Formatting Your Dissertation

Before you get too involved in formatting your dissertation, allow us to introduce Sharon Wang, Director of Graduate Publications within the Office of Research and Grants.

All APU doctoral publications are made available on the ProQuest Database for Dissertations and Theses, which catalogs doctoral publications from around the world. Some departments also require that dissertations be book-bound and catalogued in the University Libraries. Dr. Wang makes sure that your dissertation is formatted according to the APU Style and Format Handbook for Doctoral Publications and ready for publishing in these two forums. She is available to guide you through the process. She regularly visits capstone classes to go over formatting requirements and submission processes, and occasionally provides information sessions through the Office of Research and Grants. If you have additional questions, you can also email Dr. Wang at or call her at (626) 815-6000, ext. 5850 to set up an appointment.

Be aware that most programs require that your dissertation be read by an APU-approved reader. This reader usually looks at your writing after the dissertation committee releases your work and before the Director of Graduate Publications reviews it. A reader copyedits your dissertation and checks it for formatting. A list of APU-approved readers for your discipline can be obtained from your program, or from the Director of Graduate Publications. Check with your program to see if funds are available to cover the cost of a reader, or if you are expected to cover these costs yourself.

Depending on your dissertation’s length and complexity, it can take a month or more for an APU-approved reader to copyedit your work. Also, keep in mind that the Director of Graduate Publications reviews dissertations on a first-come-first-served basis. Review loads are particularly heavy closer to a degree-posting date. See the APU Style and Format Handbook for Doctoral Publications for review turn-around periods. For these reasons, submitting your dissertation after committee approval can take more than a month. Additionally, holidays and semester breaks can impact the timing of the copyediting, formatting review, and submission process. Keep these things in mind when planning your dissertation revisions timeline.

Even though you may have completed all other degree requirements, your degree cannot post until your dissertation is submitted to the ProQuest database. Be sure that you understand APU’s formatting requirements and the submission process for doctoral publications, as well as how much time each of these stages take. That way, you can avoid unnecessary delays and have your degree posted on time.

Writing Center Staff