The University of Iowa

Information & Support

Why did the Graduate College shift to electronic committee verification of theses submitted via ProQuest?

The Graduate College made this shift for two reasons: convenience and security.

Convenience: Moving from a paper-based system to electronic verification has made thesis sign-off more convenient.  Instead of tracking signatures on a hard copy approval form, committee members simply sign off on the thesis through an email link.  This shift eliminates the administrative burden of signature procurement, replacing it with an electronic tool designed to collect and manage signatures.

Security: Shifting the order in which committee verification is collected—to after Graduate College format review—has added needed security to the thesis approval process.  It has been a concern of the Graduate College for as long as we’ve collected hard copy signatures prior to deposit that members have not actually verified the finalized manuscript.  With electronic verification, committee members will now confirm that the final version of the thesis is the same as the version they approved.

What about MFA students who submit hard copy theses?

MFA students who prefer to submit their thesis in hard copy form still need to submit a signed Report of Thesis Approval at the time of deposit.

Under the new process, what changes?

Both the means and the timing of committee member verification have changed. 

First, electronic verification has replaced the signed Report of Thesis Approval.  Students no longer need to provide proof of thesis verification via the signed Report of Thesis Approval when they deposit their thesis on ProQuest.  Instead, committee members receive an email that provides a link to the finalized (post-format review) thesis and prompts them to verify the manuscript electronically. 

Second, committee verification now happens after the Graduate College’s format review, not before. Under the previous system, committee members did not have an opportunity to view the finalized manuscript.  Though rare, the possibility that a student mistakenly submitted a version of the thesis that differed from the committee-approved version did exist.  Under the new process, committee members can now be sure that the version of the thesis they verify is the same as the version the Graduate College approves.

Under the new process, what stays the same?

The process of completing the manuscript does not change.  Students will still complete their defense, work closely with their committee members to finalize the thesis, and submit the thesis to the Graduate College for format review. 

How are committee members contacted?

Committee members—whether from the University of Iowa or an outside institution—receive an email directly from ProQuest.  During the registration process, students enter both the names of their committee members and their email addresses.  Once the format review portion of the process concludes, each committee member will receive an email from  

Will someone review my thesis before I deposit it with ProQuest? What sorts of services does your office provide?

Yes! For a more personalized approach, contact our office to receive one-on-one support. We can answer questions related to formatting requirements, help you assemble your manuscript, and provide technical assistance with ETD submission. We will also provide a pre-deposit check of your thesis. Contact Erin Kaufman ( for more information.

For general formatting support, download the Manuscript Construction Guidelines (PDF) for PC or the Manuscript Construction Guidelines (PDF) for MAC. Understanding how to use a number of basic Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat tools will greatly simplify the formatting and completion of your thesis.  All topics are essential to the proper construction of your thesis or dissertation.  

For additional formatting assistance, first use your HawkID and password to log into is external). Once you've logged in, click on the links below to learn more about the following: 

I am thinking about including a previously published work in my thesis. Where should I start?

As a first step, consult with your research or thesis supervisor for guidance on how “prior publication” is handled in your department, discipline, or field.

The thesis should be a stand-alone manuscript, meaning that if the thesis work is published in multiple independent articles, they can be included as chapters.  An introduction and conclusion to the thesis should be prepared. You must reformat the article and/or article excerpts in accord with Graduate College formatting requirements. The thesis must be a cohesively formatted document.

While most scholarly journals allow prior publications to be used in theses, check with the journal in which the article was published to confirm whether a copyright permission is required to reproduce the work in the thesis. If you reproduce or adapt a published (or accepted) journal article or portions of a journal article in your thesis, you must cite the published work in the thesis making sure to adhere to the journal’s policy regarding the appropriate formatting for the citation.

Does the Graduate College offer LaTex Support?

Neither the Graduate College nor ITS supports LaTeX templates. If you need resources for LaTeX, check with the departments, such as mathematics or engineering, that regularly use it for their manuscripts and publications.