Master's Candidates—Thesis Submission Form Help
This page is intended for Washington University graduate students who are required to write and submit a thesis as a degree requirement. Submission requirements vary by School. PhD candidates submit through ProQuest and should visit the PhD Candidates page for information.
Thesis Submission Form Instructions provides specific instructions on how to complete the relevant form and submit your thesis.
Thesis Submission Form Options explains the general options available on the the submission form and their implications for copyright, embargo, third-party search, and other selections.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences | School of Engineering and Applied Science | Graduate School of Art (Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts) | Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design (Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts)
Anyone who submits a thesis will need to create an account in Open Scholarship and log into the system. Accounts are free. Bepress neither sells nor rents contact information to third parties.
- Create an account through bepress at http://openscholarship.wustl.edu by clicking on My Account / Sign up.
- You will need to provide an email address and your first and last name, and you will need to create a password. You do not have to use your WUSTL email address, but you should use an email address you check regularly.
- After you sign up, you'll receive an email confirmation with a link you must click in order to activate your account.
- If you've successfully created an account and logged in, Open Scholarship should take you to your My Account page. From here, you can submit your thesis to the appropriate collection (series). See below for school-specific instructions.
Effective with August 2014 graduates, master's candidates submitting their theses through the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will submit their theses directly to Open Scholarship, the university's online institutional repository. Graduate School reviewers will contact candidates through the repository system if there are formatting changes required and when a submitted thesis has been approved.
For policies and requirements on formats, structure, and timelines, see the Master's Thesis Guide by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Instructions for Arts & Sciences Theses (PDF download)
Effective with August 2014 graduates, master's candidates in the School of Engineering and Applied Science will submit their theses directly to Open Scholarship, the university's online institutional repository.
For policies and requirements on formats, structure, and timelines, please go to the Thesis & Dissertation Submission Procedures for Engineering Graduate Students page on the Engineering Student Services website.
Instructions for School of Engineering and Applied Science (PDF download), same instructions as Arts & Sciences
MFA in Visual Art candidates with the Graduate School of Art, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, began submitting their thesis forms directly to Open Scholarship in May 2014; the finalized thesis is uploaded by the Art & Architecture Library.
Instructions for Graduate School of Art (PDF download)
Master's students in the Graduate School of Architecture are not required to submit a thesis electronically; however, they are encouraged to contribute their completed thesis to Open Scholarship. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Copyright & Registration
As a general rule, any original work an author generates is automatically copyrighted at the time of writing. The copyright symbol © is not required for this to take place legally, although it is recommended as an additional precaution, with the year and personal name following the title page. As a further step, you can choose to register your copyright, though this is not required. You may register your work directly with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to (or after) submission. At the time of writing, the fee for online copyright registration is $35.
This field does not register your work; it only documents your selection. The options are:
- None (I have not registered my thesis with the U.S. Copyright Office and do not intend to).
- I have not registered my thesis with the U.S. Copyright office but intend to later.
- I have already registered my thesis with the U.S. Copyright office.
An embargo is the period of time your thesis will be unavailable online, based on your degree date. Only your citation and abstract will appear in Open Scholarship. Access to your thesis will be allowed to users who make arrangements to view a print copy in a controlled environment—no interlibrary loan (ILL), photocopying, scanning, etc., is allowed.
In the context of publication, an embargo is a restriction set on a work, typically to allow limited access to a work prior to wider dissemination. For example, a press officer for an organization will often distribute copies of a speech prior to the event to the press so reporters can familiarize themselves with the content, and these copies will typically be labeled with "EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY." With reference to a thesis or dissertation, it similarly means limited access for a period, depending on a variety of considerations, followed by wider access thereafter. It does not mean no one will have access to the material at all. Theses and dissertations under embargo held by the Washington University Libraries may be viewed by a patron under controlled conditions that parallel conditions of print submission: they can only be read in a library reading room, and cannot be electronically copied.
One of the primary reasons to consider an embargo is the inclusion of material in the dissertation to which the author is not the (or sole) rights-holder. This might mean photographs taken by a third party for which publication rights have not been obtained. Similarly, if the work is based on collaborative work (i.e. in the sciences) the degree candidate must have permission from project P.I.s, faculty advisors or anyone with a claim to that intellectual property, to submit the work for publication. The ProQuest form requires the degree candidate to warrant that all material in the work is the intellectual property of the author, or if not, permissions for that material have been obtained.
While physical deposit in library stacks or electronic deposit into an institutional repository is a form of publication, it is understood that theses and dissertations are typically transitional works. While limited publication of some form is necessary to meet conditions for the degree, authors may want to limit access to the content while a revised (or extended) version is prepared (especially for authors intending to seek publication later through more traditional means).
Many degree candidates consider embargoes specifically because they have heard that publishers will not consider publication of a book if it is based on a dissertation that is available in an online institutional repository. It is true that this is the case for some publishers in some disciplines, but it is not universally true. There are pros and cons to making your work immediately available with open access. The University does not make recommendations on this decision. Please consult your department and research the options for your field.
An embargo may be extended or cancelled at any time by contacting Digital Library Services [digital at wumail dot wustl dot edu].
Search engine indexing restriction or Third-Party Search
The final option on the thesis subission form to be highlighted here is the option to restrict search engine indexing on your work. This option is based on the Proquest options for dissertations. The primary design consideration of the Digital Commons platform from BePress, which Open Scholarship uses, is the promotion and dissemination of the material in the repository, and it uses search engine optimization (SEO) to assure that relevant material in the repository shows up in searches in the major search engines, such as Google. Washington University also wants to have a record of a student's work publicly available.
For master's candidates, selecting "Yes" allows search engines to find and display information about your thesis in their results. The record and the full-text of the thesis will be available through Open Scholarship (if there is no embargo period).
Selecting "No" means that the full text of a student's thesis will not be available in Open Scholarship and cannot be found through online searches. A citation, including the student's name, thesis title, and abstract, will appear in Open Scholarship and can be found through online searches. In many ways, "No" is similar to a permanent embargo in that the thesis will not be available electronically through Open Scholarship.
For problems and questions, please contact Digital Library Services [digital at wumail dot wustl dot edu] for assistance.