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Open Access Dissertations & Theses

Six UC campuses (Berkeley, UCLA, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Cruz) currently make their electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) openly accessible to readers around the world. You can view them in eScholarship, UC’s open access repository. By contrast, ProQuest, the world’s largest commercial publisher of ETDs, charges a $95 fee to make an ETD open access.

Institutions worldwide have moved toward open access ETD publication because it dramatically increases the reach of their graduate research. To learn more about the policies at your campus, visit your graduate division website on dissertation and thesis requirements:

Delayed Publication (Embargoes)

Students often wonder whether they should make their thesis or dissertation open access immediately or after a delay, or embargo. Some campuses allow students to elect their own embargo; others require approval from graduate advisors or administrators. To learn more about the potential problems or advantages of choosing an embargo, you can read this memo from Rosemary Joyce, the Associate Dean of the Graduate Division of UC Berkeley:

Discussions have also appeared in:


You automatically own the copyright in your dissertation or thesis as soon as you create it, regardless of whether you register it, or even whether you include a copyright page or copyright notice. Most students choose not to register. Those who do register their copyrights do so because they value having their copyright ownership officially and publicly recorded, or because getting a copyright registered is required before you can sue someone for infringement.

If you decide to register your copyright, you can do so

  • directly, through the Copyright Office website, for $35
  • by having ProQuest/UMI contact the Copyright Office on your behalf, for $65.

For more in depth information about copyright, visit the UC Copyright site.

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