Thesis and Dissertation Writing Process

/graduate/images/gradcap.jpgTennessee State University requires a dissertation for all doctoral candidates and a thesis for all thesis option master’s candidates.  The thesis or dissertation is a scholarly academic writing based on the student’s original research under the supervision of the dissertation committee.  The thesis or dissertation should be well-organized, appropriately referenced, and formatted according to writing style requirements by the discipline.  The information below is intended to assist students in navigating the thesis/dissertation writing process. Information will be provided on the thesis/dissertation writing process, deadlines, IRB submission, formatting, EDT submission, and completion of appropriate forms.



Thesis and Dissertation Guideline Handbook

Graduate School Calendar

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Checklist

The 10 Checklist Items

June 28, 2024, is the last day to defend Thesis and Dissertations.

July 15, 2024, is the last day to apply for Summer graduation via myTSU.

July 18, 2024 is the last day to submit Thesis/Dissertations into ETD ProQuest.


STEP 1:   Selection of Thesis or Dissertation Committee Chair

  • The student must select a thesis or dissertation chair who has full Graduate Faculty Status.
  • Click here to review the listing for eligible faculty members with full Graduate Faculty Status.
step two

STEP 2:   Selection of Thesis or Committee Members

  • The chair and student must select thesis or dissertation committee members. The chair must complete the Thesis and Dissertation Committee Appointment Form.
  • All committee members must have Graduate Faculty Status.
  • Please review the listing for eligible faculty members with Graduate Faculty Status.
  • If a committee member does not have Graduate Faculty Status, he/she must apply. Click here for Membership Application Forms.
  • Once appropriate committee members have been identified, the dissertation chair must complete the Thesis/Dissertation Committee Appointment Form.

STEP 3:  Thesis/Dissertation Proposal

  • The student will complete the thesis/dissertation proposal under the supervision of the thesis/dissertation committee.
  • While working on the thesis or dissertation, the student should utilize the Thesis and Dissertation Guideline Handbook for formatting purposes.
  • Once the proposal is complete, the student will complete an oral thesis/dissertation presentation.
  • The dissertation committee will evaluate the student’s proposal.
  • Once the dissertation committee has approved the thesis or dissertation proposal, the Report on Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Presentation form must be completed the chair of the committee.

STEP 4:  Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

  • After the thesis or dissertation proposal has been approved, the student must obtain IRB approval.
  • The student must complete the appropriate IRB form prior to conducting research.
  • Please visit the IRB website for instructions and required forms.

STEP 5:  Final Dissertation Defense

  • After IRB approval is obtained, the student must complete thesis/dissertation research under the guidance of the dissertation committee.
  • The student should check the Graduate School Calendar for oral defense deadlines.
  • The oral defense must be completed by/or prior to Graduate School deadlines.  
  • Upon successful completion of the oral defense, the committee chair must complete, sign, and submit the Report on Final Oral Examination (Defense) of Thesis/Dissertation.
  • The student must make all revisions recommended by the dissertation committee.

STEP 6:  Submission of Final Document to ETD

  • The student must submit the final document to ProQuest ETD Administrator.
  • Before you submit your thesis/dissertation to ProQuest ETD Administrator, please review and follow all the necessary steps for completing and submitting to ETD:
  1. Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Checklist
  2. Thesis and Dissertation Guideline Handbook
  3. The 10 Checklist Items
  • Once all requirements have been met, submit your approved manuscripts.
  • To start the electronic submission process (ETD), use this link to set up your ProQuest Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) account with Tennessee State University.

STEP 7:  Submission of Final Documents for Degree Certification

  • The following documents must be completed prior to degree certification.
    • Signed Report on Thesis/Dissertation Final Oral Examination (Defense) 
    • Thesis/Dissertation Checklist
    • A PDF file of Thesis/Dissertation is uploaded to the Tennessee State University ProQuest ETD Administrator portal.
    • Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) Certificate of Completion.  ONLY PH.D. STUDENTS.  To access the SED use this link. Once you complete the questionnaire via the web, the Graduate School Administrator automatically receives a confirmation email stating that you completed the survey. You will also receive a confirmation email for your own records. 

webpage contact:
School of Graduate Studies and Research