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    Thesis and Dissertation

    • What is an ETD?

      An ETD is simply an Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. It’s a digital rather than a paper document. An ETD may have multimedia files, hypertext links and other interactive features, along with text. Today, all UCF theses and dissertations are ETDs.

    • What is a typical ETD process? How long does it take?

      While the thesis or dissertation process will vary from student to student, a general understanding might be:

      Identify a committee chair (adviser)
      Identify an advisory committee (with adviser's help)
      Choose a topic
      Conduct preliminary research
      Create a proposal and seeks department approval
      Reviews formatting resources
      Researches and writes
      Submits for Format Review(s)
      Makes any necessary formatting and content changes
      Submits final file

      The length of time necessary to complete a thesis or dissertation depends on many factors, including employment, family, time available, topic selected, the type of research, adviser and committee schedules and the review process. In general, a thesis will typically take two to three semesters; a dissertation, five to seven semesters.

    • What's the difference between the proposal and the ETD itself?

      The thesis or dissertation proposal is generally a preliminary, incomplete version of the larger thesis or dissertation. While specific details of the proposal vary from department to department, usually it will include the problem, hypothesis, or question; the importance of the research; prior research in the area; a possible research approach or methodology; and the potential outcomes of research.
    • What does the Graduate Thesis and Dissertation Office do?

      The Thesis and Dissertation Office is your primary resource for all things ETD. In particular, the Office:

      • Publishes the Thesis and Dissertation Manual and other resources
      • Updates the thesis and dissertation web information
      • Manage the Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse and the Thesis and Dissertation Services site
      • Performs Format Reviews / Approvals
      • Processes thesis and dissertation paperwork and final submissions
      • Conduct thesis and dissertation workshops
      • Answers general process and format questions
    • What is a format review?

      The UCF Thesis and Dissertation Office reviews every ETD for formatting consistency and preparation according to the Thesis and Dissertation Manual. You are required to submit your manuscript as a bookmarked PDF for an initial format review prior to the deadlines for the semester you intend to graduate. You must gain format approval before you will receive permission to make your final submission to the university. Please note that a majority of students need more than one format review to gain approval.
    • How and when should I submit my ETD for the format review?

      Typically, the format review process occurs in the final term. To make a submission for review, students must log into the Thesis and Dissertation Services site and submit their bookmarked PDF file to the Format Review section. Prior to submitting for review, students should review all formatting resources in the Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse. 

      Generally, you will want to submit your PDF in a final, or near-final, form. You may use placeholders for any missing content, but the content submitted should be formatted correctly.You must submit for an initial format review before the posted review deadline for the semester you intend to graduate. 

      As most ETDs require more than one review, you will likely need to resubmit for another review after the initial review. We suggest resubmitting for review no later than one week prior to the final submission deadline in your final term.

    • How long will it take to complete the format review?

      The timeliness of format reviews varies primarily on the proximity of posted deadlines. Submissions at or near deadlines may take 5-7 business days to receive a response. Submissions during less busy times of the term rarely exceed 2-5 business days. You should plan accordingly.

    • How should I prepare my ETD?

      UCF requires that all ETDs adhere to certain format specifications. Before you begin writing, become familiar with the information in the Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse. The university standard format for all ETDs is a single bookmarked Adobe PDF file.
    • Why PDF?

      UCF requires the Adobe PDF format for its ETDs because PDFs preserve the fonts, images, graphics and layout of any source document—and also because libraries around the world, including Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), which stores UCF's ETDs, have adopted PDF as a thesis and dissertation standard.
    • What are PDF bookmarks and how do I create them?

      Bookmarks serve as a navigational aid within the left margin of a PDF file and function much like a secondary table of contents. The bookmarks menu must include all chapter and major section headings and at least first-level subheadings for the entire document.

      You must use Microsoft Word styles in order to automatically create bookmarks when converting to PDF. The styles set up in the Word file create bookmarks when the file is converted to PDF format. Styles are also used to generate your ETD’s table of contents.

      Please see the formatting resources in the Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse for instructions on using styles and converting to PDF with bookmarks.

    • What are Microsoft Word styles and why would I use them?

       A style is a set of formatting characteristics that you can apply to specific text in your Word document to change its appearance. Styles enable you to change the formatting of like categories of text, like headings, as a group, in one step, rather than changing each heading individually.

      Use of styles within your manuscript means less time spent on formatting, more consistent preparation of the manuscript, less time spent on formatting corrections and easier conversion to PDF. If you use styles throughout your Word document and generate a table of contents, list of tables and list of figures, these links will automatically convert to bookmarks in the PDF, again saving you time and effort.
    • How do I learn to use Microsoft Word styles?

