Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

01

The forms don't work. What should I do?

The Certification of Finances form is an example of a dynamic form. This type of form has scripting in it and will respond to information you provide. Only the information you need to give the Graduate School to process the form is displayed. This reduces errors in the form, which will allow us to process your request faster. Please use the newest version of Acrobat Reader or Adobe Acrobat for best performance with our forms.

If you are experiencing problems try:

  1. Switching to a different browser. Currently, Internet Explorer is recommended.
    • There are known incompatibility issues with Firefox v19, Chrome, Preview (the PDF reader on a macintosh) and Linux machines.
    • Students who click on a form link and receive the message, "Please wait.... If this message is not eventually replaced by the proper contents of your document..." have an incompatible browser or plug-in.
  2. Saving the file to your hard drive and open with the newest version of Acrobat Reader rather than clicking on the link and opening in your browser.
    1. Right-click or option-click the hyperlink
    2. Save the form on your hard drive.
    3. Open the file directly from Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.
  3. Reconfiguring your browser to open PDF files using a compatible plug-in. Firefox users may reconfigure their browsers using the instructions below:
    1. Select Tools...Options from the menu bar
    2. Select the "Applications" tab in the pop up window
    3. Search for and select "Portable Document Format (PDF)" in the Content Type list
    4. Select "Use Adobe Acrobat (in Firefox)" as the Action
    5. Press "OK"

02

I can't access the online application. Who can I talk to?

If you are unable to login, there are a couple of things you need to check. In order to apply online, your machine must have cookies enabled. Our system cannot track your application, to allow you to move from page to page or return another time to finish it, for instance, without setting a cookie. Also check the caps lock. It should be off. Be sure you have typed in both your Login ID and 6-digit PIN you created correctly. You may also want to quit your browser and try again from the beginning. If all else fails, please contact The Graduate School by email or phone (906-487-2327).

03

What is the fee for submitting an application?

Our application is free and can be completed online.

04

Are there Summer Research Opportunities available?

Applicants should contact the faculty member whose research fits the closest with their interests to discuss availability of Summer Research Opportunities.

05

How can I know the status of my application?

When your initial application is received and processed by the Graduate School, you will be sent a confirming email with instructions for logging into your personalized MyMichiganTech website. You may check the status of your application, upload required documents, request electronic letters of recommendation, and verify your contact information on your MyMichiganTech website. Note that programs will generally not review applications until all materials, including letters of recommendation, have been received.

06

If I e-mail the Graduate School or a faculty member my resume and test scores without an application, can you tell me if my application would be accepted?

It is not possible to informally review your materials to determine if you would be accepted to the program of your choice. Applications are reviewed using a holistic approach. Your entire application is reviewed, along with those in the applicant pool, to determine which students will succeed at Michigan Tech and contribute to the research needs of your program. Some programs have admissions guidance to aid in evaluating your own materials.

07

Should/Can I find an advisor before I arrive on campus?

You are not required to identify an advisor before you arrive on campus. It is expected that you will identify an advisor during or before your second semester on campus. You are encouraged, however, to initiate conversations with faculty in your program to help define your research interests, identify potential funding sources, and determine courses that might best support your interests.

08

When is orientation? Am I required to attend?

Information about orientation can be found on the orientation web page. All new students are required to attend the Graduate School's orientation. You will receive an invitation to orientation approximately one month in advance. If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent you from attending orientation, or if you are obtaining a degree via distance learning, Graduate School staff will work with you to identify alternative methods to complete the requirement.

09

Do I have to take the GRE?

The GRE is required for most of our programs. Please check the program requirements to see if you will need to submit GRE scores.  The GRE is offered at Michigan Tech and current Michigan Tech students may be eligible for a Fee Reduction Program

10

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Applicants whose native language is not English must supply results of an English proficiency examination (TOEFL or IELTS).  Applicants that hold citizenship from and/or attended post-secondary school in a country where the primary language is English, may upload the Waiver/Provisional Admit Form.

11

May I submit an IELTS score instead of TOEFL?

The Graduate School will accept IELTS test scores to fulfill the English proficiency examination requirement.

