Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do before I submit my disquisition for review?

Before you submit your document, you must:

All items must be successfully completed before submitting your document to the Graduate School. Your official submission date is the date on which the last item is received.

What happens during format review?

The Dissertation and Thesis Coordinator for the Graduate School reviews your disquisition to ensure that it follows NDSU requirements for consistency in formatting, professionalism in the document’s appearance, and readiness for publication. Required changes and recommendations are listed in a memo which is sent to the student and their committee chair. A typical disquisition will go through the process about four times before acceptance.

Please note that the Dissertation and Thesis Coordinator does not proofread or edit the content of disquisitions. That work should be done before submitting it to the Graduate School. The Graduate School’s disquisition review is to coordinate matters related to disquisition publication.

What are the common errors when formatting a disquisition?

The most common errors are related to inconsistency within the document. The key to good formatting is consistency; namely, that the disquisition looks like a single cohesive document from start to finish. For example, a chapter heading at the beginning of the disquisition should look the same as a chapter heading from the end of the disquisition; a table in one chapter should look similar to a table in another chapter, and so on.

Attention to detail will help you pass format review with fewer revisions. Before converting to a PDF, look through your own document as a reader trying to find information in order to spot issues in page numbers, errors in the Table of Contents or List of Tables or List of Figures, or shifts in layout when changes get made higher up in the document. After converting to a PDF, page through again to make sure the PDF looks good before you submit it to the Grad School.

What style manual should I use?

The Graduate School asks that you use the style manual most appropriate or most commonly used in your discipline.

Your entire disquisition should follow one style, (including citations, table titles, figure titles, etc.), except, of course, where the style directly conflicts with Graduate School requirements. When your style manual conflicts with the Graduate School requirements, the Graduate School requirements take priority.

If you do not know the style manual of your discipline, please consult with your advisor, or review previously-approved disquisitions of your department, program, or field of study.

How do I know when my disquisition is submitted?

When the Disquisition Processor receives notice that you have submitted your disquisition online (either through the ETD website or the email form for Master’s papers), an email verification is sent back to the email address that you have provided. This process is manual and not automated, so email verifications are sent only during working hours.

I submitted a while ago and haven’t gotten a review back yet.

It usually takes 3-5 working days for a disquisition to be reviewed, depending on the number of people in the queue for review. During end-of-semester deadlines, it could take longer than 5 working days.

If it has been longer than 5 working days, then it’s likely one of the following issues:

  • Many people submitted at the same time and the queue for review is backlogged. Please be patient.
  • The review was sent to a different email address. Please check all of your email addresses.
  • The review was sent to the correct email address, but it’s been caught in your junk email folder. Please check your junk email settings.
  • The email address that you provided on the ETD website was incorrect. Please double-check your email address on your submission.
  • You did not fully submit changes on the ETD website, and the Disquisition Processor was not notified of your resubmission. Log on to your submission on the ETD website and click “Submit changes”, or contact the Disquisition Processor.

How do I format each section of my disquisition?

See the appropriate section of the online Format Guidelines. Templates and examples are provided for many sections of the disquisition – please download and review these examples.

You can also download the pdf version of the Guidelines, which are formatted according to the Guidelines themselves. The pdf file both explains and demonstrates the Guidelines.

View our “Navigating the Format Review Process” video playlist on the GPS Academy YouTube channel. The playlist contains eight videos: one about the format review process, six that are a “Word Crash Course” demonstrating formatting tips, and one is an overview and demonstration of using our Word templates.

Where can I get more examples of how to format my disquisition?

Consider reviewing previously-approved disquisition from your department or program for full-length examples of disquisition formatting. You can access NDSU disquisition online through the ProQuest database and through the NDSU Institutional Repository. If looking at previously-published disquisitions to see examples of formatting, we recommend looking only at the disquisitions published from 2018 onward as these best reflect our current guidelines. 


Can I pay someone to format my disquisition?

The Graduate School prefers that a student formats his/her own disquisition since you will be responsible for your own professional work after graduation. If you do enlist help or consultation when formatting your disquisition, you are still responsible for the end product, and you must make sure that the required revisions are completed to the satisfaction of the Graduate School.

NDSU has the following on-campus resources available to you:

  • Graduate Center for Writers, for writing consultations and content review of your work. (Appointment only.)
  • Technology Learning and Media Center, for formatting consultations, MS Word help, and workshops.