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Submitting your Thesis or Project to the Library

This guide contains all of the information that you will need to submit your thesis, project, or dissertation to the library.

Frequently Asked Questions

An "ETD" is the electronic version of a thesis, project, or dissertation. Instead of being printed and bound, the file is converted to a PDF and submitted to the library. The library preserves and archives the PDF, and makes it available online through ScholarWorks, the CSU-wide scholarship repository. The components and structure of the document are basically the same as a paper thesis or dissertation. For example, it has figures, tables, footnotes, and references.  

How do I submit my thesis, project, or dissertation?

After a successful defense and committee approval, and the $25 fee has been paid, you are ready to submit your ETD. Please follow the instructions on this guide under the submission guidelines. For students completing the CSUSM/UCSD Joint Ed.D. Program, please click on the CSUSM/UCSD Joint Ed.D Requirements tab.

My project is a group project. Do we have a different process?

Group projects should only be uploaded once and must include all the authors' names on the signature page. It may be easiest to designate someone to submit the project on behalf of the entire group. Each student is still responsible for individually paying the fee!  

How should I format my thesis/project/dissertation?

You should consult with your committee chair and members of your committee to determine the textual arrangement and reference format of the dissertation or thesis. If you need assistance with citation styles, please contact the Research Help Desk or refer to the Citation Research Guide. 

Do I need to obtain signatures?

Yes, but the signed departmental signature page will NOT be included in your final file. It will be stored with your respective college. The signature page in your file is the first page of the document, and will have the names of your committee members, but it will not be signed.  

When should I submit my thesis/project/dissertation?

ETDs may be submitted any time AFTER a successful defense and the ETD fee has been paid to the cashier's office. The deadline for your file to be uploaded and your fee to be paid for Spring 2023 is May 11th at noon. If you require an extension, your committee chair will need to request the extension from the Office of Graduate Studies. If granted, an extension can be anywhere from one day to one week. If you need more than one week, you will need to enroll in a course next semester. Please seek guidance from your faculty advisor or department coordinator.  

 My thesis/project has a website component. Do I need to include it?
If your project or thesis has multimedia files (audio or video) or a website component, please let Carmen Mitchell know as soon as possible. For websites, it will take two business days for us to prepare a copy of your website. For captioning video files, it may take up to a week. Please plan accordingly!

My thesis/project has videos and/or audio files as a part of it. Do I need to include them?
If your project or thesis has multimedia files (audio or video) or a website component, please let Carmen Mitchell know as soon as possible. For websites, it will take two business days for us to prepare a copy of your website. For captioning video files, it may take up to a week. Please plan accordingly!

What if I don't have Microsoft Office/Word at home or work?

You will need the Microsoft Office suite in order to submit your final, accessible file. Google Drive does not have the same accessibility functionality that Microsoft Office does. The Office suite is available on all the computers on campus. It is also available as a free download for use on your personal computer. Download it from the Student Technology Help Desk site. 

What if I have confidential or proprietary information in my thesis or my project? What are Character String Replacements and Embargo Periods?

If you and your committee agree to place a restriction on your thesis, project, or dissertation for patent or security reasons, you must indicate on the e-thesis/project upload form. An embargo means that your work will not be viewable by anyone without a CSUSM username and password for the given period. After the restriction expires, the library will make your work publicly available for anyone to see. An embargo must be authorized by your faculty advisor and indicated on the library submission form.(link to form) Your advisor may ask you to submit a modified version of your abstract to ScholarWorks for embargoed items. Please let Carmen Mitchell know if you have any questions.  

If you are dealing with confidential information in your file, an embargo may not address your concerns. You might want to consider a character string replacement to replace the confidential info with generic info. Please contact Carmen Mitchell for assistance with this.

For some disciplines, you may have signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in order to complete the work necessary for your project or thesis. If this applies to you or your group, your faculty advisor may request that you submit a "reduced content" thesis or project to ScholarWorks. This request is handled the same way that an extension request is handled: Your faculty advisor should communicate with your department coordinator, and the department coordinator will request the reduced content exemption from the Dean of Graduate Studies. Please do NOT wait to make this request, as it may take some time for a decision to be made. Please contact Carmen Mitchell if you have any questions.

What about my rights as an author? 

Students retain all rights to their work. CSUSM adopted an Intellectual Property Policy in 2012. This policy states "copyrightable works prepared by students as part of the requirements for a University degree program are deemed to be the property of the student. Unless otherwise agreed upon, research records for a graduate theses or dissertation are the property of the University, but the student-creator may retain a copy of the work." You should talk with your faculty advisor if you have questions about the material contained in your thesis or project. 

However, students must also grant a non-exclusive license to the university at the time of submission when completing the Final Submission Form during the submission process. The license confirms that the student is the creator and contributor of the work and grants the university permission to share the work for educational purposes. Students also give the university permission to make their work available to all users and to adapt it to accessible formats per American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance requirements. 

Students submitting materials for which they do not own copyrights, (including research data sets) must certify that they have obtained permission from the copyright owner before making materials available online. If you are unclear about the material contained in your thesis or project, please talk with your faculty advisor.