Graduate Thesis, Project, and Dissertation Guidelines

Formatting and Submission

All students who complete a thesis or dissertation, and some students who complete a project report, will submit their manuscripts to the Graduate Resource Center for approval. Students will work with the GRC to format the document while they work with their committee to draft the content. Students should attend a Formatting and Submission workshop or webinar in their final term to learn about formatting and submission procedures. Students are also encouraged to join the GRC Canvas Course to receive reminders about the deadlines.

Watch the Spring 2024 Thesis Formatting and Submission webinar recording and download the presentation slides.

Submission Deadlines

Students may submit their thesis, project report, or dissertation for approval during the fall, spring, or summer terms. During the term they plan to submit their document for approval, students must meet the three submission deadlines.


Deadline 1: July 26, 2024
Deadline 2: August 2, 2024
Deadline 3:  August 9, 2024

Master's students must schedule a "Thesis  Review" appointment in Navigate to receive format feedback on an early version of the thesis or project report draft. EdD and AuD students will schedule a "Doctoral Dissertation Review" appointment in Navigate to receive feedback from the GRC Coordinator. Drafts are reviewed only for format requirements, not content.


  • Schedule this appointment once you have one or two chapters of your manuscript completed.
  • Merge your manuscript into the appropriate template prior to this appointment.
  • Use this appointment to ask questions about formatting or submission procedures.

Schedule an appointment now.

Master's and doctoral candidates must upload their drafts to ProQuest for official review. 


  • Before you upload, incorporate the format feedback you received in the preliminary review.
  • Aim to be done writing your content by this deadline so that you can upload a complete draft for official review.
  • Keep the PDF of instructions open while you work in ProQuest.

Upload to ProQuest now.

ProQuest Instructions

Master's and doctoral candidates must upload their final drafts to ProQuest and submit their signed GS-13 form to [email protected].


  • All edits requested by your committee members must be finalized on this date. Committee members can sign off on the GS-13 form as soon as you have finalized their requested edits.
  • Submit the GS-13 form after the committee-approved draft is uploaded to ProQuest.
  • It's okay if you still have format errors to correct after this deadline. Only your content needs to be finalized by this date.

Download the GS-13 form.

Format Resources

Download the Format Checklist to identify format errors in your draft.

APA Style

MLA Style

Chicago Style

IEEE Style

We can be flexible with the formatting of headings and subheadings within your chapters but be consistent in how you format each type of heading. All level-1 headings should be formatted the same, all level-2 headings should be formatted the same, etc.

APA Style Quick Guide (Cal State LA Library)

APA Style (Purdue OWL)

MLA Style Quick Guide (Cal State LA Library)

MLA Style (Purdue OWL) 

Chicago Style Quick Guide (Cal State LA Library)

Chicago Style (Purdue OWL)

Visit the Cal State LA Library website on Writing and Citing, or the Purdue OWL website for additional citation and reference resources.

Formatting page numbers

Adding dotted leaders to Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures

[We are still developing this resource.]

Get Help

Students can receive formatting support on their thesis or project report by scheduling an appointment or by dropping in.

Make an Appointment

Sign in to your MyCalStateLA portal and open NavigateLA. Click the blue "Get Assistance" button and select "Thesis Review" as the service.

*Before making an appointment, complete one or two chapters and merge your draft into the appropriate template.

Email Us

Email questions about formatting and submission to [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

All students who complete a thesis or dissertation must submit their final draft to the GRC for approval by the posted deadlines. Some students who complete a project report will submit to the GRC for approval. Students completing a project report in the following programs or Colleges do not submit to the GRC for approval:

  • College of Business and Economics
  • College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology
  • School of Social Work
  • Criminalistics, MS program
  • Latin American Studies program
  • Sociology (portfolio option)

Students can meet with any Reviewer for formatting feedback.

The deadlines are structured in a way to make the format and submission process as smooth as possible for students. Missing the first deadline means you will have more format corrections to make closer to the end of the semester. Students must meet the second and third deadlines to be eligible for graduation.

There are a few rare circumstances where we cannot approve a thesis, project report, or dissertation, including:

  • when a student conducts human or animal subjects research without IRB or IACUC approval
  • when a student doesn't submit a signed GS-13 form
  • when a student doesn't make requested format edits that come from the GRC

In your last term, attend a thesis formatting and submission workshop or webinar. In those sessions, we cover everything you need to know about requirements, deadlines, and procedures. We also encourage you to join the GRC Canvas Course to receive email announcements with tips and reminders about deadlines and procedures.

Students in the joint doctoral program in Special Education should email [email protected] during their final term at UCLA to notify the GRC Coordinator that they will be finishing the program. Students will submit the UCLA-approved version of the dissertation to Cal State LA. Deadlines will vary.

  Preliminary Review Upload to ProQuest Final Draft and GS-13*
Fall 2024 November 29, 2024 December 6, 2024 December 13, 2024
Spring 2025 April 25, 2025 May 2, 2025 May 16, 2025
Summer 2025 July 25, 2025 August 1, 2025 August 8, 2025

*The final submission deadline is always the Friday of Finals Week.