Guide for Writers of Theses & Dissertations

Thesis and Dissertation Submission Guidelines:

  • All Boston University theses and dissertations are submitted to the library electronically.  Please consult this guide for formatting and submission requirements.  Questions can be directed to Laura Wipf ( for GRS; Millie Agosto ( for GMS; and Brendan McDermott at Mugar Library (
    • We have created videos on thesis prep and related issues. There are currently six videos, covering most of the materials covered in the workshops many of you have attended. Please let us know what you think, and whether you have any additional questions.
    • We’ve created a Microsoft Word template you’re welcome to use at your own risk. Please feel free to make use of it, and to let us know what you think.
    • For those of you working in LaTeX: the Math Department has graciously made a LaTeX template available. The Astronomy Department has a template as well. We are unable to provide LaTeX-specific help, but this should get you started. We are thankful to both departments for sharing.
    • Boston University’s policy is that BU theses and dissertations should be made openly accessible when they are submitted so that the benefits of research can be widely shared.  This FAQ discusses the factors to think about for those of you considering an embargo.
    • A set of samples illustrating proper submission formats.


    Proquest Dissertations & Theses

    The world’s most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses. PQDT — Full Text includes millions of searchable citations to dissertation and theses from around the world from 1861 to the present day together with over a million full text dissertations that are available for download in PDF format. Over 2.1 million titles are available for purchase as printed copies. The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works.  All materials in full text are available to currently-registered students, faculty and staff for free.

    More than 70,000 new full text dissertations and theses are added to the database each year through dissertations publishing partnerships with 700 leading academic institutions worldwide and collaborative retrospective digitization of dissertations through UMI’s Digital Archiving and Access Program.

    Each dissertation published since July 1980 includes a 350-word abstract written by the author. Master’s theses published since 1988 include 150-word abstracts. Simple bibliographic citations are available for dissertations dating from 1637. Where available, PQDT — Full Text provides 24-page previews of dissertations and theses.

    EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service)

    The aim of EThOS is to offer a ‘single point of access’ where researchers the world over can access ALL theses produced by UK Higher Education

    Many UK institutions support Open Access to their theses, so download of their digital and digitized theses is free to the researcher. A small number of participating institutions may not be able to offer Open Access and in this case the researcher may have to pay for the digitization.

    EThOS can only offer the theses of participating institutions. While we expect a large number of institutions to take part, we cannot supply from an institution which chooses not to. In this case, you should approach the institution’s library directly to gain access to a thesis.

    Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations

    The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) is an international organization that promotes the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations. The NDLTD Union Catalog contains more than one million records.

    Theses Canada

    The mission of Theses Canada is to acquire and preserve a comprehensive collection of Canadian theses at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), to provide access to this valuable research within Canada and throughout the world. Its mission to preserve this portion of Canada’s bibliographic heritage is achieved through collaboration with the many Canadian universities who participate in the program.

    Adobe Reader

    The PDF format (Adobe Portable Document Format) requires use of Adobe Reader software. If you do not have this installed, it may be downloaded at no charge.