      Review the formatting resources in the Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse. You may also attend attend a workshop, which are held each term. Check the Pathways to Success page for additional workshop details.
    • Is there a template to help format my ETD?

      Our experience is that only a solid understanding of Microsoft Word Styles will yield a properly-formatted ETD. Students who attempt to use templates without first understanding heading styles and captions typically encounter as many or more formatting problems as students without a template.

      As a result, we recommend that ETD students start a new document from scratch and use the resources available through the Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse to achieve proper ETD formatting.

    • Does UCF support LaTeX for ETD?

      The College of Graduate Studies has created a LaTeX template (available in the Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse). However, due to limited resources, UCF does not offer on-going formatting suppport for LaTeX users.

      If you wish to use LaTeX, or your adviser insists on your use of LaTeX, be aware that your own knowledge, and that of experienced users in your department, is likely your best resource for adapting LaTeX documents to UCF's ETD requirements.

      Also be aware that several existing LaTeX templates, now out of date with UCFs formatting requirements, continue to circulate. Please appreciate that significant LaTeX knowledge may be necessary to meet UCF's formatting standards should you wish to make deviations from the provided template.

    • Are there any size limits for ETDs?

      While there are no official size limits for ETD files, large media files can slow PDF performance and hamper usability. Generally, media files greater than 150 MB will be discouraged or alternatives suggested.

    • What support is available for writing my ETD?

      A student's best resource for proper writing within the discipline is their adviser. Students should also review articles from journals within their discipline to see examples of discipline-specific writing.

      The University Writing Center also offers writing services to thesis and dissertation students, including document feedback and long-term project planning. 

      Additionally, the Thesis and Dissertation Office keeps a list of freelance word processors, editors and proofreaders that are available for hire. Please e-mail to obtain this list.

    • How do I choose members for my thesis or dissertation defense committee?

      Committee members would ideally be individuals you have studied successfully under before, or at least faculty members with interest in your discipline, unless required otherwise. As these individuals will read and evaluate your ETD and support your research, it is preferable that you have a strong working relationship.

      Speak to your adviser about your potential choices. Be aware some departments will have specific guidelines for thesis and dissertation advisory committees. These are included in the Graduate Catalog at

    • What is involved in defending my thesis or dissertation?

      A thesis or dissertation defense is an oral examination that evaluates your knowledge about the subject you've researched. Your adviser and committee members may question you about any facet of the process, from the literature review, methodology or results, to document organization, stylistic choices, and the like.

      When you have completed your draft, work with your adviser and committee members to determine an agreeable date and time for the defense. (Please regard university graduation deadlines for defenses.) Once the date is decided, notify your department's graduate office. As the defense is a public event, they will work with you to make the necessary notifications.

      While you should aim to give faculty as much lead time with your work as possible, at least two weeks advance is a usual consideration.

    • How do I prepare my defense approval form?

      The Approval Form is available in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. It is imperative that the approval form is generated correctly: An incorrectly formatted form will be returned to the student for corrections, and the student will be responsible for obtaining all new signatures.

      Before printing this form, students should determine their final thesis/dissertation title, defense date, and dissemination option with their adviser and submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form at myUCF > Student Center > Graduate Students > Choose Graduate Student forms. Upon completion of the TD Release Option form, the title, defense date, and release option will be updated in the Approval Form.

      Students should also ensure that their committee information is indicated correctly on the Approval Form before printing and contact their program if the committee is not listed correctly. Students cannot defend their thesis or dissertation unless the proper committee information is listed on the Approval Form!


    • How do I obtain all of the signatures for my defense approval form?

      The Approval Form is the university’s official means to verify that you have met all requirements related to your thesis or dissertation. It is signed by your adviser, committee members, and the College of Graduate Studies dean. Typically, a program and/or department coordinator and a college dean also sign the form. 

      To obtain signatures for your approval page, ask committee members to sign off immediately after the successful completion of your defense. Once your committee members have signed, take the form to your department’s graduate office. They will direct or assist you as you obtain program/department and college administration signatures.

      Once the form is signed by your committee as well as the program/department and college representatives it should be delivered to the Thesis and Dissertation Office in the College of Graduate Studies (Millican Hall 230) and left with the front desk staff. Once you complete all of the ETD requirements we will collect the last signature, of the Vice Provost and Dean, College of Graduate Studies, on your behalf. The fully-signed form becomes part of your university records.

    • Whom do I contact for information regarding human subjects protocols at UCF?

