skip to content

Scholarly Communication


Provision of a hard copy thesis to the 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. Further information about submitting a hard bound thesis can be found on the Student Registry pages.

Provision of an electronic copy to the University repository

Electronic theses need to be submitted to Apollo, the University’s institutional repository through the upload form at

Electronic deposit does not mean that the full text of the thesis will automatically be available. At the point of upload, students are given the choice of different access options, including the choice to make their thesis available Open Access immediately or to embargo access for an initial 12 months. During the period of embargo, the metadata and abstract of a thesis (but not the full text) will be findable in the repository. For further information on the different access levels and how they will be managed, see here.

Managing copyright issues

There are many copyright issues that can affect theses that are made Open Access. Information on third party copyright and what you need to obtain permission to use can be found on the third party copyright and your thesis page. In some cases it might not be possible to obtain permission for all third party copyright contained in a thesis. In these instances the University asks that the student provide two digital versions of the thesis:

  • A complete digital version of the thesis that reflects the hardbound version. This will be kept in the repository on a restricted access basis. It will be able to be requested for research purposes only.
  • A version of the thesis which has been redacted - where uncleared third party copyright has been removed. This might mean it appears in a closed Appendix, or that the items are 'blanked out' in the text. This version is the one that will be made Open Access.

Funder requirements for making theses available Open Access

Please note that students who are funded by any of the UK’s Research Councils are required to make their theses available Open Access within a certain time period. RCUK Training Grants have a requirement that students with funded PhD positions make a full text version of the thesis available no longer than 12 months following award of the doctorate. The RCUK Training Grant Guide states: "Councils recognise that commercial, collaborative or publication arrangements may necessitate a slight delay; the delay can be at the RO’s discretion but we expect the thesis to be deposited as soon as possible. The RCs expect the RO to have in place a documented process for determining where exceptions can be granted to the requirement for publication within 12 months."

For more information, see the overview of Open Access policies and funder requirements.

Office of Scholarly Communication Newsletter sign-up

Please complete this form if you would like to receive our monthly Office of Scholarly Communication e-newsletter.

The Office of Scholarly Communication sends this Newsletter to its subscribers in order to disseminate information relevant to open access and scholarly communication topics. For details on how the personal information you enter here is used, please see our privacy policy. Please note that MailChimp uses click-tracking technology and may use your personal information according to its Terms and Conditions. Find out more at the MailChimp Privacy Policy.