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Frequently Asked Questions (continued)

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Here you will find answers to the common questions that prospective students ask.
If you don’t find an answer to your question, please contact us by utilizing the "Request Help" tab on the right margin of this page.

 

Electronic Theses and Dissertations (continued)

Accessing eTDs

Q:    How will people be able to access my eTD?

If you allow your eTD to be freely available worldwide, which we recommend (see below for reasons and for discussion of other options), we will work to make your eTD as easily available as possible. First, we will allow access over the World Wide Web, so people can link to our collection for browsing, and even link directly to your eTD (with a special type of URL that is not subject to change). Second, in the record for your eTD that will be in the Penn State library catalog, we will have link information, so those searching that catalog can link directly to the eTD. Third, we will provide one or more search engines so that people can search the Penn State eTD collection using &quot;full-text&quot; searching. Fourth, we will have a mechanism so that your eTD can be found by anyone seeking to search the NDLTD (i.e., the full distributed collection of eTDs made available by institutions that are part of the initiative). Fifth, we will work with third party organizations, such as UMI and OCLC (a not-for-profit in Dublin, Ohio that provides library cataloging and other services to libraries), to encourage them to provide access as well as archiving services.

Q:    How do I correct my eTD after it appears on the University Libraries server?

Once your committee and the Graduate School have approved your eTD, that version is a matter of University record and will be archived as such. You may not make any corrections. For this reason, you and your committee must check the eTD thoroughly before submitting it.

Q:    How does the eTD initiative relate to UMI Dissertation Services?

UMI Dissertation Services, a Web-based service of ProQuest, maintains a microform archive of about 1.5 million dissertations, as well as an online service called Dissertation Abstracts. Most dissertations written in the United States are submitted to UMI for archiving on microfilm, from which microform or paper copies can be produced. UMI functions as an on-demand book publisher that eliminates the editorial process. One of the services they offer is to help you regarding copyright and working with publishers.

They accept electronic submissions as well as paper submissions. The latter are scanned in and OCR'ed, but in most cases current technology does not yield as good a result as would come from an electronic submission. UMI plans to make available online electronic versions of all works they received after 1996.

UMI has a representative on the Steering Committee and on the Technical Advisory Committee for the NDLTD. More information about UMI can be found at the ProQuest Web site.

The NDLTD project focuses on graduate education and raising the level of knowledge transfer. Since students may wish to read a thesis or dissertation that was prepared many years before, it is imperative that the NDLTD arrange for archiving of eTDs, so they can be accessed even when media and technology change. UMI, as well as OCLC, is interested in providing such archival services.

Q:    How does UMI receive a copy of my electronic dissertation?

Once UMI receives the appropriate documentation from Penn State, they will:

The author gets a 10 percent commission when UMI sells copies, paid on the "sevens" (7, 17, 27, ...).

  • Download the eTD from our server
  • Put the eTD on their eTD server (pay-per-view)
  • Print a paper copy (black and white)
  • Photograph the paper onto microfilm
  • Store the microfilm in their argon vaults
  • Shred the paper copy
  • Publish your abstract in "Dissertation Abstracts"

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Training/Help

Q:    Where do I go for training and to prepare my thesis or dissertation for electronic submission?

ITS has purchased and installed IBM and MAC versions of Adobe Acrobat 4.0 in selected computer labs.

Q:    How can I get help when I need it?

General inquiries should be directed to gradthesis@psu.edu. Specific questions about Adobe Acrobat and PSUThesi can be directed to Steve Dahm, stevedahm@psu.edu.

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Hardware/Software

Q:    What computer hardware and software are required to produce my thesis or dissertation?

Theses and dissertations can be produced in a PC or MAC environment using word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, and LaTeX and desktop publishing software, such as PageMaker. For non-Adobe products, any file that can be printed from Windows/Macintosh can be printed to PostScript and then distilled into PDF. For more "eTD How-to Information" visit the Virginia Tech Website.

Q:    Where can I find the Adobe Exchange software?

Adobe Exchange can be found on IBM and MAC computers in selected computer labs. For the location of the selected labs, please see the CLC Web site.

