Formatting Checks

Preparation of a Dissertation or Thesis File

Dissertations and theses submitted to the Graduate School must comply with formatting requirements outlined in:

Recommended Software

The Graduate School supports a Microsoft Word template designed to meet the requirements outlined in the Formatting Guide. A student-created LaTeX class file also exists, but the Graduate School does not maintain the files associated with it. Students are expected to use one of the recommended templates or class files to standardize the formatting in the most efficient way possible. While it may be possible to achieve correct formatting in other applications, the Graduate School staff is not able to provide support or troubleshooting for other editors at this time.  

For templates, example files, and additional resources related to formatting a dissertation or thesis, see the Author Resources page.

We strongly recommend the use of citation management software in compiling your bibliography for any research document as complex as a dissertation or thesis. Refer to the Hesburgh Library resources on the Author Resources page for assistance.  

The Preliminary Formatting Check

When a student submits the dissertation or thesis to the readers, he or she must also submit a review draft of the document in PDF form to the Graduate School. Note: If you do not submit a formatting check by the formatting deadline for the semester in which you plan to submit, we cannot guarantee you will receive comments and required changes in time to meet the formal submission deadline.

How to Submit a Formatting Check File

Students may initiate a formatting check by emailing a dissertation or thesis PDF to (Do not copy Laura on these submission emails.) You will receive a confirmation within 24 business hours that we have received your file if the PDF is attached. After you email the file to us, please log in to your ND Box account at to initialize your account if you have not yet done so.

Important: If you are sharing a file from Box or Google Drive, please either set the file access to anyone who has the link; OR share it first with to claim your spot in the queue, and then grant access to afterward to ensure quickest access to your file. Please do not email attachments directly to the editor's personal email address.

Requirements for a Format Check

In order to complete a format check, your PDF draft needs to include, at minimum, the front matter (title page, table of contents, lists of figures and tables if applicable), at least one chapter, at least one example of a figure or table if they will be present in the work, and the start of the bibliography.  The more complete the file is, the more comprhensive the format check will be which may lead to less edits needed at the formal submission stage.

What to Expect from Your Formatting Check

Once we receive the request, a dissertation editor will create a secure folder in the Graduate School’s Box account that will act as your formatting check directory. The results of the formatting check will be posted here in the form of a commented PDF so that either editor can access the notes if you have a question after the review. Once the comment files are uploaded, the Graduate School will email your Notre Dame account to invite you as a collaborator to the Box folder so you can access our comments.  If you have follow-up questions, please email the shared email account for fastest service.

Turnaround time for formatting checks depends on proximity to review and submission deadlines; allow at least 3 business days early in the term, and up to three weeks as we approach the formatting check deadline for a given semester. Formatting check reviews may be suspended temporarily during formal submission deadlines so we can focus our full attention on the students who are graduating that term. Consult the calendar of Academic Year Deadlines to plan your requests accordingly.