Quality of Writing and Formatting

Your manuscript should represent the best formal, professional writing of which you are capable. You are responsible for proofreading and editing the document carefully (or arranging for careful proofreading and editing) before presenting the final draft to your committee and, after your defense, to the Graduate School.

Your Committee Chair and other committee members will assist you with editing and proofreading; however, it is not your committee's responsibility to rewrite your document or to correct grammar and poor word choice. If your manuscript needs significant editing, your Committee Chair may require you to seek additional assistance. Free assistance is available from the University Writing Center, but if you need more in-depth assistance it will be your responsibility to seek that assistance.

You should produce your manuscript according to the requirements of this Handbook and the most recent edition of the appropriate style manual from your discipline. Early in the process, work with your Committee Chair to select a style guide (e.g., APA, MLA, Turabian, author guidelines for a specific journal). The Graduate School will review your document based on that style guide and the requirements listed in the formatting section of this Handbook. Note that this Handbook supersedes the disciplinary style guide.

Grammatical and typographical errors and poor or inconsistent formatting must be corrected before the manuscript can receive the Graduate Dean's approval. If the manuscript displays numerous errors or poor text quality, your graduation may be delayed to a later term.

When you submit your dissertation or thesis to the Graduate School for approval, the readers check the manuscript for the following:

  • Format, as required by this Handbook (particularly the Front Matter)
  • Conformity to the appropriate disciplinary style manual (in particular the formatting of citations, references, tables, and figures)
  • Correct standard written English
  • Absence of mechanical errors (grammatical errors, misspellings, etc.)
  • Consistency between in-text citations and references
  • Consistency of formatting for headers, page numbers, figures, tables, and other elements

See the Tips for a Quick Review document for more advice.