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Frequently Asked Questions
Formatting Copyright Deadlines Signature Page Submission Procedures



How hard is it to format my thesis myself?

That depends on the complexity of your work. You must be familiar with your department reference style, the SDSU formatting rules, and be an adept Microsoft Word user with regard to the Thesis Template (i.e., you must know how to import your document into the template, apply/remove template styles, change page orientation without losing proper pagination placement, generate a table of contents, work with different types of page breaks, etc.).

If you are concerned about getting the SDSU formatting rules right and graduating on time, you may want to consider the formatting services offered by Montezuma Publishing.

I am going to format my thesis myself. How much time should I set aside for this process?

In general, you should plan to spend a minimum of two weeks formatting your thesis. You will need time to

  1. learn how to apply the SDSU formatting rules,
  2. understand how the Thesis Template works along with the embedded formatting styles,
  3. do the actual formatting, and
  4. proofread and edit your thesis.

I am using Montezuma Publishing to format my thesis. What can I do to speed up the process to make sure I graduate on time?

  1. Don't delay/plan ahead -- Finish your thesis and get committee approval as soon as possible to provide enough time for formatting and approval--it often takes longer than you think. Waiting two to three weeks before the final deadline to submit your thesis will put your graduation at risk.
  2. Know your reference style -- Reference issues can prevent your thesis from being formatted and approved on time, remember:
    - References cited in-text must be cited on the reference page and vice-versa
    - Provide all information for each reference (e.g., author names, titles, publication year, publisher name, page numbers, etc.)--you can never provide too much information. You can use the bibliography form as a guide.
  3. Cite figures, tables and appendices -- All figures, tables and appendices must be cited in-text at least once (e.g., "See Figure 1"). Also make sure each figure has a caption and each table and appendix has a title.

What are the top mistakes people make when formatting their theses?

  1. Reference errors
    - Sources on the reference page are not cited in the text, or vice versa
    - References are incomplete or do not follow department-required style
  2. Title and Signature Pages
    - Student's name doesn't match what is on record with the university
    - Name of degree, professor's names and/or department names are misspelled or incorrect
  3. Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures
    - Page numbers are missing or incorrect
    - Line items do not match what is given in text
  4. Pagination
    - Page numbers are either missing, out of order, or placed on the page incorrectly
  5. Headings
    - Heading level hierarchy is not followed (i.e., a second-level style heading precedes a first-level style heading)
  6. Tables and Figures
    - Not numbered correctly
    - Missing captions (figures) or titles (tables)
    - Appear before they are cited in the text
  7. Editorial Style Errors
    - Lines or pages are broken in odd places
    - Block quotations and/or enumerated lists are not formatted correctly
  8. Appendices
    - Appendices are not identified in text
    - The labeling sequence is incorrect
  9. Template Abuse!
    - The template is altered which affects the entire document in adverse ways

Do you have any information on the Chicago Author-Number System?

Yes. Information can be found here: Chicago Author-Number system


Whose name should I put on my copyright page: My name or my professor's name?

You need to have your name on the copyright page in the same manner as it is on the title and signature pages. For more information on publication rights, please see the Copyright Policy located in the Policies section of this website.


What are the deadlines this semester and can you explain what they are?

See the Thesis Deadlines page; it contains a calendar of deadlines for this semester with explanations of each of deadline.

Do we need to take the submission deadline seriously?

YES! Never count on graduating if you submit after that deadline.

What are my chances for having my thesis reviewed in time to graduate this semester if I submit it after the submission deadline?

Your chances of having your thesis reviewed after the submission deadline depend on how many theses have been submitted ahead of yours. Additionally, if your thesis is reviewed and returned to you with needed corrections, this will decrease your chances of graduating on-time as your work will need to be revised and reviewed again.

You can increase your chances of getting your thesis approved by using the thesis template and following the SDSU formatting rules precisely or by using Montezuma Publishing.

Do you have any idea how many people will be submitting their theses this semester?

On average, between 200 and 300 students submit their thesis EACH semester. Using the Spring 2013 semester as an example, please note the following statistics:

  • Total theses submitted: 209
  • Total submitted before the submission deadline: 62
  • Total submitted during the at risk timeframe: 108
  • Total submitted after publication deadline: 39

Signature Page

Does the signature page need to be on special paper (100% cotton or other acid-free paper)?

No. Although an original signature page is required at the time of submission, a scanned and re-printed copy will be bound with your manuscript.

Ink Color: One of my professors signed in blue ink. Will I have to get a new signature page signed?

Black ink is strongly recommended, but blue ink is acceptable as long as the signature is dark enough to be clearly read.

If I use the signature page provided in the Thesis Template, will everything be automatically formatted correctly?

No. The page is formatted for you, but you must type in your name and thesis title correctly as well as your faculty member's names and their department names correctly. Also, the order in which the faculty names appear must be correct and in the same order as on the Thesis Committee Form.

What if my professors sign different signature pages? Do all the signatures need to be on one page?

No. Once your thesis has been approved through Montezuma Publishing, the reviewer will transfer signatures onto one page and create a digital copy. Each signature can be on a separate page if it's easier for you to get it signed that way.

Submission Procedures

I'm not in San Diego; can I have someone else deliver it for me or mail in my signature page?

Yes, you can have someone deliver the signature page to Montezuma Publishing, Education, room 107, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM. You may also mail your signature page to:

Thesis Department, Montezuma Publishing
Aztec Shops, Ltd.
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-1701

What happens after I submit my thesis?

After your thesis is submitted, it will be put in line to be reviewed in order of submission. If the thesis passes review, it will proceed to the publishing phase. If it does not pass, the thesis will be returned to you with comments regarding revisions that are necessary to bring the work into compliance with the university's formatting rules. You will then need to resubmit your thesis once you complete your revisions, beginning the review process again. See the Review page on this website for more information.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.