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Use of iThenticate tool by faculty and graduate students

The Graduate School encourages the use of iThenticate to verify originality of documents prepared by VT graduate students and faculty as follows:

  • Graduate students can review their written materials (e.g., papers, article drafts, responses to qualifying or prelim exam prompts, drafts of thesis/dissertation, etc.)
  • Faculty can use the software to review their written documents (e.g., articles, grant proposals)
  • Graduate students and their advisors are required to verify that the ETDs (electronic theses and dissertations) are appropriately written and cited. Students are encouraged to use iThenticate to review drafts of their ETD prior to final submission.

Access to iThenticate is granted to graduate students and faculty. iThenticate similarity reports are useful to identify potentially problematic areas of insufficient citation. They should be used as a guide to trigger a closer examination of the reasons for similarities and to determine whether there is a reasonable explanation for the level of similarity identified. 

Videos to help access and use the tool

Although the tool isn’t difficult to use, we encourage you to view the videos about accessing and using the tool, and especially interpreting the similarity report.

1. First open an account.

2. Review instructions on how to submit a paper for review.

3. Learn about how to interpret a similarity report

4. Link to iThenticate.


The Graduate School and NLI are offering training sessions on the use of iThenticate.


For ETD submissions, the Graduate School will set the filters such that all pages before the abstract and references are excluded along with quotes. This will help in limiting the number of incidents flagged in the similarity report. The following steps are required for approval of the final examination and the ETD:

  1. Students must run their ETD through iThenticate and the similarity report must be reviewed by the student and advisor prior to scheduling the final examination.
  2. The final similarity report must be included in the submission of the ETD to the Graduate School. This report will be archived separately from the ETD.
  3. Our ETD review staff look for less than 25% overall and less than 5% per single source in the iThenticate similarity report submitted with an ETD. Percentages equal to or higher than these will result in an additional review by an Associate Dean within the Graduate School. However, even lower or higher percentages may be found problematic or acceptable upon detailed review.