Q:    How will someone access my thesis or dissertation?

If you allow your eTD to be freely available worldwide, we will work to make it as easily available as possible. The University Libraries established a link on their Website to Penn State's collection of electronic dissertations and each dissertation has its own URL. Search engines will be provided so that the Penn State's eTD collection can be searched by author, subject, title, and keyword. Penn State's eTD collection is also searchable through UMI and NDLTD.

Q:    What software is needed to view eTD documents? How may I acquire this software?

To view most eTDs you will need a World Wide Web browser (e.g., Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer) as well as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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Financial Aid

Q:    Where do I obtain information regarding financial aid?

The best places to identify sources of financial support are your intended plan of study, the Graduate School Office of Fellowships and Awards, the Office of Student Aid, the Graduate School’s website and resources outside the University. The plan of study is the most important source of funding for the majority of graduate students.

Q:    I have questions about the Financial Aid section on one of the supplemental forms. With whom do I speak?

All questions regarding supplemental forms should be directed to your intended plan of study.

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Funding

Following is a compilation of the most frequent inquiries to the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration. If you review this information and do not find the answers you need, please email l-gs-fellowships@lists.psu.edu.

Q:    How do I apply for a graduate assistantship?

At Penn State, graduate assistantships are awarded by academic departments. Contact the department in which you are currently enrolled or are applying for admission to inquire about the availability of assistantships.

Q:    Do I receive health insurance with my graduate assistantship or fellowship?

Students on full fellowships, i.e., receiving tuition and stipend, and students on assistantships are eligible for an 80 percent University subsidy of the annual student premium cost for the Penn State Graduate Assistant Graduate Fellow Health Insurance Plan. Penn State also provides a 70 percent annual premium subsidy for eligible dependents of graduate assistants and fellows. Contact the Student Insurance Office at (814) 865-7476.

Q:    As a non-degree graduate student, am I eligible for funding?

No, only degree-seeking graduate students are eligible for financial aid through the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration and from most other sources of University support.

Q:    How do I receive a tuition waiver?

Penn State does not offer tuition waivers. Tuition grants-in-aid generally are attached to teaching or research assistantships and fellowships. All assistantships are offered directly by the college in which the degree plan of study is housed.

Q:    Do I pay taxes on my fellowship?

Penn State does not withhold taxes from fellowship stipends. The Payroll office should be consulted on any questions regarding withholding from student stipends. Although taxes are not withheld, these monies may be taxable according to federal guidelines. Please see IRS publications #970 and #505 or contact a tax accountant for additional information.

Q:    How do I apply for a student loan?

Information about student loans, and how to apply for financial aid, is available through the Office of Student Aid.

Q:    Can I receive an emergency loan?

Emergency loans are available through the Office of Student Aid. There are established eligibility criteria for these loans. Contact the Office of Student Aid at (814) 865-6301.

Q:    How many credits do I have to take while receiving a fellowship or assistantship?

While you are appointed as a fellow, you need to register for at least 9 credits during fall, spring, and summer (with summer enrollment dictated by academic program requirements and the funding sponsor). Graduate assistants should review the assistantships information page to determine the appropriate number of credits. Please note, you must be registered as a degree-seeking student to receive any financial support.

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Housing

Q:    Where do I obtain information regarding graduate housing?

Housing information can be found on the Penn State Housing website. Please note that housing information will be sent to all applicants who are recommended for admission. Applicants must be admitted to the Graduate School before their requests for on-campus living accommodations can be processed.

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Reference Questions

Q:    How and when are my referees notified to submit a letter of reference?

If the intended plan of study has elected to use the online reference features (refer to your intended plan of study website), your referees will be notified via email upon submission of your graduate application.

If the intended plan of study chose not to use the online reference features (refer to your intended plan of study website), your referees will not be notified and it is your responsibility to contact these individuals.

Q:    Does my plan of study have a specific letter of reference format I need to follow?

Please refer to your intended plan of study website. If you still have questions, please contact your intended plan of study.

