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Theses and Dissertations

File Format and Templates

Preparing Your Manuscript

Your thesis or dissertation must be consistent with the guidelines set out below. In order to facilitate this, the Graduate School has front matter templates that must be used.

The manuscript will have the following requirements:

  • Margins must be 1" (one inch) at the top, bottom, left, and right of each page).
  • Line spacing of the manuscript may be either 1.0 (single-spaced) or 1.5 (space-and-a-half). You may not use 2.0 (double spacing) in your manuscript or the front matter of your document.
  • Fonts must be at least 12pt, Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, or Calibri. These fonts are found to be the easiest to read online. Pick one font for your document and use it consistently.
  • The first page that has a visible page number will always be the abstract, which will start with the Roman numerals iii.  The page numbering in the template is correct and should remain intact.
  • Footnotes (if you choose to use them) are easier for the reader to follow than endnotes. If you decide to use endnotes, include a hyperlink from each endnote to its citation.


Templates for both theses and dissertations are here and should be downloaded and used to format your paper. They are easy to use with drop-down boxes to select options and are formatted correctly to the Graduate School requirements. Please do not change any part of the template that does not require your completion. If you have any questions about the templates, please email


The abstract should be written to give a concise account of your research so that a reader can determine if he or she wishes to read the entire work. It should state the problem, describe the procedure or methods used, and summarize the conclusions reached. The abstract for a thesis has a maximum of 200 words. The abstract for a dissertation may have up to 400 words. 

Page Numbering

The Graduate School requires that page numbers be placed at the bottom center of the page, 3/4 inch above the edge. The templates are numbered for you in Roman numerals (iii, iv, v). The manuscript will be numbered in Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3) and will begin at the introduction or first page of your manuscript. All pages of the body of your manuscript, including images, blueprints, appendices, and bibliography are counted and numbered at the bottom of each page. The page numbers should stand alone without any additions (such as -6-, Pg. 6, etc.).

Back matter

There is no template for the back matter. The back matter consists of the bibliography (or reference list) and appendices. Typically, the back matter follows the conclusion of your thesis or dissertation; however, some departments require reference lists at the end of each chapter of the dissertation. You should consult your departmental guidelines regarding bibliographies and appendices, in addition to the appropriate style guide you are using to prepare your manuscript.


All theses and dissertations submitted to OhioLINK must meet the following accessibility requirements. Access to Adobe Pro is needed to complete these requirements. For information on how to obtain this access, see Accessibility Resources.

  • PDF file includes full text - Your document’s text must be complete and not include sections of images of text.
  • PDF accessibility permission flag is checked - This permission enables screen readers to access the document, even if you have security measures in place.
    • To access this option, go to File/Properties and choose the Security tab.
    • Ensure No Security is selected in the drop down menu.
    • Click OK to close the properties box.
  • Text language of the PDF is specified - Selecting your text language enables a screen reader to know the appropriate language and enables some to switch as needed. To set your language:
    • Open File/Properties
    • Select the Advanced tab
    • Under Reading Options, choose the language used in the drop-down menu for "Language"
    • Select Ok to close
  • PDF includes a title - A descriptive title to your pdf helps aid screen readers and your audience. This can be the title of your thesis or dissertation and won’t necessarily match the file name. To edit the title:
    • Go to File and select Properties
    • Edit the title in the description selection
    • Choose Initial View from the menu at the top of the box
    • Under Window Options, in the "Show" box, choose "Document Title" in the drop-down menu
    • Select OK to close

Effective Fall 2023, all submitted theses and dissertations must include the above requirements and use alt-text for any images included in the manuscript. This process can take time, so if you plan to graduate in December 2023, start looking ahead at what will be included in your final document.

  • Figures and images include alternative text - Alt text is a written description of an image, table, or figure.
    • Alt text should not begin with Image of as the screen reader will do this.
    • Use descriptions of what is in the photo, but include the verb or emotion to help relay the entirety of the photo.
    • Alt-text may be done in Windows or in pdf. Occasionally the alt-text will not transfer to pdf from Windows.
      • If you choose to create your alt-text in Windows before putting it into a pdf, be sure to read the tips shared by Microsoft.
      • After running an accessibility checker, Microsoft shares further steps to save your document as a pdf.
  • In Adobe Pro:
    • In the tools pane on the right side, select Accessibility
    • Select Reading Order
    • Find the image that needs text and right-click it, selecting Edit Alternate Text
    • A box shows up to type in your text.
    • Save this and scroll through your document to the next image and repeat these steps until you are done.

Accessibility Resources

Below are resources you can access to help you make your submission accessible.

Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription Program

If you don’t have an Acrobat Pro account, you will need access to it. The library has licenses available to enrolled students and it does not require you to be on campus. With a little planning and time management, you can check out an Adobe Creative Cloud license from the library for 14 days at a time. There are limited licenses available and you may have to wait a few days for a license to become available.

Computer Labs

Miami has on-campus devices that can be used. These can be found at the following locations:

  • Oxford:
    • King Library - Check in with the staff for use of one of their devices.
    • 264 Bachelor Hall
  • Middletown - 013 Johnson Hall Room (Lab)
  • VOA - 100 (Lab)
  • Hamilton - 319 Mosler (Lab)

Personal License

If you choose to have your own Acrobat Pro or Creative Cloud license, there are options available for students. There is a 14-day trial available and a monthly subscription for $19.99/month. You may be able to complete your submission using the 14-day trial, however, depending on how many other submissions have been made, it may not be enough time to successfully complete your format check and upload. Submissions will be managed in the order they are received and if changes need to be made, your trial may run out before your document is published.


If you need assistance with your document or need more detail on tips to be accessible, you can visit Miami's AccessMU Center. They also include best practices for formatting documents, which may be helpful. They also share information on alt-text.


When you believe your document has been formatted correctly, please email your PDF to to begin the format check process. You must be aware of the format check and OhioLINK deadlines.


Once you have completed the format check, you will be advised regarding the upload to OhioLINK. You may not upload to OhioLINK without permission from the Graduate School. You will receive information about the OhioLINK upload by email once your formatting has been approved.

If you have a very large PDF, you may want to optimize it to reduce the file size. You will want to pay attention to the quality of your document. While OhioLINK allows you to upload large files, if it takes someone fifteen minutes to download your PDF, they will probably forgo your research.

It is mandatory that you create an ORCID if you do not already have one. You may create this when you’ve been given instructions to upload to OhioLINK or do it in advance. If you already have the ID, please be sure to use that identifier when submitting your document to OhioLINK.

Once your paper is in the ETD Center at OhioLINK, it will be available for public viewing and download. Miami University students may not choose the option of uploading the abstract only! You must choose the first option that says you are uploading your bibliographic information, abstract, and full text. You are not permitted to choose the second option, even if you are requesting a publication delay! Your electronic thesis or dissertation will be indexed by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other Internet search engines.


When you upload your PDF to OhioLINK, you will be asked if you want to have OhioLINK forward your thesis/dissertation to ProQuest. ProQuest is a comprehensive collection of theses and dissertations from around the world. There is no extra charge to do this and it is optional. Doctoral candidates are encouraged, but not required, to have their dissertations uploaded to ProQuest.

Delay of Publication

You should request a delay of publication only when it is absolutely necessary. If you think you might need a delay of publication, you should discuss this with your advisor and then submit the Delay of Publication form. On the OhioLINK website, you will be given up to two years to delay the publication, but if you are requesting more, simply write in the comment box that you are requesting 3, 4, or 5 years. When a Miami University ETD administrator reviews your submission, this will be overridden in OhioLINK based on the years and dates submitted on the Delay of Publication form.

While your publication is embargoed, the public will be able to see your abstract. However, your manuscript will not be available for viewing or download until your delay of publication expires. 


When you upload your dissertation/thesis to OhioLINK, you will be asked about copyright options. You will need to choose one of three options, and they will be explained. There are links on the submission form to additional information for each option. The Graduate School does not recommend one particular copyright option and suggests that you review this carefully. Many students choose the first option which is “Copyright, all rights reserved” which allows your document to be available under the fair use terms of copyright law.

Remember, if you do not want your document immediately available, you can complete the Delay of Publication form.

There is a copyright notice included in your front matter template. Since your thesis or dissertation is copyright protected, you should complete that information in the template. If you like, you may also apply for an official copyright of your work via the U.S. Copyright Office for a reasonable fee.

Style Manuals

The Graduate School will accept theses and dissertations prepared in the format recommended by the style manual published by your discipline’s professional society. Other style manuals recommended are the following:

Additional Information

Some departments have additional guidelines for preparing manuscripts. It is your responsibility to follow department-specific guidelines together with those found in this guide when preparing your manuscript. The final responsibility for the format of your thesis or dissertation rests upon you as the author. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar must be used correctly. The Graduate School reserves the right to refuse any manuscript that does not observe these fundamentals and that does not follow the format guidelines found within.


If you find your plans change and you have already applied for graduation, you will need to email Your application will be canceled and you can reapply for a new term when you are prepared.

Need More Help?

Let us know by emailing or calling 513-529-3734.

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