Post-Defense Essentials: To-Do Items

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After you have successfully defended, make any changes recommended by your committee in the draft in addition to those requested by the Sr. Editor if you received an optional predefense review of the manuscript, then submit the revised, post-defense draft to the Sr. Editor to begin the post-defense review at .

The Sr. Editor will review the manuscript to make sure it conforms to the Graduate School’s formatting guidelines, available here, and e-mail comments to you regarding revisions if any are needed. The Sr. Editor can review a post-defense draft in the form of (1) one Word file of the entire manuscript; (2) the entire manuscript separated into no more than 4 Word files; (3) one PDF of the entire manuscript (preferred). If the draft is too large to send by e-mail, send a Dropbox, One Drive, Box, Google Docs, etc., link to the document to the Sr. Editor,

Several iterations of review at this stage of the process may be needed before a manuscript is deemed final, so factor that in when planning the amount of time this stage might take. The goal is to correct all formatting issues in the original word processing file(s), after which the final file(s) will be converted into one final PDF of the entire manuscript that must be approved for upload to the Scholarship@Miami ETD repository. Make sure you know what the ETD deadline is to (1) submit the full draft to the Sr. Editor for the first review, (2) complete the formatting review with the Sr. Editor and produce the final PDF, and (3) complete all requirements for the ETD submission so you can graduate on time. The deadlines are posted three semesters in advance on the ETD Web site, "ETD Submission Deadlines By Semester.

Why is it a requirement to embed and subset fonts in the final PDF?

For preservation reasons, all the fonts in the final PDF you upload in the ETD repository must be embedded and subset. Embedded and subset fonts in the final PDF you submit ensures that all of the font information used to make your original document is stored in the final PDF file and that, in the future, the text will look exactly the way it did when you wrote it to readers no matter what fonts are on the reader’s computer. If you don't embed and subset fonts in the final PDF, Adobe Acrobat™ or an equivalent PDF creator will make its best guess at font substitution using whatever fonts are available on the reader’s computer. Substitution can result in significant differences between the text you wrote and what the reader sees. This is especially an issue with symbol fonts, so it is best to have all fonts embedded and subset in the final PDF you upload in the ETD repository so your research is shared with others the way you intended when you wrote your thesis or dissertation.

To help you with this task, the ETD Formatting Support Web site provides conversion guides and troubleshooting tips. 

The following video demonstrates the step-by-step process of converting your Word file to the final PDF.


Three Required ETD Forms

The final PDF should be sent to the Sr. Editor, for review. If the final PDF meets all technical requirements, the Sr. Editor will send you a permission-to-upload e-mail with instructions about how to upload the final PDF in the Scholarship@Miami repository. Please note the permission-to-upload e-mail will not be sent to a student until the Sr. Editor confirms that the student has submitted the following three forms to the Graduate School:

(1) Certificate of Defense Approval Form: To ensure your form is signed after, not before, you've actually defended, you should prepare this form the day after your defense as part of the Defense Day Essentials: To-Do Items for your committee to sign after your successful defense. This form, when electronically signed by all committee members and your Graduate Program Director, is your proof that you passed the defense.

(2) Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Final Content Approval Form: (NOTE: The ETD Final Content Approval form replaces the function of the signed hard copy of the Signature page from the thesis or dissertation, which was collected to formally document the committee's approval of the final content of the ETD.) Every thesis, dissertation, doctoral essay, or lecture recital essay must have the final content approved by each member of the committee. The ETD Final Content Approval Form documents the committee's approval of the final content of your document. Please access the form here in our Forms section. Fill in the name and e-mail address of each of your committee members. Each committee member will receive notification that they must electronically sign the form to confirm their approval of the final thesis, dissertation, doctoral essay, or lecture recital essay. This form, when electronically signed by all committee members and your Graduate Program Director, is your proof that the committee approved the final document.

