Skip to Main Content

Graduate Students' Guide to McKillop Library

Information for graduate students regarding research, dissertations, and library services.

Dissertation Formatting and Deposit Resources

You will submit a digital copy of your dissertation to ProQuest UMI/ETD. Please refer to your department's dissertation handbook (links below), resources from ProQuest (links at the bottom of this page), and your department's recommended style manual for more detailed guidelines.

International Relations Ph.D. Handbook

Humanities Ph.D. Handbook

Graduate Nursing (DNP) Handbook

Dissertation Deposit

You must submit your dissertation to ProQuest by May 1 for May graduates, August 1 for August graduates, and December 1 for December graduates.

Please note that if you have images in your dissertation that are not in the public domain, you will need to upload permissions documentation along with your dissertation. Please gather these documents (in pdf format) prior to sitting down to submit.

Before you submit you will also need to embed your fonts in Word and convert your dissertation document to an archival format, PDF/A-1b. This process ensures your document will be accessible across operating systems and software through time. If you do not have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro, then the Librarian will need to complete these steps for you. If you have access to the software and would like to convert your document on your own, the instructions are as follows:

1. In Word:

Embedding Fonts

  • In Microsoft Word, go to File > Options.
  • In the Options box, select the Save option in the left-hand menu.
  • At the bottom of the right-hand menu, under “Preserve fidelity when sharing this document,” there are two options. Check “embed fonts in this document.” Make sure the two options below this checkbox are not checked.
  • Save the document.

Save As PDF

  • Go to File > Save As.
  • From the Save As type drop-down menu, select PDF.

2. In Adobe Acrobat Pro:

  • Open the PDF you just created with embedded fonts.
  • Under tools > Print Production, Select Preflight.
    • If you don’t have the Print Production tool menu on the right-hand side, select the Customize drop-down menu above it, click Create New Tool Set, and create a tool set which includes the Print Production tool menu.
  • Expand the PDF/A Compliance menu.
  • Select Convert to PDF/A-1b.
  • Click Analyze and Fix.
  • Save the document.

 3. Submitting to ProQuest

  • Once you have a PDF in archival format with embedded fonts, you will submit your dissertation through the ProQuest UMI Electronic Theses and Dissertations website. Go to, create an account, and complete the guided submission process.
  • The ProQuest UMI ETD submission process includes the following decision points.
    • Setting an embargo (for doctoral candidates who plan to publish their work through publishers-- please see Proquest's guide to decision making on embargos.)
    • Search engine optimization (recommended)
    • Setting metadata – what keywords or search terms will allow future researchers to find your work?
    • Traditional vs. Open Access publishing – Select Traditional Publishing. Students can publish Open Access for free via the Salve Regina University institutional repository, Digital Commons: ProQuest charges $95 for its service, which it offers for students whose institutions do not have repositories. Publishing in Digital Commons is allowed under ProQuest’s Traditional Publishing agreement.
    • Registering for U. S. Copyright - This is not required, as you will own copyright of your dissertation regardless. The decision to register is up to you.
    • Ordering personal copies (students do not need to order copies for the library or archives)
    • Uploading the dissertation and any supplemental files. The upload limit is 1000 MB; most dissertations are under 10 MB. ProQuest supports to inclusion of digital files, such as datasets or multimedia. These files will need to be described in your abstract.
    • Uploading copyright permissions documents. These must be submitted for any non-public domain materials used in the dissertation that were not created by the dissertation writer. This includes, among many other things, images found on the Internet.