      If you intend to use human subjects during the course of your study (e.g. surveys, interviews), you must gain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to beginning the study. For access to the IRB submission form and sample consent forms, please visit the Office of Research website > Compliance > IRB website. If you have additional questions, please contact the IRB Coordinator, at 407-823-2901.

    • How do I upload the final version of my ETD?

      After you successfully defend and complete your format review, the Thesis and Dissertation Office will provide access to the Final Submission area of the Thesis and Dissertation Services site so you can upload your final PDF. If it cannot be verified that a student has successfully defended, his or her upload will be deleted.
    • What do the release options mean?

      Dissemination defines the availability of an ETD to both the academic community and the general public when accessed through the UCF Libraries catalog. UCF gives students four options regarding electronic access to an ETD. Use the following explanations in conjunction with advisement by your faculty adviser about publishing within a particular discipline to choose the best dissemination (release) option for your ETD:

      1. Immediate worldwide dissemination with no restrictions.

        This option means that anyone accessing the UCF Libraries catalog will be able to access the ETD once it is processed. Please note that it can take several months for ETDs tobe processed and cataloged.

      2. Pending dissemination of the entire work for six months for patent or other proprietary issues, with an additional six months extension available. Once the patent and proprietary issues are resolved, immediate worldwide dissemination with no restrictions.

        UCF offers this option as a courtesy to those students applying for a patent or those who need to keep their ETD restricted for other proprietary (privacy) issues. The ETD will not be available to view by anyone for six months. After six months, the ETD will become available to view by anyone who accesses the UCF Libraries catalog. If needed, students can request an additional six-month extension to the Thesis and Dissertation Office by email. NOTE: Students choosing option 2 will not be able to exercise his or her right to publish until the ETD is released for worldwide dissemination.

      3. Pending dissemination of the entire work for six months for patent or other proprietary issues, with an additional six months extension available. Once the patent and proprietary issues are resolved, dissemination with limited access to the UCF community for a period of:
        one year
        three years
        five years

        This option is similar to the previous option but instead of the ETD becoming available for worldwide dissemination after six months, access will be limited to those with a UCF ID card number (access through the catalog off campus), or those who access the ETD from on campus for the period specified. After the one, three, or five year period has passed, the ETD will be available for worldwide dissemination. Students will be eligible to publish only after the six-month patent or proprietary restriction has been fulfilled.

      4. Dissemination with limited access to the UCF community for a period of:
        one year
        three years
        five years

        Access to the ETD will be limited to those with a UCF ID card number (access through the catalog off campus), or those who access the ETD from on campus for the period specified. After the one, three, or five year period has passed, the ETD will be available for worldwide dissemination. Students will be eligible to publish at any time..
    • Where will my ETD be stored?

      ETDs are stored and archived at the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), a digital library in Gainesville, Florida, formed in collaboration with other Florida universities and accessed through the UCF Libraries electronic catalog (barring any dissemination restrictions, in which case only the abstract information is available).
    • Where will my ETD be available?

      By Fall 2010, the metadata, citation information, and abstract for your ETD will be made available to the following sites: UCF Libraries’ catalog, WorldCat, NDLTD (Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations), Worldwide ETD search, and search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, among others, ensuring wider distribution.

      Please note: these sites will only be able to access the metadata, citation information, and abstract for your document, so if you have restricted the dissemination of your thesis or dissertation, it will not be available.

    • What if I want a printed copy of my ETD?

       Binding of personal thesis or dissertation copies is completely at your discretion. You are free to make your own bindery contacts and negotiate your own agreements, shipping arrangements, and methods of payment.

      UCF never requires a printed copy of your ETD. Any provision of bound copies to committee members or departments is a courtesy and not a part of graduation requirements.
    • Should I apply for copyright for my ETD?

      Simply by authoring your ETD, you own the copyright to your work. For most students, it is unlikely anyone will infringe or violate that copyright by misrepresenting your work or reproducing it without proper citation or permission.

      However, should someone seriously infringe or violate your copyright, you have limited legal recourse unless you have officially registered your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. If your work is something that has the potential to make money (e.g., book royalties), it is probably wise to register the copyright.

      • Formal registration is a prerequisite for filing any infringement action in court and serves as prima facie evidence of copyright validity
      • A copyright owner can only recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees if the work is registered prior to infringement or within three months of publication
      • If the infringement occurs prior to registration, the copyright owner can still file an action but is limited to actual damages and injunctive relief (the ability to stop the infringement)

      You may register the copyright directly with the U.S. Copyright Office at

    • What is a registration waiver?

      Students who do not meet all thesis or dissertation requirements in a given term may pursue a registration waiver for the following term. A registration waiver allows a student to graduate in a given term without having to register formally or pay tuition for that term.

      To receive a registration waiver, a student must have met the format review and defense deadlines the semester before they plan to receive the waiver. For example, a student seeking a fall registration waiver must have met the summer format review and defense deadlines.

      Students meeting these requirements need to complete the remaining ETD requirements (including submission of any relevant forms and the final ETD submission) by the end of the registration period for the following term and notify the College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation Office of their intent to receive a waiver.

      If you do qualify for the waiver, we will be happy to provide a letter to an employer (or another) stating that all graduation requirements have been met, and you should still be eligible to attend commencement for that next term. However, since you will not be paying any fees, you will not be able to use any university resources for that following term.

      Note: Registration waivers typically do not apply to current F-1 and J-1 visa holders. International students should contact the International Services Center with specific eligibility questions.

    • I am an international student. Can I qualify for a registration waiver?

      If you are a current F-1 or J-1 visa holder, in order to meet visa requirements, you must be enrolled in classes pursuing a course of study. If you do not meet all thesis or dissertation deadlines in a given term, you must enroll for classes the following term. You are not eligible for a registration waiver, as is available to other students. There is no such thing as a zero credit hour registration.

      Please direct other specific questions regarding visas and registration to the UCF Global.

    • How does publication affect my ETD?

      If you intend to publish your work, be sure you understand how the release (prior availability) of your ETD by the university is viewed by publishers.

      Also, as a condition to publish, publishers often require authors to provide the copyright of their work to the publisher. Should the publisher retain the copyright (or make any restrictions on future uses of the work), you may be limited in the way you can use your research (including its use in your thesis or dissertation) in the future.

      Be sure to carefully read any agreements you made or will make with publishers to avoid copyright and publication complications. Please see this site's Copyright Information section for additional information.


    • What is the NORC Survey of Earned Doctorate?

      The Survey of Earned Doctorates is an annual census conducted jointly by six federal agencies of all individuals receiving a research doctorate from an accredited U.S. institution in a given academic year. Results are used to assess characteristics of the doctoral population and trends in doctoral education and degrees in the United States. Doctoral students must complete the survey available at Additional information is available at the NORC web site.


    Transfer Work

    • How do I transfer courses taken at UCF into my graduate program?

      The acceptance of transfer credits in a program of study must be approved by the program. Graduate programs may stipulate additional constraints beyond those included in the university transfer policy. For policies regarding transfer of credit, click here.

    • How do I transfer courses taken at another institution into my graduate program?

      The student must provide an official transcript to the College of Graduate Studies and to the program adviser. The Program/College will evaluate your course and choose whether to approve the transfer work. The Program/College sends the transfer work to the College of Graduate Studies where final approval is made and the course work is processed. Students with international transfer credits from recognized international institutions may be required to obtain a Joseph Silny evaluation. For policies regarding transfer of credit, click here.

    • Can I take classes at another institution?

      The Traveling Scholar program enables graduate students to take advantage of special resources available on another campus but not available on the home campus; for example, special course offerings, research opportunities, unique laboratories, and library collections. Students interested in becoming a traveling scholar must meet with their graduate adviser. Please click here to complete the form.

    Student Life

    Graduate Policies and Student Responsibilities

    • What is a petition?

      When unusual situations arise, petitions for exceptions to policy may be requested by the student. Depending on the type of appeal, the student should contact his/her program adviser to start the process. The petition process should start early, as soon as the problem is identified, and should always be filed using a Graduate Petition Form. Please refer to Academic Grievance Procedure and Petitions of Gradute Requirements Procedures in the Graduate Catalog for details. The Petition Form is available in the Forms and Files section of the Graduate Students website.

    • What is a Program of Study?

      A program of study is a listing of course work agreed to by you and your program advisor. A Program of Study form can be obtained from the graduate program director.

    • When should I file a program of study for my program?

      Programs of Study for students seeking a master's or specialist degree should be on file with the College of Graduate Studies by the end of the student's second major term (based on full-time enrollment) and must be on file by the end of the term prior to the term of expected graduation. Programs of Study for students seeking a doctoral degree should be on file with the College of Graduate Studies by the end of the third major term of enrollment (based on full-time enrollment), and must be on file prior to the change to candidacy status.

    • Can I register if I have not submitted my Program of Study?

      Yes, even though a "to do" item will appear on your myUCF record, it will not prevent registration.

    Residency and Tuition

    • Who is a Florida Resident for Tuition Purposes?