12

I would like to apply to two programs at Michigan Tech, do I need to fill out two applications?

Yes, you will need to fill out two application forms.  Please notify our office (mygrad@mtu.edu) to confirm if you would like us to apply your documents (such as LORs) to both applications.

13

Are funding opportunities available for graduate school?

Applicants are automatically considered for internal funding through teaching/research assistantships. Applicants can also apply for external funding opportunities, or inquire with faculty who have who have recently been awarded research funding.

14

When will I receive my student visa paperwork (I-20 or DS-2019)?

After admission has been approved and all financial documents are in order.

15

How do I request express shipping of my immigration documents?

Michigan Tech partners with eShip Global to send your immigration documents through FedEx Express or UPS.  To request express shipping, you must first create an account with eShip Global.  To request your shipment, choose the "Receive" option with your account and you must provide your Michigan Tech ID (M number), mailing address, e-mail address, phone number and credit card information. Please be sure to select Graduate School as the recipient of the mailing labels.

Once your shipment request is processed our office is notified and your documents are shipped to the address you provided. You will receive a tracking number when you submit your request, which will allow you to track the status of your shipment on the eShip Global web site.

16

How can I find housing prior to arrival on campus?

Student can browse available rentals prior to arriving on campus. On-campus housing is also available.

17

I applied two years ago to Michigan Tech, do I need to resubmit an application?

Applications will be kept on file for one year after the first day of the term for which you apply.

18

Is child care available on campus?

Yes, Little Huskies Child Care is available.

19

Are graduate students required to have health insurance?

Yes, all enrolled graduate students, with the exception of off-campus students, must have health insurance.

Copyright Frequently Asked Questions

01

I want to use a figure from another thesis or dissertation from my group. Do I need to ask permission?

Usually. The student who wrote the thesis or dissertation owns the copyright and must be asked for permission. Figures are generally considered works in and of themselves and do not usually constitute a small portion of the work. See "How to Use Copyrighted Materials" for more information. 

If, however, the figure is a simple representation of data, you may not need permission.  Data cannot be copyrighted, so non-creative ways of representing the data are generally considered fair use.

02

My advisor wrote a journal article and says it's ok for me to use a figure from it in my thesis or dissertation. I am not a co-author on the publication. Do I need to ask permission?

Usually. Your advisor cannot grant you permission to use material since the publisher now owns the copyright. See "How to Use Copyrighted Materials" for more information.

If, however, the figure is a simple representation of data, you may not need permission.  Data cannot be copyrighted, so non-creative ways of representing the data are generally considered fair use.

03

I want to use a figure from a journal article or book chapter that I wrote in my thesis or dissertation. Do I need to ask permission?

Usually. Unless you have retained the rights to the article, the publisher now owns the copyright and only the publisher can grant permission. See "How to Use Copyrighted Materials" for more information.

If, however, the figure is a simple representation of data, you may not need permission.  Data cannot be copyrighted, so non-creative ways of representing the data are generally considered fair use.

04

I want to publish a journal article and use this as a chapter in my thesis or dissertation. Do I need to ask permission?

Usually. When you sign the copyright transfer agreement, you transfer the copyright to the publisher. Some publishers allow you to retain certain rights, which might include reprinting the article in a thesis. Either way, you should document that you have permission to use the article or have retained the right to publish the article. See "How to Use Copyrighted Materials" for more information.

05

My figure is from the internet. Do I need to ask permission?

Usually. All web pages are copyrighted, and most have a legal notices page that details their policies and procedures. Material on the web - although easy to get - is still copyrighted in the same way as a book or journal article. See "How to Use Copyrighted Materials" for more information.

06

I want to use a figure from my thesis in my dissertation. Do I need to ask permission?

It depends. If you published any of the material in a journal or book, you will need to abide by the copyright transfer agreement you signed with the publisher. If the material has not been published elsewhere, you retain the copyright to your thesis, and do not have to ask permission.

07

The publisher won't respond to my letters, e-mails or phone calls. What do I do?

Most publishers respond quickly to requests for permission. Publishers, however, are under no obligation to respond. If they don't respond, your best course of action is to remove the material from your thesis or dissertation.

