A-to-Z Index

Thesis, Research Project and Dissertation

The following dates/times are set for thesis/dissertation/research document work sessions: TBA

Registration is not required for these workshops.


Theses, research projects and dissertations represent the culmination of research, which significantly contributes to existing scholarship within academic fields. Each of these projects consists of a written interpretation of facts and opinions gained through critical reading and independent research. Because a thesis or dissertation is considered a student's original contribution to his or her professional field, it should be written to present meaningful research and ideas to create credible conclusions.


Format requirements and style guidelines are provided in the Format Manual for preparing and submitting a thesis, research project or dissertation to the Graduate School of James Madison University (JMU). These guidelines cannot be superseded by any other style guide unless explicitly required by the graduate or project adviser and approved by the dean of The Graduate School.  Most programs specify an acceptable style guide for theses and dissertations and students should consult their program advisers on which style manual or guide to follow.

Format Manual
Sample Approval Page
Sample Title Page
Sample Table of Contents 1
Sample Table of Contents 2
Formatting Tips

Thesis/ Research Project/ Dissertation Committees

All questions concerning the content of the thesis, research project or dissertation and its organization should be resolved with the student's adviser. Students must also provide a list of thesis, research project, or dissertation committee members (via the Committee Approval Form) to The Graduate School to ensure that members have gone through the appropriate Graduate Faculty review process. The Committee Approval Form should be submitted to TGS no later than the second week of the semester in which the student first registers for dissertation or thesis. It is the student’s responsibility to select a graduate faculty member from his/her graduate program to serve as the director of the committee, and with the director’s guidance, select the remaining committee members.  The following are guidelines for selecting the committee:

  • Each committee must consist of at least three approved members of the JMU graduate faculty. Only full-time graduate faculty in the student’s program may direct or co-direct the committee.
  • At least two of the three committee members must routinely participate in the student’s graduate program. The dean of The Graduate School must approve non-graduate faculty members for thesis, research project or dissertation committees.
  • Non-graduate faculty members shall make up less than half of the total committee membership and may include persons external to the university.

Submission of Thesis, Research Project, or Dissertation

All Theses, Research Projects, and Dissertations are submitted electronically to The Graduate School and the University Libraries.  In addition, two original signed copies of the Approval Page must be submitted to The Graduate School. Thesis, Research Project, and Dissertation work is not considered complete until properly formatted and approved documents are submitted. Steps for proper submission are found on the ETD page.

JMU Libraries and Graduate School Submission
Submit your documents to JMU libraries and The Graduate School


All doctoral students are required to submit their dissertation to ProQuest for publishing in Dissertation Abstracts.  Doctoral graduates must complete the Dissertation Publishing Agreement.  The publishing agreement and fee, if applicable, are submitted online directly to ProQuest via http://www.etdadmin.com/jmu.


  1. Following the guidelines for your program, register for the appropriate course.
  2. Choose a graduate faculty member to act as the chair of your committee then form the rest of your committee under the guidance of your chosen committee chair and among approved graduate faculty.
  3. Submit the Committee Approval form to The Graduate School within two weeks of registering.
  4. After your research is completed and you are ready to begin writing, refer to the style guide used by your academic unit and The Graduate School formatting requirements (Format Manual).
  5. Prepare a rough draft of your document.
  6. Consult with your committee for approval of the content of your document.
  7. Attend a formatting workshop scheduled in the semester that you plan to complete your document.
  8. Arrange for The Director of Student Support to review the format of your rough draft. Review may be conducted in person at The Graduate School office or via email with the Director of Student Support.
  9. Make any necessary changes in content or format.
  10. Obtain signatures on approval pages, signed in black ink on each copy.
  11. Submit original signed copies of approval pages to The Graduate School, along with the Copyright/Embargo Document Agreement (found at http://www.jmu.edu/copyright/etds.shtml).
  12. Submit your document(s) to JMU libraries electronically.
  13. For Dissertations and DMA Document, submit one copy electronically to ProQuest.

Deadlines for filing of thesis or dissertation with The Graduate School and Library:

Fall 2012: November 16, 2011
Spring 2013: April 17, 2012
Summer 2013: July 5, 2012

Document Links

Format Manual
Committee Approval Form (fillable pdf)

This form is due to TGS no later than 2 weeks into the semester of registration for Thesis or Dissertation. Check with your graduate program for possible earlier program deadlines.
Copyright/Embargo Document Agreement
Sample Approval Page
Sample Title Page
Sample Table of Contents 1
Sample Table of Contents 2
Formatting Tips (for Word 2003) (pdf)

Submission Links

JMU Libraries Submission
Submit your documents to JMU libraries

Dissertation Publishing Agreement
Paper version for review only

ProQuest electronic submission website for dissertations


MBA Graduate Students win big in the Google online challenge!

