Oral Thesis Exam you will need to make any changes discussed at the exam. Once the document is approved, you will create the ETD with bookmarks and embedded fonts. Graduate Studies reviews the preliminary pages in the ETD. Then it is reviewed by your department and college and any or both reviewers can add comments asking for necessary changes.

Once your department and college have approved the document it will be sent to Graduate Studies for final approval and release to the library.

Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Policy

BYU Graduate Studies requires that a title page, abstract and table of contents be included in each thesis and dissertation. The format of the title page must comply with university-style standards as communicated here. Formatting of the abstract and table of contents is at the discretion of the college style standards. If needed, default formatting guidelines for each of these pages, the thesis body, and sample documents are available here.

BYU Graduate Studies Requirements


To ensure that each thesis and dissertation is legible and accessible in printed and digital format, BYU Graduate Studies requires:

  • US letter sized pages (BYU Print and Mail suggests margins of at least ¾” to ensure quality of printed and bound documents)
  • all fonts embedded in the PDF
  • bookmarks for each chapter and heading that is present in the table of contents section in the PDF

Article-based Chapters

BYU Graduate Studies is supportive of article-based formatting of chapters in theses and dissertations when consistent with disciplinary norms and College style standards. If applicable, accepted, or published articles on which the student is a primary author may be inserted as chapters in the thesis or dissertation. Submitted articles are subject to college formatting requirements. Article-based chapters using accepted or published articles must include a complete citation and the following statement: “I hereby confirm that the use of this article is compliant with all publishing agreements.”

Helpful Hints:

  • The name on your thesis must match BYU’s AIM system.
  • Release Status options:
    • Immediately: Released immediately after submission.
    • Delay: The ETD is released publicly after one year.
    • Creative Works (English MFA’s only): Will never be publicly released.
    • Secured: If the document is being considered for a patent or involved with export controls it will be held privately by BYU for a pre-determined amount of time.
  • All doctoral students are required to complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). It needs to be submitted before you can graduate and you can submit it anytime in your last semester.

Online Thesis/Dissertation Bootcamp

Here are three well-designed e-learning modules to help you prepare to research and write your thesis or dissertation. Module 3 is especially helpful in guiding you on how to develop a productive writing plan. These are self-directed and completely free.