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Master's Candidates—Thesis Submission Form Help

Thesis Submission Form Options | Thesis Submission Form Instructions

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciencessets policies on requirements for the thesis including formats, structure and timelines. The MASTER'S THESIS GUIDE available on the Graduate School's site. The Washington University Libraries manages the submission of theses through a local online form, and the ingest of theses into the online digital repository, Open Scholarship. This page is intended for Washington University graduate students who are required to write and submit a thesis as a degree requirement through the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The page is aimed at explanation of the submission form. The first part, Thesis Submission Form Options, explains the implications of the choices you make on the form. The second part, the Thesis Submission Form Instructions, gives specific instructions on how to fill out the form.

Note: Effective Spring 2014, MFA in Visual Art candidates in the Graduate School of Art, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, will submit a thesis form directly to Open Scholarship. MFA in Visual Art candidates should click here for submission instructions.

Thesis Submission Form Options

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.

Setting Embargos

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). The ProQuest form gives the options of 6 months, 1 or 2 years as embargo periods, but longer embargo periods may also be requested. Longer (or permanent) embargoes may also be requested for the copy in the Washington University Open Scholarship repository.

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, but the linked page (when available) will provide information to help in your decision.

There are five options for publication listed as choices (with radio buttons) on the thesis submission form:

  1. Immediate release
  2. Delay release - 6 month embargo
  3. Delay release - 1 year embargo
  4. Delay release - 2 year embargo
  5. Permanent embargo

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If choosing "permanent embargo," please find the Notes to Administrator field and type the reason for your request for a permanent embargo.

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Search engine indexing restriction

The final option on the thesis subission form to be highlighted here is the option to restrict search engine indexing on your work. Selecting this option means that, while your thesis may be discovered by users through browsing, it will not come up on searches from web search sites. This option may be preferred if you wish to send URLs only to specific parties to point them to the work, but do not want to give your work broader access.

However, 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. Since the primary purpose of the platform is discovery, selecting the indexing restriction option on the thesis submission form effectively prevents ingest of that work into Open Scholarship. The works of authors who have made this selection (unless also embargoed) will still be available from a separate browse page, hosted on the Digital Gateway site, which will be accessible to the public but restricted from search engine indexing.

For problems and questions, please contact Digital Library Services [digital at wulib dot wustl dot edu] for assistance.

Thesis Submission Form Instructions

Before you begin

Please be sure you have or know the following:

  • Full text of the thesis as a single PDF file (under 30 MB). If your manuscript is currently only in Microsoft Word, RTF or some other format, and you need advice on how to convert it to the PDF, please contact Digital Library Services [digital at wulib dot wustl dot edu].
  • Optional Abstract
  • Optional Supplementary files (images, data, etc.) that are an integral part of the thesis, but not part of the full text.
  • Advisor and other Committee Members' Names
  • activated WUSTL Key ID and password
  • current and post-graduation addresses and contact information
  • ideas about the subjects covered in your work

It is helpful to preview the form to familiarize yourself with the information requested before attempting to fill it out and submit your thesis. A preview of the form is available on this site. (Note this link cannot be used to submit your thesis—that link is below.)

Please note that if the PDF you are submitting is 30 MB or larger, you may have difficulty submitting the form. In this case, please contact Digital Library Services [digital at wulib dot wustl dot edu] for alternate submission instructions.

If you don't have a WUSTL Key

Many students continue to work on theses after they are no longer actively enrolled in the University. For many in this situation, the student either never created a WUSTL Key, or their WUSTL Key needs to be activated or reactivated. Students in this situation should be able to obtain assistance in obtaining or activating a WUSTL Key from Student Records.

Students should obtain the WUSTL Key ID,verify that it has been activated, and then contact Digital Library Services [digital at wulib dot wustl dot edu]. Please include your full name, degree program and school, your WUSTL Key ID and indicate that your WUSTL Key has been activated. We will then add your key to our list of authorized submitters; after we confirm that you have been added, we will inform you and you will be able to submit your thesis.

Logging into the thesis submission form

Along with the wider University community, the Washington University Libraries use WUSTL Key for authentication. (If you have viewed this page in the past, please note that the submission form no longer uses or accepts the student ID number for authentication.)

To access the form, you will need to log in. Be sure to have your:


  • WUSTL Key ID, and
  • WUSTL Key password

If you have problems with your WUSTL Key or WUSTL Key password, please see the Library Password Help page.

When you click on the link to the submission form, a login window will appear:

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You will need to enter "ACCOUNTS" with a backward slash, followed by your WUSTL Key ID in the username field, and your WUSTL Key password in the password field.

After you log in and the page opens, click on the New link, and select New Document.

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When you select New Document, the submission form loads.

When you are finished entering your submission information, click the Submit link at either the top or bottom of the page.

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Link to the Thesis Submission Form

Masters’ degree candidates should submit their theses in electronic form to the online Thesis Submission Form.

After you submit

If your thesis needs changes to be accepted by the Graduate School, you will be contacted by the Graduate School. If your thesis has no issues, you will not receive any electronic notification. But if you are concerned about the status of your submission, please feel free to contact Digital Library Services.

If you experience problems and have to quit the submission process before it’s complete, or if you believe there is an error in the form as you submitted it, please do not create a new form, and contact Digital Library Services for assistance.

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