Important reminders

  • You must submit your completed signature page to the PhD program before submitting your dissertation. The signature page will not be scanned into the digital copy of your dissertation in order to minimize the presence of faculty signatures online.
  • You do not need to print a hard copy of your dissertation – ProQuest will send the library a bound copy. This will appear on your final invoice but you will not be charged for it.
  • ProQuest UMI ETD provides a series of guides on publication and copyright considerations for dissertation publishing. You are encouraged to review these guidelines before submitting your dissertation.
  • If media (video, audio, computer programs, and/or significant number of images) needs to be included with the dissertation, please be sure to pay attention to the requirements for supplemental files.
  • If the dissertation includes equations, please note that the Microsoft Word Equation Editor should not be used. Instead, use italic Times New Roman font and Symbol font along with superscripts and subscripts to create equations. 
  • Increasingly, dissertation writers are using images and media in their dissertations. The usual Fair Use guidelines for using other people’s creations (photographs, artwork, infographics, etc.) for educational use do not apply to dissertations because they are published. It is not enough to cite the source of media you did not create. Students are responsible for obtaining copyright clearance for all non-public domain media used in their dissertations.
  • The library will not help revise your dissertation submission once the deadline has passed (May 1st, August 1st, or December 1st, depending). If you notice an error you wish to change in your dissertation after it has been delivered to ProQuest, you must contact ProQuest customer service to change the document. There will be a fee.


Copyright of Materials Used in Your Dissertation

Increasingly, dissertation writers are using images and media from other sources in their dissertations. Understanding copyright rules is an important competency for scholarly communication in the 21st century. Please note that the usual Fair Use guidelines for using other people’s photographs, artwork, infographics, etc. for educational use – say in a classroom paper or an unpublished PowerPoint presentation – do not apply to dissertations because dissertations are published works.

It is not enough to cite the source of media you did not create; you need to have permission to use anything that is not in the public domain. You are responsible for obtaining copyright clearance for all non-public domain material used in your dissertation. In general, anything created after 1923, including media found on the Internet, is still in copyright. Just because copyright has already been violated elsewhere in the use of an item does not give you permission to violate copyright by putting it in your dissertation; for example, an image may circulate on social media without attribution, but scholarly publications are held to a much higher standard.

If you use materials created by others - for example, images, tables, etc. -- in your dissertation, you will be required to file copyright clearance information with ProQuest which proves you have permission to use those materials.

Copyright of Your Dissertation

As the creator of a work, you automatically own the copyright of your dissertation. Submitting your dissertation to ProQuest does not affect that.

When you publish with ProQuest, you can choose either the Traditional Publishing Agreement or Open Access. The Traditional Publishing Agreement is non-exclusive, which means you can also publish your dissertation elsewhere. Under this agreement, your dissertation will be accessible only to people in the Salve Regina community logged in on the library's website. Users at other institutions will only be able to see your abstract, and can request a copy of the dissertation via interlibrary loan. If they are not affiliated with another institution, they can buy a copy from ProQuest.

Open Access makes your dissertation available to anyone who finds it, whether through ProQuest, a web search, etc. ProQuest charges a $95 fee for this service (subject to change). If you wish to make your dissertation available Open Access, you can do so through Salve Regina's institutional repository, Digital Commons, for free. To do so, select the Traditional Publishing Agreement with ProQuest and then upload your same PDF file here. Your Open Access dissertation will appear in this collection and you will receive reports from Digital Commons about the usage statistics of your work. If you submit your dissertation to Digital Commons for Open Access, you still must submit to ProQuest, and the library recommends Digital Commons submission as the last step. Providing Open Access to your dissertation is not the same as putting it in the public domain, so you are not giving up any of your rights as author, just maximizing your readership.

Through ProQuest, you have the option of asking ProQuest to file for US copyright for your dissertation. There is a fee associated with this, usually $55 (subject to change). You are not required to register for copyright. Regardless of whether you register copyright, you can still publish via the Traditional Publishing Agreement, ProQuest's Open Access, or through Digital Commons.


It is your responsibility to make sure your document is formatted correctly. Library staff cannot help troubleshoot Word, proofread your document, or make edits for you. Remember that your dissertation will be published and formatting gives a new reader a first impression of your scholarship.

If you need your final dissertation document to be converted into an archival pdf for submission or have questions about the information on this page, please contact library director Dawn Emsellem at 

ProQuest documentation and resources

Copyright and fair use resources