(3) Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Availability Agreement Form: This form lets the Graduate School know what online availability option you and your main advisor want for your final PDF in the Scholarship@Miami institutional repository. When you've produced a final PDF that has been approved by the Sr. Editor, you should discuss with your main advisor which online availability option to select for your thesis or dissertation before completing this form. The two availability options are (1) Open Access and (2) Embargo. When you and your main advisor have agreed upon an online availability option, please access the form here in our Forms section. Fill in your name and e-mail address and the main advisor's name and e-mail address so you can both e-sign the form.

The article "Open Access and the Graduate Author: A Dissertation Anxiety Manual," by Jill Cirasella and Polly Thistlewaite, provides helpful insights about making availability choices for your electronic thesis or dissertation.

Notes about Embargoed ETDs

If an ETD is embargoed, the existence and metadata of the document will be viewable publicly in the Scholarship@Miami repository after the Graduate School has approved the ETD, but the document will not be downloadable from anywhere for the duration of the time period selected  by the student. You can view examples of how the record of a student's embargoed document looks in the UM ETD repository: Scholarship@Miami.

The embargo on your ETD will automatically end on the last day of the time period you selected when the document was uploaded. Specifically, the Scholarship@Miami ETD repository will automatically release your document for Open Access on the end date of the embargo period you selected. No notification of release will be sent to you by the ETD repository or the Graduate School, so you should keep track of the expiration date yourself if you do not want your document released. Students can request a one-year extension of the embargo by sending a written request stating the reasons for the extension to the Graduate School, Requests for extensions should be sent to the Graduate School two weeks before the embargo is set to expire so the Dean of the Graduate School has time to review the request.

Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) Survey (Ph.D., D.M.A., and Ed.D. Students only)

Ph.D., D.M.A., and Ed.D. students must complete the SED Survey online, Information about the survey will be included in the permission-to-upload e-mail doctoral students receive from the Sr. Editor after an approved final PDF has been produced. The SED Survey is administered by an independent organization that collects information about every student in the U.S. who receives a Ph.D. degree. Students should be sure to cc the Graduate School when completing the SED Survey so a confirmation e-mail that the SED Survey was completed is sent to the Graduate School. A forwarded copy of the e-mail confirmation you received from SED upon completion will also be accepted. The SED Survey is one of two surveys doctoral students must complete before the ETD will be approved by the Graduate School.

UM Exit Survey (Ph.D., D.M.A., and Ed.D. Students only)

Ph.D., D.M.A., and Ed.D. students must complete the UM Exit Survey online before the ETD will be approved by the Graduate School. The Sr. Editor will send a separate e-mail containing the link to access the UM Exit Survey  at the same time the permission-to-upload email is sent.

ProQuest/UMI Publication Agreement (optional)

If you would like to have your ETD published in the UM ETD repository and a second widely available outlet, you may also want to submit your final PDF to ProQuest. Information about how to do this will be sent in the permission-to-upload e-mail students receive when a final PDF has been produced that is suitable for upload in the UM ETD repository. 

About ProQuest/UMI 

The Graduate School does not require students to submit the ETD to ProQuest/UMI.

ProQuest/UMI is a private company that publishes a database of dissertations going back many, many years. Before there were online databases, graduate students sent a hard copy of the document to ProQuest/UMI for microfilming. ProQuest/UMI would sell access to the microfilmed documents as subscriptions to libraries all over the world to support the widest possible dissemination of a student’s work. Today, ProQuest/UMI still collects electronic documents from graduate students for inclusion in their subscriptions and many libraries still purchase the subscriptions. The UM Library currently has a number of ProQuest/UMI subscriptions in its collection. Like many universities, UM once required students to submit their document to ProQuest/UMI, in addition to submitting the document to the home university, but like many universities, UM no longer requires students to submit their work to ProQuest/UMI. The decision to submit or not submit the ETD to ProQuest/UMI is now optional and up to the student to decide.

If you are interested in submitting your document to ProQuest/UMI, you’ll receive information from the Graduate School about how to do this when you are sent the permission-to-upload e-mail after you’ve produced a final PDF that is approved for upload in the UM ETD repository.

Embargo Option and ProQuest/UMI

If you choose to submit your document to ProQuest/UMI, you will have similar options to embargo your ETD for a period of up to two years.