08

I have a photograph I want to use in my thesis or dissertation that a friend gave me. It has never been published. Do I need to ask permission?

Yes. You own the copyright to something as soon as you create it. It does not matter if the material has been published or not. You should give credit to the photographer in the caption of the figure and obtain a permission letter.

09

I modified a figure from a journal article. Do I need to ask for permission?

It depends. Significant modifications result in a figure that is uniquely yours. The source of the inspiration or base of the figure must be acknowledged in your caption. To clarify the source and figure creator, we recommend a credit line in your caption similar to, "Figure adapted by author from SOURCE." where SOURCE would be replaced with an appropriate citation. If the figure is just a tracing of the original figure, or does not contain a significant amount of creativity, you have not created it, and must ask for permission.

10

I created a figure from a set of data gathered by somebody else. Do I need to ask for permission to include this material in my thesis or dissertation?

No. Data cannot be copyrighted, so you are free to use data to create any figure you like. The source of the data must be properly acknowledged, however, and a plain citation can cause the reader to believe that the figure (and not just the data) was taken from the source. To clarify confusion and properly identify the source and figure creator, we recommend a credit line in your caption similar to, "Figure created by author from data in SOURCE." where SOURCE would be replaced with an appropriate citation.

11

The copyrighted material is going into an academic book. I think this is fair use of the material. Do I really need to ask for permission?

Fair use is complicated, and in reality, the courts determine if your use is fair. Putting copyrighted material in a thesis or dissertation is not the same as photocopying an article, or using a figure from the internet for a paper submitted to a professor for class. Things that are definitely not fair use include long quotations, whole journal articles and most figures from any source. Additional information can be found in the Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis publication prepared by ProQuest.

12

I'd like to use a figure from a journal article or web site in my thesis. How do I do that?

Unless figures are truly in the public domain, US Copyright Law protects images and words from any source from being copied into your thesis or dissertation. The same laws protect you against others copying your work and placing it in their documents without your permission. If you are the author of the journal article, consult the copyright transfer agreement you signed to see what rights you retained as an author. If you are not the author of the material, contact the publisher to obtain permission to use the material. Most publishers have a form that can be filled out on their web page to request permission. Please see our copyright page for more information about how to request and document permission to use materials in your thesis or dissertation.

US Copyright Law does allow limited use of copyrighted material under the "fair use" doctrine. This permits you to use limited portions of copyrighted material in any document you publish. Please see the Copyright Office FAQ to assist you in determining if the work you want to use is considered fair use, or if you need to ask permission. Typically, quotations of less than one page are considered fair use, but reproduction of a figure from a journal or web page is not.

Defenses Frequently Asked Questions

01

How do I schedule a defense?

To schedule your defense:

  • Consult with your advisor to determine if you are ready to defend.
  • Schedule a time to conduct the defense with your advisor and committee.
  • Book a room at the appropriate time, and reserve any necessary technology.
  • Submit the Pre-defense form to the Graduate School at least two weeks before your defense date.
  • Submit your draft dissertation, thesis, or report to the Graduate School and your committee at least two weeks before your defense date.

02

What is the deadline to defend this semester?

There are no deadlines for defenses. You may defend at any time that your advisor and committee agree you are ready to defend and they are available to conduct the defense.

There are deadlines, however, to submit a final dissertation, thesis, or report and complete any formatting changes if you wish to graduate in a given semester.  Current deadlines are available online.

03

I need to graduate this semester. What is the last day I can defend?

The Graduate School currently has no deadline for your defense. You may defend at any time your advisor and committee agree that you are ready and they are available to meet. For more information:

The Graduate Faculty Council recommends the following timeline to schedule a defense and complete a degree in a given semester.

Milestone Recommended dates for summer 2014

Recommended last day to schedule a final oral examination

Recommended last day to hold a final oral examination

  • Your committee will recommend technical and formatting changes to your document.  Your ability to meet the next milestone will depend on what your committee requires.

