Pre-Submission Requirements

Before you submit your disquisition, make sure that you have submitted all of the required paperwork. For more information, see the steps on the Preparing for Graduation page. 

If you’re ready to submit your disquisition, go to the Document Submission page. 

File Format

Disquisitions must be submitted as a single .pdf file. Disquisitions that are submitted in other file types (including .doc, .docx, and so on) will not be reviewed until they are submitted as a .pdf file.

We strongly recommend that you write your document in Microsoft Word. You may use a different software program if you are able to convert your finished document into a .pdf file without assistance.

If you need help with using Microsoft Word, contact the Learning and Applied Innovation Center (LAIC). You can use the walk-in consulting service located in QBB 150, or you can find resources on their website. You can also check out 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.

Style Manuals

We encourage you to review the style manual that is used in your field, such as MLA, APA, Chicago, and so on. However, in instances where the Graduate School guidelines contradict the style manual for your discipline, the Graduate School guidelines take precedence. In instances where the Graduate School guidelines do not provide direction, such as how to format a table or figure, follow the style manual that is used in your discipline. If you need help or more information about how to use style manuals, contact the Center for Writers to make an appointment for a writing consultation. Additional resources are also available at the center’s website.



Get more information on using copyrighted material in your disquisition, as well as protecting your own original material.

Use of Copyrighted Material

You are responsible for the appropriate use and attribution of copyrighted materials in your disquisition. To better understand ownership, fair use, and your rights and protections, please refer to Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities by Kenneth Crews.

Respecting the Copyright of Others

If you take copyrighted material produced by another and reproducing it in its entirety without express written permission, you may be violating copyright law. In such cases, you must request written permission from the copyright holder.

If written permission to use copyrighted material is required, you are responsible for obtaining this permission. You can usually get permission by sending a letter of request to the copyright holder. Normally, your letter will be returned with an approval stamp or signature. Please note that some copyright holders require a specific form of acknowledgment or attribution within the document where their copyrighted material is used.

Copyright and Your Previously Published Work

If you include your previously published work as part of your disquisition, you need to ensure that the publisher who published your work has not placed restrictions on your right to reproduce or redistribute this work. Check with the publisher in question to obtain any copyright permission required.

Protecting Your Own Copyright

While you are not required to register for copyright, in some cases, it is recommended.

If you received a stipend, salary, or financial support from NDSU, there may be restrictions on your ability to file for copyright for your disquisition. See the NDSU Policy Manual, Section 190, for more information.

Additionally, if you received funding from sources outside of NDSU, you may have other restrictions on your ability to file for copyright for your disquisition. For more information, check with your funding source.

Co-Authored Materials

If co-authored materials are included in your disquisition, a clear and complete description of your contribution must be included. No co-authored materials can be included in the disquisition if your contribution is modest, even though you may have been included as a co-author.

A mandatory description of your role must be placed in a footnote, indicated at the chapter heading in which the co-authored material appears.

See an example of the mandatory note.

Previously Published Materials

Your program has the option of allowing you to use materials submitted for publication or already published as an integral component of your disquisition.

For this option, you are required to submit a document in a format that is consistent with Graduate School formatting guidelines.

Additionally, previously published materials may carry copyright restrictions on your ability to redistribute or reproduce your own work. 

Research Compliance (IRB, IACUC, and IBC)

The NDSU Policy Manual calls for ethical practices in research. See Section 348.

* For information on research involving human subjects (IRB), see Section 345 of the policy manual.
* For information on research involving animal welfare (IACUC), see Section 346 of the policy manual.
* For information on research involving biosafety (IBC), see Section 347 of the policy manual. 

At the time of the final examination, all students must submit the IRB/IACUC/IBC Compliance Notification form to the Graduate School.

Note: For the security of your personal identity, do not include in your disquisition the IRB/IACUC/IBC Compliance Notification form or any other paperwork containing your student ID number.

Submission Checklist

Before you submit your disquisition to the Graduate School for review, make sure that you have met all of the requirements for submission.

  • Have I submitted all of the pre-submission paperwork? Have I paid the disquisition processing fees?
  • Am I aware of the deadlines for submission?
  • Have I included all of the required sections in my disquisition? Are the sections in the correct order?
  • Do all of my pages use at least 1-inch margins on all sides? Does all of my content, including tables, figures, and non-text items, fit inside of those 1-inch margins?
  • Are all of my pages numbered correctly?
  • Are all of my headings correct and consistent throughout the disquisition?
  • Are all of my paragraphs formatted correctly? Do I find any empty space that I can minimize?
  • Are all of the titles for my tables, figures, schemes, etc. correct and consistent?
  • Are my citations correct, according to the style manual of my discipline?
  • Is my Title page correct?
  • Have I included the Copy 2 version of the Disquisition Approval page?
  • Is my Abstract the appropriate length?
  • Have I included an Acknowledgements, Dedication, or Preface (if I wanted to)?
  • Does my Table of Contents list the headings correctly? Does it use the correct page numbers?
  • Have I included a List of Tables, List of Figures, List of Schemes, or other material (if I use them)? Are all of the entries and page numbers correct?
  • Do I need an appendix or appendices for additional material?
  • Have I included a list or lists of appendix material after the Table of Contents?
  • Have I converted my document into a single .pdf file? When I open the .pdf file, does everything display correctly?
  • Have I completed all of the other requirements for submission?
Required Order of Elements

The contents of the disquisition must be arranged in the following order. No additional elements may be included.

Disquisitions must be submitted as a single .pdf file. Visit the Disquisition Formatting Guidelines page for detailed formatting instruction by section.

  • Title Page
  • Disquisition Approval Page
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgments (Optional)
  • Dedication (Optional)
  • Preface (Optional)
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables (Required if disquisition includes tables)
  • List of Figures (Required if disquisition includes figures)
  • List of Schemes (Required if disquisition includes schemes)
  • List of [_________] (Any other material, such as equations, etc.)
  • List of Abbreviations (Required if disquisition includes extensive abbreviations)
  • List of Symbols (Required if disquisition includes extensive symbols)
  • List of Appendix Tables (Required if appendices include tables)
  • List of Appendix Figures (Required if appendices include figures)
  • List of Appendix Schemes (Required if appendices include schemes)
  • List of Appendix [_______] (Any other appendix material, such as equations, etc.)
  • Chapters
  • References/Works Cited (Use the heading that is required by the style manual for your field)
  • Appendix/Appendices (Optional)