1. Does UC require me to make my thesis/dissertation open access?
2. Can I delay open access to my thesis?
3. I’m working on my thesis/dissertation and I have copyright questions. Where can I find answers?
4. Where can I find UC Theses and Dissertations online?

1. Does UC require me to make my thesis/dissertation open access?

Several UC campuses have established policies requiring open access to the electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) written by their graduate students. As of March 25, 2020, there is now a systemwide Policy on Open Access for Theses and Dissertations, indicating that UC “requires theses or dissertations prepared at the University to be (1) deposited into an open access repository, and (2) freely and openly available to the public, subject to a requested delay of access (“embargo”) obtained by the student.”

In accordance with these policies, campuses must ensure that student ETDs are available open access via eScholarship (UC’s open access repository and publishing platform), at no cost to students. 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 visibility and reach of their graduate research.

Policies and procedures for ETD filing, including how to delay public release of an ETD and how long such a delay can last, vary by campus. To learn more about the policies at your campus, visit your graduate division website on dissertation and thesis requirements:

2. Can I delay open access to my thesis/dissertation?

Some campuses allow students to elect an embargo period before the public release of their thesis/dissertation; others require approval from graduate advisors or administrators. Visit your local graduate division’s website (linked above) to learn more.

To explore the potential problems or advantages of opting for 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:

3. I’m working on my thesis/dissertation and I have copyright questions. Where can I find answers?

Students writing theses/dissertations most commonly have questions about their own copyright ownership or the use of other people’s copyrighted materials in their own work.

You automatically own the copyright in your thesis/dissertation as soon as you create it, regardless of whether you register it include a copyright page or copyright notice. Most students choose not to register their copyrights, though some choose to do so because they value having their copyright ownership officially and publicly recorded. 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.

Incorporating the works of others in your thesis/dissertation – such quotations or illustrative images – is often allowed by copyright law. This is the case when the original work isn’t protected by copyright, or if the way you’re using the work would be considered fair use. In some circumstances, however, you will need permission from the copyright holder.  For more information, please consult the Berkeley Library’s guide to Copyright and Publishing Your Dissertation.

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

4. Where can I find UC Dissertations and Theses online?

Nine of the UC campuses currently make their electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) openly accessible to readers around the world. You can view nearly 40,000 ETDs in eScholarship, UC’s open access repository. The campuses currently sharing ETDs in eScholarship are:

Share