Recommended last day to submit advisor and committee approved dissertation, thesis, or report and associated paperwork to the Graduate School

  • Students who submit by this date will have time to make minor formatting changes before the end of the semester deadline.
  • Please allow two weeks for the Graduate School to review your submission.
  • See the absolute deadline for your final submission on our web page

04

What do I need to submit before my defense?

At least two weeks before your defense submit:

  • The Pre-defense form to the Graduate School as a hard copy with signatures.
  • A draft of your dissertation, thesis, or report to Canvas.
    See the online instructions: Dissertations and theses | reports
  • A draft of your dissertation, thesis or report to your committee. The format of the draft (PDF or hard copy) is at their discretion.

05

Why are you requiring a draft of my thesis or dissertation when I schedule my oral defense?

The Graduate School will review your document to ensure that it meets the required submission guidelines, provide a copyright review of your document, and provide helpful suggestions for formatting. Reviewing your document prior to your oral defense will ensure that you have all of the corrections necessary to complete this degree requirement in a timely fashion after your oral defense. If you do not complete the required changes, your final document will not be approved, and there will be delays for your graduation.

Theses and Dissertations Frequently Asked Questions

01

The forms don't work. What should I do?

All Graduate School forms may be completed in newer versions of Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader (v9 or higher).  If you are experiencing problems try:

  1. Switching to a different browser. Currently, Internet Explorer is recommended.
    • There are known incompatibility issues with Firefox v19, Chrome, Preview (the PDF reader on a macintosh) and Linux machines.
    • Students who click on a form link and receive the message, "Please wait.... If this message is not eventually replaced by the proper contents of your document..." have an incompatible browser or plug-in.
  2. Saving the file to your hard drive and open with the newest version of Acrobat Reader rather than clicking on the link and opening in your browser.
    1. Right-click or option-click the hyperlink
    2. Save the form on your hard drive.
    3. Open the file directly from Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.
  3. Reconfiguring your browser to open PDF files using a compatible plug-in. Firefox users may reconfigure their browsers using the instructions below:
    1. Select Tools...Options from the menu bar
    2. Select the "Applications" tab in the pop up window
    3. Search for and select "Portable Document Format (PDF)" in the Content Type list
    4. Select "Use Adobe Acrobat (in Firefox)" as the Action
    5. Press "OK"

TDR-Review is provided as a sample for your information and does not allow data entry, since the Graduate School completes and returns this form for you.

02

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you use somebody else's words or ideas but do not give them credit. When you use any text from a document written by somebody else, you must provide a full citation for the material and write the text in your own words. This is called paraphrasing. Other acceptable methods include placing the copied material in quotations or a block quote.

A block quote is an indented section of text. It is used to indicate that a larger section of text has been copied from another source. Both quotations and block quotes require citations to indicate the source of the material. A block quote is generally appropriate when more than 100 words or eight lines of text have been used from the source material.

03

What is self-plagiarism?

Technically, you cannot plagiarize yourself. Plagiarism is defined as using the words of somebody else and representing them as your own. It is inappropriate, however, to simply copy and paste the methods section of a journal article and submit it to another journal. These materials have been published by another journal, and the copyright transfer agreement you or your advisor signed with them may prevent you from reusing the words in another paper.

04

If I have a citation for a statement in my document, is that enough?

No, it is not. A citation merely indicates the source of the material. Without quotations or a block quote, you are telling the reader that you wrote the words. If you did not paraphrase the material you cited, this is plagiarism. See "What is plagiarism?" for more information.

05

What is paraphrasing and how do I do it correctly?

Paraphrasing involves re-writing a sentence from someone else using your own words and way of expressing yourself. Paraphrasing includes changing the order of presenting information in addition to the words used. Dr. Gratz has prepared some excellent examples of paraphrasing.

06

What are embedded fonts and why do I need them?

Embedded fonts are included in the PDF file. This allows everyone to read your document even if they don't have a copy of the font that you used in your document.

07

How do I embed fonts in my thesis or dissertation?

This depends on what software you are using. It is an option in your PDF converter before you create your PDF file. Once your PDF file is created, there is no way to embed the fonts in your document in Adobe Acrobat prior to version 9. If you are using Adobe Acrobat to convert your document to a PDF file, search the help for "embedding fonts" to find instructions for your version of Acrobat. ProQuest provides a help page about creating PDFs that you may also find useful.

