If a thesis is required, it must conform to the guidelines of the USF System.

Refer to the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Resource Center for complete information about requirements, procedures, and deadlines.

Refer to the enrollment requirements in the Academic Policies section in the Catalog.


Instructions with regards to formatting can be found at the following website.

Directed Research

Directed Research hours may satisfy up to 50% of the thesis hour requirement.

Manuscript Processing Fee

USF System Regulation USF4.0107: Fees, Fines and Penalties,

Students participating in the thesis process are required to pay a processing fee.  More information is available on the Thesis and Dissertation website.

Exchange of Thesis for Non-Thesis Credit

If a student changes from thesis to non-thesis during a semester and is currently enrolled in thesis credit, the current thesis credits may be exchanged without academic penalty if a Graduate School Petition is filed with the Graduate School no later than the last day to withdraw without Academic Penalty. If a student enrolled in a thesis required program has taken thesis credits but elects to change to non-thesis track or program, the accumulated thesis credits may not be exchanged or converted to another non-structured credit. The thesis hours will remain on the transcript and will retain the “Z” grade.

Thesis Defense

Policies and procedures for the thesis defense are handled within the College and Program.  Contact the College and Program for requirements.

Thesis Final Submission Guidelines

Information on requirements for submission of the finished and approved manuscript copies is available online at the (ETD) Resource Center website. Students who fail to submit the final copy of a thesis by the posted submission deadline will be considered for graduation in the following semester and must therefore apply for graduation by the posted deadline, enroll in a minimum of two (2) thesis hours for that subsequent semester, and meet the submission requirements as posted on the (ETD) Resource Center website. Only after the Graduate School has approved the manuscript can the student be certified for the degree.

Mandatory Electronic Submission

Students are required to submit the thesis in an electronic format (ETD).  Requirements and procedures are available at the (ETD) Resource Center website.

Submission to Pro-Quest

All theses will be submitted to ProQuest for microfilming and archiving, effective Fall 2010.

Changes after Publication

Once a thesis is approved and accepted by the Graduate School for publication, it cannot be changed.

Release of Thesis Publications

The University recognizes the benefits from collaboration with sponsors on research projects but also recognizes the possibility of conflicts of interest in the disclosure of the results of the collaborations. While the sponsor’s economic interests in the restriction of disclosure should be considered, the University has a primary mission to extend knowledge and disseminate it to the public and the broader academic community.  The University’s “Statement of Policy Regarding Inventions and Works” acknowledges the possible need for delays in publication of sponsored research to protect the sponsor’s interests, but it provides no definite guidelines for the restrictions of publication beyond the statement: “Disclosure delays mutually acceptable to the Inventor, the Vice President for Research, and the sponsor, if any, are authorized in order to allow patent applications to be filled prior to publication, thereby preserving patent rights…”[4]

To protect the University’s primary goal from un-due compromise, the University has adopted the following guidelines:

  1. The recommendations of sponsors, regarding publication of research results should be considered advisory rather than mandatory.
  1. In support of academic discourse and the mission to promote and share academic works, Theses will be released for worldwide access once submitted to and approved by the USF System Graduate School.  In the event that a patent or copyright application provides reason to delay the release of the Thesis, a petition to request a one year delay may be submitted to the Graduate School for consideration.  Such requests must be received by the format check of the thesis.
  1. Students should not be delayed in the final defense of their theses by agreements involving publication delays.

Duty to Disclose New Inventions and Works

USF System Policy 0-300: Inventions and Works and USF System Regulation USF12.003: Inventions and Works

For information about the requirements of this policy contact the  USF System Division of Patents and Licensing at (813) 974-0994.

Thesis Change of Grade

In the semester in which the final manuscript has been received, reviewed, and certified for permanent filing in the University Library, the Graduate School submits the change of grade from “Z” to “S” for the last registration of thesis courses to the USF System Office of the Registrar when all grades are due at the end of the semester.

[1] Deviations from the available  format are acceptable if approved in advance by the Supervisory Committee and Graduate School

[2] Include either References or a Bibliography, as specified by your style guide

[3] Include either References or a Bibliography, as specified by your style guide

[4] April Burke, “University Policies on Conflict of Interest and Delay of Publications,” Report of the Clearinghouse on University-Industry Relations, Association of American Universities, February, 1985.

In this section...


Thesis Committee

Thesis Committee

Students working toward a thesis degree will have the benefit of a committee of members of the graduate faculty. The committee will approve the course of study for the student and plan for research, supervise the research and any comprehensive qualifying exams, and read and approve the thesis for content and format.

The committee will consist of the major professor and at least two other members or co-major professors and at least one other member of the department or area of interest in which the degree is sought. (Colleges and Programs may require additional committee members and specify characteristics.)

Member Definition

All graduate faculty, as defined by the University and the College, and approved by their college, as qualified to be a member of and/or supervise a committee. Persons desiring to serve on a Graduate committee who are not defined as Graduate Faculty (i.e. visiting faculty, professionals, etc.) by the University and the College must submit a curriculum vitae and be approved by the College, and, as needed, the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for each committee.

Committee members must meet the following requirements:

  • Be graduate or affiliate graduate faculty, as defined by the University
  • Have the background and expertise that contributes to the success of the student.

In addition to the requirements specified in the Graduate Faculty definition, committee membership will be based upon criteria developed within the appropriate program or department and approved at the college level.  These criteria must be forwarded to the Dean of the College.

Once a committee has been determined, a Supervisory Committee Form needs to be completed by the student and submitted to the Committee Members for original signatures. Check with the College for instructions and forms.  The original appointment form and two (2) copies should be submitted to the College Dean’s office for approval. A copy of the approved form should be kept in the student’s file. An approved and current Committee Form must be on file in the college before graduation may be certified. Committee forms need to be processed as early in the program as possible, but no later than the semester prior to graduation. (May institute additional requirements for membership on Supervisory Committees.)

Changes to Committee

Changes to a Supervisory Committee must be submitted on a Change of Committee Form.   Check with the College for instructions and forms.  Original signatures of faculty being added to the Committee, along with the approval signature of the (Co-) Major Professor(s), must be on the form. Faxed signatures are acceptable.  Faculty who are removed from the Committee are not required to sign the form, provided that the (Co-) Major Professor(s) has signed.  In such instances the signature of the (Co-)Major Professor(s) indicate(s) approval of the change, as well as acknowledgement and approval of the change by the removed member.  Any non-faculty being added to a committee must submit a Curriculum Vitae (CV) for college approval. Change of Committee Forms should be submitted for approval as soon as the change takes place. Changes to a Committee are official only once approved and filed by the program and college.

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