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Step Two: Writing the Thesis or Dissertation

Different programs have different formatting policies and follow different style manuals. Your thesis or dissertation director will advise you.


Plagiarism is defined as “intentionally or knowingly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas, information, etc., is common knowledge.” - UNF Student Handbook  


Plagiarism is a very serious matter. If a student represents the ideas or words of another person as his own, this is intellectual stealing, and it is punishable by a range of actions, including even dismissal from pursuit of a degree. Students are warned to take pains to avoid all plagiarism, no matter how minor it may seem.

Editorial Services

The Graduate School requires that all dissertations and theses be submitted in final formats, ready for library submission and publication. Part of what is required for final submission of dissertations and theses is that documents be free from any errors related to language use. Grammar, spelling, and usage errors must be absent, and clarity must be uniform throughout the document. To aid in meeting this requirement, the Graduate School recommends that a student employ an editor. The Graduate School does not, however, require employing an editor, nor do we require hiring a particular editor. The hiring of an editor is a decision that should be made between the student and the thesis or dissertation director. If the decision is to hire an editor, editorial work should occur prior to the defense of the thesis or dissertation.


All theses and dissertations at UNF are published as electronic documents in PDF format and are made available through the UNF Digital Commons. As such, it will be easy for individuals to discover unauthorized use of copyrighted materials, so it is important to proceed carefully when using copyrighted works. 


Students should think carefully about the materials they plan to use in their thesis or dissertation. Copyrighted items should be presented in a scholarly way by being labeled and thoroughly explained within the text. Also ensure materials used are properly cited within the body of the document and in references.


In order to obtain copyright permission, students should:

  • Contact the copyright holder (usually the publishing company, not the author) by mail or email and request permission to republish the materials.
  • Indicate that their thesis or dissertation will be published electronically by the University of North Florida in their requests.
  • Add any copyright permission letters (or email permissions) received from copyright holders to the UNF Digital Commons as supplemental documentation. 
  • Beginning August 2013, students will be required to use the Request to Reprint/Reproduce Material Covered by Copyright. Theses and dissertations without evidence of permission to reprint or reproduce materials covered by copyright will not be approved.

Each writing style has different standards for citing sources. Please review the below webpages for specific information.

American Psychological Association (APA)
Chicago Manual of Style

Modern Language Association (MLA)


  • The correct style manual, the one followed by the program, has been used.
  • All work not originating with the student has been properly cited and referenced.
  • Copyright permission has been received and a Request to Reprint/Reproduce Material Covered by Copyright document has been obtained.
  • If the student and thesis or dissertation director deem it warranted, the services of a professional editor have been secured.