08

How do I check if my fonts are embedded?

For a visual explanation of this process, check out our blog.

Open the pdf of your thesis or dissertation in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. Go to File...Properties and select the "Fonts" tab. Next to every listed font, the text (Embedded) or (Embedded Subset) will appear if the font is embedded. For ProQuest/UMI, all fonts except "Times", "Arial/Helvetica" and "Courier" must generally be embedded.

09

I'd like to put a map in my thesis, or a document that is larger than 8.5 x 11. How do I do that?

If the map is larger than 8.5 x 11, but smaller than 11 x 17, see Section 3.9 in the guide. On the Degree completion form, select "yes" for the question "Do you have any pages that are larger than 8.5 x 11 inches?" and provide the information requested.

If the map is larger than 11 x 17, the bindery can construct a pocket for you. You may either print the map yourself with the number of copies equaling the number of bound volumes you order, or the bindery can print the map for you. There are additional charges for this and the Graduate School can help determine those for you. Answer "Yes" to the question "Do you want a media pocket?" on the Degree Completion form, and provide the information requested.

10

I'd like to include a CD in my thesis. How do I do that?

On the Degree completion form, answer "Yes" to the question, "Do you want a media pocket?" and complete the prompts that appear.  When you submit your final documents to the Graduate School, provide enough copies of the CD to place one in each bound volume you order. There is an additional charge for this, but it is a good option if there is an extensive amount of data to archive with the thesis or dissertation.

11

I'd like to use material created by others in my thesis or dissertation. How do I do that?

Please see our Copyrighted Materials page and section 5.3 of the guide for assistance.

12

Why isn't my thesis or dissertation available electronically on the library's web page after I've submitted it?

Dissertations, theses, and reports are submitted to the Library once a month.  If no bound copies are requested, it will be available online shortly after that.

If professional binding is requested, electronic copies will not be available until after the bound copies are received and cataloged.

13

Why should I publish with ProQuest/UMI?

ProQuest/UMI has been publishing scholarly work for nearly 70 years. Its primary purpose is to archive graduate research and provide greater accessibility to it. Even if you make your thesis or dissertation available at the J. R. Van Pelt Library, patrons would need to search the catalog at Michigan Tech to find it. Every work published with ProQuest/UMI is accessible through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database, so this is a primary source for scholars to find graduate research. In addition, their archival services provide an off-site source for your work in the event that your work is lost from the J. R. Van Pelt Library. Publication with ProQuest/UMI is required for PhD candidates and optional for Master's candidates.

14

I'm writing a report. How do guidelines for theses and dissertations affect me?

The Guide clearly describes which formatting requirements apply to reports.

To view the Guide in a checklist form, see TDR-Review.

15

I'm having difficultly formatting my document. Can you help me?

The Graduate School has prepared several presentations on tips and tricks for document creation using Microsoft Office.  All of our presentations are listed on or Professional Resources page.  The Graduate School is also writing tips and tricks on our blog in a tutorial "how-to" format. If you have a suggestion for a topic, please e-mail Dr. Charlesworth.

Students who would like to use LaTeX may find the materials prepared by a former graduate student at Michigan Tech to be helpful.

16

I want to use LaTeX to format my document. Can you help me?

The Graduate School staff do not have experience using LaTeX. Since LaTeX is an open source program and has a wide community of users, we encourage users to seek assistance through other users. An alumnus of Michigan Tech, S. Gowtham, has created a web site and LaTeX templates that he has made available to the world. His resources can be found here:

The availability of these templates does not indicate Graduate School approval of them. If you do choose to use LaTeX, please understand how the language works. The Graduate School may request changes in the future that are not covered by these templates, or you may want to make your own stylistic choices. Do not use these templates as a substitute for learning the basics of LaTeX yourself.

17

Should I double space or single space my document?

See Section 3.6 of the guide for details on all formatting requirements.

18

Why won't the Graduate School just give me a template for formatting my document?

