Preparing to submit your thesis

Submit Approval of Research Degree Thesis Title form

Three months before you are due to submit your thesis for examination you must complete and submit an Approval of Research Degree Thesis Title form (.docx). This form starts the process of appointing your examiners and ensures the University is ready for your submission. The form also requests you to consider whether a restriction to the access of the final version of your thesis is required. It’s important you consider this now, to ensure the correct restriction is applied once the viva has taken place, and you’re ready to upload to the Repository.

To ensure your viva is arranged in good time, please submit the form three months ahead of when you’re due to submit your thesis (for example, if you’re due to submit your thesis on the 3 October, you will be expected to submit your Approval of Research Degree Thesis Title form by the 3 July).

The form needs to be given to the Graduate Administrator within your department. The form will need to be signed by your supervisor and department, so please make sure you start the process early. We do accept this form via email with electronic signatures as appropriate.

On the form you’ll be asked whether you’d like to restrict access to your thesis (including requesting an embargo) after it has been uploaded to the repository. Please see ‘Restricting Access’ below for more information.

On the form you’ll be asked to include the title of your thesis. The title you write here must match the title on your submitted thesis. If the titles don’t match you may be asked to resubmit the Intention to Submit form which could cause delays to your viva taking place. With this in mind, make sure you make a copy of the form before submitting it.

Restricting access to your thesis

Once you have successfully completed your research degree, you’ll be required to upload your thesis to the University of Essex Research Repository and must do so prior to confirmation of the award of your degree.

Unless there are strong grounds, the University’s expectation is that uploads to the Repository are made Open Access as standard. If you require any restriction to the access of your thesis you must make the request when completing the Approval of Research Degree Thesis Title.

There are several advantages to making your thesis open access, including:

  • It has the potential to enhance your reputation as a researcher by allowing you to disseminate your research as widely as possible with minimal effort. This could lead to your research contributing more visibly to related research on the topic, make it easier for other researchers to include your work in their literature reviews, and maybe even lead to enquiries from other researchers or institutions who would like to collaborate.
  • It makes the University's outputs more visible, thereby enhancing the reach of our excellent research internationally. It contributes to the open-access agenda in which research papers and theses are being made available without barriers to the public, to small and medium enterprises and to other researchers across the globe. 

Reasons you may need to restrict access 

The following concerns might lead you to requesting a restriction to the access of your thesis:

Third-party copyright

Under UK and most international copyright laws, any significant work automatically attracts copyright protection. This is designed to protect the rights of authors. Authors (or their publishers) can take legal action against those who infringe their copyright.

Your thesis may contain material that you don't hold the copyright for, for example, quotations lengthier than permitted for educational use, images, photographs, graphs, tables, maps, etc. If you have included such material from either a published or unpublished work you will need to have obtained the rights holders’ permission to include their content in the online version of your thesis.

Third-party copyright material can be included for examination purposes (for which the audience is limited to your supervisors, markers and external examiners), but not for open access without permission from the rights holders.

Sensitive information other than personal data

Your thesis may contain content-sensitive information that could mean open access to the full text of your thesis is not feasible. For example, if your thesis includes any potentially sensitive commercial information, any information provided in confidence or information relating to security matters, access to the full text of your thesis should be permanently restricted in the research repository.

The requirements of any funding you have received

If your degree was funded by a Research Council you should check if your funder requires a particular deposit option, as some research councils require an open access deposit. If you have been funded by a commercial or other private funder you should make sure that you comply with their requirements regarding access to the completed thesis

Possible future publication of your research

Access to the full text of a thesis in the research repository can be restricted if you are concerned that including the text may prevent you from finding a publisher for your thesis. You should discuss these concerns with your supervisor before concluding that restricted access is necessary.

Personal data

If your thesis contains personal data relating to individuals who haven’t given consent for their data to be made available online, access to the full text of your thesis should be permanently restricted in the research repository. 

Type of restriction

If you do decide you need a restriction to the access of your thesis, please review the below restriction tiers available. You should limit the restriction as much as possible. Once you’ve considered the following options, you’ll need to indicate your decision on your Approval of Title form.

Open access

The thesis is fully available for access. It is expected that the majority of thesis submissions would fall into this category.

Redacted

Certain sections of the thesis are redacted to prevent others from viewing them (usually due to data protection or copyright issues).

Embargoed for a limited period (either 3 or 5 years)

The thesis is not available for the set amount of time, after which it will revert to open access. The metadata (title, abstract) will be available throughout this period.

Controlled

The thesis is permanently not available; however, the metadata is available. This option is granted in exceptional circumstances.

Restricted

Both the thesis and metadata are not available permanently. This option is granted in very rare and exceptional circumstances.

If your rationale for requiring an embargo is of a sensitive nature, and you do not want to share it with your department, preferring instead to explain the reasoning in person with the Deputy Dean (PGRE), please email pgresearch@essex.ac.uk to arrange this.

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Postgraduate Research Education Team