Electronic Theses & Dissertations: FAQs


1. If I publish a paper as a graduate student at U of T, can it still be used as part of my thesis?

Yes, we do allow graduate students to include research published in a conference, book, or journal as part of their thesis; indeed, this has become standard practice in many disciplines. It is important, however, to be aware of copyright issues. When you have your research published, you usually sign some type of agreement with the publisher. You should read that agreement carefully before signing, making sure you understand and agree with the terms and conditions. If you don’t, you may want to request changes to the agreement to ensure you can use the material in your thesis. The agreement should be explicit about what future rights of use you retain. If you want to include the material in a dissertation, the best way is to retain your copyright.

2. If I publish a paper as a lapsed graduate student and am currently working at another university, can I still use this publication as part of my thesis later on? Do I have to be enrolled at the time of publication?

Any thesis research or data collection must be done as a registered University of Toronto graduate degree student and not as an employee at another institution. A publication on work done while a registered student that you submit while lapsed may be included in the thesis subject to the approval of your department and SGS.

Keep in mind that as a registered graduate student you own or co-own the intellectual property that you create as part of your work for academic credit; however, if you are employed for the purpose of doing the work, the work usually belongs to your employer.

3. Does the University have any rules concerning a joint paper as part of a thesis at U of T?

Scholarship is often pursued through collaboration with other scholars and researchers so intellectual property can be jointly created and jointly owned; this is usually the case in laboratory sciences where research is often the result of group interaction. There are no clear rules concerning how much or what kind of contribution is required in a joint (co-authored) paper if it is to be part of a thesis; this should be determined in conjunction with the supervisor and/or the graduate unit.

Joint (co-authored) papers may be included as part of your thesis if intellectual property issues are worked out in advance and approval is sought from your graduate unit. In all cases of joint publication, there should be a statement in the thesis explaining the nature of the collaboration and the contribution of the thesis author. Note however, the University of Toronto does not permit joint (co-authored) theses.

Submission Criteria & Procedures

4. When is my thesis ready to be submitted to SGS?

Once your thesis is in final, defended, corrected, approved form, it is ready to submit. Be sure that your thesis, ETD meets the technical and production requirements. (See the Formatting web page). You will find the checklist on this page helpful.

5. How do I submit an Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD)?

Follow the online instructions on the digital library repository.

6. Do I still need to submit a paper copy?

Maybe. SGS does not require a paper copy, but your department or graduate unit may require you to provide a bound paper copy or copies. Please check with them.

7. If I need to submit a bound copy to my department, where should I go?

If you require a binding service, you may contact the U of T Bookstore Thesis Services. This is only an option; you may use any binding service that you prefer.

Electronic Thesis: Advantages

8. What are the advantages of submitting an electronic thesis?

Electronic theses have many advantages. ETD submissions will be on line in full colour, while microfiche and digitized versions of paper theses were processed in black and white only. ETD submissions allow the author to retain the highest quality of embedded images. In addition to the principle text-based PDF thesis file, ETD submissions can also include supplementary files in a variety of formats, enriching the text-based thesis in ways not possible with a paper submission.

In addition, accessibility and ease of use are greatly improved, better achieving the goal of enriching the world with the knowledge that your work has produced. For you personally, citation rates have been found to increase dramatically, and plagiarism of your work is inhibited because it could be so readily detected.


9. What documentation is needed?

Paper copies of the following documents must be handed in to the Doctoral Examinations Office or the Master’s Office at the School of Graduate Studies in order to be authorized to submit an ETD:

  • Restrict Release form signed by the chair of your department is required if an embargo/restriction is to be placed on the release date of your ETD
  • written confirmation (email is fine) of completion of editorial corrections or minor revisions specified by a doctoral final oral examination committee.


10. Are there specific formatting requirements?

Yes. Please see the Formatting page. There is also a file naming convention that you must follow.

11. How do I create a PDF file of my thesis?

A PDF conversion tool is included in the digital library repository. Adobe Acrobat writer or Acrobat Professional software (or other PDF writer programs) are required. University of Toronto Libraries (416-978-4357) has computers equipped for PDF conversion. Your department may also be able to provide you access to PDF conversion software. Student versions of Adobe Acrobat software can be purchased at the Computer Shop of the U of T Bookstore. Other PDF authoring software is also available online for little or no cost.

12. What if I need help formatting my thesis?

First, see the Formatting web page; the template may solve your problems. Colleagues are an obvious source of information, and the Doctoral Examinations Office or the Master’s Office can assist you or direct you to further help. Technical support is available through the digital library repository.

The Information Commons at Robarts Library, 416-978-4292 or digital.studio@utoronto.ca, has computers equipped with all the software you need. Staff there are knowledgeable about most of the issues you may encounter.

OISE students will find the necessary equipment and software in the OISE library; staff can provide assistance. Workshops may also be planned. OISE students can inquire at the registrar’s office, 416-978-1639, or the OISE library.

13. I want to use previously published material in my thesis. What permission is needed?

Please see the Copyright page.

14. When will my ETD be available online?

ETD submissions are available on the ProQuest website approximately five to six weeks following your convocation, and at T-Space a few weeks after that. Your thesis will be part of the T-Space collection at the library and part of the National Library of Canada’s collection.

Changing ETDs

15. What if I notice mistakes and/or changes that need to be made after submitting my ETD?

Contact the Doctoral Examinations Office or the Master’s Office, respectively, for a doctoral or master’s thesis issue. A correction or change can only be made with the authorization of SGS prior to the release of your thesis after convocation, and it may require the written approval of your supervisor. Your ETD must be the approved, final version of your thesis. You will not be able to make a change to your thesis once the thesis has been released after convocation.