ETDs: Submission Help

Current info for Graduate Students about electronic theses and dissertations.

Steps for Submitting your ETD

1. Logging In

Use the log in page to begin the ETD submission process. Once you have logged in and begun the process of submitting your ETD, you will be able to log out and return to make changes to your information until your ETD is approved by the Graduate School. The security system used by the submission process requires that your browser support and allow cookies.

2. ETD Status

The submission process uses a persistent ETD Status window to keep you aware of what you've already done, and what still needs to be done before your ETD can be approved. You will use the status window to navigate among the different steps of the submission process.

In order to complete the submission process, your ETD must:

    Enter all of the title page-type information (author, title, keywords, etc.).
    List at least one advisor.
    Upload at least one file.
    Complete the ETD Author Survey
    Not have any outstanding notices from the Graduate School reviewer.

Pay special attention to any items in the status window which are displayed in red. These are items that need to be dealt with before your ETD can be approved.
Sample ETD Status message (links removed)

    ETD Status

    Items in red represent information that must be added or changed before your ETD can be approved.

        Start Over
        View Main Record
        Update Main Record
        Update Committee Information
        Add File Information
        Log Out

3. Adding Files

The ETD Submission Process includes uploading files using a Web browser.

Your file(s) MUST have these components in this order:

    Last Name_First and Middle Initials
    T or D to indicate if your document is a thesis or dissertation
    Year of defense

<Last name>_<first (and) middle initials>_T or D_<yyyy of defense>

Example: if you were a PhD student named Jane Anne Doe who defended in 2008, you would name your file Doe_JA_D_2008.

File uploads will not work properly if your browser is using a proxy server of any kind.

If you need to submit a larger file, sftp access is also available upon request.

For more information visit the Submission Process page.

4. Entering Abstract

Copy and paste your abstract from a standard word processing program into the abstract field in Web form. Do not rekey your abstract as this often introduces typos.

Special characters such as é and this section sign, §, often will not copy correctly if you cut and paste them into the form. Instead of these characters, use 6. Special Characters, some of which are listed below.

5. Entering Keywords

To improve access to your ETD, select keywords or phrases that are NOT already in your abstract or title page. All of those words are already indexed for searching. Selecting additional words and phrases that are descriptive and unique will increase the probability that searches will retrieve your ETD. Consult your chapter subheadings and conclusion for different but appropriate search terms.

If you copy and paste your keywords from your word processor, you should be aware of special characters (umlauts, accent marks, quotation marks), and replace them with the appropriate Unicode. (See 6 below.)

6. Special Characters

Use Unicode (UTF-8) for all special characters.

  1. You can try copying and pasting the character(s) from the file. Check carefully, since it often does not copy correctly from an old PDF or one created from LaTeX.
  2. To add the most common special characters, open the PubMed Special Character Sets. Click on the desired symbol(s) and paste them from the left textbox (not the right box with the hex numbers) into the abstract.
  3. Alternatively, in Windows, open the applet, "Character Map." Note: For font, do not use Symbol since these aren't Unicode.
  4. Alternatively, on a Mac, use the Character Viewer  to add symbols.
  5. For superscripts or subscripts that can't be entirely written with Unicode symbols, use the HTML tags `<sup>` and `<sub>`, e.g. `Si<sub>1.04</sub>O<sub>4.3</sub>` and `H<sub>∞</sub>`."

7. Cookies

A cookie is a bit of information about a user or session that is stored by a Web browser in a cookies.txt file. Whenever the browser requests a page from a host for which it has cookie information, it also sends the cookie information, which can be used by any scripts or CGI programs capable of processing cookie data. In our case, the cookie is used to store a unique session ID, so that it is not necessary for you to log in repeatedly before visiting each subsequent page in the submission process.

Browsers often come with cookies enabled, but they may have been disabled for various reasons. If your browser has cookies disabled, consult the browser documentation (online or otherwise)for instructions on reenabling cookies.

The session cookies issued by the ETD submission scripts expire in 15 minutes, but are renewed at each step in the process. If you remain on the same page for more than 15 minutes, your cookie will expire, and you will be required to log in again. If this happens, use the "back" button in your Web browser to return to the page you were working on before your cookie expired.

8. Proxy Server Issues

A proxy is a machine which allows your browser to download pages as though it were coming from a different location. Proxies are typically used to allow access to materials restricted to a particular location (as in the case of the Virginia Tech Proxy). Proxies are also used to allow access between networks.

To use the file upload feature of your browser, you must not be making use of a proxy. Proxy settings for most browsers can be changed as needed. For more information, consult the help files for your particular browser. For more information on proxies, visit

9. Graduate School's Review Process

Once you have submitted the minimum information requested, your ETD will be reviewed by the Graduate School. This process can take as little as a few days, or as long as several weeks, depending on the number of ETDs waiting to be approved.

See also ETD Graduate School Guidelines and Graduate School ETD Resources.

10. Notices from Graduate School Reviewer

If anything about your ETD needs to be changed before it can be approved, the Graduate School may send you an email notice, which is a brief message describing the steps you need to take to complete your ETD. Notices may also be sent to your committee chair if there are problems reaching you. When you receive an email indicating that you have a notice, log in again and make the requested changes. Once you have made the requested changes, it is very important that you send a response to the Graduate School, so that they will know that your ETD has been updated and is ready to be reviewed again.

11. Starting Over

If you would like to stop work on a partially completed ETD and completely start over, the "Start Over" link in the ETD Status block that appears on most pages will give you the ability to completely remove all of the files and information you have already added and start again.

12. I still need Help!

Email the Graduate School at