ProQuest/UMI Offer to File Copyright

When uploading the final ETD in the Scholarship@Miami repository, ProQuest/UMI will make an offer to students to file the copyright application for the ETD with the U.S. Copyright Office on their behalf. Please note that neither the University of Miami nor the Graduate School requires students to formally register the thesis or dissertation with the U.S. Copyright Office. The decision to copyright belongs to the student.

Formal copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office provides proof of ownership of the work in a court of law. For a handling fee, ProQuest/UMI offers to file the copyright application with the U.S. Copyright Office for you; this fee is in addition to the copyright application fee. Alternatively, you could file the copyright application yourself directly with the U.S. Copyright Office and save yourself the extra handling fee.

If you are unsure whether copyrighting your ETD is necessary or not, please speak with your main advisor or other committee member. As experts in your field of study, they will know best how to guide you in this matter.

See more about copyright issues on the UM Libraries’ page here

ProQuest/UMI Offer to Bind the ETD

Please see information below about declining ProQuest/UMI's offer to bind a hard copy of the ETD.

Degree Conferral FAQs

Q: My ETD has been approved by the Graduate School. Does this mean I’m all done and my degree will be conferred right away?

A: When your ETD is approved by the Graduate School, you will have completed the thesis or dissertation requirement for your degree, but the degree will not be officially conferred until after the semester is over. It is recommended that you check in with your program coordinator after your ETD is approved to make sure all the other items needed to clear and confer your degree are in order. For example, your program must ensure that grades and exams passed are recorded; transcripts and other documents are on file; etc., for your clearance to move forward. Degree clearances begin with your department/program, not the Graduate School. After the semester is over, the department/program will notify the Graduate School of which students they have approved for clearance; this notification from the program will set the wheels in motion for your degree clearance.

Q: If my degree won’t be officially conferred until the semester is over, how can I obtain proof for an employer before then that I’ve completed all the requirements to receive the degree?

A: Students in need of documentation that they have completed the requirements for the degree and will have it officially conferred after the semester is over should contact Alex Mas, Associate Director of Programs at the Graduate School,, to inquire about obtaining a Letter of Completion.

BINDING: One-Sided Printing ONLY

Students interested in having a bound copy of the final electronic thesis or dissertation made should keep in mind that the final PDF that was uploaded in the Scholarship@Miami repository is formatted for printing on one side of the paper only. The offset 1.5-in. left margin necessitates printing on one side of the paper only. Printing on both sides of the paper will result in a bound copy that is unsightly. Make sure you ask any binder you engage to print the hard copy text of your document on one side of the paper only if the text is printed from the final PDF you produced.

If you choose to submit your ETD for publication in the ProQuest/UMI database (see above), you will be made an offer to order hardcover, bound copies of the ETD from ProQuest/UMI. Please do not order bound copies from ProQuest/UMI because only two-sided printing of the document is offered. ProQuest/UMI does not make it clear in its order form that the text of your bound copy will be printed on both sides of the paper only so you likely will not know about this until you receive the bound copy.    

If you are interested in obtaining a bound copy of your ETD, UM students have reported using

  1. iaDigital Printing on the RSMAS campus, which does a foil-covered hard copy that looks professional and is reasonably priced.
  2. PhD Book Binding in Austin, TX, offers three different kinds of bound copies that are also professional-looking. The three versions are paperback, foil-covered hard cover, and a hard cover with a more durable vinyl cover.

Make sure you request one-sided printing from any binder you engage if you are printing the hard copy from the final PDF you produced. The two binders mentioned above will print your document on one side of the paper only if you request it.

Signature Page from Your Document: If you would like to have a signed, original copy of the Signature page to bind in your hardcover thesis, dissertation, or doctoral/lecture recital essay, please print out the page from your document, obtain signatures from your committee members, then turn the form in to the Sr. Editor at the Graduate School. After obtaining the Dean of the Graduate School’s signature, the Graduate School will send the signed form back to you for your personal use if you provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope.