Preparing and Submitting Your Thesis or Dissertation
The LSU Digital Commons digital repository archives and makes accessible research, publications, data, and other institutional records produced by LSU faculty, students, and units. As graduate students, you will upload copies of your completed thesis or dissertation. You can choose to immediately make your work open access or withhold your document from public circulation for a specified amount of time.
Before proceeding, please review the Steps to Graduation, as the graduation process generally begins the semester before you intend to graduate. You must have successfully completed your final examination and any required revisions before you can submit your thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School. We suggest that you schedule and hold your defense as early as possible in the semester of graduation.
The Graduate School has a handbook, Formatting Electronic Theses and Dissertations, which provides instructions for preparing, formatting, and submitting your document. You will need to prepare your document according to these instructions. Sample pages and a LaTeX template are included for you to consult. Instructions are also available on our website on how to convert your thesis or dissertation into .PDF format.
Ready to Submit?
When you are ready to prepare your manuscript for submission, complete the following steps in order.
1. Make any revisions that are required by your committee and secure final approval of your document from your committee and major professor. Plan to submit your document before the semester deadlines listed in the Graduate School calendar.
2. Read the Formatting Electronic Theses and Dissertations to learn about the various parts of your document, how to format it, and how to submit it.
3. To begin the turn-in process after you have completed all revisions and have formatted your document correctly, confirm that all required forms for graduation have been submitted to the Graduate School by logging in to myLSU and selecting “Graduate Milestones” under “Student Services." A walkthrough is available to help you navigate this section.
4. You will need to decide whether you would like to release your document to the public upon final approval or restrict access to your document. Theses and dissertations can be restricted for either one year or seven years with no approval required. Upon your document restriction's expiration, your document will automatically become publicly available for download in Digital Commons. If you would like to request an extension on a current restriction, please complete this form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be aware that there are no restrictions available for more than seven years.
The Digital Commons Process
5. In order to submit your document for review, you will first need to create a Digital Commons account and heed the following instructions:
- Do not create more than one Digital Commons account and do not create a new submission to upload document revisions.
- All document revisions must be submitted by logging into your Digital Commons account and choosing the "submit revisions" option.
- If you have forgotten your password, click HERE to reset it.
- If you have forgotten the email address you used to create your Digital Commons account, please email email@example.com for assistance.
- Note that your “lsu.edu" email address expires one year after graduation. Please use a long-term email address such as gmail.com, outlook.com, etc. when creating your account.
- Use your full name as shown in your university records.The name you use must match the one that is on your approval sheets and on the LSU database.
- Choose "Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College" as your Institutional Affiliation.
Completing the Submission Page
6. When completing the submission page on Digital Commons, be sure to include all committee members and their email addresses in the proper boxes. List their names, in mixed case letters, as “Doe, John” or “Smith, Susan.” Do not use professorial or honorary titles such as Dr., Miss, or The O.K. Allen Distinguished Professor of Buildings. Ensure that your name, document title, email address, and other fields are correct as well.
7. Convert your final document to a .PDF and upload a single file to LSU Digital Commons for final approval by clicking the appropriate link at the bottom of this page. If additional corrections are necessary, and/or when the document is approved, you will be notified by email by the reviewer. Only your first submission on Digital Commons will be reviewed by the Graduate School, so if you make an error, please edit your existing submission. Do not upload multiple revisions of your document. Instructions are available for editing your prior submission. If substantial formatting corrections are needed at this point, you may not be able to meet the submission deadline for the current semester and may have to graduate in the following semester.
8. For master’s students graduating during the current semester, the process is complete after receiving the emailed approval notice. For doctoral students, it is complete after receiving the approval notice and completing the Survey of Earned Doctorates. For students registering for Degree Only for the upcoming semester, further steps are necessary to complete Degree Only registration.
Ready to Go?
If you are submitting your document for the first time, click the appropriate button below:
If you need to submit REVISIONS to your document to the Graduate School for approval, click HERE.
Many or most uses of images, quotations, and other materials in a thesis or dissertation would be fair use (please see the tab on Fair Use Basics for more information), but you cannot assume that an academic purpose automatically guarantees fair use. The key questions are basically: How are you using it? and Are you using an appropriate amount?
At one end of the spectrum, imagine a short quotation, or an image reproduced at a viewing-friendly (but not reproduction-friendly) resolution, and a dissertation that discusses and critiques that image or quotation. The writer is using the material to make a particular point important to their scholarship, and adding to academic discourse on the subject. No one is going to use the dissertation as a substitute for the original work. Few or no copyright owners would object to this type of use as a fair use, requiring no permission, and it is hard to imagine a successful challenge if they did. The analysis generally changes little for dissertations on the internet; you may want to consider whether you have included, for example, so many things from the same creator or at such a high quality that people would download a copy of your dissertation rather than buying a copy of the work.
On the other end of the spectrum, imagine a writer who wants to discuss one paragraph of another writer's work, but quotes ten pages that are not discussed. Imagine a writer who includes several images from a particular artist, in a format that shows more detail than a user needs to understand the writer's text, or is suitable for poster printing. Even though the writer is creating scholarship and has a noncommercial purpose, the amount used is more than is appropriate.
Many uses will fall somewhere between these two extremes, but in our experience most students writing a dissertation will fall closer to the first case. The nature of a thesis is that most external content is included because the author is making a point about it. Various guidelines exist to help evaluate different kinds of uses in the context of theses and dissertations, such as these from Proquest/UMI.