A template is available for the title and approval pages.

Your professional career will involve producing proposals, papers, and other reports. The quality of these reports will reflect on your ability as a professional in your field. Learning how to format your thesis or dissertation will help you to format all types of documents in the future. Additionally, there are a number of stylistic choices about the thesis or dissertation that are up to you. The Graduate School does not want to force you to fit your thoughts and words into one style, and there is not a single style that is appropriate for all fields of study at Michigan Tech. If you have not yet published in a journal, take some time to look at the requirements for different journals in your field. You will note that none of them are the same, although most are similar. To publish your work, you will need to adapt to a wide variety of style requirements throughout your career, and this training begins with publishing your thesis or dissertation.

19

I need help editing my thesis. Can you help me?

The Graduate School is maintaining a list of approved editors for theses and dissertations. Contact Dr. Charlesworth for a current listing. This is a paid service, but if you require extensive grammatical correction, it is well worth the investment. We also encourage you to seek the guidance of the Multiliteracies Center very early if you anticipate that writing will be difficult for you. The Center can best help you if you begin the writing process with them, although they can provide walk-in assistance at any time. They can review your writing on a weekly basis and provide assistance with writing your thesis, dissertation, job search materials, oral presentation and much more. They are particularly skilled at working with students for whom English is a second language.

20

I just got a letter from a publisher who wants to publish my thesis or dissertation as a book. What should I do?

Before accepting any publishing offer, students should carefully read the copyright transfer agreement or publishing contract. An agreement like this is required before your work is published in any form, because a publisher cannot reprint your words without your permission. In the Graduate School, for example, students sign the Degree completion form prior to publishing a dissertation, thesis, or report. This agreement grants Michigan Tech a non-exclusive license to archive their work and allows the library to make limited photocopies under certain circumstances. Students retain all other ownership rights, except those that relate to proprietary information. The ownership of proprietary information is covered under the MTU Operating Procedures Manual in Section 11.1.

The Graduate School cannot provide legal advice about contracts, but some general guidance is that students should be focusing on peer reviewed, high quality journal publications at this stage in their career. If parts of the thesis or dissertation have already been published in journals, a book publisher may not be able to reprint the work. If the thesis or dissertation is published as a book, the student may not be able to publish parts of their thesis or dissertation in a journal at a later date.

Specifically, VDM Verlag contacts many students about publishing their thesis or dissertation as a book. From the information the Graduate School can find, VDM Verlag is a legitimate publisher. This e-mail does not appear to be a scam. The book is not peer reviewed, however, so it will not significantly enhance the student's publication record.

A Google search yielded a few sources specifically about VDM Verlag and student's experience publishing. Inclusion of these pages does not endorse any of these opinions. Students are encouraged to investigate the publisher and their publishing options independently.

21

How can I order additional bound copies of my dissertation, thesis, or report?

When you complete your degree, you will order bound copies of your dissertation, thesis, or report when you submit the final document and the Degree completion form.

After graduation, students may submit their PDF file to an on-demand printing service such as HF Thesis on Demand.  Student who submitted their thesis or dissertation to ProQuest/UMI may also use their printing service.

22

I'm not on campus. How can I access campus computing?

You may need to revise your dissertation, thesis, or report while off campus. Enrolled graduate students may access campus computers while off campus. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Contact IT to request Remote Desktop privileges to an office computer (906-487-1111, it-help@mtu.edu).
  2. Establish a VPN connection either through the F5 application installed on your home computer or by going to vpn.mtu.edu and clicking "get an mtu address."
  3. Once you are connected to the VPN you can then open up the Remote Desktop Connection application on your home computer. Enter your computer name and click connect.
  4. When prompted for your username and password, enter the following:
    username: MTU\<username>
    password: the password you use to login to your office computer.

You maintain access to campus computing while enrolled, and for two weeks after the end of a semester.

Remote desktop access will allow you to use office productivity software such as Microsoft Word, LaTeX, or Adobe Acrobat. If you have a personal computer, installing a trial version of Adobe Acrobat may also be a solution to allow you to make final edits on a document to complete your degree requirements.