Thesis guidance

Arranging and presenting your thesis

For the arrangement of theses and their preparation for binding, see the guide Presenting your thesis (PDF - 200KB). See also details of Bindery services.

Our online courses also guide you through the process:

Copyright law applies to theses and dissertations written by students as part of their studies in the same way as it applies to other copyright works.

Forms and other thesis enquiries

You can find information on submitting your thesis, including forms and queries about content, submission dates, examination and degree-awarding procedures, from Research Student Administration (RSA).

Library deposit copies

After your thesis has been examined and your degree awarded, a printed, hardbound copy is deposited in the University Library and an electronic copy is submitted to the University eTheses Repository. Your Supervisor or School may also request a copy.

The electronic copy will be available via the internet, to any readers interested in your work. Please see the further information about access to etheses. The printed Library deposit copy is the University’s archive copy, and may also be made available to readers. Your thesis will be listed in FindIt@Bham, and the Library will forward the details for publication in the index to theses.  Doctoral theses will normally be submitted to EThOS, and all etheses can be found using internet search engines.

Access options - information for authors

Option A

Under the terms of option A the electronic thesis is made available on the eTheses Repository for download on the first day of the month that we anticipate a PGR student will graduate.  A metadata record will exist for the thesis on the eTheses Repository shortly after submission.

The thesis is made accessible on an all rights reserved basis meaning authors maintain copyright and does not limit what the author can go on to do with the work. However, in circumstances where authors are intending to subsequently publish their thesis, either as a monograph or in the form of journal article(s), we do suggest that an Option B or C may be most suitable for this purpose. If negotiation is ongoing for a monograph publication then an application for a full embargo (option D) will be considered.

The hardbound copy of the thesis will be catalogued and made available as a reference only item from a date after the formal graduation ceremony has taken place.

Benefits of Option A:

  • Encourages researchers in your field to read your work and cite it in their own research
  • Boosts your academic profile and the potential impact of your work
  • Helps support the wider international scholarly agenda around providing open access to academic content
  • For PGR students who have received an RCUK studentship it ensures compliance with their terms and conditions around access to the final thesis
  • Helps ensure the thesis is indexed by anti-plagiarism software programmes to prevent fraudulent re-use

Option B

Under the terms of option B the electronic thesis is not freely available to download within a period of time (reasonably) set by the author, however the library is authorised to supply full-text electronic copies to individual requesters and organisations provided the work is to be utilised for non-commercial purposes. A metadata record will exist for the thesis on the eTheses Repository shortly after submission.

The thesis is supplied on an all rights reserved basis meaning authors maintain copyright and does not limit what the author can go on to do with the work.

The hardbound copy of the thesis will be catalogued and made available as a reference only item from a date after the formal graduation ceremony has taken place.

Important further information about Option B:

  • When selecting an Option B authors will need to provide an ‘end date’, after this date the thesis will revert to being freely available to download under the terms of Option A.
For PGR students who have received an RCUK studentship, an option B restriction cannot last for more than 12 months beyond their date of graduation for it to be compliant with the RCUK funder terms. (An exception applies for research which has been jointly funded with a commercial sponsor.) 

Option C

Under the terms of option C the electronic thesis is not freely available to download within a period of time set by the author. Any requests for the electronic copy of the thesis will be passed on to the author who will have opportunity to give or withhold their consent for a full-text copy to be supplied to a named requester. A metadata record will exist for the thesis on the eTheses Repository shortly after submission.

The thesis is supplied on an all rights reserved basis meaning authors maintain copyright and does not limit what the author can go on to do with the work.

The hardbound copy of the thesis will be catalogued and made available as a reference only item from a date after the formal graduation ceremony has taken place.

Important further information about Option C:

  • When selecting an Option C authors will need to provide an ‘end date’, after this date the thesis will revert to being freely available to download under the terms of Option A.
  • For PGR students who have received an RCUK studentship, an option C restriction cannot last for more than 12 months beyond their date of graduation for it to be compliant with the RCUK funder terms. (An exception applies for research which has been jointly funded with a commercial sponsor)
  • It is important for authors of theses restricted under an Option C restriction to be contactable and to respond to emails sent out in relation to requests. Where an author is uncontactable the library reserves the right to seek permission from the head of the school or department where the thesis was completed.
A long-term Option C restriction will hinder the ability of researchers in the field to access the thesis, especially those based outside Birmingham and overseas. This in turn will likely result in fewer academic citations and a reduced academic impact. The maximum period of restriction the library will countenance is 100 years from date of graduation; however such a lengthy restriction is not advised.

Option D (Full embargo)

Under the terms of option D neither the electronic nor hardbound copy of a thesis is made available for consultation during a designated embargo period.

Further information in relation to this is contained on the webpage below.

Applications for an Option D Embargo (Word -192KB) need to be supported by a PGR student’s lead supervisor and head of school and should be submitted at least two months before your intended submission date.

Embargoes are adjudicated upon by the library weighing up a variety of competing interests. The length of time an Option D Embargo is awarded for varies depending on the circumstances.

Once an Option D Embargo expires, the thesis will revert to becoming subject to the terms of Option A, B or C depending on the preference indicated by the author. We will require this choice to be provided by the author at the time of the thesis submission before graduation. Shortly before the embargo expires we will contact the author to confirm that the original post embargo choice is still correct. If the author wishes to extend the restriction, the author should contact the Digital Assets team at: ubira@lists.bham.ac.uk  and provide a rationale for extension before the current embargo expires.

It is advised that Option D Embargoes may be suitable for those theses which:

  • Have been supported by commercial interests and contain potentially commercially sensitive intellectual property (up to 4 years)
  • Are subject to a contractual or legal undertaking between the thesis author and a third party (up to 4 years)
  • Are subject to ongoing negotiation with publishers for future monograph publication (up to 2 years) Please be advised that an option B or C restriction are appropriate access choices if you plan to publish in journals (Ramirez et al., 2014).