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Scholarly Communication


Provision of a hard copy thesis to Library

The University policy relating to the deposit of theses is “Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science and Master of Letters” in the Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge. This states:

“Before being admitted to a degree, a student shall deposit with the Secretary of the Board one copy of her or his dissertation and one copy of the summary, both the dissertation and the summary being in a form approved by the Board (Section 17 - p472).”

PhD graduands provide the Student Registry with a bound copy of their thesis to which they attach a 'Deposit & Copying of Dissertation Declaration'. Student Registry then provides the Library with these hard-bound theses which are catalogued and placed on the shelves in a restricted area. They can be requested for viewing in the Library in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

How the Library manages requests for theses

Theses are not available for borrowing or inter library loan. The copyright of theses remains with the author.

Copies of theses may be provided to researchers in accordance with the law and in a manner that is common across UK libraries. Researchers can order a copy of the thesis through the Library’s Digital Content Unit. The law allows us to provide whole copies of theses to individuals as long as they sign a declaration saying that it is for non-commercial research or private study. This agreement is modelled on that used by other libraries; it is recommended by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), and has been approved by the University's copyright lawyer.

The law does not allow us to provide a copy for inclusion in a general library collection or for wider distribution beyond the individual receiving the copy, without the explicit permission of the author or copyright holder. Where someone approaches us asking for a copy for their library or wider distribution, they must obtain the explicit permission of the author or copyright owner.

There is no restriction on format, so photocopies or digital copies (supplied in PDF format) can be provided. We are required by law to charge for production costs of this copy.

Restricting access to your thesis

Note that in certain circumstances, restricted access for the thesis may be obtained for a specified period, but this needs to be approved by the Board of Graduate Studies.