Important Dates and Deadlines 

Fall 2013

September 27  - last day to submit an application to graduate in December

November 22 - comprehensive assessment results and thesis/research project/dissertation due to The Graduate School

December 13   - Course completion deadline for December graduation


Representatives of the JMU Alpha Sigma Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota (the international honor society for the counseling profession) received the Outstanding Chapter Individual Program Award at the American Counseling Association Annual Convention March 22, 2013. Read the details of this prestigious honor!


With a decade of military service and a freshly minted graduate degree from James Madison University, Andrew Marsh is ready to join the faculty ranks at the U.S. Military Academy.... http://www.jmu.edu/news/2013/04/29-graduate-andrew-marsh.shtml


The GSA now has an informative and entertaining blog about personal and professional development as well as fun things to do in Harrisonburg! Check it out here. http://jmugsa.blogspot.com


Jason Kopp, will complete a third-year internship at The College Board when he moves to New York City to work in the College Board’s Manhattan office. Jason’s internship will take place from August 2013 to May 2014. Jason is the 5th Assessment & Measurement doctoral student to be awarded The College Board academic year internship; others have included Pamela Kaliski, Carol Barry, Megan France, Chris Coleman and Becca Marsh. Congratulations Jason!

 Ross Markle (Ph.D., 2010), Associate Research Scientist at the Educational Testing Service's Center for Academic and Workforce Readiness and Success, will return to the JMU campus to give a talk on his work with ETS. He will be speaking on February 15 at the Center for Assessment and Research Studies on Noncognitive Factors and Student Success: A Journey of Theory, Measurement, and Applied Research. Over the past several years, the Center for Academic and Workforce Readiness at ETS has been researching and developing noncognitive assessments to improve student success in higher education. This talk will briefly review the large scope of this project, which includes assessment development, implementing a national field trial, advanced measurement and psychometric research applications, and initial results. For new and developing researchers, this talk will explore many potential applications of assessment and measurement skills in a high-profile, applied project. For faculty and staff, this talk will introduce a new and innovative assessment that is designed to impact student success. Lastly, the conversation will move to future plans for this work, including potential collaborations and expansions. Dr. Markle is one of, now, 35 graduates who have earned their Ph.D. through JMU's doctoral program in assessment and measurement.   


Assessment & Measurement PhD and Psychological Sciences MA Students and Faculty Present at NERA Conference: http://www.psyc.jmu.edu/assessment/features/nera2012.html



Dr. Anne Stewart is elected to receive the 2012 Outstanding Faculty Award by the  State Council of Higher Education for Virginia!  Read more...


Justine Schembri, a May 2011 graduate of the ISAT-Malta program is selected to receive the 2012 CSGS (Conference of Southern Graduate Schools*) Master's Thesis Award in Life Sciences.

Jason Kopp, a doctoral student in the Assessment and Measurement Ph.D. program, and graduate of the Psychological Sciences master's program, is selected to receive the 2012 CSGS Master's Thesis Award in Social Sciences, Business and Education.  Read more...

Dr. Sarah Finney, with the Center for Assessment and Research Studes and the Ph.D. progra in Assessment and Measurement is selected to receive the 2012 CSGS Outstanding Mentor Award for her work with master's and doctoral students at JMU.

*The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (of which JMU is a member) is an organization of over 200 gradaute schools in the following 15 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland. Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.


Dr. Brenda Ryals, faculty in the Communication Sciences and Disorders progam,  is the recipient of the 2012 Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology. Read more...


JMU Graduate Student, Sarah DiDimenco,  is Virginia Occupational Therapy Association (VOTA) scholarship award winner ....  more.

"Like" the JMU Graduate Student Association (GSA) on Facebook. Click the link below.

JMU Graduate Student Association  

If you would like to receive email notifications of GSA activities and information, please send an email to JMUGSA@gmail.com and indicate your interest.   Visit the JMU GSA webpage: www.jmu.edu/grad/gsa

Assessment Stars Aim High
(JMU's Assessment and Measurement Program):

Click here to read more.