Before You Write

What is in this section?

Be prepared with the necessary tools and knowledge to plan your ETD before you begin to write and save hours of hassle. In this section, you will find resources to help you learn to use the ETD templates, map out what you should know about tables and figures, simplify your bibliography by using reference managers, and find the resources and help you need as you begin the writing process. Click the title of any post below to read the full post. Have questions? Check our FAQs or Ask an ETD Specialist.

Learn to Use the ETD Templates

In order to graduate, the University requires you to submit a copy of your thesis or dissertation that conforms to the ETD Format Guidelines.  To help you meet these requirements, we provide templates for use with either Microsoft Word or LaTeX.  These templates offer many shortcuts and automatic features that allow you to quickly format your paper according to Pitt's guidelines.  The templates are not self-explanatory, however, so understanding how they work before using them is necessary. The following instructions will get you started.

Copyright Primer

Part of the thesis and dissertation process is gaining knowledge about copyright and its impact on your academic work. Taking the time to understand copyright is an important step forward in a graduate student's path, and because it is built into the process of creating a thesis or dissertation, this is an excellent opportunity to gain this knowledge that will serve you in your career, whether in academia or outside of it.
Here is what you need to know about copyright and your ETD:

Citation Management

Make your reference list and in-line citations easy with citation management tools. These tools allow you to build a personalized collection of references, and from there automatically format and insert citations and bibliographies into your document. We offer guides and workshops on two citation managers, and you can contact us for support with others.