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Thesis & Project Guide: Defending & Submitting

The Oral Review

After you submit your pre-defense final draft, your faculty project advisor will determine whether or not you are ready for your oral review.  If so, you will be scheduled for a one hour oral review in front of a committee consisting of the DMin Director and your faculty project advisor.  If you would like a third reviewer, you must obtain the written permission of this two-person committee before the end of the fall semester of your third year in the program.  The oral review is otherwise open to the public.

An oral review will typically proceed as follows:

  • Opening statement by you, the student (about ten minutes), covering:
    • Your research question/your problem in ministry
    • Your methodology/how you responded
    • Your conclusions/its impact on your leadership and ministry
  • Review by the committee and its impact on social justice leadership (expect the committee to ask you questions)
  • Questions/comments from the public
  • The committee may point out revisions you may need to undertake before your final submission of your thesis/project
  • You may be asked to leave the room so that the committee can discuss in private

While it may be hard not to get nervous before your oral review, you can draw some confidence in knowing that if your advisor has scheduled you for an oral review, then your advisor probably thinks your work is mostly ready for submission!  For other tips, check out the following articles:

PDF/A & Embedded Fonts

PDF/A, or Portable Document Format/Archival, is a version of the PDF format designed for optimal long term preservation of digital files.  As such, it is the format the Wiggin Library uses to for the storage of theses. 

Conversion to PDF/A requires Adobe Acrobat.  If your computer has Adobe Acrobat, see the appropriate tab for directions on how to convert your thesis into PDF/A.  If you do not have Adobe Acrobat, contact the Library ( for help.

Embedded fonts are fonts that are planted into the PDF, ensuring that anyone on any computer who opens the PDF (or PDF/A) file can see the fonts as they were meant to appear.  If a font is not embedded, when someone opens the file, they may instead see boxes and widgets.  If you properly stick to using Times New Roman or Calibri throughout your thesis, then this should not be a problem.  However, if you used Times New Roman and special characters, ranging from words in other languages that use other alphabets or letters with diacritics, then you should double check to make sure your fonts are all embedded.  See the following tabs for instructions.

  • In Microsoft Word on a PC, select File and Save as Adobe PDF in the left hand menu
  • Enter a file name in the format of your Lastname, Firstname_Title of Thesis
  • Then, at the bottom, select Options (do not hit Save at this time!)
  • A new dialog box will appear.  Check the box for Create PDF/A-1a:2005 compliant file and then OK
  • That dialog box will close.  Now you can click on Save
  • Before you submit, double check to make sure that the fonts you are using are embedded:
    • Open your new PDF/A file in Adobe Acrobat
    • Click on Document Properties
    • Click on Font Tab
    • The font or fonts listed should have (Embedded) or (Embedded Subset) next to them; if not, the font is NOT embedded
  • Congratulations!  You can now submit your thesis to; please include your name and the words "Thesis Submission" in the subject line!

If you have both Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat on your Mac:

  • In Microsoft Word on a Mac, click on File from the top menu, and then Print.
  • Click and hold the PDF button on the bottom left.  Once you let go, a new menu should appear.
  • Select Save as Adobe PDF.  A new dialog box should appear.
  • From the Settings dropdown menu, choose PDF/A.
  • Click Continue.
  • Click Save.
  • Before you submit, double check to make sure that the fonts you are using are embedded:
    • Open your new PDF/A file in Adobe Acrobat
    • Click on Document Properties
    • Click on Font Tab
    • The font or fonts listed should have (Embedded) or (Embedded Subset) next to them; if not, the font is NOT embedded
  • Congratulations!  You can now submit your thesis to; please include your name and the words "Thesis Submission" in the subject line!

Steps for Submitting Your Thesis/Project

Congratulations!  You passed your oral review.  Here are steps you need to take before your final submission:

  1. Complete any revisions required by your oral review committee
  2. Look your whole thesis/project over one last time!
    1. Proofread and spellcheck it
    2. Make sure you have the work as a wholeincluding your citationsproperly formatted according to Chicago Style (see the Writing & Formatting tab for help)
    3. Make sure there is a 1.5 inch margin on the left side (to make room for the binding)
    4. Make sure the page numbers in the Table of Contents correctly match up
  3. Email the work in Word format to the Library Director, Dr. John Dechant, at  Please include your name and "thesis submission" or "project submission" in the subject line.  Dr. Dechant will review your work for formatting; he might have you make certain formatting fixes to make sure your work is in Chicago Style.
  4. After Dr. Dechant's review is complete, he will send you the final copy in PDF/A format (see the PDF/A & Embedded Fonts box below for information).  The file name will be in Lastname, Firstname_year_Title format.  He will also provide you with login credentials for Melodic, the Meadville Lombard Digital Commons.
  5. Go to Melodic and log in using the credentials provided by Dr. Dechant.
  6. Once logged in, you should be at your Dashboard.  You can begin adding your work by clicking on Works in the left side bar and then clicking on the blue Add New Work button on the right.  Alternatively, you can click on the turquoise Share Your Work button on the Melodic homepage.
  7. Select ETD (Electronic Theses & Dissertations) and then Create work.
  8. Under the Descriptions tab, you must fill in:
    • Title: the full title of your work
    • Creator: your full name in Last name, First name format
    • Rights Statement: unless you want to forego any copyright, make sure you select In Copyright!
    • Year: the four digit year in which you finished and submitted your work
    • Abstract: the 100 word or less summary of your work as a whole (see our Writing Guide for help)
    • Resource Type: select whether the work is a D.Min. Project, Thesis, or other type of work
    • Host Institution: select Meadville Lombard Theological School
    • Degree: type in the full name of your degree, i.e., Master of Arts in Religion or Doctor of Ministry
    • Degree Granting Institution: type in Meadville Lombard Theological School
    • Type: select Text (unless your work is not composed mostly of text)
    • Subject: Try your best to fill in the major subject headings of your work (the major fields, concepts, people, and places in your work), referring to the links to the subjects and FAST subject headings lists.  Make sure to type in a single subject in each line, clicking on +Add another to create a new line for a new subject heading.  These subject headings will help readers discover your work!  Don't worry too much about getting this perfect.  A librarian will review your submission and will fix this area if need be, although having you, the author, start this section helps!
  9. You may optionally fill in the last two areas: 
    • Keyword: Fill in a similar way to the Subject area above.
    • License: If you to allow for a Creative Commons license, select the desired license.  If you leave this area blank, you will default to a standard Copyright.
  10. At the top, click on the Files tab, then +Add files..., upload your work in PDF/A format (for information on how to save in PDF/A format, see our Thesis & Project guide).
  11. Read and agree to the Deposit Agreement to the right and click on the box verifying that you have read and agree to it.
  12. Select your desired accessibility option and click the Save button.
  13. You're all finished!  A librarian will review your submission and as necessary edit the items in the Descriptions page, or contact you with any concerns.

If you would like to purchase a printed and bound copy of your project/thesis, please inquire with the Director of the Library Dr. John Dechant for costs and requirements.

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