      'Florida resident for tuition purposes' is a person who has, or a dependent person whose parent or legal guardian has, established and maintained legal residence in Florida for at least the last twelve (12) months. Residence in Florida must be as a bonafide domicile rather than for the purpose of maintaining a residence incident to enrollment at an institution of higher education. We require documentation establishing legal residence in Florida (these documents must be dated at least one year prior to the first day of classes of the term for which resident status is sought). The following documents will be considered in determining legal residence:

      Florida driver’s license (required); AND Florida vehicle registration; AND Florida voter registration

      To qualify as a Florida resident for tuition purposes, you must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien, or legal alien granted indefinite stay by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Other persons not meeting the twelve (12) month legal resident requirement may be classified as Florida residents for tuition purposes only if they fall within one of the limited special categories authorized by the Florida Legislature and Board of Governors. All other persons are ineligible for classification as a Florida 'resident for tuition purposes.' Living in or attending school in Florida will not, in itself, establish a legal residence. For more information on qualifying for Florida residency for tuition purposes, limited special categories, and ineligibility for classification, we ask that you review the following section of the UCF Graduate Catalog and click on: Financial Information > Florida Residency for Tuition Purposes. 

    • How long do I have to be in Florida before I can claim Florida residency for tuition purposes?

      You have to be in Florida for at least 12 months prior to the first day of classes for the term you wish to enroll in so that you can be considered for Florida residency for tuition purposes. Furthermore, you must establish that your presence or, if you are a dependent child, the presence of your parent or parents in the state currently is, and during the requisite 12-month qualifying period was, for the purpose of maintaining a bona fide domicile in the State of Florida, rather than for the purpose of maintaining a mere temporary residence or abode incident to enrollment at the university.

      All supporting documentation submitted for residency purposes must be issued by the state of Florida and dated at least 12 months prior to the first day of classes for the semester in which you are initially enrolling. If current issue dates are renewals and dated less than 12 months prior to the first day of classes, then proof of an issue date prior to the renewal and at least 12 months prior to classes is required. Supporting documentation is due no later than the last day of registration for the term in which you are enrolling.

    • What is meant by 'Name of person claiming Florida residency' on the Residency Classification form?

      The "Name of person claiming Florida residency" refers to the person who has maintained legal residence in Florida for at least 12 months prior to the term in which Florida residence is claimed for tuition purposes. This person may be the student, or if the student is a dependent, it may be the student's parent or legal guardian. A claimant can be also be the student's spouse.

    • Do U.S. citizens have to fill out a Florida Residency Classification? Why?

      Yes. All applicants wishing to claim Florida residency for tuition purposes, including US Citizens, must fill out a Florida Residency Classification in order to be considered.

    • Why am I being classified as a non-Florida resident if I attended UCF as an undergraduate/graduate student and was classified as a Florida resident?

      If more than a year has elapsed since you last attended UCF as an undergraduate/graduate student, we are not able to use your previous classification. We must classify you according to the information you provide on the residency portion of your application, and request additional documentation if necessary. In order for our office to grant you initial residency classification for a program to which you are applying, Florida residency guidelines require us to have updated residency information that is no more than a year old on file.

    • Under what circumstances would a person from outside the United States or from another state be considered in-state for tuition purposes?

      These reasons are:

      • The student is married to a legal Florida resident (copy of marriage certificate required).
      • The student lived in Florida and has maintained legal ties for at least 12 months prior to the start of the semester, and is a permanent resident (INS documentation and proof of residency required).
      • The student is a member of the armed forces or is the spouse or dependent child of a member of the armed forces (copy of military orders required).
      • The student is a teacher or administrator at a Florida public school, community college, or university, or a spouse or dependent child of such person (proof of employment required).

      Please visit the UCF Graduate Catalog located on our graduate website,, for other circumstances in which Florida Residency for Tuition Purposes could be granted.

    • If I was a non-resident last year but have been in Florida for a year, where can I get my residency changed?

      If you are currently enrolled at UCF and are classified as a non Florida resident for tuition purposes and wish to reclassify your current residency classification, you will need to contact the College of Graduate Studies residency reclassification official at More information on Residency Reclassification can be found online at

    • Why am I being charged as an out of state and in state student?

      Based on the information provided on the residency portion of your application, you were classified as a non-Florida resident for tuition purposes. Additional documentation may have been requested of you via e-mail, but it was either not received or did not meet the requirements.

      The in state charge shown reflects the cost of in state tuition and the out of state charge reflects the extra cost you are required to pay for being an out-of-state student. 


    Nondegree Students



The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Central Florida.

Please note the commission's expectation that contact occur only if there is evidence to support significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard. For other information about UCF’s SACSCOC accreditation, please contact the university's SACSCOC liaison in UCF's Office of Academic Affairs.

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