Q:    My references cannot send a digital file for my letter of reference. How can they get the letter of reference to the plan of study?

You will need to contact your intended plan of study. You should provide the mailing address of the plan of study to your referees so they can mail the letters to the plan of study. The plan of study can upload the letters to your digital portfolio.

Q:    How many letters of reference are required?

Please refer to your intended plan of study website for this information. Any questions regarding the letters of reference should be directed to your intended plan of study.

Q:    I choose to waive my right of access to any reference information but want to change this. What do I need to do?

Please submit a request for help by utilizing the "Request Help" tab on the right margin of the FAQ page.

Q:    What do I do if a referee did not receive an email request for a letter of reference? Should I resend the reference email request?

If a referee did not receive your email request from the Graduate School Online Reference Portal, you should have the referee verify that the email did not end up in a "junk" or "spam" folder. If you still need to re-send the email, you may do so by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information and send the referee a reminder.

Occasionally, references cannot receive an email from psu.edu because the domain is blocked by a firewall or filter. If the referee has another email address, you can change that by following the directions above.

If your referee still does not receive the email, please contact us by utilizing the "Request Help" tab on the right margin of this page or contact your intended plan of study to ask if they will accept reference letters directly, sent through the mail/FedEx/UPS.

Q:    What do I do if a referee deleted or no longer has an email request for a letter of reference? Can I resend the reference email request?

If a referee deleted or no longer has the email request from the Graduate School Online Reference Portal, you may re-send the email. To do so, log into your existing account in the Graduate School application. Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access the reference information and send the referee a reminder.

Q:    How can I see if a recommendation was submitted?

If the graduate plan of study is using the Graduate School Online Reference Portal, you may check the status of your recommendations by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application. Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.

If the graduate plan of study collects their own recommendation letters, you must contact your intended plan of study.

Q:    How do I change my referee’s email address?

You may manage your referee's information by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, use the hyperlink labeled “status”.  On the following page, find the “Reference Information” section and utilize the “Update Reference” button.

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Supplemental Materials

Q:    When uploading a Microsoft Word document I receive an error message. How can I submit my documents?

We recommend using either TXT or PDF files for uploading materials to the Graduate School  digital portfolio.

Q:    Where do I send my supplemental application materials?

Any questions regarding your supplemental materials should be directed to your intended plan of study.

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Technical Problem

Q:    When uploading a Microsoft Word document I receive an error message. How can I submit my documents?

We recommend using either TXT or PDF files for uploading materials to the Graduate School digital portfolio.

Q:    How do I correct/change information on my submitted application?

Once your application has been submitted, you cannot change any information. Please do NOT submit a new application. You should contact your intended plan of study to let them know of any changes.

Q:    Can I view or print my application after I have submitted it?

Yes, you may print your application after it is submitted.  Log into your existing account in the Graduate School application. Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “View” that will open a printer-friendly view of your application.  Use your browser’s print function to print your application.

Q:    I have forgotten my Penn State Access Account ID and/or password. What can I do?

The Graduate School application uses Penn State access accounts for authentication. Because Graduate School staff do not know passwords, we cannot email passwords to applicants or change the email address for an applicant.

If you have forgotten your password go to https://work.psu.edu/password/ to reset your password 

If you have forgotten your Access Account ID  you can click the "Creat a New Account" button on www.gradschool.psu.edu/apply.  The Penn State Identity website will help you find your Access Account if you already have one.  When completing hte section "Identity Information", you should enter your Penn State ID number if you know it.  Your Penn State ID is the 9-digit number that begins with "9".  

 

Q:    I was a student at PSU, but I cannot remember my Penn State Access Account ID and/or my password.  What can I do?

If you were a student or employee at PSU, you can find or reactivate your PSU access account by clicking the "Create a New Account" button on www.gradschool.psu.edu/apply to proceed to the Penn State Identity website.  Graduate School staff do not know passwords.  When completing the section titled "Identity Information", you should enter your Penn State ID number if you know it.  Your PSU ID is the 9-digit number that begins with "9".  

If you are experiencing difficulties finding or reactivating your accoount, please contact the IT Service Desk:

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