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Overview of Electronic Theses and Dissertations

What are ETDs?

An ETD is an openly-accessible electronic version of your thesis or dissertation that will be kept by Duke University Libraries instead of a bound paper copy. The transition to ETDs is a cooperative effort between The Graduate School and the library. All the information presented here comes from these two sources and represents the official policies of Duke University.

How do I submit my thesis or dissertation?

The process is done online. Step-by-step instructions are provided at the submission site, and formatting guidelines are provided by The Graduate School’s Guide for Electronic Submission of Thesis and Dissertation (PDF). The Graduate School also has Word and LaTex templates.

What are the benefits of open access for my thesis or dissertation?

  • Greater visibility helps improve your reputation in your field. Many scholars today do their initial searching on a topic online. Scholars seeking to build their reputation need to make their work accessible in forms actually used by potential colleagues and employers.
  • Scholarly communication happens very quickly today. Internet availability is much more beneficial than the long delays and added costs that accompanied library processing and lending of print theses and dissertations.
  • Your thesis or dissertation will become part of a growing international collection of ETDs through the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
  • Because your work, and the fact that it is your work, will be easy to find, it will be much harder for anyone to appropriate your research without giving you credit.
  • Research shows that scholarship available on the internet through open access is cited more often, and is cited sooner, than work that is available only through a subscription or the loan of a print copy.
  • Multimedia objects, including color images, hyperlinks, audio, video, spreadsheets and databases, even virtual reality worlds can be easily incorporated into your dissertation and can readily be made available to all of your readers.
  • You can include a stable URL for your work in a CV or e-mail it to colleagues and hiring committees. Because our database is OAI compliant, your work also will be found by major search tools.
  • Open access more fully embodies the goal of the thesis or dissertation to be a public contribution to scholarship. On the internet your work can reach an audience whose interest in it may have been unforeseeable. New possibilities for interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary research, and the formation of unexpected research collaborations, are created by open access to scholarship.


Initial submission to the Duke Graduate School
Nicki Rivers
Staff Assistant

ETD copyright or publishing
Kevin Smith
Scholarly Communication Officer

Matthew Farrell
Digital Records Archivist
Duke University Archives