Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines

The mission of the MTSU College of Graduate Studies is to enhance the scholarly experience of all graduate students and to help them achieve their academic goals, while maintaining academic standards. To this latter end, one of the roles of the College of Graduate Studies is to evaluate the scholarly content of theses and dissertations that are submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for graduate degrees awarded by MTSU. This is an important function of the Graduate College; thus, the dean of the College of Graduate Studies has final approval authority for each thesis and dissertation.

The dean may suggest some changes to enhance the overall academic quality of a thesis or dissertation. Normally, these suggestions are not mandatory (except for the correction of typographical, grammatical and other errors); the final decision is left to the student and major professor. In the event that a thesis or dissertation does not meet the academic standards expected of MTSU graduate students, the dean will notify the student and major professor so they may discuss the changes that are required.

Primary academic responsibility and authority rests with the faculty, particularly the major professor and any other reader. Moreover, the student and major professor should ensure format concordance with the academic discipline's style. Nonetheless, some uniformity for all theses and dissertations is expected. Please see the Thesis and Dissertation Manual for specific guidelines.

Thesis/Dissertation Resources


Thesis/Dissertation Checklist

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Requirements set forth in this "Checklist" take precedence over requirements in the style manual or refereed journal you follow for preparing your thesis or dissertation.


Theses and dissertations may be submitted anytime during the semester of graduation up to the deadline. Deadlines may be found for each semester at the Academic Calendar page of this site.

The dean may allow an extension when circumstances warrant. In these cases, as soon as a delay is expected, the major professor should petition the dean in writing or email.

Defense of Dissertation

Upon submission of the completed dissertation, the doctoral candidate who has successfully completed all requirements for the degree will be scheduled by the chair of his/her dissertation committee, in consultation with the other committee members, to defend the dissertation. The College of Graduate Studies must be notified at least two weeks prior to the defense in order to announce the dissertation title, date, time, and location of the defense. The defense is open to all members of the University community who wish to attend. The dissertation defense is administered by the dissertation committee according to program guidelines. Successful defense of the dissertation must be attested to in writing by all members of the dissertation committee.


If you have questions or concerns about your thesis or dissertation, please contact the College of Graduate Studies at 615-898-2840, or contact the thesis consultant directly at