Thesis and Dissertation Guide

III. Distribution

Internet Distribution

All theses and dissertations will be included in the ProQuest database and the UNC-Chapel Hill University Library database and made available to the general public over the Internet. ProQuest also offers both print and digital versions of Dissertations & Theses for purchase.

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses is a comprehensive collection of graduate work from around the world. Their search services allow different levels of access depending on payment, ranging from metadata only searching to accessing only the first portion of the document, or the entire document. ProQuest collects fees from anyone who orders a thesis or dissertation and shares a portion of the fee with the author. Students will accept an agreement with ProQuest setting forth the terms of ProQuest's services as a part of the electronic thesis and dissertation submissions process.

Receipt of a submitted and approved thesis or dissertation in The Graduate School results in the publication of the document by the University Library at UNC-Chapel Hill. As such, each student grants the University a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce the student's work, in whole or in part, in electronic form to be posted in the University Library database and made available to the general public at no charge. As a public institution, UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to disseminating research widely and furthering the free exchange of intellectual information, including approved theses and dissertations completed by graduating students. See the section on Copyrighting below for information about the campus copyright policy.

Electronic theses and dissertations can be found online through the University Library. All theses and dissertations published since 2008 can be accessed in their entirety through this link. Theses and dissertations published prior to 2008 should be available in print or online at one of the campus libraries. Please note that there is a delay of up to a semester between when your document is accepted for your graduation and the time that theses and dissertations become available online through the library catalog and digital collections.

Open Access

Open Access publishing is a shift in publication, especially of scholarly works, to make information widely available to researchers and the public at no cost. This practice is in contrast to traditional publishing, where the public must pay to access journal content or scholarly publications. As a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, your work will be accessible to the public as indicated in the section above. Please note that your work is protected by copyright law and that you continue to be the owner of your intellectual property.

If you are interested in learning more about Open Access, we recommend that you discuss the topic with your academic advisor or other faculty in your graduate program as appropriate. For additional information, feel free to visit the Open Access Overview by Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project.


Under certain circumstances, students have the option of requesting a short embargo, or delayed release, for their work to restrict distribution of their theses or dissertations via Open Access publishing through the University Library. Such restrictions will only be for a limited period of time and will not limit the availability of titles or abstracts.

When submitting your thesis or dissertation online through the ProQuest submission site, UNC-Chapel Hill only permits the request of a one or two year embargo – regardless of options and documentation displayed in ProQuest. If your request for an embargo is accepted by The Graduate School, online publishing of your thesis or dissertation will be delayed for one or two years, according to the length of time requested. Please note that the title of your work, as well as your abstract, will be available through ProQuest Dissertations & Theses shortly after your work has been approved by The Graduate School and submitted to ProQuest.

Most students will not need to request an embargo. In certain circumstances (e.g., pending patent application, publisher requirements) it may be advisable to request one. If you would like to delay release of your thesis or dissertation, please discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an embargo with your advisor or academic program. Contact The Graduate School if you have any additional questions about embargoes.


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